Last week I gave you a great buzz word in fitness, ‘Specificity’, and here’s another one!
Excusercise-The (ir) rational, yet real, psychological, sociological, physiological, environmental, or spiritual barriers/reasons/excuses individuals employ to avoid participation in unstructured physical activity or structured exercise.
The reasons people do not exercise are many and varied, but they are all just excuses!
Here are the top exercise excuses and my comebacks!
1. Not enough time- this one is a real joke.
Let’s work it out, 168 hours in week, 56 hours sleep, 40 hours paid work (or maybe more, I will give 50), I will give you half an hour per meal, so that’s 10.5 hours a week, theres still 51 hours left over. If you exercise for 7 hours that still leaves 44.5 hours for other stuff…like sitting around on your bum etc…come on, you can find those 7 hours, you know you can.
Tips- Write those 7 hours in your diary over the week. If its written in there like an appointment, you will do it. Cross each off as you have done it, if it doesn’t get crossed off it doesn’t go away, you need to catch up, add another 15 minutes on to 4 days a week, there caught up or do it that afternoon or evening.
Multi task- try to combine your exercise with something else you have to do. Can you walk, ride or run to work? You have to get there anyway, why sit on your bum? use up an hour of your exercise; Do you have to run kids around after school to sport or lessons etc? Don’t just sit in the car, or wait, or go to the supermarket, wear your sports gear and while they are having their lesson, go for run or walk, or if its swimming lessons, you jump in and swim as well.
2. I Hate exercise- Oh that’s a pity, because everyone else loves it! We jump out of bed each morning as bright as buttons and can’t wait to get hot, out of breath and sweaty and nearly kill ourselves…can you sense any sarcasm here?? I have run for 25 years, do I love it? No, not all the time, some days I hate it, some days it’s OK, but no I don’t love it ...I do it because it suits me, I can do it, it fits in with my lifestyle and I feel it keeps me really fit…ask any of my running buddies, and they will tell you I am the biggest whinger of the lot when I’m running with them.
I am not happy with the fitness market hype and enthusiastic PTs telling us how much fun it is and we should be enjoying ourselves. That sort of attitude sets people up for failure. Oh so I’m not enjoying it, I mustn’t be doing it right, I’m not good at it. Like many things in life some days we like it, some days not, and other times we just do it because we have to…that is what exercise is, it should just be a part of our weekly routine.
Tips- You do not have to love it, don’t give up just because you think you are not enjoying it. It is hard and supposed to be tough, but tell yourself the harder you work the more health benefits you will get. No, you won’t love it, but you will feel a sense of achievement and start to see improvements in your body and health, those are the things you will like and appreciate, not the actual exercise.
There are so many exercise styles and sports out there to try, I am sure there is one that you that you feel is OK, that you can do and that suits you…don’t be waiting for a light bulbs or Oprah’s ‘Uh Ah’ moment, just think, ‘Ok I can manage this, it suits me and I think I can get better at it’, that is all you need to know.
With running I suggest you give it three months. You commit to getting out 3 or 4 times a week, you have a goal to run 5 km by the end of the 3 months, and you stick at until then. If at the end of the 3 months, you gave it your commitment and you didn’t reach your goal, then you can say ‘OK I gave it a good shake it’s not for me, I am going to try something else’. Don’t just take on something for a week; the first week is the worst! You need to see improvements and to feel you are achieving something before you throw the towel in.
I love the feeling when I have finished my run, and I also love the reward coffee afterwards…it doesn’t have to be the actual exercise that you enjoy, its often the rewards and how you feel afterwards.
3. I can’t get out of bed- this is nearly as big a joke as number 1 excuse
How do you get out of bed if you have to get to the airport, go to work, get to an appointment? You set an alarm, and when it goes off you get up and go about your business. So why can’t you do the same thing with exercise. Just get up. One of my runners in Brisbane who finally turned up 5 weeks into the program and told me that excuse, when asked where she had been ‘Oh Marie I can’t get up, how do you get up” to which I replied, ‘Oh I can’t get up either, so I hire a crane to come in each morning and get me out of bed’ (OK Ok more sarcasm) what I really said is “I just get up” You need to stop making it all sound so bad and hard. In Carrie’s case, Lazy Runner is on twice a week in Brisbane, that’s 2 mornings to get up at approx. 5.30am, and that leaves 5 mornings to not get up at 5.30am…come on, make a deal with yourself…you are not asking for it every day just a few days.
