Human beings are creatures of habit. We generally all fall into our daily routines. We wake up, shower, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch tv, go to bed, sleep, repeat. Most people get into routines that are so set in stone that they don't even remember what they did or ate the previous day, also known as "auto-pilot". Why not make exercise a part of this daily routine, similar to what I do. I exercise 6 days a week, and include my workouts in my daily routine so that I am now on such a routine schedule, that if I miss my workout, the rest of my day is "off".
The disadvantage to this, is that people make excuses to skip their workout(s). One missed day becomes two, then two becomes ten, and so on. As soon as you break that momentum, the train is derailed and it is much harder to get back on the tracks than it is to stay on the tracks I promise you that!
I remember when I make the decision and commitment to change my lifestyle a few years ago now, those first few days, weeks, and months were tough. I really struggled with maintaining momentum and keeping myself motivated, but now that I have included exercise as part of my daily routine, there is no turning back. Below is a list of common excuses people make, and a counter-argument that I hope you can use the next time you feel like giving yourself one of these lame excuses.
"I have no time."
Trust me, I understand. Today's society moves at a faster pace than ever before. Some people have kids, others work 3 jobs. Some people have 14-hour work days. The problem I have with these scenarios is when I hear people say, "I just don't have time to work out" followed by, "Hey, did you catch American Idol last night..." Let me make one thing clear. Just as going to work/school/etc. to pay the bills, get an education, etc. Exercise should be part of your full-time job. If you have time to sit down and watch tv, you definitely have time to exercise! If you are one of those people that really do have busy lives, don't watch any tv because of your long days. Fine, but you can still do your best to squeeze in 20 mins of exercise a day which is the daily recommended exercise that can improve your mind and body immensely!
"American Idol comes on as I leave."
Similar to the point above, some people use an excuse such as their favorite tv program to skip their workout. Everyone needs some down time every day for entertainment, etc. as that is what can help you smile, laugh, and relax after a long day. Again, I get it! However, just because your program runs from 7-8pm does not mean that you need to watch it at that time. The holidays are coming up, tell your friends/family that you wish to invest in a DVR (digital video recorder) so that you can record your shows and watch them later. A bonus to that, is after you are done your workout, you can watch your program even faster as you can then fast-forward through the commercials!
"I need my sleep."
I try to create my exercise schedule at least a month in advance. For the most part, I know what my work/personal schedule is like, so I can fit exercise in accordingly. 99 times out of 100, I am exercising first thing in the morning so that I can get my workout done and out of the way so that I can focus on the rest of the day. If you stay up late at night, flick the tv or computer off and go to bed an hour earlier so that you can get up earlier and do a workout then. I know, I know, those first few weeks waking up when it's still dark out can be tough, but stick with it, you may even grow to enjoy it, I have!
"Gyms are too expensive."
You have options. If a gym is too expensive, look into home workout videos. If workout videos are still too expensive, use the power of the internet to come up with your own workouts you can do at home for free. You will honestly be amazed at how many top-notch workouts you can do with little to no equipment. Again, the holidays are coming, so ask your family/friends to buy you some workout gear like resistance bands or dumbbells.
"I'm bored with my workout."
"Eating healthy and exercising doesn't fit my budget."
I hear this one quite often as well, and it just floors me every time. Similar to the previous point, people neglect their health based on monetary problems. Again, I understand that some people are worse-off than others, struggling to pay the bills, etc. You do have options to stay fit and active for very cheap. But please do not tell me that you just spent "x" number of dollars on your new flat-screen but can't afford healthier food options or exercise equipment. Get your priorities in check!
Shake things up! No, I don't mean go buy a shake weight. I mean shake up the order and design of your workout. Instead of doing bench press, try pushups. Have an all legs day? Change it up for a total-body workout, etc. There are limitless combinations of exercises and workouts that one can do to keep things fresh.
"I never see results."
Every person who begins to exercise and change their lifestyle should set goals for themselves, but make it realistic and worthy of your time. What I mean by this is that most people aim to exercise and eat healthy so that they can hit the beach in their new swimsuit to strut around and impress other people. I have a piece of harsh reality for you...most people do not care what you look like! Instead, you should exercise and change your diet so that you feel better and are healthier so that you can enjoy life. Sure, looking "better" (I use that term loosely) will more than likely come as you get healthier, but focus on other things such as body fat percentage, resting heart rate, healthy blood pressure, etc. If you aren't making any progress at all, refer to the previous point, as you probably need to shake things up. Why continue down a path that clearly is not working for your situation. Maybe you need someone to help you re-design a workout plan or study your diet plan for you. Either way, there are tools and resources available to help you.
"Four weeks and no change!"
I will be perfectly honest with you here. Most people don't see a lot of change in the first few weeks of exercising. This is due to many reasons including your body being in shock due to its new routine. Sure, you may feel better and may even lose a few pounds, but you may not look any different. Remember to stick with it as your body is still improving in ways that you may not be able to see. Your circulation should be improving, your bones are strengthening, your joints and ligaments are getting stronger, your muscles are becoming more efficient, etc. All of these first steps in an exercise program will lay the foundation to improving your body further as you continue down this road.
"I have no energy."
Eat! One of those most common issues that cause burn-out in people is that they are not eating enough. Sure, you may think that starving yourself while exercising is the way to go to lose those pounds quickly, but remember that your body needs fuel to burn off the "goo". The trick here is to eat nutrient-dense foods that get the most out of each calorie so that you can keep your calories low while maintaining high energy levels. Fruits and vegetables anyone?
"My body needs time to recover."
Yes, you need time to recover after every workout. What that means is that if you worked your chest on Monday, don't work your chest again until at least Wednesday or Thursday. That doesn't mean your legs are broken though! Alternate muscle groups throughout the week so that you can stay active while not over-working your muscles. If you are absolutely sore, do some really light cardio like an exercise bike with the lowest resistance. By getting your blood moving, you are already helping your body remove all of that broken-down and damaged tissue in you muscles that is causing the soreness.
"I hate working out alone."
Go to the gym at times of the day when they are most active. Generally early morning and prime-time are the best through the week as "regulars" go either before or after their work day. Fitness classes are also a great way to get more of a "team atmosphere" where everyone is working hard and struggling together. Just don't let others be a distraction causing you to take too long of breaks.