Sometimes I don’t work out.
There, I said it.
My clients will gasp when they read this I’m sure. Or they’ll be thinking
“Why the hell do I have to if my trainer doesn’t!?”
Both understandable reactions.
As a Personal Trainer, there are some unwritten expectations set out for me, as there are with every career path no doubt. All dentists have perfect teeth, all mechanics drive cars that run perfectly, all accountants can account. You know, the usual.
One of the super-human feats that seems to be expected of every personal trainer is that we workout ALL the time. Oh, and we LOVE it.
I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve met someone new and they ask me
“So, do you work out with all of your clients?”
As far as I know, the only people who work out for 5-10 hours a day are movie stars or professional athletes. Either way, they’re getting paid a lot more than I am to turn their bodies into temples.
Working out is hard.
It’s uncomfortable, it’s inconvenient, it sometimes hurts (in the good way of course. Are trainers still the only ones that believe in “good pain”?).
No matter what those happy fit people in the TV commercials say, it’s not actually that easy to grind out a workout
As a personal trainer, I’ve become exceptionally good at finding reasons NOT to work out.
Anything from “my throat hurts, I don’t want to take a chance of getting sick” to “I just ate so I’ll do it later… oh look at that, I have no more breaks today! Oh well, I guess today is a rest day!”
Yes, it happens. Even to the people everyone thinks are the healthiest.
So why am I telling you all about my dirty little secret of avoiding workouts and making excuses?
Because you do it too. And if you don’t, I’d really like to know your secrets!
The good thing about acknowledging this about ourselves is that once we know it’s a pattern, we can work to change it.
Here are some strategies that have worked for myself and my clients when we’re in Excuse-Making-Mode.
For me, when I’m in Excuse-Making-Mode it helps to talk about it to someone I know will keep me accountable. I’m fortunate enough to work at a gym so there’s no shortage of people here to tell me that my excuses are just that, and that I’ll feel “so much better” once my workout is done.
For my clients, I might be the one they reach out to when they’re having one of those days where exercise just doesn’t seem possible. The point is to get in touch with someone you know can empathize but also remind you that you’re probably just trying to talk yourself out of doing something uncomfortable.
Sometimes I like to take Nike’s advice and
Just Do It.
Whenever I catch myself making excuses for why I don’t need to exercise I’ll take that as my cue to get changed and get to the gym. I’ll go with the intention of being at the gym for 30 minutes and doing something. Anything.
Most times I’ll get there and end up having an awesome workout because the pressure is off. Keep in mind that something is always better than nothing, and is still a step in the right direction.
Some other popular strategies include focusing on the good feelings you get after your workout, looking at how far you’ve come, or reminding yourself of why you committed to exercising in the first place.
Sometimes you won’t win the battle. Sometimes the reasons for not doing something will out-weigh the reasons to do it.
The trick to dealing with this is to know that there’s nothing wrong with that and that it happens to all of us.
Making yourself wrong for, say, missing a workout only leaves you feeling more defeated and down.
Instead, recommit to your workout the next day, or find another time in the week that’s better suited for your schedule. Simple fix, no need to beat yourself up about it. Just move on in the direction of your goals.
Life is fluid and not every rigid training plan will fit into it. You can design your gym life to fit into your real life, it’s all about being flexible enough to stay consistent and take things in stride.
I’d like to emphasize that this isn’t just about working out.
The reasons we have for avoiding exercise can also be used to avoid anything in our life that we find uncomfortable.
“I don’t want to break up with my boyfriend so I’ll just make myself really busy and distant”
“I don’t want to do my homework so I’ll clean the house instead”
“I don’t want to go out tonight so I’ll tell my friends I’m not feeling well”
As you can see, we reason and excuse our way out of a ton of things that we think might be uncomfortable.
What if we just push past that discomfort?
I can make up reasons not to shower, but I won’t let those reasons stop me from showering.
Ok, weird example but I hope you get the gist.
People who have reasons and excuses but don’t let them get in the way of their progress will surely see results. In fitness, and in their every-day life.
On the flip side, if you’re the person that lets those reasons and excuses affect your actions (usually by causing inaction) you’re probably still wondering why that workout plan (you know…the one you never do) isn’t working for you.
So, next time you’re trying to talk yourself out of a workout, plans with friends, showering, or anything you know is beneficial to your overall well-being, stop and consider that all of the reasons and excuses in the world can’t stop you from living your best life.
Action, despite reasons and circumstances, is our direct line to success at anything we want in life.