Getting in shape is a challenge. Let’s face it – for many it’s one of the hardest things to do. It takes commitment, sacrifice, planning, support, discipline … the list goes on. It’s unfair really, how easy it is to fall out of shape compared to how difficult it is to get in, and stay fit. It can be done, however. A big component of fitness success is the motivation to break through the excuses, climb over the obstacles and get to feeling good about yourself once again.
Step one, of course, is to identify the “why”? Why do you want to get in shape? More self-confidence? To be there for children and family further into the future? Because you miss being active? Be honest with yourself – and once you have identified your “why,” get ready to face the excuses that will inevitably arise.
Excuse 1: There’s just no time. Here’s one of the big ones right off the bat. You DON’T have the time or you don’t want to MAKE the time – which is it? You don’t have to put in multiple hours of exercise in a day; all it takes to get going is 30 minutes. Let’s say you work eight or nine hours a day which leaves you maybe four hours after work until you get ready for bed. Sure, that doesn’t seem like much after you make dinner, help the kids with homework, do the dishes etc., but how much time do you spend in front of the television every night? Is it one hour? Two? What’s more important: getting in shape or streaming an episode that you can watch at any time? Why not combine them? Watch that episode while working out. Aha! Now we are playing with power! Getting in shape requires some kind of sacrifice – why not make it a half hour of TV? Once you have made the time to exercise, put it in your planner and make it a habit.
Excuse 2: I’m just too tired. You found the time, now it’s time to find the motivation. After work and chores, it’s easy to push aside exercise because you feel as though you have nothing left in the tank; but contrary to what you feel, the science says otherwise. As you work out and your body begins to be more efficient, you will gain more energy. You will recover quicker and each day you will feel better and better. The first couple of weeks can be rough but be determined and you will feel more energetic every day into the future. Don’t believe me? Hey, give it a shot and see for yourself. Sure, you will have some rough days but overall, your confidence will soar and you will feel ready to be more active daily.
Excuse 3: Working out is so boring. You’ve found purpose, time and dedication but man, this whole thing is a snore fest. Exercise certainly isn’t a carnival but with a positive outlook, you can make it interesting. Combine it with entertainment by getting on a treadmill or exercise bike and watching an episode of your favorite show, or take it outside and find some trails to run or walk. Think outside of the box for exercise and join an adult basketball, soccer, hockey league or find a friend to share a workout with. Keep changing it up and avoid a rut. Get your mind engaged and come up with new ways to make it all interesting. If something is boring then find a funner way to do it. Don’t let this excuse get you as it has so many others. There is always an engaging alternative.
Excuse 4: Can’t afford it. Life is expensive. Workout equipment, gym memberships, personal trainers and more can be a drain on your pocketbook; however, in today’s world all you really need is a comfortable wardrobe and shoes. Today, gym memberships can be had for as little as $10 a month and free workouts can be found on YouTube and other online sources. (You’re already paying for internet access so why not use it for exercise?) Find a room with enough space to move or take the show on the road and head outside on nice days to bike, run, hike, etc. Take cost-free routes anytime you can. If you don’t have internet access at home, take advantage of free public programs and local exercise groups. There are ways to get it done on the cheap.
Excuse 5: Too out of shape or embarrassed. Well, all I can say is that if you are embarrassed to exercise then you absolutely know it has to be done! You are admitting that you are not happy with your body and the only way to change that is to exercise. Nobody is beyond movement (with exception of injury or medical condition, of course). Nobody said you had to start with a marathon. Make a goal to walk more, stand more, DO more. Take the first step and then keep walking. Again, the first days, weeks, months might be rough. Buckle down and stay with it. Join an online program if you can afford it or a local workout group and just keep showing up. Half of success is showing up so close your eyes, take a deep breath and take the first step. (If you do have a medical condition or injury, please check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program or routine.)
Okay, so you have encountered and parried the five previously mentioned excuses to not work out and you have begun the process of self-improvement. You have found the time, motivation, exercises and will power. You may have even begun a program! If so, good on you. Now comes the hard part: sticking with it. Here are a few tips for staying on track.
Tips to Keep it Going
- Set attainable goals. It’s not healthy (or all that possible) to lose five pounds a week. Set a goal of 1 or 2 pounds instead. Maybe set a goal to run nonstop for three minutes, then five, and so on. Start with a goal of two push-ups and keep raising the bar. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your fitter body.
- Let mistakes go. Don’t hold on to failures or let-downs. If you missed a scheduled workout or even a few, just get back on the horse. If you don’t hit your initial goals, simply keep going. You will get there.
- Plan it out. Get a planner or app and use it. Schedule workouts and chart your progress toward your goals. If you see tangible improvement, you will be more motivated to keep going.
- Find a workout buddy. Enlist a friend or join a group. Workout with others who will be supportive, fun, and keep you accountable. You could join a neighbor, dance studio, sports team, club. The more you interact, the more you win.
- Schedule recovery days. “No pain, no gain” isn’t a thing anymore. Listen to your body and plan days to take a break. Binge-watch that show you were sacrificing or simply swap a long walk for a heavy workout. Just make sure to get right back on track – no more than two recovery days in a week and never sequential. We don’t want recovery days to become a habit.
- Make it you. We don’t want recovery days to become a habit but we do want the opposite. Make exercise and being fit a part of who you are. Become the active, confident, amazing, (sexy?) person you dreamed of being. The only way to do that is to make exercise a way of life.
Cheers to fitness!