10 exercise excuses and how to overcomeAugust 15, 2019 8:53 am
So. You want to exercise but..excuses. They’re like armpits. Everyone has one. (or two!) The most challenging part to starting any exercise program can sometimes be our hang-ups, our past experiences and our current physical health. Then there are the downright excuses. There are simple ways to overcome some excuses, but it takes resolve. You probably already know some or all of these, but reminding yourself could be the thing that gets you started again.
Importance of exercise in losing weight
Diet makes up 80% of the journey in weight loss. When we say diet, we simply mean what you put into your body as fuel to power your body. If you are putting the wrong fuel or too much fuel in your body, you have a couple of choices to make.
- Reduce that fuel input
- Increase your energy use output
It’s really simple maths. If you put in 2500 calories into your body in a day and you only burn 2300 calories in a day, over a week you will have a 1400 calorie surplus in that week, or a 73000 calorie surplus over a year. I like to think of our energy storage like a fridge and deep freeze.
- We keep the food that is eaten regularly in the fridge. As we put the food into the fridge, it gets consumed and we restock it. I liken this to the normal input/output energy consumption our body uses every day. (short term energy)
- We keep food in the deep freeze that we want to use in the future. I liken this to the fat storage on our bodies.
The more of a surplus of food that we have in the fridge, the more we put in the freezer. (fat). Over time, that fat storage builds up if we don’t reduce the daily/weekly/monthly surpluses.
To lose 0.5kg in a week – you need to have an ongoing deficit of 500 calories per day.
So, going back to your surplus of 200 calories per day – over a year this could equate to 60kg of added fat! That’s scary.
Aim for deficit
If you are trying to lose weight, you need to be in a caloric deficit. That is, more calories of energy burned than you have consumed through food and drink. As above, 80% of this will be food control – the main reason is that this is the easiest way to KNOW FOR SURE you are in deficit. Why? As much as we know about exercise, we truly don’t know the exact number of calories you would burn if you went for a walk. There are averages, but everyone is different. The safest way to ensure you are in the deficit is to achieve +80% of that deficit through watching the food you eat. The rest can be achieved through exercise.
Top 10 excuses/roadblocks to exercise and how to overcome
1. I don’t have enough time
If you work full-time, look after children any time or just have a busy lifestyle, it can seem impossible to fit in exercise to your schedule.
- Squeeze in short walks throughout your day. Take the elevator or escalator at the office or shops? Try taking the stairs or walking the long way around. Those extra 1-2 minutes per day repeated add up. Any movement as long as it’s done with purpose has huge benefits.
- Get up earlier. Easier said than done if you collapse in bed at night exhausted. People who exercise in the morning are more likely to stick to it in the long term. The best part is, once it’s done, it’s done. Try setting the alarm 5 minutes earlier each day until you build up 30 minutes. Of course, try to get to bed 5 minutes earlier each night. Don’t use your night time Netflix binging, Youtube surfing or Facebook stalking as an excuse. Switch it off 5 minutes earlier, go to bed – to get up those 5 minutes earlier. This is the discipline and training that doesn’t work up a sweat!
- Drive less, walk more. If you drive to work, park a block away from the office, or park at the back row of the car park. You might find your parking is cheaper and you’ll get to work with a healthy glow! Walk to the shops if it’s practical. Walk to the next bus stop to catch public transport. Dust off the bike and try cycling once a week to begin with. The more you do, the more you’ll want to do.
2. Ughhh.. Exercise is BOOOORRRING
One of the definitions of exercise is “an activity carried out for a specific purpose”. Of course, if you believe that exercise is jogging or riding a bike or going to the gym, it may be boring.
- Think outside the box. Any activity that raises the heart rate is great. Mowing the lawn, gardening, sex, putting the groceries away, vacuuming. If you turn these everyday occurrences into ‘mini-workouts’ you may find your fitness improving and your mindset changing.
- Choose an activity you enjoy. No point doing things we hate. Life is too short. Choose something you know you will keep interested in. If you like doing it, you are more likely to keep doing it.
- Variety is the spice of life. Why stick to one thing? Try different things for a few weeks at a time or do 3-4 different activities a week to keep it interesting.
