Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure. ~Don Wilder and Bill Rechin
As coach Dan John likes to say, “If it is important, do it everyday.” I believe in these words. It is important to brush our teeth to prevent tooth decay, so we do it every day. (I should add that flossing is important too but not all of us do this every day, myself included. However, I am much better about it than I used to be.) It is important to eat breakfast to fuel our bodies for the day ahead, so we should do it every day. Not all of us do, but we probably should. Exercise is important, but we don’t do this everyday….and we definitely should. Whether it is a challenging strength session, a walk in the park, hill sprints or a game of Frisbee, it is important. So why don’t more people exercise? Here are a few excuses I have come across….do these sound familiar?
“I’m too tired.” “I don’t have enough time.” “I don’t know what to do.” “My ____ hurts.” “It’s too cold.” “It’s too hot.” “It’s too dark.” “It’s too bright.” “I walked yesterday.” “I just ate.” “I need to eat.” “I ______.” “It’s too late.” “It’s too early.” “I’m too old.” “It’s too hard.” “I don’t have the right clothes to wear.” “I don’t have the right shoes.” “I’m thinking too much.” “I’m lazy.” Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. We have all heard them. We have all used them sometime in our life to get out to doing something. It is okay to excuse yourself once in awhile, but when you are always coming up with a reason to not do something, such as exercising, you may be doing your body, your mind and your spirit a disservice. Let’s address each excuse head on, shall we?
1. “I’m too tired.” Why? Did you get enough sleep last night? What time did you go to bed? If you are up until 2 am playing video games or watching TV, then you may need to re-think your nighttime habits. Sleeping is an important part of our day and the more sleep you get, the more active and more productive you will be during the day. I used to be a real night owl. Then I realized how much I dragged around during the day, how exhausted I felt. Now I am in bed around 10:30 and typically get about 8.5 hours of sleep, which is great. My body definitely knows when it needs to rest and I make sure to give it what it needs. If your excuse is that you are too tired, check your bedtime schedule. It may mean going to bed an hour earlier and that one hour can really make a difference.
2. “I don’t have enough time.” I hear this one a lot. It is not a great excuse but it is definitely a classic. Why don’t you have the time? If you have the time to sit in front of the television for two hours watching re-runs of Seinfeld, I think you have the time to move for one hour out of your day. We are not talking about running a marathon. We are talking about a little foam rolling, some quick dynamic/mobility work, followed by some strength training, maybe a little conditioning at the end and voila! You are done in an hour, maybe 75 minutes. If you use your time wisely, meaning know what you are doing the minute you set foot in the gym, instead of walking around, staring at the weights, mindlessly curling a dumbbell here hoping that you grow some muscle, you really don’t have the excuse that you don’t have the time. If you have the time to go out to happy hour and drink for two hours, you have the time to squat. Make time for yourself. It is that important.
3.”I don’t know what to do.” This one is a toughy, but sorry, not good enough. There are about a gazillion programs out there. Some good. Some not so good. But nevertheless, there is a lot of information about what to do. You may have to make the time to talk to someone about your program and see what is right for you. I know that means more time, but let’s try to find it, ok?
4. “My ___________ hurts.” Yeah, mine too. In fact, there is usually something sore about me each day. So, I am smart about what I do and don’t do. But I try to do something. Even if it is just mobility work for my back or shoulders, it is something. Be smart about how you work and typically that ________ stops hurting after awhile.
5. “It’s too cold.” Wear a hat. And an extra pair of pants. Then warm up and take it all off. Put it back on if you get cold. Keep working and then take it off again. Rinse and repeat.
6. “It’s too hot.” Don’t wear a hat. Get rid of the pants. Drink plenty of water. Be smart about your training that day. You will eventually adapt to training in the heat.
7. “It’s too dark.” This is a bitch, I know. The sun goes down and we all just want to hibernate. I hate this time of year because I know it is harder to get people to get out and do something once the sun goes down. So know that it is going to be a little harder and get over it. That is what lights are for.
8. “It’s too bright.” Wear sunglasses.
9. “I walked yesterday.” Good, so today you’ll squat.
10. “I just ate.” Hmmm. Did you do that on purpose? How much did you eat? An apple? Get over there and deadlift. An entire salmon with vegetables? I doubt it. Get over there and deadlift.
11. “I need to eat.” After you deadlift.
12. “It’s __________.” Really?
13. “It’s too late.” It is never too late to train.
14. “It’s too early.” If you are not a morning person like I am, then train later. Make the time. See number 2.
15. “I’m too old.” No, you’re not. Period.
16. “It’s too hard.” No, you are just weak and de-conditioned. The good news is that you can fix that!
17. “I don’t have the right clothes to wear.” This is just dumb.
18. “I don’t have the right shoes to wear.” Then go buy a pair, or train barefoot.
19. “I’m thinking about too much.” Then stop thinking.
20. “I’m lazy.” Best, honest excuse yet. Absolutely. Many of us do not exercise because we are just too lazy. Make up any excuse in the world you want. It boils down to sheer laziness. And why is it that we are so lazy? Work, family? For some of us, we are looking for that quick fix so we don’t have to work at it. Yet, exercise can come in all shapes and sizes. Getting off our butts is the first step. Deciding we want to make the change is the second step. Executing that change is the third step. If you get this far, you are already ahead of the game. Stop making excuses. Start making a change.
If Joan of Arc could turn the tide of an entire ware before her 18th birthday, you can get out of bed. ~E. Jean Carroll