Monday, April 4, 2011

I Punch Excuses in the Face!

- -Credit: Free images from acobox.com

I'm sure everyone has had an excuse not to workout at some time or another. Sometimes, the excuses are completely valid- you're sick or injured, you're having a baby that day, your Christmas tree is on fire... But I'm determined to help you get past the excuses that keep you, day to day, from starting a regular workout program.

I asked for folks to send me their excuses. My challenge is to try to obliterate the excuses, so that everyone will be able to workout. So, let's get started:

*(These are real excuses from people. I promise haven't made any up.)

- "I don't have time.
- Appointments all week long that has taken all my time. Driving here and there and waiting in waiting rooms etc. Then I am too tired to do anything. But, still has to manage cleaning up, cooking, helping with homework, office work, etc., before I crash into bed". 

This is one of the top excuses I hear. I am also quite good at this excuse myself. 
There are ways to deal with it:

1. Do your workout first thing in the morning, before anything else gets in the way. I get up at 4 am to workout since we have to leave the house before 7 am. It's hard, but sometimes it's the only way I can fit in the workout.

2. Put your workout on your calendar, like another appointment. Since I've been doing lunchtime runs, I put that on my calendar. If someone wants me to do something at 12, I say, "No, I have an appointment."

3. Speaking of lunchtime runs, this is often the only time I can run. I take my lunch hour, change into workout clothes, run outside, then come back and give myself a little "washrag bath" before getting dressed again. It's not ideal, but I just don't have time to take a full shower and redo everything. It's my way of making it work.

4. Do a shorter, more intense workout. There are days when I plan a long cardio workout, but I wake up too late, so I do a shorter, but more intense workout, like a Turbofire Hiit 15 or 20. I still burn lots of calories, and it's better than not doing anything.


I am too tired.

There are times when you may actually be too tired to workout. However, if you are constantly tired, working out regularly could help you. If you feel like there's no way you can make it through a workout because you're  tired:

1. Tell yourself when you start that you're just going to do 5 (or 10 or 15 minutes). Then, if you feel like it, keep going past that number. If not, hey, you *still* did more than you would have if you did nothing :-)

2. When I was pregnant last time, I knew that by the end of the day, my energy would be gone. So, I *had* to do my workout first thing in the morning, or I physically wouldn't be able to. I recommend this to you if you get tired at the end of the day: Try it.

- My ankle feels funny. 
- I'm nearly 2 years into plantar fasciitis and no treatment has worked yet.
- My knees hurt. 

If you have an injury, first of all, you need to be careful not to make that injury worse. Consult a doctor above all else. However, there are ways to work around injuries:

1. If your ankle is bothering you, do an upper body workout, or do a boxing workout. If you can actually put weight on the ankle, do a low impact version of a workout.

2. If you have chronic plantar fasciitis that's preventing you from running, there are other exercises you can do. If you have access to a gym: elliptical, bike. If not: low impact aerobics or kickboxing with a video (I can help you with some ideas). Or, focus more on weight training. 

3. If your knees hurt: Again, it depends on what kind of knee pain. I would never say to push through knee pain, but there are things you can do that *don't* make it worse. You just have to see what works for you.

Again, let me emphasize that I want you to be careful with injuries. But, if your ankle is broken, you can still work your shoulders :-)

- This cough is killing me. 
- I can't breathe. 
- I have a migraine and can't even concentrate, much less exercise.
- I have adrenal fatigue and can barely muster the energy to get out of bed.

This is another area where I want you to be careful. Err on the side of caution when you're sick. You have to be completely honest with yourself: Learn when it's too much for you, and learn when you may be taking it too easy on yourself. If you can't stop coughing or can't breathe, you probably shouldn't do a tough cardio workout. If you can barely get out of bed or have a migraine, try something easy and simple for 5 minutes. If it's too much, stop and go back to bed, knowing that you tried. 

- The children won't go to sleep.
-I am having to answer phones for our company and work on the computer and I has taken all day. Now, I do not have any time left to work out before I get my daughter from school. I can't take my daughter to the gym with me, because she is not allowed in the gym area. Only 12 and over. So, she would have to go to the gym's "fit kids" room. This is like a room full of little Kids being watched somewhat by a college student. ( she is 11 going on 21!) 

I have had this problem before, many times. My son gets on my back while doing pushups. My daughter cries if I put her down for more than 5 minutes. Sometimes all the stars have to align just right for the kids to cooperate for me to do a workout. But, I make it happen. No, it's not the easiest way for me to do a workout, but when I'm determined, I make it work. (Tip: I use videos most of the time for this.)

