We all know exercise is good for us. Eating less and moving more are the cornerstones of maintaining a healthy weight but it’s not always easy to get moving. You look at your running shoes, you know you should put them on and hit the gym or go for a walk … but you come up with a myriad of excuses not to. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. We all have trouble getting motivated and the reasons are usually the same for everyone – not enough time, boredom and lack of motivation. But it’s time to ditch the excuses and we’re here to help.
No more excuses
SheKnows turned to fitness expert Valerie Orsoni, founder of weight loss program LeBootCamp and author of Le Personal Coach for excuse-busting advice. She’s in the business of helping people reach their weight loss and fitness goals, which often means ensuring excuses don’t get in the way of their progress. Her focus is on diversity and making sure people don’t end up in a fitness rut. “There are so many ways to get in shape without having to even think about it. Exercising does not mean having to be locked between four walls.”
She shares her tips for dealing with the most common reasons people have trouble sticking to a fitness plan.
Busting the top 3 workout excuses
Not enough time
The thought of adding an hour of cardio to your already bulging to-do list probably sounds impossible. Between work, picking up the kids from school, making dinner, cleaning up and squeezing in a few more work-related emails before bed, who has time to work out? But Orsoni has some simple solutions.
If you talk, walk: Whenever you’re on the phone you should be moving, she suggests. Pace the house, walk up and down the stairs or even walk around the block if you’re on a cell phone. Every step counts.
Make the most of line time: Stuck in line? Suck in your stomach as much as you can, focusing first on the upper abs then on the lower abs. Visualize your abs as sticking to your spine as a quick way to tone while you wait.
Shop stronger: Before you even start going up and down the aisles, pile up cartons of water bottles at the bottom of your cart to add weight to every step. You don’t have to buy the bottles, but the added pounds will help you burn more calories as you shop.
Move during commercials: Jump on a stationary bike if you have one, do a mini circuit of crunches, squats and lunges (10 of each until your show is back on) or work triceps and biceps by lifting cans of food or books.
Break it up: All of your cardio doesn’t have to be done all at once. Break it up in a way that works for your schedule – two 30-minute walks or even four 15-minute segments is fine as long as you’re moving.
Exercise is boring
If you can think of a million things you’d rather be doing than spending an hour on a stationary bike, you’re not alone. “Just running on a treadmill or climbing stairs on a Stairmaster can feel boring to most people, including me,” Orsoni says. She offers two solutions to this common workout excuse.
At the gym: Rather than slogging away on one machine, split your hour of cardio into six 10-minute slots on six different machines (or 30 minutes on three machines, depending on how much time you have). Doing so will prevent you from tiring too quickly and help you avoid boredom while toning different areas of your body.
Outside: If you have a backyard, grab a mat and a skipping rope and create a 30-minute circuit for yourself. Start with five minutes of cardio (skip rope, run in place or walk briskly around your neighbourhood), then alternate one minute of strength training (crunches, push-ups, squats, walking lunges) with one minute of cardio until you reach 30 minutes. Change your DIY circuit every time you head outside. Other options include hiking, joining a sports team, doing laps in your local pool or simply driving less and walking more.
Lack of willpower
Starting a fitness program is one thing. Sticking with it is entirely another. How many times have you vowed to get in shape only to let that promise fall to the wayside? Orsoni has a few tricks up her sleeve for keeping people motivated.
On weekends and days off (or if you work from home) put on your fitness gear as soon as you wake up, even if it it’s just for 45 minutes, suggests Orsoni. “Just wearing it will help you walk faster in the house and climb the stairs faster. Sweating it out a little bit right from the start of the day will put you in a good mood.”
Choose a time that works best for you. If you know you’re going to want to crash after work, either go straight to the gym from the office so you don’t have time to talk yourself out of a workout, or don’t try to fit in fitness when you’re at your most tired and vulnerable to excuses.
Enlisting a friend is also a great way to stay motivated. “Being accountable will make a major difference,” Orsoni says. Arrange to meet at the gym, walk or run together or head to a fitness class. If you need even more of a push, try working out with a group. “Being part of a group will help you get the right support when you don’t feel up to working out,” she explains.