When you’ve been in the business of helping people lose weight, conquer pain, and get strong as long as I have, you’re bound to hear your share of excuses.
Before I share my top 10 excuses list, I need to clarify something about the term “excuse”. Many deride the word excuse, implying the “complainer” possesses negative traits such as laziness, lack of discipline, or willpower.
There are far too many knuckle dragging bone heads in this industry who think that way, believing that yelling and shaming people is the missing link to their success.
This is Jillian being an ass, which got her famous.
Not me. Here’s why:
1. Research proves it doesn’t work: shaming people actually backfires. And yelling at a grown woman or man who simply wants to feel better makes you look like an ass (as in jack ass, not a well-developed gluteal for you fitness nerds).
2. There’s no evidence that there are inherent traits for discipline or will power. Evidence suggests instead will is a skill that can be learned.
3. Some of the most motivated, self aware, and focused people I know struggle with their weight or to get in shape.
Rather, I have evidence and experience to show that excuses are gateways to better understand perceptions of limitations to achieving success. And if those perceptions are altered, with dignity, to empower action, results follow.
Accordingly, I have ranked the most common excuses to getting in shape that I have heard from asking thousands of clinicians and lay people through my nationwide speaking tours and local events, as well as from those my colleagues and I have treated over the past 2 decades. Most importantly, I will give my succinct solutions to each.
Our Solutions to the Top 10 Fitness Excuses
10. Don’t want to get bulky
Fear of the “humungous virus” still runs rampant: the notion that touching weight will instantly make you big and bulky. Here’s the truth: to build muscle, you need more calories that what you are getting in, sufficient testosterone, and resistance that is heavy enough to recruit maximal fibers but light enough volume, then do that consistently for a long time.
Lifting weights, even heavy weights will not make you gain muscle, unless you really go out of your way by hitting all of the factors above. It will make you stronger, healthier, and help you burn fat though.
9. Too old
The evidence is clear: there is no age limit for improving health through exercise. Strength training has the biggest effect. I present these studies throughout the country on my monthly seminar tours. The evidence keeps piling up faster than I can change my presentation. If you are frail 90 year old, you can benefit from exercise.
8. Not enough money
Some will say gyms memberships, shopping for health food, and training services are too expensive. I’m sure there are extreme circumstances where that is true. However, when you account for the costs associated with unhealthy habits and wasting your time with solutions that aren’t working, investing in fitness can actually save you money.
7. Active in my job
Highly active jobs certainly impact your workout plan. But random activity rarely causes the physiologic effects necessary to improve bone density, elevate heart rate, improve strength, or raise metabolism. Performing repetitive tasks at work become less challenging overtime, and often breed movement and muscle imbalances. Exercise can address these issues.
6. Too tired
Being too tired to exercise is like being too poor to go to work. You get more energy through exercise. Being too tired usually means your recovery is off (poor sleep and nutrition) or your work is too challenging for your abilities. The only real solution is to improve your abilities to perform more work, and recover better.
5. It’s boring
Fitness pros need to stop pushing the “exercise is fun” myth… it’s insulting our intelligence. Let’s face it – hard work isn’t always really fun. I’m all about making exercise MORE fun, but not at the expense of getting results for my client, or risking injury. Classes and boot camps churn out disillusioned folks with achy joints and marginal results all focusing on the idea of “fun” exercise.
Our approach to making focused training more fun is not by promoting gimmicks or jumping on the fads, but by forging relationships with our clients and empowerment by seeing and feeling life changing results.
4. No motivation
Most people aren’t motivated because they haven’t seen or felt a result. Motivation doesn’t come before results; rather it is a byproduct of results. So if you struggle with motivation, you need to commit to a program guaranteed to deliver a result that you can see and feel quickly. Success begets more motivation.
That’s the key to long term, sustained results. This slow and steady thing isn’t appropriate for many people, and the research shows it. At least 5 studies have shown that those who lose weight quickest have better long term results 2-5 years later compared to those who lose weight slowly.
3. Paralysis by analysis
It’s hard to move forward when there are so many options, many which seem to contradict another. It is a normal human reaction to get stuck when overwhelmed with too many choices. Yoga, Pilates, weight training, stretching, cross fit, Insanity, super slow, machine circuits, Zumba, boot camps … and let’s not even get into the diets!
Your path becomes clear when you goals are determined, your situation is assessed, and a feasible plan designed for you is laid out. This breeds focus, confidence, adherence, and results.
2. Fear of getting hurt
There’s nothing more frustrating than getting hurt while trying to get healthy. Every activity caries risk, but most people are needlessly taking risks that they are completely unaware of. This happens because of poor programming, poor execution, and improper modification.
This is at the root of my criticism behind recent exercise fads and trends, like Pilates, Cross Fit, and Yoga: it’s more about the philosophy not appropriately matching someone’s goals and needs/risks than the exercise approach being inherently bad. Rather than fitting people into programs, we need to fit programs to people. Again, assessment, prescribed exercise, instruction, reassessment, and modification are critical.
1. Not enough time
This is always the biggest reason cited. But it isn’t the real problem. The problem is rather with the distorted perception of how much time is really needed to get the desired result. Science tells us that results are more related to the quality of the right exercise, not the duration.
If people focused on doing the right things with more intensity, they world see major results in a fraction of the time as most approaches suggested. I have years of evidence thanks to happy clients and volumes of research to prove this.