We’ve all been guilty of skipping the gym because we’re “exhausted” or “too busy” — but when we do that, we’re only cheating ourselves. Here’s how to train yourself to stop making excuses and get on the fast-track to the body you’ve always wanted.
If there were medals for procrastination, many women would be champions. For some reason, when it comes to exercise, lots of us ladies are experts in convincing ourselves it’s okay not to do it. Do you want to feel fit, healthy and fabulous in your own skin? It’s time to ditch the excuses and stop putting exercise off once and for all.
Excuse: “I’m too busy”
Between work, study, kids and a social life, it’s easy to feel like you’re living life in the fast lane. The fact is, we’re all busy, but maintaining our health should be the number one priority. Too many women put their jobs, families and other “obligations” before themselves — it’s just how we’re wired — but you need to make time for yourself. So, how can you fit a workout in when you’re feeling overwhelmed?
Get over it: The answer? Treat exercise like any other task. Finding the time to hit the gym or get to a park on a crazy day comes down to habit and routine. Just like you schedule in meetings and family dinners, add exercise to your diary and keep the “appointment”. In terms of how often you should work out, aim for three 30-minute cardio sessions (walking, running, spinning) and one weights or Pilates class a week. If you can squeeze it in on your lunchbreak or in the morning, you’ll have more time in the evening to relax. Remember, motivation is a psychological thing: If you convince yourself you “don’t have time” to exercise, then you won’t do it.
Excuse: “I’m tired”
Sometimes we just can’t be bothered working out. Whether it’s because you’re genuinely tired or just lazy, it’s natural to have an “off” day every now and then. If you’re feeling tired, one of the best things you can do is lace up those runners. Exercise wards off lethargy by getting your blood circulating, and it’s hard to think about how tired you are when the music is pumping and your pulse is racing!
Get over it: The hardest part is getting to the gym. When you’re there, promise you’ll just do 10 minutes and give yourself permission to leave after that. Chances are, once the endorphins start flowing and your heart rate is up, you won’t want to leave. Exercise is like filling your tank with petrol: You may feel empty and sluggish beforehand, but afterwards you’ll be buzzing with energy and feeling pretty damn good about yourself. If that fails, get a workout buddy — you’ll be less likely to skip the gym because you won’t want to let them down.
Check out why working out with friends is better >>
Excuse: “I don’t even know where to start”
So you want to work out but have no idea how? That kind of doubt is a hurdle, but trust us, once you start exercising and reaping the benefits, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Sure, starting a new exercise regime can be daunting, but it’s truly one of the best things you can do for your mind, body and soul!
Get over it: Thinking about starting isn’t going to give you a body like Miranda Kerr. Take a leaf out of Nike’s book and just do it. If you’re new to exercise or the weights room freaks you out, get some help from the experts. If you’ve just signed up to a gym, ask one of the staff members to demonstrate how to use the equipment. It’s a great idea to invest in a few personal training sessions to motivate and make sure your technique is spot on. Spin, boxing and Pilates classes are also fun yet challenging learning environments.
Excuse: “I’m self-conscious”
Are you intimated by the Jessica Alba lookalikes at your gym? Does the thought of getting all hot and sweaty in front of a bunch of beefy blokes put you off? It’s normal to feel self-conscious in those kinds of situations. The good news is, with a bit of trial and error and a few strategies up your sleeve, you can boost your confidence and, with it, your willingness to work out in front of other people.
Get over it: Remind yourself that everyone on the treadmills or doing the coastal run is only concerned about themselves — meaning they really don’t care about you or what you’re doing. The best thing to do is put your headphones in, blast your favourite tunes and focus on yourself. Avoid going at peak times and ignore everyone else. If you’re still not comfortable, the vibe of your gym may be getting you down. It’s really important to choose a gym that is friendly, supportive and safe and meshes well with your personality. If your gym doesn’t fit those criteria, shop around for another one: An all-female gym or a holistic health club might suit you better.
Excuse: “I’m not seeing results, so what’s the point?”
It’s happened to the best of us: We’ve slogged it out for weeks on end only to jump on the scales and discover that nothing has changed. Cue a slight depression and the influx of negative thoughts like “all that hard work was for nothing!” or “what’s the point?” There’s a “fitspiration” slogan that says it takes four weeks for you to see your body changing, eight weeks for friends and family to notice and 12 weeks for the rest of the world. Don’t give up just yet — the healthier, slimmer, more energetic you is on the way.
Get over it: Any trainer will tell you: You can’t expect results overnight. If you put the work in, your body will change — it has no choice, really — but it may take some time. It’s hard not to feel discouraged when the weight isn’t falling off and your muscles are taking their sweet time to tone up, but you just need to remind yourself that the benefits will come. If you’ve been slogging it out for months and are not getting anywhere, it may be worth reassessing your regime. Evaluate your diet and lifestyle, enlist a personal trainer to design a custom program, or join a boot camp to up the ante.