Saturday, February 12, 2011

My husband's thoughts: What's your excuse?

I committed a few weeks ago to write a couple of posts dealing with common excuses given to not train or to not follow a sound nutrition plan.  Today I will post some of my thoughts on training excuses and hopefully can offer up some tips, motivation, and action steps to help in overcoming this obstacle.  I will apologize in advance to anyone who gets uncomfortable reading some of my thoughts on this subject of excuses. This is only my opinion, based solely on my experience as a fitness enthusiast, athlete, teacher, trainer, and coach.    

The most common excuse a person will give to not start or stick to a structured exercise plan always sounds something like this:

“I would like to exercise but I am too busy because…:”

“My schedule just does not allow me to workout because…”

“With my family and work responsibilities I don’t have time to...”

Or it some variation of this type of physical limitation excuse:

“I would like to workout but I have a bad (knee, back, foot, shoulder)..”

“I just had surgery to repair…”

“I would love to train but I have a heart issue or I am a diabetic...”

“I have shin splints…”

“I am pregnant or I just had a baby…” etc, etc.

Please let me share with you my common responses to the above excuses:
  • The person running beside me on the treadmill at 5:15 a.m. on Monday morning is busier then you are.
  • The mom with 3 young kids finishing up a Cross-Fit Class at 10:30 a.m. has more going on her life than you do.
  • The successful businessman on set 5 of an intense squat workout at 7:00 p.m. has the same life responsibilities as you.
  • The diabetic walking out of the gym at 7:00 a.m. after a hard interval cardio session had worse blood sugar issues than you 1 year ago (but is now completely off of insulin).
  • The 40-year-old woman in the locker room doing a little happy dance because she just fit into her skinny jeans had worse knees than you before her total knee replacement 2 years ago.
  • The recent retiree that just started training 6 months ago and is now planning on running a 10K this summer had worse heart problems than you do.
And the list could go on and on….

Here is the deal – I think everyone will admit that physical training is good for us all and should be part of our life schedule.  The difference between the people that do train and the people that don’t is a simple perspective shift around the “rule” that says – physical training is beneficial to me and should be an integral part of my day. 

My old college wrestling coach, the very respected, Dr Vince Monseau, once told me that people that make excuses always believe that they are or should be exceptions to rules.  He said that people who don’t make excuses usually believe that "rules" apply to them.  If you are someone that uses the not exercising excuses listed above – I would challenge you to change your perspective.

The fact is that all of us should have time to train; it all becomes a matter of priority.  The only difference between consistent trainers and non-trainers is the priority given to the activity TIME, not necessarily the activity (or task) itself. 

For those of you with “no time” for exercise, try this homework assignment for two-days this week:  Make the effort to record your activity (total activity) for a complete 24 hours.  The more detailed your documentation, the better.  This will take some effort, but what I guarantee you will see is how much time is wasted each day.  I documented my day on Friday as a reference.

4:05 –Wake up
4:10 -4:25 – Get dressed / coffee on couch while watching news / bathroom break
4:30 -5:10 – Drive  to YMCA
5:15-6:30 – Workout
6:30-7:00 – Shower / shave / dress
7:00-7:05 – Drive to office / Call Annie
7:10-7:30 – Make shake / start computer / check email / update job list
7:30-8:30 – Conference call
8:30 –:900 –Nashville unit meeting
9:00-10:00 – Phone calls / client proposal
10:00-10:15 – Check wrestling sites / protein shake
10:15-11:00 - Internal interview
11:00-11:20 – Drive to client lunch
11:30-12:30 – Client lunch
12:30-1:00 -Drive back to office / get gas
1:00-1:25 – Client contract agreement
1:30-2:15 – Cold calls
2:15-2:50 – reply emails / finish SOW / finish contract
2:55-3:15 – Drive to client Happy hour
3:15-5:00 – Happy hour
5:10-6:45 – Drive home (Friday traffic)
7:00-7:30 – Dinner with girls
7:30- 8:15 – Baths / read books / put girls to bed
8:15-9:15 – Watch TV/ talk with Annie
9:20 – Asleep

You have to be honest with this exercise or it serves no purpose. You can't list, cook dinner from 5-6 when you actually had hot dogs and chips and spent most of that hour looking at Facebook on your iphone from the kitchen. You have to be detailed and specific.  This activity will help identify time wasting activities and will help you identify areas to be more efficient. 

Consistent gym goers will have the same requirements on their time as non-gym goers, but will prioritize their time in a way that they will be able to get their activities done in shorter amount of time.  This does not happen easily or without meticulous planning.  Step one in this process is “setting in stone” your workout time for the week.  I would challenge everyone reading this blog to post your workout schedule in the comment section or on Annie’s Facebook site for this blog. It will help for accountability and could be a fun assignment to track.

For those of you who often use a physical limitation excuse to not train –I would offer you this thought.  If you were to stop at any local gym, you would find someone who has had, or is currently battling the same physical issue as you.  It is what I love about training in a public facility.

At every gym you will find people that inspire you, people that have the same lifestyle, body, body goals, and limitations as you.  Where else on earth can you find that?  Training is motivating and being around people with common lifestyles, issues, and goals is incredibly motivating and rewarding. This week – leave the excuses at home, set your schedule, get to the gym, and have some fun. 


  1. I won't lie, I used to be one that said, "I can't run because I had surgery on my feet and it hurts them too bad". I will tell you straight up, it was an excuse. Five weeks ago I started Couch to 5k and have followed it religiously to this day. I completed the 20 minute run! Here is my current workout schedule:

    Monday: abs and legs
    Tuesday: abs, chest, forearms and cardio
    Wednesday: off day
    Thursday: abs, back, cardio
    Friday: ARMSSSS favorite workout :)
    Saturday: abs, shoulders, neck and cardio
    Sunday: off day

    This workout has succesfully made me lose 20 lbs in the past. Now I do it week after week not only to lose the weight but getting closer to my goal of living healthier!

  2. I forgot to add calves on mondays as well

  3. You have called me out quite handily, I am the queen of excuses. I'm working on it, though, and I think having your example will help put me in the mindset to get up and work. My biggest problem is my difficulty getting up in the mornings. If I'm up early, there is a bigger likelihood the children will wake up early too, and my workout will be nipped in the bud. I usually wait until the kids get up to start my day, and then take my "me time" in the evening, and as you know the evening time is not ideal for working out because then you will never sleep. Again, excuses. I'll keep reading. Motivation is catching, right?

  4. Wait, Scott, you left out 15 minutes of "putting up with Danny's shenanigans at work." That is a very time consuming part of the day that can't be neglected... =)
    Thanks for the advice. I always make schedules/agendas, but rarely follow them. Gotta work on that one...