- Create a gang. Find someone else who wants to lose weight and join with them. Having the same fitness level can be good, but it is even better to have someone who may be a little fitter or you are a little fitter than to create competition or aspiration!
3. I am embarrassed
We hear you. One one hand, overweight people are called ‘lazy’ and yet when they get out there are ****holes who decide there is nothing better to do than to ridicule.
- Do what you are comfortable with. If you don’t like gyms, don’t go. If you feel self-conscious swimming, don’t. Safely exercise at night when there are less people around or again go in a group of friends. If you are uncomfortable around others altogether, start in your home.
- Screw the haters. Easier said than done, but WHO CARES what people think. If you are getting out and having a go, give yourself a pat on the back for making a commitment.
- Get help. If you can afford it, do one on one Personal Training sessions. Having that good looking guy or girl there telling you how great you are doing is a boost to the ego and will motivate you. If you are extremely overweight, an exercise physiologist may be a better option for you. They specialise in rehabilitative programs designed for people like you.
- Get more help. See a psychologist or therapist to help you overcome some of the negative feelings you are having about yourself. Locking yourself away from the world for fear of ridicule is not the answer.
4. Just being honest, I’m super lazy
Good for you for being honest. Being lazy is the “unwillingness to do”. Guess what, it’s a choice.
- Don’t fight the programming. If you know when during the day you feel energetic, plan an activity for those times to begin with. We guarantee you, once you start exercising, you WILL feel energetic more often during the day.
- Make an appointment in your calendar. Sounds silly, but treat your exercise as if it’s an appointment to save your life. If you treat your obesity as life-threatening (which it is), schedule the appointment as a NON NEGOTIABLE and list the reasons why you want to live long and prosper, you will be more likely NOT to skip.
- Start small. Go for a walk 5 times around the clothesline. Tomorrow, walk to the front yard to the back yard 5 times. Next day, 5 houses down. Day after, to the end of the street. Get it?
- Celebrate your wins. There is nothing like breaking habits like creating new ones that give you rewards. When you achieve the goal you set – celebrate. Buy those new shoes, go out, get a massage or manicure. Spoil yourself in a way that doesn’t negatively affect your goals and don’t be tempted to reward yourself UNTIL you hit that goal.
5. I’m just not sporty and I’m not an athlete
Like point 2, exercise doesn’t have to be sporty. Exercise can be any activity that involves movement.
- Keep it simple stupid (KISS). As with the last point above, start small. Build on it. Let your body get used to the current challenge, then challenge it some more. FEEL the changes in your body. Are you breathing less heavily on that last walk? Did you get up the stairs without feeling like you are going to kick the bucket. That’s called progress.
- What are you aiming for? The Olympics?? If your goal is to be a superstar athlete, then maybe you need stepped goals to achieve that. If you are just wanting to live longer, then stop using this one as an excuse, because that’s all it is. Forget thinking you have to be athletic to move. Your body was designed to move.
6. What is the why?
Why do you want to start exercising? If your motivation is skin deep, so will be your resolve to continue. Having substantial ‘life changing’ reasons is important. I mean, we all want to look good, but is that going to keep you motivated in the long term?
- Write down the reasons. Writing down your motivations is important. It gets those reasons out of your head and into the universe.
- Be prepared to change your reasons. If you started out writing down “I want to fit into XYZ clothes”, continue to refine or even change your reasons. “I want to live long enough to see my kids to have kids”, or “I want to reduce my blood pressure by XYZ” are far better motivating reasons than “I want to look good in swimmers”
- Talk to your GP. If your GP provides you a list of the co-morbidity risks to your health due to being overweight or obese, then these should not only serve as a good foundation for the ‘why’, but also serve as good motivators.
7. I am too tired after work/kids
We definitely hear you. Life can be tiring, exhausting. The workday may be done, but then there could be bills to pay, house to clean, cooking and when do you get time to relax?
- Switch to a morning routine. Get the day started with exercise. In the cool of the morning, there is nothing better than getting out in nature and seeing the sunrise. Morning exercise such as a brisk walk can put the day in perspective, give you a more positive outlook on the day. It will also energise you.