Other: These are the ones that are tricky. I'm just going to answer each of these one at a time:
It doesn't work! No, it doesn't if you don't do it. Also, you need to realize that there are other benefits to exercise besides just looking good in a swimsuit. Even though I gained 60 pounds with my first pregnancy, my blood pressure and cholesterol were absolutely perfect because of my years of working out.

I just don't feel like it. I go back to this: Try 5 minutes. If you feel like stopping then, go ahead. But, chances are you may feel like continuing. It's really a win-win.

My shoes are too loose. There is a growing movement of barefoot exercisers. I have been known to workout barefoot at home. I don't run barefoot, but I want to (one day). Basically, try it without the shoes. I used to be TERRIFIED of going barefoot, but the research has shown lately that it could be better for you. It's not as scary anymore, and I actually think it helps to build up those feet muscles..

I need to eat first/I just ate and can't workout for at least an hour and a half. This just takes a little bit of planning. If you know you need to eat first, eat something *very light*. If you know you're going to work out later, don't eat the biggest lunch of your life.

The Christmas tree is on fire. I got nothing. You need to put out the fire. Workout later.

I'm planning on exercising tomorrow, so I shouldn't today because that will make me too tired. There are actually days when I think this. In most cases, it's really not necessary: Don't do the exact same workout two days in a row. Do a cardio workout one day, then do strength or yoga the next day. Now, in my case, if I have an 8 mile run scheduled on Saturday, I probably won't do the world's heaviest leg workout on Friday. But, I can still do something else. I can stretch, I can do abs, I can do yoga... so, don't worry about being too tired the next day. Just do a little planning.

I'm late to the class. I know it's a pain to walk in late to a fitness class, and often, it's frowned upon by the instructor. However, aren't you on your way to the gym anyway? Go get on a treadmill or the elliptical, and workout during the time you had set aside for class. If the class wasn't going to be at the gym, go for a walk/run outside, or DO A VIDEO.

It's raining. Come run with me in the rain. It's fun. But seriously, if you're planning an outdoor workout, and the weather is just too scary, do something inside. I have a few video ideas I can give you....(Are you seeing a theme with the videos?)

I'm having a baby today. I used this excuse. I was so determined to workout up until giving birth. I really wanted to say "I worked out the day I gave birth". However, we had to be at the hospital at 6:00 am for my daughter's induction, and I figured if I got up early enough to workout... well, I needed to save my energy. Also, I couldn't have anything to eat or drink. So, I proudly used that excuse. If you're having a baby today, too, feel free to use it as well.
It's too cold. Bundle up, or do a video.
It's too hot. Stay inside, or do a video.
I should be studying. Can you spare 30 minutes? 15 minutes? For your health?
I have to do the laundry. Put the laundry in, then workout.
The cat's asleep on my lap. Put the cat down. I know it's tough, but this is for you.
I'm on the HCG diet and you're not supposed to workout. Um? I don't think I would ever want to go on a program that wouldn't let me workout.

Times when you shouldn't exercise:
- You are seriously sick.
- Your doctor has said you shouldn't.
- Your Christmas tree is on fire. 

The Bottom Line:
- Be flexible: You may not always be able to do the exact workout you want to do. You may want to run, but can't find childcare, so do a cardio workout in your living room. You may want to do a 50 minute strength workout, but wake up late, so instead do a 15 minute HiiT. The important thing is DO SOMETHING
- Have a back up. Have something you can do if your first choice doesn't work for you. Do a workout video. Go to the gym (or go for a walk) during lunch. 

Remember this: 
"If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you'll find an excuse."


Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

This post is AWESOME.

"Try 5 minutes. If you feel like stopping then, go ahead. But, chances are you may feel like continuing. "

YES YES YES. I tell people this all the time.

brooke said...

I have been at any number of these. As long as I can get in something when I am feeling well, I consider it a good day. And I do most of my in home exercise barefoot. Just easier.

Quirky Homemaker said...


RunningOnCoffee said...

Great post!!
Echoing what Rose said, I told my husband the other day that I rarely regretting going for a run once I'm out there, it's just an issue of getting my butt out the door sometimes.

Never heard of HCG diet before this post, but I would be skeptical of anything that goes against common sense...

Kudos to you for getting up so early for your workouts! Same for everyone out there with kids. It's hard enough (at times) to schedule in longer workouts around work, household cleaning/cooking/errands, and trying to get a full 8 hrs of sleep. oh and see my husband a little too. I can't imagine how much harder it is with kids!

Suzette said...

This is so funny, I just started a segment on "excuses" on my blog! It's great looking at your list and perspective because there are a few different ideas and thoughts!

Great minds think alike I guess! ;) Thanks for visiting my blog, blogging buddy!