3 Common Excuses For Not Getting In Shape and How To Ditch Them: Part 1

July 28, 2016

Part 1 of 3

“I was in such great shape.” she says, her voice trailing off with a clear hint of discontent. “I mean, I used to run, hike, go to the gym and I loved it! Then, I moved and started this new job and sort of just fell out of the habit.” Jane is noticeably uncomfortable, at this point. I find her staring off into space, remembering days gone by and seemingly incapable of making eye contact during this portion of our conversation. I decide to just dive right in, “Jane, you’re clearly unhappy with the fact that you’re not in shape right now. Why don’t you do something about it?” Now she’s really uncomfortable. She looks at me in bewilderment, as if I just kicked her dog or something. With a furled brow, she says, “I just don’t have time!”

Vibrant blue skies. 78 degrees. Aspens and Evergreens engulf the mountainside. I sit on a massive outdoor patio overlooking the valley, at my palatial mountain estate, writing my blog without a financial care in the world…That would be me, if I had a nickel for every time I heard a bullshit excuse like, “I just don’t have time.” People are full of them. While sheer laziness is rampant in today’s world, that deserves its own category and I’m not speaking to that crowd. If you’re reading this, you are most likely either in shape, have been in shape, or have a real desire to get in shape. Our excuses are generally manifested by feelings of fear; fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of hard work, even fear of success. Whether this is your first attempt at living a healthy life or a moment in your life when you’ve fallen off the horse and need to jump back on, it’s time. Time to ditch the excuses in favor of the powerful planning, thinking, and action that will propel you to the success you truly desire. In the next three blogs, I’ll share three of my least favorite excuses, along with strategies to overcome them.

Excuse: I don’t have enough time.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn

Between kids, work, social activities, etc., we all live very busy lives. In addition to that, we are sucked in by email and social media for inordinate amounts of time as well. How many times have you opened up Facebook to check a notification and then found yourself in a trance, 30 minutes later, looking at pictures of your friend’s mother’s dog’s most recent potty training incident? Yet, you don’t have time to exercise because your schedule is so busy. Sound familiar? Try saying that out loud, “I don’t have time to go to work out because I’d rather spend 30 minutes on Facebook instead.” Yes, that is as ridiculous as it sounds.

What people really mean when they say that they don’t have time is, “I don’t want to make time.” or “I’m not willing to make time.” If you really want to live a healthier life, you have to use your time more efficiently, especially if you have a legitimately busy schedule.

Solution: Get creative with your workouts and create written plans for your days.

In my younger days, I was married to the gym. If there was a day when I didn’t have time to get there, I just wouldn’t work out at all; granted, there were very few of those. That’s all fine and good when you’re 21 years old, work at a gym, and have virtually no responsibilities. However, when I left the gym to pursue other business interests, that didn’t work out so well. I fell completely out of shape. Years later, when I developed a real desire to find a solution, I realized that I had to stop being so rigid about how I was going to exercise. So, I started doing anything that was convenient for me in the moment and stopped being so focused on longer duration training sessions. I ran outdoors, I did bodyweight exercises and plyometrics at home or at the park, I lifted when I had time. Some days my workouts were an hour, other days 15 minutes. No matter duration, I put all of my energy into whatever time I had that day and I was training multiple times during the week. Before I knew it, two things had happened: I was having more fun than ever with my workouts because they were always different and I was becoming more functionally fit, as opposed to having muscle for show. This was the catalyst that re-ignited my passion for fitness and is a cornerstone of the philosophy that I use to train clients today.

Another strategy that I rely on today, that would’ve helped me tremendously had I implemented it in the past, is to create a written plan for my day. If you want exercise to have a place amongst all the other craziness in your life, you need to treat it as seriously as all of the other activities that you engage in. Former Navy Seal Commander, bestselling author, and founder of Sealfit, Mark Divine has a saying, “A plan never survives contact with the enemy.” How true that is! While life doesn’t always go according to plan, it goes a whole lot more according to plan when you actually take the time to plan it. When you go about doing this, don’t approach it in the form of a traditional To-Do list. Give every task or activity a scheduled start time and a finite end point and don’t deviate from that task during its scheduled time, unless absolutely necessary. In the event that your current task has a deadline that must be met, make the decision you need to make in the interest of the deadline. But, decide clearly; either continue with the task and forgo what’s next on your schedule or move on to the next task. Have the discipline to devote all of your attention to each task, as opposed to half-assing a multitude of tasks at once. Becoming a proficient scheduler will breed successful outcomes, not only in your fitness life, but in all areas of your life.

Tips for successful workout scheduling:

  • Create your daily schedule the night before.
  • If/when possible, schedule workouts in the morning, to lessen the chances of life getting in the way.
  • Do your best to predict where you’ll be at the time your workout is scheduled, how much time you’ll have, and what activities will give you the best results for the time invested.
  • Plan your workout. Exercises, sets, reps, time based goals should all be pre-determined. This will help to ensure that you don’t stand around trying to decide what to do with the limited time that you have.
  • Have all necessary items, including clothing, equipment and nutrition (to the degree that it won’t spoil) packed or prepared the night before.

What about using scheduling to create a successful eating plan? While creating a full meal plan before your week begins can be a great step towards success, many people seem to revolt against the idea. If that’s not your bag, baby, no problemo. Just take the time to stock your fridge and pantry with the right foods over the weekend. That will ensure that when you have to grab something on the fly, you’re not grabbing junk.

Those of you who have been using lack of time as a crutch now have some tools to overcome that excuse. You are no longer a lowly excuse maker, you are an empowered problem solver that gets shit done. If you feel you have a timing problem that can’t be solved by using the tools in this blog, give it to me. I’ll be happy to help you think creatively in order to find a solution.