- Lunch break delight. Do you get a lunch break? How about taking your walking shoes with you to work? Go for a 15-20 minute brisk walk during the day. It’ll help your food digest and also pep you up for the afternoon. If you are a stay at home mum/dad, get the pram out, go to the park. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
- Always be ready. If you keep comfy shoes and clothes in the car with you, if the urge hits on the way home, you won’t have an excuse.
8. I’ve exercised in the past – it hasn’t worked
Exactly what hasn’t worked? Your legs? Your arms? How long did you maintain this routine for?
- Have realistic expectations. Exercise isn’t going to drop 10kg in a week. Remember that good food choices is 80% of the weight loss journey, so if you are thinking that exercise will offset your bad eating habits, think again. Exercise is the extra piece that will accelerate weight loss, but movement will improve your overall health.
- Set realistic goals. Going for a walk for an hour everyday may be admirable, but is it sustainable? When you think about your exercise in the past, did you go ‘too hard – too quick’ and burn out? Start small. Set small goals you KNOW you can achieve and build on them. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither will your health.
- Remember the ‘why’. Just like dieting, the why is really important. Setting mini-goals and understanding your own motivation will stop the “why the heck am I doing this?” moments in their tracks.
- Let it become part of your lifestyle. If exercise becomes part of your life-style, it becomes part of your routine no different to showering or brushing your teeth. The key is to do it long enough to form habits. Habits don’t ‘stick’ for at least 66 days. That is; new behaviours don’t create new neural pathways in the mind unless things are done routinely for at least 2 months.
9. I can’t afford the gym/class
Exercise doesn’t automatically mean the gym. Remember what we said in the first email of this series. Exercise is any movement that increases your heart rate.
- Get some home equipment. Inexpensive bands serve as great starting points for resistance training. There are plenty of credible YouTube channels if you research that will show you how to safely exercise at home.
- Community groups. There are plenty of free community groups that offer free programs. Talk to your local council, if there are none around you, talk to your local member or Council Member about starting one! Don’t use this as an excuse! Take action.
- Use your body. Bodyweight exercise. Bodyweight exercises are underrated. There are plenty of things you can do just using your own weight. Again, using YouTube or speak to your GP about a referral to an exercise physiologist who will be able to provide you guidance and even home-based programs.
10. I am prone to injury
This is a big one and probably a real barrier for some overweight or obese people. Injury can mean setbacks and demotivation.
- Know your limits. If you know you have a bad knee, don’t do exercises that are going to put that knee at risk. Talk to your GP about a referral to an exercise physiologist who can provide rehabilitative exercise programs that will strengthen those weak parts of your body prone to injury.
- Take it easy. Start simple, start low impact. A walking program designed especially for obese people is a good place to start. Remember, you should ENJOY the exercise so you keep doing it.
- Look after your body. Your body as an obese/overweight person is under an enormous additional load to begin with. You should know your limits and work towards improving those limits over time in the lowest risk ways possible. Anything you do, if you haven’t exercised before, should be done at the beginner level.
- Why does your body break. Learning the fundamentals of how the body works and why injuries happen could be enormously helpful to preventing that injury. If you have a bad knee but like to bike ride, maybe switching to aqua aerobics classes could be an answer for you. Again, talk to your GP, get advice about your body.
- Use wraps and guards. There are thermal braces and wraps for just about every part of the body. These can be helpful early on to ensure support to joints and areas of weakness. Talk to your chemist or supplier about your injury prone area and see what they recommend.
- Good shoes. Can’t emphasise this enough. If you are going to invest in anything, let it be good shoes. You are heavy. That weight is being transferred to your feet. If you are wearing shoes that aren’t designed for your current weight and the way you stand/walk, then you could be setting yourself up for injury. Visit a specialist retailer like Athletes Foot or any other retailer who provide an analysis of your feet and walking style. You could also get a referral from to a foot specialist. (Podiatrist). Your feet, ankles and knees will thank you.
What is your number one excuse for not exercising?
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This article contains opinions of the writer. You should speak to your medical professional before undertaking any exercise program.