By: Corbin Williams, NPTI-CPT
Personal Trainer/Nutrition Coach
When it comes to the gym and working out, people have so many excuses. I want to take some of the ones I have heard and put them to rest. Then you can’t use them anymore. Excuses are just a way to hide from the obvious and from our selves. They are just a way to dismiss you from a situation or from being accountable for your own shortcomings. An excuse begins in your own mind and eventually becomes a hurdle that looks imposable to overcome. So to overcome these excuses you have to set your mind aside and look at yourself with honesty. Is this REALLY how you want to be? Are you REALLY satisfied with yourself? Is there something you can do about it? Are you willing to do it? Mainly an excuse is just a nice way of saying “I am JUST too lazy to care about myself.”
Let’s look at some excuses:
1) “I am too old.” I want to share a video with you for this. How? Look up this link in your search engine on the internet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IedLQgNUTyk so to explain this if you can’t watch it, it is a video of Coach Ivan Abadjiev, one of the most famous Olympic Weight lifting coach in history, showing he can still snatch at 80 years of age. Start while you are young and never quit. But you are NEVER too old to enjoy a life style that involves movement and activity. Try something easy to start, just get out and go for a walk. Even if it’s just to the end of the driveway and back. Then go a little farther. Before you know it you will be walking a mile. Age is only a number. Don’t let the number limit you. Own it and show others that just because you are “old” doesn’t mean you have to give up.
2) “I’m in too much pain.” Ok, so this on can be used SOMETIMES. Like, if you are seriously injured. But even that has not stopped some people. Look at Bethany Hamilton a pro surfer who lost her arm to a shark attack October of 2003. Yet in less than a year she learned to surf with one arm and began to climb the score board and took 1st place at the NSSA National Competition in 2005. Not even a year and a half later. Now she had the right to use this excuse but she DIDN’T!! She found a way to overcome it and get back on her board. Pain with your training is another fear. But you shouldn’t be having pain while working out. Muscle soreness is not pain. If you have pain in your knee it can mean you have something wrong but could also just be a muscle imbalance. Hip pain and back pain can also be caused by under used muscles. Now I am NOT saying to train thru the pain. As the saying goes “ No pain No gain” I say No WAY!!! Pain and discomfort are two different things. This, too much pain idea, is what most people say who can’t deal with the soreness of their muscles when beginning a workout program. But this can also be helped through the use of a foam roller and muscle massage as well as stretching both before and after your workouts. Water intake will also help by flushing out the toxins you build up during your workout. Don’t let a little soreness keep you from success. It is just letting you know you are doing it right.
3) “I don’t have time.” Well let’s do some math. There are 24 hours in a day and you can’t find just 1 to devote to your health? Try this exercise: Add up all the hours (not at work) that you spend on the computer or in front of the TV. I will BET it is more than an hour a day. Now add in the time you spend sleeping in on the weekend. We are likely over 8 hours for the week now. Think about it that is 8 hours of lost time of doing nothing useful to your health. Always think of your workout like you would a meal. If you “didn’t have time” for a meal every day what would happen? Eventually you would slow down and become weak and sick. Until you can make time for yourself, you will always be trapped with not enough time. Reclaim your life and YOUR time. Your work will still be there when you are gone. YOU are more important than 12 hours a day in a cubical. Take one hour and get active.
4) “I CAN’T!” This is a four letter word to a trainer. If you say this, guess what you will be doing. In my boot camps when I hear “I can’t.“ I make them do the exercise till they literally physically can’t do it anymore and push them to keep going. Then I’ll modify the exercise so they can do it even longer. This may seem a little extreme to some but it gets the point across that the idea that you “can’t”, is all in your mind and when the situation REQUIRES you to keep going, somehow you CAN find a way to get it done. Most times our mind will give up well before our body and muscles will. Always start with a positive in your mind first. Have the vision of yourself performing flawlessly. Then set your mind in action to your body and do what you saw. Again we see that even 13 year old Bethany didn’t say “I can’t”. Remember success only comes in CANS!!!!
5) “I’m too out of shape.” So here we see someone who doubts them self. Again something in the mind that is telling them they won’t be able to do it. But do they WANT to? If you really want something you will do whatever it takes to go get it. Do you WANT to be in shape? Then you have to start somewhere. There are many people who start a workout program that are so out of shape that it seems like they would die at any minute. But with dedication and hard work thy overcome the obstacles. Now I’m
6) “I’m not athletic.” Being athletic is not an issue. Anyone can walk or even do simple exercises. A trainer can help teach you the correct form so you don’t hurt yourself. As you progress thru your program you will begin to see changes taking place and start to feel stronger. Everyone who trains with me I consider an athlete, just with different skill levels. You CAN do it.
7) “I’m too fat.” I give these people all the respect in the world. They ACTUALLY have the will power to admit this. But now that they know this it’s time to not use it as an excuse but time to use it as motivation to do something about it. How long do you want to stay like this? Most people that have a lot of fat on them are actually stronger than some without the fat. Think about it. If you had to carry around 100 extra pounds every day how do you think you’d do. When someone who has a lot of fat to lose finally starts to see results and starts to shed inches and pounds they become stronger faster. This is because they have done years of those body weight squats or steps ups and now it’s easier. So you are never too fat. Just really ready to make a change and see what you really can become.
8) “I don’t like the gym” See my last article for this one. FOR GET THE GYM!! APRIL 2012 in the archives.
