9 Common Exercise Excuses That You Need To Stop Making

We all know that exercise is good for us, but if the weather is too hot or you just ended a day of back-to-back Zoom meetings, coupled with homeschooling, it’s easier to just put off working out in favor of plopping down in front of the TV. 

How can we help ourselves get moving? We asked Juancho Triviño, fitness advocate and founder of Fit Crew PH, an online personal training service, to bust the most common exercise excuses and his solutions for them.

“If you can spare 15 to 20 minutes scrolling through social media, then you have time to exercise.”

Juancho Triviño, fitness advocate and founder of Fit Crew PH

1. “I’m too tired, I just want to relax.”
First of all, if you are tired because you are sick, then do take time to rest and recover.

But if you are tired because of poor sleep, work fatigue, or mental health conditions, exercise can make you feel better. Start off with light exercises that are easy on the body but are just as effective, such as yoga and walking.  

Finally, if you are tired because you have a stressful job or are swamped with chores at home, change your routine. Instead of scheduling your workout at the end of the day when your energy is at its lowest, wake up earlier than usual to exercise, or do it on your lunch break. 

2. “I don’t have the time.”

“If you can spare 15 to 20 minutes scrolling through social media, then you have time to exercise,” says Juancho. “Just waking up extra early in the morning to squeeze in 15 to 20 minutes of light exercises or stretching can already prep your body and mind for all the rigorous things you need to do for the day.” 

3. “It costs too much.” 

While hiring a personal trainer is recommended for proper guidance, it is not mandatory. “You can follow free workout videos that are available online, or even ask for help from family or friends who are active,” Juancho advises. No equipment? Creativity goes a long way.

“Use water bottles or canned goods as weights; sturdy chairs can be used if you need elevation. Lastly, bodyweight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, and squats can also be very effective for building strength.”

4. “I don’t like to exercise alone.”

There are benefits to exercising by yourself — you can go at your own pace and focus on doing the exercises correctly and efficiently. That said, there are also benefits to exercising with a group , including positive peer pressure and increased motivation. 

If you prefer to workout with others but the gyms in your area are still closed, there are many platforms online with live classes that you and your friends can join, such as Fit Crew PH. But if you’re struggling to put a group together, you can still work out by yourself without feeling like you are alone. “Personally, I like listening to music or podcasts while working out,” suggests Juancho. “It makes me feel like I am talking to someone.”

5. “It’s boring!”

There are so many different kinds of exercises out there — from swimming to spinning — that the key is to find something, anything, that gets your body in motion and puts a smile on your face. So if you find yourself bored or plateaued with a particular workout, switch it up. If yoga no longer interests you, try rowing; if you find boxing “Bleh,” try biking. “I’d much rather go three hours on a bike than 30 minutes on a treadmill,” admits Juancho. “Once you find something you enjoy doing, it won’t feel like an exercise.”

6. “I’m too old/too fat/not strong enough/etc. — the trainer will just laugh at me.”

“That will absolutely never happen,” Juancho stresses. “Coaches and trainers are professionals who work with a variety of fitness levels and will never judge someone based on their physical stature. In fact, we even feel happy if we see people trying to be the best version of themselves.” 

That said, this does not mean that you should plunge into whatever workout tickles your fancy. “Whether you are young or old, fit or unfit, always get clearance from your doctor before first starting a new exercise regimen,” advises Juancho.

7. “I tried exercising before and it didn’t work.”

There are many reasons why you’re not seeing results from working out. 

  • Maybe you weren’t consistent with exercising? It’s important to keep a routine and stick to it.
  • Maybe you were expecting too much, too soon? It may take anywhere from four to eight weeks of consistent workouts before you see a noticeable change.
  • Finally, maybe you relied purely on exercising? “Fitness also depends on what you eat and how you sleep,” Juancho points out. 

So analyze why the exercise didn’t work, and ask yourself what would have improved the chances of a positive outcome? Now make a plan with this newfound knowledge and start again.

8. “I’ll start tomorrow/next week/etc.”
If you are battling low motivation, you just have to do it. Start small so you don’t get daunted or discouraged. Instead of saying you will do 10 push-ups every morning, start with just two, then gradually increase the reps. Instead of aiming to exercise for an hour, try 40 minutes first, which when you think about it, is about the length of time of an episode of your favorite sitcom so it’s not that long. 

9. “I don’t need to exercise, I’m still young.”

“You’ll age quicker if you don’t take care of yourself,” Juancho warns. “Health is wealth, so as early as now, you have to invest in yourself, in the things that you want, and how you spend your time. Getting your body engaged and feeling aware of your physical state is a good start to a long and healthy life.”

When it comes to exercising, the gains outweigh the pains and excuses. A regular exercise routine will give you improved physical and mental health and can set your mood for the day. Best of all, it’s never too late to start. “There are many things that you will never regret doing, and exercise is one of them,” says Juancho.

For those in the Philippines, MindNation WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 to help you build better physical and mental health habits. Book a slot now through FB Messenger http://mn-chat or email [email protected].

For more information about Fit Crew PH, message them on Instagram @fitcrew_ph.

