Our mind will always push back against criticism. It’s a very normal and healthy thing, someone points out a flaw in you, and your mind says “They’re wrong, you’re freaking awesome!”. The same thing is true when you’re doing something that you don’t really want to do. You come up with excuses not to do it, but excuses aren’t reasons. They’re just a way for you to justify not doing something.
Here’s the top ten:
1) I’m embarrassed to go to the gym, because I’m too big.
No one at the gym will judge you. No one. If anything, they’ll congratulate you for making the effort to do something about your health. Gym-goers are people, just like you. Many of them have battled with weight issues themselves. Besides, chances are they’re just listening to their headphones or waiting for the machine they want to become available. It’s likely that they aren’t even thinking about you at all.
While talking to the overly-perky-size-zero-early-twenties-girl at the front desk can be mildly intimidating, it’s her job to make you comfortable enough that you keep coming back. If you’re not comfortable, she’s not doing her job as well as she could be, and might not be around long enough to make you feel uncomfortable again.
2) It’s too hot.
The weather is always an easy excuse. Training in Summer? “It’s too hot”. In Winter, “It’s too cold”, the rest of the year “It’s such a nice day, I want to enjoy it somewhere else, not inside at the gym”. It’s an easy excuse that holds no real reason. You’re cold? Add more layers. You’re hot? Great, easier to get up a sweat (just drink LOTS of water). Nice day out? Well exercise outside! Invite your friends out for a picnic and a fun game of soccer. Take your dog for a run. Take someone else’s dog for a run (ask them first though. It’s usually frowned upon to run away with someones family pet), there are so many more things you can do to exercise beyond just going to a gym.
3) I don’t have the right gear.
If you’re breathing, you have the right gear. Whatever you wear will be fine, as long as it’s comfortable. Sure, some workout gear is more comfortable than others, but finding out which is right for you will be largely a matter of trying a few brands and styles or check some accessories on sale.
Even if you don’t have any gear at all, you can still do a dozen squats in the shower every night.
4) I have an injury
This can be a legitimate reason not to work out if it’s under doctor’s orders, but it can also become an excuse. Training through injuries is common in all athletes. The thing to remember is to exercise in a way that it will not hold up your recovery.
If it’s something like a sprained ankle, think of doing bicep curls on the lounge. If it’s back trouble, think about doing some low-impact yoga. Exercising as part of your recovery is actually prescribed by doctors for many injuries or surgeries. Ask your doctor what exercises you can do to speed your recovery, and do them as best you are able.
5) I’m too tired
If you’ve ever had that “I’m drained” feeling when you get home from work, but still worked out, you know how soon it disappears once you get going. It’s all about momentum. When you’re dragging yourself around in a zombie-like state, gazing longingly at your bed, you may be in need of some sleep.
The problem is that if you do nap late in the evening, getting to sleep at night may be harder. If you power through a gym session though, you’ll feel better and sleep more soundly that night.
Sometimes, you might really need to nap, especially if you’re sleeping poorly, but most times you’ll be better off pushing through it.
6) I don’t have time.
There are people out there with the same responsibilities and obligations as you who find time to do it. It’s harsh to hear, but it’s true. Check out our article here on making time to work out.
7) I’ll start next week/month/year.
Or you can start now. Yes it’s easy to find reasons to delay it. You’ve got work commitments, you’ve got something that’s consuming your time. They all ignore the fact that starting sooner means you’ll be better able to handle these demands on your time. It really will surprise you just how much lower your stress levels are after sweating out your frustrations!
8) I don’t want to bulk up.
This is always a funny one. Sure, plenty of people don’t want to look like a professional bodybuilder, but not starting because you don’t want to resemble them is kind of like not driving to the shops because you don’t like the travel schedule in Formula 1.
Bulking up to the level these people have takes a LOT of work. Even if it is your goal to have a bodybuilder physique, it’s damn hard to do. Unless you are training several times daily AND focusing on building mass, chances are being “too muscular” won’t be a problem for you.
9) I have no idea how to start.
Just DO something. Set aside time to exercise and stick to the schedule. Even if it’s just push ups and sit ups in the lounge room, do it. If you do want to get more serious, decide if you want to train in a gym, or outside and find a Personal Trainer that suits your style. We’ve written a guide to choosing a PT here.
10) It’s too expensive.
Gym fees, good food, personal training, workout wear, supply of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein, a tub of International Protein Extreme Mass, multivitamins, the list goes on… it does add up. But what does your money get you?
If done right, getting fitter and healthier improves practically everything, in every way. Things you enjoyed before you can still do, but for longer. Even the “naughty treats” are less naughty when you’re so active. A block of chocolate between friends is often a shared experience of guilt. If you all work out hard and have it ONLY as a treat, it becomes a celebration of achievement (just not too often).
By far the biggest plus though, is being able to hold your head high, especially if you’ve made a big transformation. If you dropped 10kg of fat and put on lean muscle, people will talk. Your co-workers will notice, your family will comment on your health and no one of worth will ever be jealous of your achievement in this area.
There are REASONS why you can’t train, and then there are EXCUSES. Reasons are logical facts that prevent you from doing something, excuses are obstacles that you’ve put there yourself because it’s easier to let things slide for one more day. Be honest with yourself and know which is which. YOU are in control, YOU set the tone. You get the results you earn.