“You can have results or excuses. Not both.” – Anonymous
Human beings tend to only ever do as much as they absolutely need to.
Motivational speakers call this innate trait laziness, biologists call it efficiency. Either way, the fact remains: we are evolutionary wired to minimize time and energy wherever possible.
And this is not necessarily a bad thing. If we weren’t wired this way, we probably wouldn’t have survived this long as a species.
Back in our caveman days, before supermarkets, calories were worth their weight in gold. For cavemen, trying to actively burn off calories would have spelled certain death.
In this light, our fitness excuses make total sense. Our reptilian brain comes up with believable sounding rationalizations to stop us from burning off our precious calories; to minimize time and energy.
Unfortunately, due to our present access to highly calorific foods, the fitness excuses that once ensured our survival, now send us to an early grave.
Below I’ve provided the 10 most common fitness excuses our reptilian minds trick us into believing and why, ultimately, they’re all nonsense.
1. I don’t have enough time.
This is probably the most common fitness excuse of them all.
First off, when you say you don’t have enough time, what you’re really saying is “I don’t have enough time for that”.Advertising
Do you really think that if you were to add up all the time you spend watching TV and surfing the web throughout the average week you couldn’t replace any of it with a workout?
A 30 minute workout takes up 2% of your day.
Don’t ask yourself how much time you’re going to waste by working out a few times a week. Ask yourself how much of your life you’re going to waste being unfit and overweight.
2. I’m way too tired to workout.
Your mind, when it comes to exercising, is like a spoiled child. If you give in to its demands without a fight, it will see weakness and prey on it often.
If you miss one planned session, you’re much more likely to miss the next. The biggest journey always starts with one step and the biggest failings always start with one step backwards.
You need to show your mind who’s boss. You won’t always have lots of energy when you go to the gym but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that counts is showing up and giving it a shot.
If you’re too tired to workout, change your sleeping habits, not your workout habits.
3. But exercise is so boring!
You don’t want to exercise because it’s boring?
So you find brushing your teeth, taking showers, styling your hair and getting dressed highly entertaining? No. We do these things because we have to. We accept them as part of life.Advertising
The people who never miss a workout are the ones who view it just like brushing their teeth. Complaining about it is just pointless. To be successful sometimes you’ve got to do things that aren’t as fun as watching your favorite TV show. That’s just life.
If don’t enjoy your workouts, you don’t stop working out, you just workout differently. Try crossfit, martial arts, hiking, body building, powerlifting, running, or swimming. Try music. Try anything, but keep showing up.
4. I have no motivation to workout.
If you think you need motivation to train you’re already half beat.
What you really need is meta motivation: the motivation to train even when you’re not motivated. If you rely on your feelings to decide whether to workout or not, you never will. As you know, your feelings are designed to keep you caged up in your comfort pit. Your feelings want you to be safe, not successful.
That said, there is a trick you can use to get yourself motivated to workout, and it’s backed up with research. It’s called ‘the few minutes’ principle.
The basic idea is that procrastinators often put off doing certain things because the size of the task in front of them seems too overwhelming. By deciding to just go to the gym for a ‘few minutes’ you’ll often see the workout through to completion.
Are you motivated enough to train for two minutes? That’s all you need.
5. I have kids to look after.
One day your kids might have someone to look after too: you.
Don’t burden them with an ill parent when they have their own kids to look after. And don’t be the kind of parent who tells their kids exercise is good for them but doesn’t follow their own advice. Kids are smarter than that.Advertising
If you’re really struggling with managing your fitness and your kids, combine the two. Find a field and play frisbee for a few hours, go swimming, take a walk around the lake and feed some ducks. There are so many fun and cheap ways to exercise with your kids, the only limits are your imagination.
You kids should be your biggest reason to exercise, not your biggest excuse.
6. I don’t have anyone to train with.
What you’re really saying with this fitness excuse is that you don’t have anyone to talk with while you train. If you’re training properly, you won’t need to talk.
Don’t get me wrong, having a training partner is great but here’s what you’ve got to understand: most people first meet their training partners at the gym. The reason you probably don’t have anyone to train with is because you don’t have many friends who train. Like attracts like.
By becoming someone who regularly trains, you’ll start attracting people into your life who also value health and fitness. You have to earn your training partners, they don’t come free.
7. I don’t feel very well.
After you get into the habit of overriding your fitness excuses and working out regularly, the thought of missing a workout starts to drive you insane. When I broke my jaw in two places the doctors told me I couldn’t lift heavy weights for three months. What did I do? I lifted light weights instead. Train smart, not hard.
At some point in our lives we’ve all pretended to be ill so we could skip a day of school. Some of the better actors among us probably blurred the lines in their mind between real symptoms and those imagined. It’s easy to exaggerate things when it fits our agenda.
If you’re really sick, I don’t recommend you train. But feeling a bit tired or achy – that’s no reason to skip a workout.
8. The gym is too expensive or far.
If you think you need a gym to achieve your fitness goals, you’ve been seriously misled.
The world is your fitness playground. Ever watched a training scene from a Rocky movie? He chases chickens, runs up steps, punches meat, and chops wood. Many people cite these scenes as their favorite. Something about training dirty and raw resonates deep within us.Advertising
There are whole fitness subcultures dedicated to working out outdoors, and without formal equipment. Ever heard of Calisthenics, Tai Chi, Yoga or Parkour? Look them up.
If you want to put on muscle, try some typical strongman training like chopping wood, flipping tires, lifting barrels. Remember, if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find a way. Arnold Schwarzenegger made his own gym equipment out of chairs and sticks for the first year he trained. He claims he gained 25 pounds of muscle from doing this.
9. I don’t know how to train properly.
If you’re reading this article, you’re obviously more than capable of figuring this out. The internet is brimming with routines and training tips. This site alone will give you more than you need. Read these 10 tips for better workouts, perfect for beginners.
However, it’s important that you don’t get too engulfed in the theory of ‘training properly’. Like most things in life, you learn best on the job. Ask people in the gym to show you how to use proper technique, then practice through action.
People love giving out tips. You might even get a training partner out of it.
10. I feel intimidated by the fit people there.
This is normal and everyone has this when they first start out. The environment is new, everyone there looks like they know what they’re doing. You feel like you’re in someone else’s home.
The number one reason you feel intimidated when you go to the gym is because you don’t go enough! If you started going regularly you’d get used to the place, the people and your fitness would improve. Everyone knows training improves your confidence. Just stick with it. It’s something you’ll laugh at a few months down the line.
Anyone can get in great shape. Anyone can become fit. But very few people ever do because they give in to their natural inclination to minimize time and effort.
Stop making excuses and just stick with it for two months. After that you’ll be finding excuses to workout even when you do have important stuff to get on with.
Featured photo credit: United Artists, Chartoff-Winkler Productions via Rocky (1976)
Last Updated on September 20, 2018
How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful
Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…
If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:
The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:
- Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
- Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
- Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.
Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.
2. Loosen up
After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?
Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.
3. Chew slowly
Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).
Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.
Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.
4. Let go
Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.
The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?
It’s not. Promise.
Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.
Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:
5. Enjoy the journey
Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.
Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.
6. Look at the big picture
The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:
Will this matter to me…
- Next week?
- Next month?
- Next year?
- In 10 years?
Hint: No, it won’t.
I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.
Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.
7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself
You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.
Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.
8. Practice patience every day
Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:
- The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
- Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
- Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.
Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.
Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.
Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com