Excuses, excuses. We've all made them—but just try to talk your way out of a workout with these responses from local fitness experts.
Photo by Justin Kelefas
1. "I don’t have time to work out."
The workout at Orangetheory Fitness is one hour—“which is 4 percent of your day,” points out Rachel Leveille, head trainer at the gym's Jupiter location. “I don’t think that’s an excuse. You can fit a workout in there.”
Activities like running can fit into any schedule easily, whether it's done early in the morning or late at night. "You make time if you want to do it," says Gary Walk, president of the Palm Beach Roadrunners running club, who runs at 5:30 a.m. and occasionally in the evenings.
Treat working out like a business engagement and write it down, suggests Melissa Hirsch, who owns four Pure Barre fitness studios in Palm Beach County: “You don’t cancel meetings with others, and you shouldn’t with yourself.”
You can also do an exercise DVD at home, adds Stefanie Ellis, owner of the Xtend Barre studios in West Palm Beach and Boca Raton, and you don’t have to commit to a full hour at once—break it up into time intervals that work for your schedule.
The bottom line is: If you're not making time to improve your health, your priorities are out of order, says Tasha McWilliams (above), owner of Tasha's Yoga Boarding. "Get your priorities figured out and give me a call," she says.
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2. "I’m too tired to exercise."
"Being tired is actually a great reason to come, because it can actually give you energy that you need," says Connie Beaudoin, owner of the Parasutra yoga studio in Palm Beach. Exercising increases energy levels by releasing endorphins. It also regulates sleep patterns, Leveille says.
"After you begin a pattern and you’ve done it for months, you will feel that energy all the time. And you’ll learn to feel that you can’t live without it because you’re too tired without it," says trainer Joy Moates-Homan, who also instructs yoga at Bamboo Garden Yoga in Delray Beach.
3. "I’m self-conscious about my body."
Gym-goers aren't paying attention to anybody else but themselves, trainers assure. “Just do your best, focus and don’t have a sense of competition with anyone else but yourself,” Ellis says.
Find a class that doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable, such as one with a variety of body types, Moates-Homan says. If you can’t get past it in a group setting, work one on one with a private instructor, Beaudoin says.
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4. "I don’t want to spend time away from my kids."
Depending on the age of the child, exercises like yoga can be practiced with children, even with a DVD at home. Some studios also offer child care, Ellis points out. If weekdays are difficult, try a Saturday session, Leveille suggests.
Taking time apart to exercise can actually make you a better parent, says Marlene Whitaker, owner of YOLO Strong Gym in West Palm Beach. “You’re not as tired, moody or short-tempered. [Parents] have more energy to go to the park after dinner, go outside or ride bikes on the weekends,” she says. “It becomes a lifestyle.”
And know that by exercising, your children will observe you practicing healthy habits, Hirsch adds. “You’re teaching them by example—and ensuring you’ll be there as long as possible,” she says.
5. "I’m too old."
“That’s nonsense,” Leveille says. “We have a 70-year-old woman and a 68-year-old man who had two strokes and double-knee surgery. We modify everything he needs. Age is nothing but a number.”
The same is true in yoga, says Moates-Homan, who has clients in their 80s. “Yoga especially helps with the aging process,” she says. “It keeps us strong, supple because as we age, we lose strength and flexibility.”
McWilliams adds: “You body doesn’t necessarily know an age. It goes back to a mind, mental game. … Your body’s not too old to try something new. Block the fear and get on the board.”
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6. "I never see results."
That excuse raises concerns about commitment, Beaudoin says. “I’ve never not witnessed results and changes in people when they are consistent,” she says. “When one is dedicated, change is inevitable.”
Moates-Homan suggests investing in a personal trainer, who can provide tips on where you’re not pushing yourself enough—or too much.
Give it time, Leveille says. “Every six to eight weeks, your body adapts to whatever you’re doing, whether it’s your diet or being sedentary,” she says.
Also pay attention to what you eat, because that affects physical changes, Hirsch adds. She recommends taking photos at the start of your weight-loss journey, then a month later.
And don’t underestimate the progress made off the scale—record body measurements, because you could be losing inches, Hirsch says. “The scale may not move, but the composition of your body weight will change,” she says.
Photo by George Kamper
7. "I’m not motivated."
“I have always loved Nike’s original saying: Just Do It,” Beaudoin says. “Sometimes, we just need to take action, and motivation comes from the action itself.”
Partner with a workout friend to keep you accountable, and put something on the line, McWilliams suggests: “Tell each other, ‘I’ll do this five times a week. If not, I have to buy you a $25 gift card.’ If there’s something in it for you, that helps motivate you.”
Moates-Homan recommends hiring a personal trainer or paying for a block of classes: “If we spend the money, we’re more likely to be there,” she says.
Find something that drives you, such as the desire to wear a bikini or be healthy for your kids, Leveille says.
Hirsch recommends thinking about the positive benefits you’ll receive from working out, like building strength, getting closer to a personal fitness goal and becoming healthier in general. Getting to the gym or studio is the hardest part, she acknowledges, but afterwards, “no one ever said, ‘I regretted that workout.’”