by guest blogger Greg Hoak, MS, CSCS
Even though everyone’s exercise needs are unique, the roadblocks that stand in their way are common. As a professional trainer, I hear pretty much the same excuses across a broad spectrum of clients. Whether you’re a busy surgeon, stay-at-home mom, retired professional, athlete, or someone in between, chances are you’ve fallen into the exercise excuse trap at least a few times in your life.
A big part of my job is breaking down exercise roadblocks—which is the key ingredient to finding long-term weight-loss success. When you’re training for wellness, you’re training your brain as well as your body.
Here are the most common exercise excuses (and how I help my clients overcome them):
1. I don’t have time to exercise. Would you go to work without combing your hair or brushing your teeth? Probably not. (For your coworkers’ sake, let’s hope not!) The truth is, it’s not that you don’t have enough time—your priorities just aren’t arranged how they should be. Exercise is so essential that it needs to be on the daily priority list alongside showering, brushing your teeth, and putting on deodorant.
Try This: Leave your sneakers by your bed. Exercise first thing in the morning before anything else gets in the way.
2. Exercise is boring. You can loathe exercise or crave it, depending on how you structure it. If you’re an extrovert who thrives on being around others, tap into the power of group training or classes to reenergize. (There are tons of exercise classes out there; chances are at least one will get you excited to lace up those sneakers.) If you recharge better on your own, opt for personal training, walking, or running.
Try This: No matter what your personality type, having your favorite playlist or podcast loaded and ready to go can be a huge help to get you through your workout. A sucker for The Good Wife or American Horror Story? Put your favorite TV program on in front of the treadmill while you run. Whatever you do, don’t park it on the couch. A recent study found being inactive is twice as deadly as being obese.
3. I’m not seeing results. The key to seeing results is consistency. And getting where you want to be can take many months, even years. (That’s why you need to start today.) But motivation to exercise comes and goes—that’s normal—however, having a plan to overcome the hard times is the key to your success. That’s where accountability comes into play.
Try This: Hire a personal trainer to keep you motivated and excited about exercise. I recommend certified strength and conditioning specialists (CSCS) who are certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. To earn CSCS status, the trainer must have also earned an exercise-related college degree. Other reputable certifications include ones from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American College of Sports Medicine.
If one-on-one isn’t your thing, find a group of positive people who also want to work out, and seek out a certified trainer together.
4. I can’t afford professional training. Whether you want to work under a qualified trainer in a large-class setting, small groups, or personal one-on-one training, chances are you can eliminate some of the negative things in your life (takeout pizza, processed foods, too much meat, those extra cocktails, or that jacked-up cable bill that’s turning you into a couch potato) to carve out some extra cash for a better exercise experience. Take a look at your monthly bills, eliminate the negative influences on your health, and you may be surprised to find at least $40 pretty easily.
Try This: Find a qualified personal trainer or strength coach and stay on his or her radar. Even if you don’t see a coach every week, staying in touch will help you stick with it during the tough times, even when the motivation wanes.
5. I’m active enough with my job/gardening/watching my grandkids. Daily activity and daily exercise are two separate things. Very few people go about their daily activity with their heart rate at the level needed to generate positive health benefits.
Try This: Get a fitness tracker like a Fitbit to see how active you really are. Chances are, you aren’t hitting the American College of Sports Medicine’s weekly exercise targets, so you’ll need to carve out exercise-specific time.
Greg Hoak, MS, CSCS, is the developer of FarmerFit and has been a professional fitness trainer for 12 years. He earned an exercise science degree from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in exercise science from California University of Pennsylvania. He’s trained professional athletes and mixed martial arts fighters, amateur athletes, and everyday people. He’s also a sustainable farmer at Potter’s Farm in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, where he and his wife run a community-supported agriculture program, growing vegetables and tending to egg-laying hens raised on pasture.