9) “I don’t want to look like a body builder” When working with a good trainer this will never happen if you don’t want it to. There is only one way to build your body to this level. There are certain guidelines to follow as far as weight to reps to rest that will cause this to happen. The Technical term is called Hypertrophy, but we’ll call it muscle growth. If you want this the natural way, it can take years to obtain. But there are ways to make your muscles “bulk up” thru the use of supplements and other not so good ways. So to worry about this is not a valid excuse. What you will get is much stronger and evenly toned. But most of all you will get a fantastic workout that will help burn many calories.
10) “I don’t like sit ups and crunches” Ahh Good!! Me either!! As a matter of fact, if you trained with me you might not ever do them. These to exercises are over rated and are obsolete. About the ONLY time you ever truly sit up as a joint action is when you sit up out of bed in the morning. So why do people focus so much on sit ups and crunches? They think that doing a 1000 sit ups is going to give them strong abs? If so, I’m sorry but they are wrong. The sit up only works the abs in the first half of the move. Most of it is a hip flexor exercise. These muscles are usually shot and tight in most people already. Why would you want to make them shorter and tighter?? As for a crunch, can you say back problem waiting to happen? There are so many other more effective exercises to target the abs than these two that I hardly EVER use them.
11) “I don’t need to work out” And I don’t need oxygen to live. Exercise is what our body is designed to do. Movement. Your body is a fine tuned machine. If you neglect it and don’t keep it in tune it will fail. Exercise helps keep your metabolism working good and increases blood flow and oxygen intake and muscle strength and joint stabilization. Now tell me you couldn’t use some of that.
12) “I’m too weak” Too weak?? Start getting stronger today then. Let a trainer work with you and prove you are only kidding yourself. By finding something you can succeed in then it will help you to understand you are not too weak physically but more in your mind unable to see past those big weights. Start small and light. You will get there. Trust me if my 6 year old can do it so can you.
13) “I would die” YES YOU WILL if you don’t start to make a change in your lifestyle NOW! Most people who just sit around all day and never exercise shave YEARS not days but YEARS off their life. Start a program and get those years back. Don’t sit there and just chalk them up as years gone.
14) “It’s too hard” Again, a mind set. Is working out hard? Is losing weight hard? Yes BUT isn’t getting out of that chair hard too and isn’t climbing those stairs getting harder all the time. Make a change and you will see that even though it may seem hard while doing the workout, you will have more energy and begin to feel stronger, move better and feel amazing. Your everyday movements will begin to feel easier. Now THAT’s worth working hard for.
Here are ways to succeed no matter what your excuse. And these are things I make my clients live by. If you follow these steps you will have results!!
#1 Discipline: Without discipline you have nothing. This is the hardest thing to develop. It is the life style change that is crucial to your overall success. Our daily choices make who we are. When you are craving that snack you know you should not eat, wait 5 minutes and make a healthier choice. Instead of going home and propping your feet up at the computer or on the couch for hours, go to the park for a jog or walk or go for a bike ride, but just get out and get active. Remember it is all about mind control. YOU are in control of your actions; now help your body by choosing the right ones to direct you towards your goal and not away from it. Discipline, discipline, discipline, I can’t stress this enough.
#2 Consistency: Set up your workout schedule like you would a work meeting. Be on time and show up every time. This will increase your chances of reaching your goal.
#3 Motivation: You need to focus on what your goal is. Why do you want to succeed? Use that to drive you. It’s not what you do but how you do it. Go into your session ready to give your best effort and then a little more. Get into your mind and “see” yourself completing the task at hand.
#4 “Off Days”: Working out with a trainer may leave you with days you are on your own. When people work with me they generally are with me at least 2 days a week or more. This leaves you 4 days for you to stay motivated and active on your own. Remember the first Key to success? DISCIPLINE!! That’s where this comes into play. Get up, Get out, Get active. Don’t quit until you have given your best effort for each day. It’ll only get you that much closer to your goal and THAT is where you want to be headed.
#5 Nutrition: Nutrition accounts for about 50% of your training program. You can’t out train a bad diet. “You are what you eat” is a saying that is so true. If you eat a lot of bad food you will feel and look bad. Your body is a machine and needs the proper fuel to operate. Give it the right quality and quantity and you will begin to feel amazing. Water is part of healthy living as well. You should get ½ your body weight in ounces a day. Water is needed for life. Everything in moderation is ok, but be careful what you choose. There are always better choices.
#6 Sleep: Here is something to think about. Why is sleep so important? Without it, your body won’t rebuild and heal your muscles and bone strength. During your workout, the goal is to break down your muscles. That is what the “burn” feeling is. After the workout, have a small bite to eat, something such as an apple, orange or slice of watermelon. Then get plenty of sleep (7+ solid hours). Remember, discipline and consistency. No excuses!! Go to bed earlier.
Excuses don’t have to hold you back from feeling good. They don’t have to keep you from moving better or losing weight. You must be accountable for yourself!! If life deals you a hurdle . . well . . Jump it . . go under it . . just run over it . . but DON’T stop, turn around, and give up. For more excuses, look at my website www.getrealtraining.net. I have a much longer list of excuses. I find them entertaining as almost all of them can be turned back to that beginning idea of, It’s not that you “_______”, you’re just too lazy. Until we can all admit this, we will always find some excuse that will keep us from taking the next step toward a healthier lifestyle!!!! Make NO EXCUSES!!!
Corbin Williams, NPTI-CPT
Graduated from the National Personal Training Institute (NPTI)
Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach
Certified Nutrition Coach
Owner of GetReal Training, LLC in Sellerville, PA