Believe me, I have given myself every single excuse in order to avoid exercising. And when a fitness routine hasn’t been established quite yet, I’m sure we can all agree that’s the time the excuses really start to fly. So whether you’re tired or just plain broke, check out these solutions to stop making excuses and start becoming healthier.
Excuse #1: I’m Too Tired to Workout
a) Take a Power Nap
Silencing your phone and zonking out for 10-20 minutes will give you a lovely energy boost. But the benefits of a catching a little shut eye don’t stop there. Did you know that napping helps cut your risk of diabetes as well as obesity? A quick snooze can also snap you out of a mental fog along with aiding in getting those creative juices flowing when inspiration doesn’t want to show its purdy little face.
Try to limit the nap to 20 minutes though. The longer you sleep, the deeper into dreamland you’ll go. When that happens, you wake up groggy and feeling even more tired than before your nappy-poo.
b) Exercise Will Energize You
We have blood vessels that carry blood and oxygen to our muscles. When we exercise, the blood vessels expand, thus up-ing the amount of blood and oxygen that travel to the muscles doing the work. You know, it “gets the blood pumping.”
Also, physical activity raises your metabolism. Although the raise in your metabolism is temporary, it causes you to feel more energized, not just directly after your workout, but throughout the day as well!
In this instance, I am referring to cardiovascular activity. (However, when you strength train for a period of time, you develop muscle mass which raises your metabolism long term. That means, you new muscles are burning more calories at rest; e.g., sleeping, sitting in front of the TV, etc. than fat does. Fifty times more to be exact!)
Excuse #2: I’m Sore from the Day Before
a) Moving Relieves Aching Muscles.
We used to think lactic acid was the culprit for causing muscle soreness lasting a few days after a tough workout. But now the most recent theory is saying it’s due to delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS, the result of a fierce workout. When your muscles are aching, a low-intensity aerobic workout will increase the blood flow to the affected muscles, which should help ease your stiffness.
Being a dancer, waking up sore is a regular occurrence, and getting my muscles nice and warm temporarily alleviates a bunch of discomfort. So remember, the next time you are sore from a workout, busting out a light sweat session (e.g., 20 minutes on the treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical, etc.) isn’t such a bad idea.
b) Target a Different Muscle Group than the Day Before.
Ok, so that makes sense, right? Say your upper body is sore from kicking butt the day before. Well, today you want to be knocking it out of the park with your lower body. Then tomorrow, the other half of your body can be sore. Yippee;-)
c) Try a Yoga Class
If you’d rather sit in a room full of screaming toddlers than perform a cardio session or train another area of the body, get moving with a yoga class. The stretching will feel fantastic to your muscles and if any poses are too intense, there are always modifications you can do.
Or if you think your body will simply break doing any sort of a particular pose, just chill in child’s pose. It feels ah-mazing on your lower back.
Excuse #3: People Will Judge Me at the Gym/ I’m Intimidated
a) Nobody’s Looking at You
Dancing from 8 years old on, I have taken thousand’s of dance classes. Ever since my teens years, I always feared people would think I was overweight, a terrible dancer, etc., I used to get pretty intimidated the first time I walked into a dance class.
However, some regular ole day in class, I had one of Oprah’s famous “Aha” moments while looking around and noticing not one soul paying a bit of attention to me. Nobody in there cared what I looked like! You know why? Because they were too concerned with what they looked like and how they performed in class to give two hoots about what I was doing.
So do not care what anybody else thinks about you because, I’m willing to bet, they’re not!
b) Hire a Personal Trainer
Work with a personal trainer for a few sessions so a) you will have someone by your side cheering you on, and b) you’ll feel much more confident knowing exactly what to do on the machines.
Plus, having a routine to follow is reassuring because you walk in with a plan, mapped out and ready to go. You won’t have to worry about figuring out what the heck you’re going to focus on that day.
Excuse #4: I’m Too Broke for a Gym Membership
a) Borrow Fitness DVD’s from a Friend
Do you have a buddy who is a fitness enthusiast? They might have a few videos for you to use for a while. And they’ve already gone through the process of finding ones that will really give you a quality workout!