Tips-I do strongly suggest if you are not an enthusiastic exerciser that you try to get it done in the morning, as you will find a lot more excuses as the day drags on, not to exercise. The only thing going on usually between 5-7am in your life is probably sleep, so take an hour of it in the morning and convert it to exercise. Carrie tells me she needs 8 hours sleep a night, that is fine and normal, I am not telling her to go without sleep. She needs to tack the extra time on the night before…she revealed to me that she doesn’t often go to bed until midnight, that is also fine, but not on those two nights she is getting up for Lazy Runner, she should go to bed at 10pm…It is all about doing deals with yourself and setting schedules, it will not happen without planning and preparation.
4. I look silly and feel stupid- Here is something to think about. When you are running or in a gym class or any other exercise group, do you think all the other people out on the street and in the gym are looking at you and laughing? I hate to burst your bubble, but I don’t even think they know you are in the room or have even noticed you on the street. I know that’s true. When I am running I couldn’t even tell you who or what I saw or how I felt about them, I am so busy trying to keep myself going or as most of my runners know, talking non-stop, that I have no idea who is looking stupid or silly out there…and even if I did have a good look, I have never thought ‘OMG look at that person running’, in fact I am the opposite, I think ‘yahhh well done, great effort’, not ‘get off the street you look silly’…and I know I am speaking for all runners. I have been doing it long enough and have been around runners long enough to know we are all happy just to see other runners out there getting fit. It’s the same in gyms with all of those scary mirrors, have a look in the mirror and check out what the others are looking at, they are either watching the gym instructor, looking at themselves or looking at the gorgeous girls or hunky trainers…so sorry they are not ogling you!
Tips- wear clothing that you feel comfortable and not over exposed in. You don’t have to wear crop tops and bike pants to exercise, cover up in cool, light clothing that doesn’t cling to all the curves and you don’t feel you are hanging out of. Do what I do, wear a hat, you are always invisible when you have a hat on! Start off in beginners classes where you know that the others are just getting into the sport or activity as well and they probably feel just as silly and stupid as you. Realise that those silly feelings are all in your head and that no one is interested or looking at you…sad but true…
I have a funny story about people looking at me when I am running…I am usually oblivious to all things when running, I’m either deep inside my ahead, or pushing myself or enjoying the view. I am also the pin up girl for the RUN UGLY campaign as I am usually sweating, snorting and blowing like a water buffalo, so most people tend to look away rather than look at me! A few months ago, my daughter wanted to get back into running and asked me to go for a run with her. She is 16 and we decided to run along the beautiful river in Noosaville which can be very busy in the evening with all forms of exercisers. After about 5 minutes of running, I felt a few people looking at me when I ran past, I thought maybe I knew them, but I realised I didn’t; a bit further on more looks in my direction, I then started to stress, did I have bits and pieces hanging out, was there a wardrobe malfunction with my sports bra, looked down and checked, no all wiggly bits well covered and strapped in. This continued, looks, glances even smiles. I had been chatting to Rosemary all the way, encouraging her and getting her to slow down and concentrate on good running technique, about 3 quarters of the way through the run, people were still looking my way and my paranoia was growing. I turned to Rose to ask if I had anything on my face as people were staring at me…and then the penny dropped, I was running beside the new updated version of Bo Derek in the movie 10! Rosemary is a beautiful girl she had on short shorts and a skimpy top and she is bounding and bouncing along effortlessly...so moral of the story is, I prove my point above...no one is looking at you, believe me, there are far more nicer things to look at when you are running so don’t worry about looking silly!
5. Exercise is Boring- This is similar to the false reasoning in excuse 2, the highly excitable PTs and gyms will tell you how wonderful and exciting their fitness programs are…yes, nothing more exciting as lifting a weight while the trainer counts slowly upwards and then oh yes the highs of them then counting downwards slowly…Ok it can be dull and boring sometimes…so??? What are you looking for, total stimulation, thrills and spills every second?
