Millions of people make up excuses for not working out or failing to stick to their weight loss goals. What is interesting is that these excuses are always the same: “I’m too busy” or “I’m too tired” are common examples.
While you may feel more justified in skipping a workout or stopping a weight loss regimen when you make an excuse, excuses really do nothing but stop us from reaching our goals.
Sticking to your workout routine offers so many benefits and actually counteracts most excuses. If you’re tired, exercising brings you energy. If you’re stressed, exercise will relieve it.
Here are the top excuses for not working out and practical solutions for each of them. It’s time to stop making excuses and be true to yourself with an exercise routine that will improve your health, happiness and wellbeing.
Excuse 1: I’m Too Busy
This is perhaps the most common excuse of them all. You’re too busy; you don’t have enough time; your kids are always in the way.
And it’s true, most of us spend our days rushing from one thing to the next, and we simply don’t have time to fit in exercising. But this is the underlying problem: you can’t just ‘fit in’ exercise. You must make time for it. If you want to succeed, then you must arrange your schedule to accommodate your workouts.
It may not sound appealing to get up earlier in the morning or go straight from work to the gym. In fact, it never is in the beginning. Remember to think outside the box.
Maybe you can get to work earlier and spend 20 minutes walking around your work building. Or perhaps you can take three short breaks throughout the day where you can walk for 15 minutes at a time. Take the kids for a nature walk after dinner so that you spend time with them while meeting your fitness goals.
The bottom line is that you must make time for exercise. You must incorporate it into your routine so that it’s a regular part of your day, just like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. Also be sure to put an extra spin on some of the things you already do.
When you go grocery shopping, bring each bag in one at a time while walking briskly. Park in the last parking spot. Use stairs instead of elevators. Walk briskly to the train station. Play soccer with the kids at the park instead of reading on the bench. Do stretches while watching TV. The more you make exercise a priority, the more you’ll find creative ways to sneak it in.
Excuse 2: I Can’t Afford to Eat Healthy
When you go to the supermarket, it’s true that many healthy foods are expensive. For those on a budget, it’s difficult to pay triple the price just to get a product that’s labeled no high fructose corn syrup, gluten free or 100 percent certified organic.
But remember that some of the best, healthiest foods are the cheapest. The goal is to shop simple and smart instead of buying the trendy packaged foods.
For beginners, shop on the outside aisles. This is where you’ll find natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, lean meats and whole grains. The most inexpensive fruits and vegetables include potatoes, watermelon, beets, kale, broccoli, squash and spinach.
All of these items can be purchased in bulk quantities so that you can span them across meals. They are cost-effective and filling plus loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Beans are another cheap, healthy food, especially when you buy them in their dry form. You can make delicious, satiating soups and stews using beans and a few canned goods. Oats is another excellent option. Costing pennies, you can purchase a large container of dry oats for breakfast and baking. Eggs are also an affordable option for breakfast and other meals, and you can purchase an entire carton for under $2.
Whole grain pasta and rice are low-cost and sold in large packages or bags. Meat can be expensive, so aim for cheaper cuts of meat that are high in protein and low in fat. Cooking with the whole chicken is cost-effective and allows you to use the entire bird for several meals. Sardines, tuna and tofu are also economical and have lots of protein.
Your best bet is to shop simple. Packaged, processed foods are expensive, and they take just as much time to heat up as making a meal from scratch. While you may need to plan out your meals and put more thought into your shopping lists, when you do it right, you’ll actually save money by eating healthy.
Excuse 3: I Can’t Afford a Gym Membership or Workout Equipment
It’s amazing to think how many people associate working out with money, when in actuality, it costs absolutely nothing to work out. If you’re limited on money, the best thing to do is walk, jog or run. All you need is a good pair of shoes and loose, comfortable clothing.
There are also certain types of equipment that are inexpensive and can offer a better quality workout, such as jump ropes, resistance bands and hand weights. This equipment can be purchased from any store or online for less than $20.
If you want to have a gym membership however, don’t think that these are all that expensive. Look for special offers, and try to buy at slower times of the year, such as at the start of summer. Most gyms offer special perks to their members such as free childcare, which will give you the most bang for your buck. Or, find a friend that has a membership and get a few free passes to try out the facility before purchasing a membership.
