Most of us were born with a talent – one that can come up with 1,001 excuses when it comes to exercising. Every time we decide to move our uhh, behind, we back out at the last minute and blame the rain/our friends/our pet. But it shouldn’t be this way. Here are five excuses you need to stop making now.
“I can’t be bothered”
Laziness and a lack of motivation is the main reason you’re not exercising, according to Jeremy Rolleston, two-time Olympian, peak performance coach and author of A Life That Counts. The cure? Finding motivation from within. Sport and exercise psychologist Robert Brown explains this phenomenon as “internal motivation” and describes it as the personal connection you have with what you’re doing. Think about it: how emotionally connected are you to your workout? Are you having fun? If not, it might be time to make some changes in order to get a positive emotional response so you’d want to do it more. Alternatively, there’s “external motivation”. “It might be the dress you want to fit into for an upcoming event or the encouragement you get from your trainer,” Robert says. Wondering which is best? Both Jeremy and Robert say it’s internal motivation that leads to long-terms results, as you are less reliant on other people, events or environments. But if that impending hot date with Mr Perfect is what it takes to get you moving, start with that and then progress on to the internal stuff when you’re ready.
“I’m not good at it”
If you’re making lame excuses to your friends (and yourself) like “I just got a blow-dry” or “… but Girls is on”, there might be something deeper lurking below your words. According to Robert, these types of excuses often mask failure avoidance – that is, if you don’t try in the first place, then any lack of success is out of your control and you’re off the hook. If this is you, it’s time to confront your fears. Take it one step at a time and make an effort to inject some fun into your routine. “Exercise shouldn’t be some boring drudgery you feel you have to do… Do it with friends, do it in environments that give you energy and give yourself some rewards along the way,” Jeremy says.
“I don’t know what I’m working towards”
“The best goals to set are SMARTER (Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, Timed, Evaluated and Rewarded/Revised), and focus on the processes rather than the outcomes,” Robert explains. In non-psych speak, this means setting goals that are easy to measure, realistic and flexible – like completing a 10km run on this date in this time with a plan of attack – and focusing on your current skill set, rather than fixating on your ultimate end point. The golden rule: balance! If all else fails, Jeremy is a fan of personal trainers as they make you more accountable and help make your first goal more achievable. “Once you achieve the [first goal], it will give you that added impetus and motivation to keep going,” he says.
“I don’t have time”
“Stop thinking about it in terms of being time-rich or -poor and start thinking about being decision smart,” Robert suggests. “In other words, it’s not about time management. It’s about choice management.” So multitask where you can and invite friends to exercise with you, or take advice from Jeremy and pencil it into your week. That way, if you really want it to happen, it always will.
“I’m too tired”
There’s a difference between being too lazy and too exhausted to get out of bed. If you don’t have the energy required to exercise, it’s time to look at your diet. “It’s the fuel for you to train well and get the nourishment you need to recover efficiently,” Jeremy says. Look at what you’re eating and listen to how your body feels after each meal. The more you tune into your body’s needs and eat accordingly, the more efficiently it will run. And if you’re feeling really blah, start small. No one is going to feel pumped about the idea of a 10km run after a long day at work, so just aim to get around the block. Once you’re up and about, you’ll be more energised and much more likely to keep going – and that workout will be done before you know it!
Text: Yasemin Trollope
Image: Alan Poulson / 123RF.com