Have you ever started an exercise routine and then stopped? Have you ever felt like your life is too hectic to exercise? Does the thought of exercise make you cringe? If you've answered "yes" to these questions, then you are not alone. Millions of people worldwide come up with pretty much the same excuses for not exercising.
When you think about it, making an excuse is easy, but making a commitment is hard. Therefore, the easiest way out is to think of a reason not to do something that requires work.
1."I am far too busy". That excuse comes up way too often. Everyone is busy. People have their kids, husbands, wives, friends, family, meetings, and the list of things that occupy their time could go on forever. It could seem like there is no time for anything else, and sometimes all one wants to do is go to bed and be left alone. The good news is...exercise can be integrated into a busy life because ultimately we all have time for what we want to do. This leads me to the next excuse...
2. "I don't want to exercise". Exercise can be a lot of hard work, and some people don't like to imagine themselves doing it, let alone actually hitting a gym. The truth is, there are many things that people don't like to do, but do them anyways. You can't look at exercise as "something you don't want to do" and expect to be able to carry on a daily workout routine. Instead, it is necessary to re-frame your thinking, which eventually results in an altered perception in your mind about exercise. For example, this book Are You Ready!: Take Charge, Lose Weight, Get in Shape, and Change Your Life Forever by Bob Harper discusses the emotional barriers that are keeping people from working out and eating right, as well as how to overcome them to become healthier and happier.
3. "I am constantly low on energy. The last thing I need is a half hour+ of hardcore movement". Yes, people who never get their adrenalin going always feel tired and low on energy. However, exercise gets easier and less tiring the more you do it...you just have to get yourself over that first steep "hill of difficulty", as I like to put it. Once you increase your activity level, everything else you do becomes a lot easier, and you will be able to get through your day without getting wiped.
4. "I don't know how to work out or how to make-up a routine that fits my needs. What's with all them sets, reps..etc? How many? Why?" If that's the case, there are several books, fitness magazines, DVDs, and other information resources available that can explain what sets and reps are, as well as how many one should do based on their level of fitness. For example, 101 Workouts for Women: Everything You Need to Get a Lean, Strong and Fit Physique is just one book that provides readers with information on how to work out.
5. "I get my exercise at work". Some people have jobs that require them to move. However, if they are not active in their lives outside of work, then they often end up overestimating the amount of exercise (and calories burned) that they receive at work. It is always best to put in 30 minutes of exercise that increases your heartbeat.
6. "The gym is too expensive, and personal trainers are expensive as well." Yes, that's right. Some gyms do charge a ridiculous amount of fees, tell you that you need all the bells and whistles, admin fees, etc... Yes, that's a ripoff. You don't always need a gym or a personal trainer, but if you do decide to go that route, then try your local college/university gym. At one point, I was a member of the university gym and I only paid $80 for an 8-month membership. That works out to $10/month. I think that if you can afford to have the Internet to search for excuses not to work out, then you can afford $10-15/month to go to the gym. Also, the university sometimes has student personal trainers/strength trainers working at the gym who would be more than happy to give you a hand.
7. "I'm too fat and people in the gym will judge me." I know it might seem like people are judgemental, but do you really think that they have the time to think about you? They have have their own issues to deal with. However, if you are THAT worried about people judging you, then why don't you do push-ups and sit-ups at home, as well as check out sites like Craigslist for free cardio machines that people are giving away. You CAN work out in the privacy and safety of your home and still get the results that you are looking for if you so choose.
8."I'm not seeing any results. What's the point?" So, you've been working out regularly for 3 weeks and you still don't see any changes in your body shape. Understand that it takes months or even years to get out of shape and/or gain weight, and that is about the length of time that you will need to lose weight/get in shape. Don't expect to work off 2 years of sitting in front of the computer for 8 hours a day and eating junk food at night to go away in just 3 weeks of working out. You need a consistent routine, as well as a clean eating regimen.
9. "Exercise is painful. I always get sore knees, my back hurts, my neck is killing me...etc." It is best to start out with less intense workouts, and find out how to do the exercises properly to avoid injuries. Follow the proper movement techniques, stretching regimens, and seek help from more advanced exercisers (if that's an option for you).
10. "I have no one to work out with." Do you need to have someone to workout with? I often find that working out alone benefits me better because I am focused on what I am doing, as opposed to socializing. But, if you must have an exercise buddy to work out with, see if you can find people in your circle of friends/family/coworkers/etc that enjoy the same physical activity as you do, and ask them if they would like to join you.
11. "I hate the gym." If for whatever reason, you don't like working out at the gym, then don't. Work out at home, go for walks, join community/charity walks/runs, do physical activity with friends, jog, walk your/your friend's dog. There are so many alternatives to the gym, that it sometimes makes me wonder how gyms stay in business.
12. "Exercise is so boring." Who says it has to be? Again, you have to change your mind about exercise and see it in a positive way. There are no instructions that you can read that can just make your transition from hating exercise to loving it in 3 easy steps. Find an activity that you like to do, and eventually you will like physical activity.
13. "I'm just not motivated to work out." No one is born motivated. Motivation comes from the inside, and you have to find ways to motivate yourself to work out. I remember reading about a lady that was overweight and had her wedding coming up in 2 months. She wanted to look beautiful and slender at her wedding, so she bought a dress that was 2 sizes too small and made the goal of fitting into it by the time her wedding rolled around. She did it. No reason why you can't think of an event or person that motivates you to exercise.
14. "I'm healthy enough. I don't need to exercise." Yes, when you are already slim, young and healthy, you might think of exercise as something that is not necessary. However, when you get a bit older and your metabolism slows down by a rate of 5% every 10 years, you will change your mind (hopefully). Additionally, exercising speeds up your metabolism, so you will be able to enjoy more of that delicious chocolate cake without having to pay the price of gaining weight later in life.
15. "I don't want to get huge muscles and start looking like a man." This excuse is common to women who are afraid of "bulking up". However, they have nothing to worry about because in order to bulk up, as a woman, you need to lift very heavy weights, as well as take supplements that support bigger muscle growth. Lifting 5, 10 or even 20lb weights will not bulk you up, but it will make you stronger.
Now is a good time to put away the excuses and get into a workout routine!
I wish you all the best in your endeavors and I hope that you set a goal that you can achieve. Once you get into the habit of setting realistic goals and achieving them, you will enjoy the challenges that come your way.