The reason I started running was that I had four small children, and I also worked and often I would roll out of bed in the dark to go for a run, so I could have a few minutes peace and be by myself…I was craving dull and boring!
Tips-what is wrong with being bored? Once again you need to work it your way, if you are out running or walking, take the chance to have some good quality think time, or if you love music use the opportunity to lose yourself in your iPhone and listen to the music you want to listen to .Don’t think boring, think ahhh peace!
However, if that doesn’t work, stop it from being boring! Find a running buddy, chat, gossip, bitch whatever; you will be amazed how quickly the time flies.
Play a sport for exercise, this is never boring. I played tennis in a small mother’s group competition for years, it was great fun, sure we worked hard when we were on the court, but we also had lots of laughs and we tried a lot harder because we were part of a team, and oh yes once again the coffee at the end was the best bit. Team sports require working together and focusing on a goal and don’t tell me you could ever get bored doing that, you don’t get time to think of anything else but exactly what you are doing in the moment.
I think we should always mix up our fitness to stop the boredom or monotony, but that doesn’t mean we drop that stuff altogether…things like running, walking, rowing, swimming laps or cycling for miles, could be classed as boring, but they can also be the things that bring you peace, satisfaction and allow you to work at your own pace. Then there are activities like surfing and skiing that require lots more concentration, so you find you haven’t time to think about anything else except staying up right and moving forward; then there are sports where you are in teams and you are not just working for yourself but with others so you have to keep up, work harder and win…so as to be a part of that team…all of these types of activities should be covered across your week, just the change in activity, pace and workout is enough to get rid of any talk of boredom
6. It’s too expensive- yes it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. A gym membership can cost up to and over $1000 a year (Lazy Runner is only $450!), but remember if you go 3 or 4 times a week, that is not so expensive. Most gyms and fitness clinics have part payment plans as well. However, I am not going to let you use the money excuse as there are so many things you can do for zilch. Run- $0, Walk $0, Swim $0 (if you have your own pool or go to the beach or river), Cycle $0…Ok now I hear you yelling at me, you still need equipment…yes, but not brand new top of the range racing equipment. Yes you do need a good pair of running shoes that’s vital, so about $100-$150, but that’s it, an old t shirt and shorts is suffice for the rest. No you don’t need a racing bike, or if you do want to go that way, there are plenty of second hand ones out there to get you started, but cheaper still, I bet someone you know has a good bike in their shed and they would love you to borrow it for a while, and as for swimming, well just lash out on a pair of goggles!
Now you are going to use excuse Number 5 on me, all that is solo sports and boring. Ok you want to do some group stuff…call your council, many council fitness programs are great and are free or cost next to nothing. They often have walking groups, running groups, tai chi and yoga or outdoor exercise classes.
7. I have small children and cant get away- I’m hearing you, and as I said above, the only reason I started running was I could get it over and done with early so I could be home before they woke up. If you need to do this then accept that this is what you may have to do for fitness for a couple of years. Set your alarm and get up and get going before they know you are gone.
Tips- there are lots of ways to stay fit with your kids. I remember riding around town for hours with toddler in the seat on the back of my bike, he loved it and I was getting my exercise, win win. Then along comes number two...that is harder, so I went to the double pram and I would walk around town for hours! And don’t worry about my fitness, it was hard work, both strength and cardio fitness. However, it’s also quite normal to want to exercise without screaming kids in tow, most gyms and swimming pools have crèches, use them, you get a workout and the kids have fun. And here is the best one, ask someone for help!! Come on, you only need an hour and I am sure there are lots of people you know who wouldn’t have a problem at all taking the kids for that time. Get a few friends together in a babysitting circle, where one has the kids once a week and then on the other days someone else has them while the others go off and exercise…I bet lots of your friends with little ones would love that idea, and if that was me, I wouldn’t be thinking of the exercise I would be thinking of the great social coffee afterwards…as I say win, win!
Ok Ok, I am going to leave it there, I know there are thousands of more excuses you could come up with for me, and let me tell you I have used most of them myself…but remember they are just that… excuses…all can be dealt with, overcome and sorted…stop excusercising and start exercising!
For Many More Tips on Running ..click on Running Tips