Exercising can be hard. My mind often comes up with all sorts of rationales as to why I shouldn’t exercise. I figured that it could be useful to explore some of these excuses that I—and others—often create in order to avoid exercising.
Excuse #1: Exercising is vain.
This excuse is probably one that my mind likes to throw at me the most and it’s particularly effective because sometimes I believe it.
I’ll ask myself, “Why am I even exercising in the first place? Who am I trying to impress? Aren’t there more important things in life than my physical appearance, like my personality?”
This excuse particularly gets me sometimes because, ultimately, I do believe that personality is more important than physical appearance. I do believe that trying to get a six pack and biceps just to impress someone is kind of shallow.
However, what this sneaky excuse fails to acknowledge is that these are not the reasons that I exercise. I exercise so that I can feel better, lift my mood, and to ultimately feel more comfortable in my body. I don’t work manual labor and I’m not a very sporty person, therefore, this is just what has worked for me to stay healthy.
Just because working out has the potential to be vain doesn’t mean that it necessarily is.
Excuse #2: You’ll never be super strong so what’s the point.
Lifting weights in a gym can often cause me to compare myself to others. I’ll see people lifting huge amounts of weight that I could never even come close to, even if I buckled down and started lifting heavy 5 days a week.
Most of the time this doesn’t bother me, however, if I’m already feeling less motivated, I sometimes let it get to me. I’ll tell myself, “You’ll never be as strong as most of these guys, so why should you even try?”
However, it’s important for me to remember that that’s not why I workout. I don’t exercise to be stronger than anyone else. I don’t necessarily even workout to even lift a certain amount of weight.
I workout because I want to be well rounded and feel that I am allowing my body to reach its full potential.
Excuse #3: We only have so much energy.
Every now and then I’ll hear this excuse in the back of my head. It’s not one that really gets me bogged down that often, but because it is so absurd and because I’ve heard others use it I feel that I should address it.
The excuse basically goes, “We only have so much energy, therefore, we can’t waist it on an activity like exercise that isn’t actually serving any practical purpose.”
This excuse is wrong in so many ways. Energy isn’t a finite resource that we only have a set amount of. It’s something that we can increase through the act of exercising. While we might feel drained when we exercise for the first few times in a while, after our body adjusts we will have more energy in other areas of our lives. Maybe, if exercising is completely draining us, we are simply working out too hard.
Excuse #4: People who exercise too much are doing more harm than good.
I personally don’t really ever tell myself this excuse but I have heard some people mention it and I find it worth addressing.
The excuse goes, “People who exercise are doing their bodies more harm over the long run than if they just took it easy.”
While this may be true for professional bodybuilders or football players who often end up basically disabled in their later years, this doesn’t mean that exercise is the problem. This would basically be like saying that eating food can shorten your life span just because some people die early from eating too much junk food.
As always, the correct answer is somewhere in the middle—with moderation and balance. No exercise and too much exercise are the enemies, not a healthy, balanced exercise routine.
Excuse #5: I’ll just do it tomorrow.
This is my favorite excuse, because it gets everybody, but particularly the optimists.
“I’ll just exercise tomorrow, today was super busy, but I’m sure I’ll have more time tomorrow.”
The hard part about this excuse is that sometimes it can be valid. What if something important and unexpected comes up? You need groceries or need to talk to a friend longer than you’d planned? How can you separate the valid excuses from the lazy part of you that just wants to eat Doritos and watch TV?
For me, I’ve found that the best way to beat this excuse is to just do a shorter version of your workout. Do you really not have time to do a few sets of squats or pushups? I just can’t imagine a situation where that would be possible. Unless, of course, you have an injury, but even then there are modified versions of most exercises that you can do.
Even if you did a super short version of your workout every other time you planned on exercising, if you can do that for a year you will still be so much better off than if you skipped each of those days completely.
Remember consistency always beats intensity.
In conclusion, I think that it’s important to be aware of our wellbeing and to give ourselves a break when we really need it. However, that doesn’t mean letting excuses get the best of us.