Excuses, Excuses: How to Overcome the Top 5 Exercise Excuses

You haven’t started your fitness program yet. You know you should. You’ve heard the benefits. So, what’s your excuse? Oh, and try to be original. As a personal trainer and fitness director, I have probably heard every excuse in the book. If you spend more time making excuses than actually working out, read on.  I have put together a few of the most common exercise excuses along with some ways to overcome them.

Overcome Exercise Excuses

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Excuse #1: I Don’t Have Time

Seriously? How much television do you watch each week? While that sounds a little harsh, it is true that most of us spend at least a few hours a day week watching the tube. Try turning off the television for an hour a day. Take a walk, go to the gym, do a home based workout (I’ve posted many workouts that need little or no equipment). If nothing else, try doing some pushups, planks or squats during the commercials.

If it is work that is taking all your time, try working in short bouts of exercise during your work day. Go for a 10 minute walk during a break, spend some of your lunch hour moving: jumping rope, walking, squatting. Set your alarm a half hour earlier to give yourself some time at the beginning of the day. While I don’t adhere to the weekend warrior concept, you can still take an hour of your weekend to spend time dedicating yourself to working out.

Don’t feel that because you don’t have a whole hour to spare that “it’s not worth it.” Even 10 minutes of exercise is better than no exercise at all.

In addition to formal exercise, make the lifestyle changes that will add more movement to your life. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car at the end of the parking lot.

Remember, aerobic exercise can be done in small bouts to reach the recommended 150 minutes per week (which is only 20 minutes per day). Three 10 minute walks can be much easier to fit into your schedule.

Speaking of schedules, one way to fit in exercise is to treat it like any other appointment. Write it in on your calendar and work other appointments around it. Treat exercise like a priority appointment and you will be much more successful at finding the time.

Children and child care can also make a huge dent in your free time. Try taking the kids with you. They can play on the playground while you walk around it. You can walk the kids to school, walk or run around the soccer field while they’re practicing, do “active fun” with your family like fun runs. There are many ways to adapt a workout to an outdoor area. Parents can switch off workout time, so each partner has their own time to work out, while the other looks after the kids. Remember that when your kids see you make the time for exercise they will learn that health and fitness is a priority. Plus, kids need exercise too, and active play is a great way for young children to stay fit.

Excuse #2: I’m Too Tired

I get it. Your work all day, you chase your kids around, you come home and you just want to relax. You feel like you are too tired to get back up to work out.

First of all, one of the amazing things about exercise is that it gives you more energy. Once you get moving, you won’t feel tired anymore.

Resist the temptation of the post-work couch by exercising before you get home. Stop at the gym on the way home from work. Step out of your work place and go for a walk before getting in the car.

Another option is to get your workout done earlier in the day, either before work or on a lunch break.

Exercise excuses - Stop Quitting

Excuse #3: Exercise is Boring

It is hard to keep doing something that you don’t like or that bores you. So, choose something that you like to do. Then try to get better at doing at it (a goal).

Maybe you love to dance. Or is skating your thing? Even gardening has some benefits. If you like team sports you can join a sports league. Exercise doesn’t have to be hours spent on a treadmill or stationary bicycle. If you find something that you enjoy doing, you are more likely to stick with it.

Working out with a group is another way to reduce exercise boredom. You can join a group exercise class, find your local running club, or meet a couple of friends (working out with a friends is also an excellent way to improve exercise adherence – see below).

And if you are using that elliptical or stationary bike, it is okay to read a book or watch television while you’re doing it. Just do it safely.

Excuse #4: I’d Rather Sit and Read a Book

Yes it is true that many people would rather not move. They would prefer to read, knit, or watch television.  If this describes you, try finding a gentle type of workout, in comfortable conditions. Water exercise, either swimming or aqua aerobics, keeps you cool while you workout. Stay indoors in the air conditioning if you don’t like the heat. Try a gentle yoga class. Starting at home with a workout video is another way to get started in a friendly environment. Find a few friends and go for a walk. These are all relatively stress free ways to start a fitness program.

Excuse #5: I End Up Quitting, What’s the Point?

It is true that many people don’t stick with their exercise program. But this doesn’t have to be you. Many fitness seekers start out with a bang, running five miles, lifting heavy weights, and end quickly with a whimper, either injuring themselves or feeling too sore or exhausted to continue.

Set small goals for yourself and start out slowly. If you’re going to try running, start with a run/walk program like a couch to 5k or my Run a 5k program. If you want to strength train, again start slowly. If you aren’t familiar with proper form, work with a trainer for a few sessions.

Keep yourself accountable by keeping a log of your workouts. It will also help you track your improvements. Many people have started a blog or a Facebook page to chart their accomplishments, or you can just share your goals with friends and family. You will find them to be very encouraging and they will help keep yo accountable.

Training buddies are one of the best ways to stick with your program. Having to be accountable to another person will get you to the gym, even when you don’t feel like it, plus you will encourage each other to stick with it, cheer each other on, and be proud of each others accomplishments.

These are the top five excuses that I hear frequently at my gym. Hopefully, this will help you beat down those excuses and start or stick with an exercise program. Experts say that it takes about 66 days to make a habit, so if this advice will help you work out for about two months, you’ll have a better chance to stick with it forever. Good Luck!

What helps you stay with your exercise program?

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  1. says

    I just hate excuses. Lately it’s been, “I don’t feel good.” So that’s tough b/c I don’t know if they’re really sick or just feeling meh. I don’t know if you read Carla – MizFit’s post about “you’re not my priority” but that really resonated with me for clients too. Working out isn’t their priority.

  2. says

    LOVE! I have written a few of these posts along the way.. I think many just don’t want to say – I don’t want to do it. Heck, most of us start out that way – it is all about what you wrote & yes, finding what works for you, things you like to do, consistency, patience & knowing that if you want to be healthy, you are going to have to get off your ass & yes, eat better! 😉
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted…Who Loves Bread? I DO & I have a Giveaway! Sprouted Grains AND Gluten Free!My Profile

  3. says

    What a great post! People are always coming up with excuses to not exercises, it never ceases to amaze me. Unfortunately most people just don’t seem to be as internally motivated to sweat as some of us. I consider myself truly blessed to have that motivation. Having taught PE & Aerobics at a high school the last 8 years I’ve heard all these excuses and more. Now granted teenagers have an excuse for everything but they are starting habits for themselves and I always fight hard to get them to change their mindset. Don’t want to give up your television time? Do some intervals during commercials. I could give something to counter every excuse, I’m so glad your shared yours! :)
    Rosi recently posted…Working Out vs. Active LifestyleMy Profile

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