Some people will only workout with a treadmill or elliptical at their home. There’s no doubt that this equipment is more expensive, but you can find affordable options as well. Shop online on sites like Craigslist where you may be able to score a like-new piece of equipment for a fraction of the price. Also keep in mind that you don’t need to spend a lot of money just to have a gym-worthy piece of equipment. Motorized treadmills are pricey, but manual ones are not.
Excuse 4: I Have No Support System
Experts agree that a strong support system is the key to sticking with your weight loss goals. If you don’t have a supportive environment, then get one.
Thanks to the Internet, you never have to look far to get the support you need. There are many online communities where you can connect with others trying to lose weight, share your progress and pick up the motivation you need to keep going. You can also establish your own blog where you can track your progress and gain support from followers.
There are also online programs and apps that can offer additional doses of support. Some people have a strong mindset but just need some direction in keeping with their goals. If you can track the days you workout and your weight loss progress on an app, you’ll be more likely to keep up with your efforts because you can see your progress visually. Great programs that provide support during your weight loss efforts include FitDay, Weight Loss Buddy, 3 Fat Chicks and StartYourDiet.com.
Also, consider bringing someone else into your weight loss program. Maybe one of your coworkers will enjoy working out with you, and the two of you can offer each other support. Even if your kids are small, they can help you meet your workout goals by encouraging you to run around at the park, take them for evening walks or go swimming at your community pool. Even if you feel that you have no support, look around. You may be surprised at where your motivation may come from.
Excuse 5: I Have an Injury or Medical Condition
Whether you become injured from working out or you have an underlying medical condition, it may seem logical to stop working out. But remember that exercise is ideal for everyone, despite your age, medical condition or mobility.
You should never feel that you have to stop working out because of any injury; although you will most likely need to rest that part of your body. In most cases, walking is always the best option.
Walking is very easy on the body and can be done at any age. Stretching activities like Barre, Yoga or Tai Chi are also excellent choices because they’re low-stress on the joints and muscles and still allow for toning, stretching and physical activity.
If you’re still not sure about what you can do, talk to your doctor. You may have limitations, but you can expect that your doctor will agree in having you move around to improve blood flow and circulation, boost the mood and speed up the healing process.
Excuse 6: I’m Too Stressed
When we get stressed, we often go straight to the TV or computer. We tend to think that immersing ourselves in these things or eating something sweet will get rid of our negative feelings. And they do, but only for that moment in time.
Exercise, on the other hand, has lasting benefits and is one of the most effective ways to combat stress. So when you say that you’re too stressed to work out, it really has no merit since working out reduces stress.
Enjoying your workout is the best way to associate exercise with relaxation.
If you hate what you’re doing, you’re going to dread doing it. Start with walking, something that most people enjoy. Use the time to take in the sights and smells from the environment around you, and choose locations that are quiet and secluded, such as a forest preserve near your house. Therefore, you can remove yourself from your surroundings and focus on relaxing the mind and body.
Knowing how to effectively ease stress is an important part of caring for your overall health, so it’s never a bad idea to start learning new ways to deal with anxiety. When you enjoy this time to yourself, you’ll want to take a comforting walk instead of sitting in front of the TV with an ice cream bucket.
Excuse 7: Exercise is Boring
So many of us complain about exercise being boring. If you have a stationary bike at home, you may indeed find it boring to stare at the wall during your workout. But exercise is far from boring; the goal is to switch it up to keep you having fun. You may enjoy dance workout videos that have fun music to move along to.
You may enjoy going for a nature walk with the family that allows time for connecting with nature. Or perhaps rollerblading through the park or bike riding to get frozen yogurt is more your style. There are so many ways to meet your exercise goals while having fun; there’s no reason why you should be bored with your current routine.
Also be sure to switch up your routine.
When you do the same thing every day, it will get boring. If you’re lucky enough to live in a state with seasons, use the weather as your guide. Swim, go bike riding and take walks in the spring and summer. Ice skate, snowboard and hike through a forest preserve in the fall and winter.
If you can afford a gym membership or a membership to a community center like the YMCA, take advantage of things like tennis courts, volleyball courts, indoor swimming pools and rock climbing year round. Join a spinning class with a friend or try out low-cost classes offered at your park district.
There’s no room for excuses in the game of life. If you want to succeed at your weight loss goals, excuses must be left behind for good.