Also, many public libraries have a selection of fitness DVD’s available for check out. If you can, check out several at once because I have come to find out that the workouts can be pretty hit or miss. Some are so easy, chances are you got more exercise wandering around the library looking for the fitness DVD’s.
b) Hop Online
Simply go to YouTube, type in “full length workouts” in the search bar and watch as your screen is filled to the brim with free workouts. Another website I suggest is Fitnessblender.com. They offer fantastic full length workouts as well as shorter routines that target specific areas such as the core or lower body. And the best part? They’re all free!
c) Walk, Walk, Walk!
There has never been a cheaper exercise than walking. I’d say hiking and jogging are pretty inexpensive if you don’t take the shoes into account, but we’re talking about a tight budget so we’re sticking with walking.
When jogging, you are pounding the pavement, so it’s important that you have a good pair of sneakers that absorbs some of the shock and supports the arch of your foot. In regards to hiking, not only are arch support and shock absorption beneficial, hiking boots should also have some sort of support around your ankle.
There are lots of walking plans on the web, but one I highly recommend is Health.com’s How to Walk Off 10 Pounds because the workout doesn’t require a treadmill. Plus, the trainer who devised the plan offers great tips to keep in mind.
Excuse #5: I Don’t Have the Time to Workout
a) Wake up Early
I know, I know, you’ve heard it, but this method is a little easier to manage. Start out slow. Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier than your normal bedtime and then set your alarm for 15 minutes before you regular wake-up time for a week. Then week two, step it up to a half an hour. Week three aim for 45 minutes and so on and so forth.
If that is too extreme, try going for 5 or 10 minute increments. What I’m getting at is if you stick with it, pretty soon, you will have plenty of time for a full on workout!
b) Bring free weights to your office. Multitask by busting out combination exercises (e.g., bicep curls while performing lunges) during a conference call.
Instead of calling or emailing your co-workers, walk and speak to them in person, grab a co-worker and have a speed walking date at lunch, take a few five minute breaks throughout the day and climb the stairs or work standing up.
Keep in mind, standing burns more calories than sitting and sitting burns more calories than lying down. Every calorie counts!
Excuse #6: I Don’t Have the Discipline to Exercise
a) Pair up with a Workout Buddy
When you have a friend to exercise with, you can’t wake up and decide to blow off the gym when your buddy is going to be there waiting on you.
Your partner holds you accountable, therefore you’re more likely to follow through with your commitment. Studies show “that people who work out alone have as low as a 43% success rate, opposed to those who work out with a partner who show up to a 95% success rate,” states a Farrel’s Extreme Bodyshaping article.
Strength in numbers, my friend. Strength. In. Numbers.
b) Ease Your Way into It
Start out with a minimal amount of exercise such as 5 minutes of walking, and painlessly add on 2-3 minutes per week. Yes, progression is slower, however, that’s the point. Plus, you’re more likely to keep at it when you gradually work your way up.
c) Discipline Is like a Muscle
Discipline IS like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger that bad boy gets. Start working your discipline out in different areas of your life. In one of my other posts, I Need Me Some Discipline: Part Two, I give lots of suggestions on how you can amp up your discipline. A few of them are:
-I know it’s nothing short of amazing to stand underneath that heavenly hot stream of water and zone out while showering in the morning. However, as soon as you have washed your bod, immediately turn the water off. Do not stall.
-As you walk past a piece of trash laying on the ground, instead of pretending it isn’t there, pick it up and throw it in the garbage.
-After trying on clothes in the boutique dressing room, hang them up and take the clothing back to where you found them.
Now after all is said and done, maybe you’re not feeling well, or perhaps you had the worst day and you just don’t-frickin’-want-to-go. In that case, sometimes the best thing to do is go home, slip into your comfy’s and veg out in front of the boob tube. And that’s okay.
You can go to the gym tomorrow:-)
Are there any excuses you just can’t seem to push though? I’d love to hear them.
Morin, K. (2012). How to Power Nap Like a Pro. [online] Greatist. Available at: http://greatist.com/happiness/how-power-nap-pro [Accessed 8 Aug. 2015].
Top Ten Reasons to Exercise and Be Physically Active. (n.d.). 1st ed. [ebook] Manhattan, KS, p.1. Available at: http://www.k-state.edu/paccats/Contents/PA/PDF/Top%20Ten%20Reasons%20to%20Exercise%20and%20Be%20Physically%20Active.pdf [Accessed 8 Aug. 2015].