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8 Tips To Help You Stick To An Exercise Routine

Sticking to a workout routine is tough especially now that we are in the midst of a pandemic. With gyms and fitness studios closed and most of us isolating at home, it’s harder to find the time and motivation to break a sweat in the middle of working from home, taking care of the kids, or bingeing on Netflix. 

But according to strength and conditioning trainer/personal coach Ergel Villarta Arcinas (@evatrainingsystems), staying at home should not be an excuse to be sedentary; rather, it’s all the more reason why we need to push ourselves to exercise. “Regular exercise not only has physical benefits, it will also help reduce the stress, anxiety, and depression that many of us will be feeling from being isolated at home and having our routines disrupted,” he explains. “The endorphins that our body releases afterwards will also leave our bodies and minds feeling refreshed instead of ‘stuck’.” 

To overcome any mental barriers and make exercising a habit, you will need the right mindset and a smart approach. Below are some tips for making the most out of your workout-from-home routine: 

  1. Make exercising the same as eating or sleeping. One often-mentioned tip for coping with home isolation is to maintain a routine — i.e. follow a regular eat, sleep, and work schedule — so include exercise in your daily to-do as well. It doesn’t matter what time of the day you do it, as long as you allot the time, although Coach Arcinas cautions against working out too close to bedtime. “This is because the resulting post-exercise energy boost can make it hard for you to fall asleep, and lack of sleep is never healthy,” he points out. “Exercising during the day will be better so that you have the rest of the day to let your body relax.” That said, if evenings are really your own free time, he suggests that you opt for low intensity movements so that you recover faster. 
  1. Invest in a personal trainer. It may seem like added expense, but coaches ensure that you spend your exercise time mindfully and safely. “We develop  workout programs that take into account your capacity, goals, and skill level,” Coach Arcinas says. “This way, you see better results sooner and reduce injuries.” Sessions can be conducted through videochat applications like Google Meet or Zoom.

If you really prefer to workout on your own by following videos online, Coach Arcinas suggests that you research the background of the instructor first to make sure that he or she is really certified to teach classes so that you do not get injured. 

  1. Set realistic fitness goals. Don’t just aim to “be stronger;” instead, say you want to be able to do 20 full body push-ups in one minute by the end of the fourth month. When goals are measurable, specific, and time-bound, it’s easier to track your progress. Doing it this way and with the help of a personal trainer helps you focus your efforts, develop a more structured plan for actually achieving the goal, and creates a sense of urgency that can be motivating. 
  1. Embrace the small wins. Maybe your goal is to hold a plank for two minutes, and two weeks into your new workout routine, you’ve improved your ability from 20 seconds to 30 seconds. Even though your ultimate goal is a long way off, take pride in reaching this mini milestone along the way. It can provide the important confidence boost you need to keep pushing toward the bigger goal. 
  1. Think long-term. You didn’t get out of shape overnight, so you’re not going to instantly transform your body either. Expecting too much, too soon will only lead to frustration. Try not to be discouraged by what you can’t accomplish or how far you have to go to reach your fitness goals. Instead of obsessing over results, focus on consistency. And while the physical payoff might take longer, appreciate the instant improvements in your mood and energy levels.
  1. It’s totally normal to not always want to workout. It’s okay to have off days, and understanding that can help you embrace these difficult feelings and move past them, rather than viewing them as signs of weakness and giving up altogether. “If you are experiencing low energy levels because of bed weather, for example, ease into the workout by warming-up longer,” Coach Arcinas suggests. “Once your muscles are properly stimulated, you’ll be energized to proceed to the main set.” But if you really still feel sluggish after warming up and cannot proceed anymore, then that’s okay too, he assures; ten minutes of warming-up is better than five, and even just five minutes of movement is better than zero.

“However, if you are tired because you lack sleep, don’t force yourself to exercise because the risk of getting injured is higher,” Coach Arcinas says. 

  1. Change your vocabulary. Use words with positive versus negative associations to describe how you might feel or are feeling. For example, instead of considering the difficult moments of an exercise as being “uncomfortable,” think of them as being “intense.” You are not “dying,” you are being “challenged.” Shifting your vocabulary carries a more empowering mindset and will help you adopt a more positive attitude. 
  1. Don’t compare yourself to others. As you scroll through social media, it’s easy to feel resentful, intimidated, or even discouraged when you see someone effortlessly execute a yoga pose or consecutive burpees while you have yet to be as accomplished. But you’re likely not considering the fact that these other people were also new to yoga and burpees at one point, and probably put in a lot of hard work to get to their current fitness level. 

Exercise is important to our physical and mental health, but it’s really tough to build the habit. “The key is to build the routine first before advancing to goal-setting,” says Coach Arcinas. “Once you have developed the discipline, that’s when you work with a trainer to set time-based objectives such as ‘In four to six months, I want to be able to do this skill or lose this much body fat.’” 

Lastly, remember that exercising (whether at home outside of it) will always be one of the best investments you can make for your body and mind. “When you are physically and mentally well, you can do the things you enjoy more often and for far longer, like spending more time with your kids or even grandkids,” Coach Arcinas says. “For me, that benefit is even more important than having six-pack abs or being able to do 100 push-ups.”

Written by Jac of MindNation