3 Common Excuses For Not Getting In Shape and How To Ditch Them: Part 2

August 11, 2016

Part 2 of 3

It’s Friday afternoon and you’re half an hour away from leaving the office for a 10 day vacation. Paradise awaits! In between daydreaming about coconutty drinks with little umbrellas sticking out of the top, you manage to have the wherewithal to generate that wonderful auto-reply email in Microsoft Outlook. You know, the one that announces to anyone who has the gall to email you that you’re on vacation and not answering emails for the next 10 days. You leave the office, on cloud nine, ready for some R&R!

After an amazing vacation that didn’t seem long enough, and they never do, you return to the office. Instead of feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, you feel like you still need a vacation from your vacation. You reluctantly open your email, only to find that you’ve got over 1,000 unread messages! The glut is so overwhelming that you just decide to shelve the email project until tomorrow. Problem is, tomorrow comes and you go to meetings all day. Wednesday and Thursday, you’re working on reports for your boss. Friday, 2,000+ unread emails since you left for vacation. What now? Are you going to march into your bosses office and tell him/her that you quit because you have over 2,000 emails in your inbox and you don’t want to read or answer them? Are you going to put it off until next week and allow your problem to grow even further. Or, are you going to jump in and prioritize the task so that it will stop sucking your will to live?

Excuse: I’m too out of shape.

It’s never an easy thing to do to get back on track when you’ve fallen behind. The task can seem insurmountable. Even for those who truly desire to get back into shape, the brain is constantly discouraging you from leaving your comfort zone. Pretty soon, you’ve become Alice and you’re finding out exactly how deep that rabbit hole goes. Here are a couple of ideas to help you climb out.

Solution: Do something difficult and commit.

Remember the first time your Mom took a band-aid off of you when you were a kid? How long did it take her to convince you that it should be done quickly? Did she even give you a choice or did she just rip the damn thing off?

It’s time to rip that band aid off, kid. One of the reasons that I’m not a huge fan of “easing your way into it”, is that it tends to foster non-committal behavior. Does that mean that you should do things that might be dangerous at your current level of fitness? No. Does that mean that you should do something difficult? Yes.

Let’s start with the physical part. Here are a few examples for reasonably healthy individuals:

  • If you’ve previously been inactive and your first inclination is to start walking, try walk/jog intervals instead. For 30 minutes, walk for 2 minutes, jog for 30 seconds. The jog can be at a moderate pace to begin with. As the jog begins to get easier, try these variations:
    • Increase the pace of the jog in order to create more intense intervals. Example progression (30 min. walk/jog intervals as described above): Week 1: Jog at 5.0. Week 2: Jog at 5.5. Week 3: Jog at 6.0. Week 4: Jog at 6.5.
    • Begin decreasing the amount of time walking, in order to get closer to a steady jog. Example progression (30 min.): Week 1: 1:30 minute walk, 30 second jog. Week 2: 1 minute walk, 1 minute jog. Week 3: 30 second walk, 1:30 minute jog. Week 4: 15 second walk, 2 minute jog. Continue progression until you can jog for 30 mins. straight.
  • If you have experience with strength training, ditch the standard format and try a circuit. In circuit training, you’ll perform all prescribed exercises consecutively without rest until you reach the final exercise. You then rest for a period and begin the circuit again. Circuit training can improve muscular strength and endurance, while taking calorie burning to maximal levels. You can do this with weights or using bodyweight only. When you’re ready to crank up the intensity, shorten the rest time in between circuits and/or increase the load if you’re using weights.
    • Sample circuit (bodyweight only): Perform 4 circuits of the following exercises with 2 minutes rest in between circuits:
      • Push-Up x 15
      • Sit-Up x 15
      • Squat x 15
      • Plank 60 sec.
    • Sample circuit (with weights): Perform 4 circuits of the following exercises with 2 minutes rest in between circuits:
      • Bench Press x 10
      • Deadlift x 10
      • Bent Over Row x 10
      • Squat x 10

While it’s important to demand more of yourself physically, it’s even more important to demand more of yourself mentally. Combining the right attitude and mental strength with physically demanding tasks is akin to throwing gasoline on a fire; you create an instant inferno. Here are a few tips to getting it right upstairs:
  • Commit. To a goal and to a plan.
  • Write it down. Once you have identified your goal, write it out and write out your plan to achieve it.
  • Start your new program on the weekend. “I’m going to just give myself the rest of the weekend and then I’ll start on Monday.” Bullshit. That’s not the attitude you need if you’re going to rip the band-aid off and get going. By starting on Saturday or Sunday, you’re doing something that feels uncomfortable and unconventional. It’s a simple way to start re-conditioning your brain.
  • See it, then do it. Visualization is a powerful thing. Use it when you begin your program by visualizing how happy, strong and confident you will look and feel in 4 weeks, 12 weeks, 1 year. Prior to engaging in these physically demanding activities, visualize yourself completing each repetition of each exercise with proper form, energy and intensity; visualize yourself at the end of your workout standing tall and strong, having completed your objective.

I don’t care whether you’re 30 or 60. Don’t spend the rest of your life being unhealthy, simply because life happened and you let yourself get out of shape. Life is easy if you do hard. Start now!