We have all heard these excuses or may have even used them before. Rather than flat out being honest and saying to yourself or your gym buddy that you just don’t feel like working out, you will resort to an excuse that makes it seem like you had the intentions of hitting the gym but some unavoidable circumstance made it impossible. I get it, we do this to protect our ego. Don’t get me wrong though, there are definitely valid excuses for missing the gym such as injuries, unforeseen life circumstances, etc. But individuals will use invalid excuses so often that they start believing them to be legitimate. So I have taken it upon myself to bust the two most frequent excuses I hear that prevent people from going to the gym with as much evidence as possible, mixed with common sense of course.
“I simply don’t have enough time”. I guess I hear this a lot because my age group includes a bunch of people deciding what they’ll do with their lives but c’mon, not enough time? Let’s say the average person my age (I’m 25 by the way) sleeps 7 hours a day, eats 2 hours a day, works 8 hours a day, and needs to socialize/rest another 2 hours a day. That leaves 5 hours to slip in a workout. People fall under the assumption that working out entails jumping into a full routine right away. Just start with anything. If it means going for 30 minutes and then slowly increasing the time you spend, then that’s a whole lot better than doing nothing. This gives you a chance to gauge how much time you are willing to spend in the gym. There are many things you can do to save time while working out. Familiarize yourself with all of the equipment so finding them during future workouts takes less time. In fact, the first thing I do at a new gym is scout the entire floor and memorize where all the equipment I could see myself using is located. If you have flexibility in the timings of your workouts, then get a general idea of when crowds build up in the gym so you can schedule around these times to avoid waiting for equipment. Plan your workout routines ahead of time so you consistently know what you are doing rather than spending time deciding what you will do next. Heck, you are less likely to get distracted by small talk from others if you wear a baseball cap and headphones. The moral of the story is that you can make time for the gym therefore “not enough time” is not a valid excuse, not in my books at least.
Okay, so you have enough time. But do you ever feel like you lack motivation to go to the gym, or maybe even feel depressed? Although the first excuse I spoke about is more common, this one is more relevant and here’s why. Most people believe that going to the gym is never an issue until they lose their motivation or hit a mental slump. We have all experienced this on multiple occasions which quite frankly should tell us that this is normal and not some unique state of mind. Motivation is not a crystalized characteristic in any of us. We have days when we are ready to destroy any weight that was unlucky enough to cross our path as well as days where the only thing that pushes us through a workout is the fear of disappointment for not doing so. Regardless of how you feel prior to your workout, the best thing to do in my experience is to create a mental movie of a goal you might have related to the gym. Make it something you can play in your head any time you need a solid reminder as to why you are hitting the gym. The best part about it is that it can be absolutely anything, of course the more goosebumps it creates the better. If you have the right determination for a goal, you will work for it regardless of your motivational state. Think of your journey to accomplish a goal as a fire. Just like motivation, a spark is only a means to start up that fire but determination is the fuel that sustains the fire and keeps it going strong. However, another noteworthy result of working out is an improved state of mind that is less likely to get depressed. Ironically, a workout can act as a protective factor against the same depressive state that can prevent you from working out in the first place. It can even diffuse negative emotions like sadness or anger. To be honest, the best workouts I’ve had were during times when I was dealing with anger. This is because my mindset changes from results-driven to controlled-rage-driven. I am willing to give every bit of energy I have in the gym with the hope that I won’t have any energy left afterwards to be sad or angry anymore. It’s a therapeutic experience that has worked very well for me.
We all work out because it’s something we enjoy for whatever reason we might have. But I’m speaking primarily to those who treat the gym as a lifestyle with a sense of purpose. When that’s the case, one of the worst things you can do is find an excuse for avoiding it although it may not be apparent at the time. Whether you know it or not, a lot of how you judge your character comes from how you perform in the gym. It tests your willingness to push through pain and discipline yourself, and to come out stronger. These feats can be translated into your daily lives on almost any occasion, and so you can use the gym to improve your character in the presence other situations.