Know Excuses

You think I made a typo with that title, don’t you?  Oh, she means NO EXCUSES, right?  She must have been in a mad rush and typed it wrong.  Nope- I meant what I typed and that is to KNOW your excuses and recognize them for what they are…excuses.  Most people fall victim to the scourge of invalid excuses.  There are a few valid reasons to skip a workout, prevent you from starting a workout program or from eating sensibly.  Death, paralysis, a terminal illness- and I’d even argue the point on the latter two as it doesn’t prevent many folks who are paralyzed or facing terminal illness from being active and working up a sweat.

The most popular excuse is time, or more accurately the lack thereof. I don’t have time to workout.  I don’t have time to prepare meals.  I don’t have time to journal what I eat.  To that I say it is time for a reality check…

Look, I get that time is valuable.  I understand that most folks are working eight, ten, maybe even twelve hour days.  Even though I’m a stay-at-home Mom, I spend a good chunk of my time shuttling my children around – to and from school, activities, playdates, keeping the house in the best order I can, making sure we have groceries & household items on hand when we need them, fixing meals and basically wearing over a dozen job “hats” in my daily life…chauffeur, personal assistant/shopper/chef to 5 people, janitor, nurse etc.

Take a good long look at your calendar.  Actually, do better than that.  Have a pad on hand with you at all times throughout one given day and journal your activities throughout the day.  Chronicle how you are spending the sixteen or so waking hours in your day.   See how many minutes you spend surfing the net or watching television- anything other than getting yourself dressed, commuting to work, actually working and all the other essential uses of your time.   I’m willing to bet you can find at least 30 free minutes you can devote to exercising- even more if you’re willing to split up the time throughout the day.

For the legitimately time-crunched who find they can’t squeeze in more than 10 minute segments of exercise at a time, there are still ways you can get a workout in.  Click here for a 25 Fast and Easy Ways to Fit in 10 Minutes of Exercise Per Day courtesy of Prevention Magazine.  Beachbody also has a great 10 Minute Trainer program that targets every major muscle group in just ten minutes.

Once you determine you do in fact have the time to workout, schedule it!  I use Google Calendar to keep tabs on our kids’ busy schedules and I also use it to schedule my workouts.  Make your designated workout time non-negotiable. Think of it as a very important appointment and treat it as such.

As far as the time needed for preparing healthy meals, it’s not that difficult or time-consuming to do either.  If you must, plan out your meals in advance over the weekend and prep everything on Sunday (or whichever day you happen to have off).  I’d argue that you’d spend more time waiting in the drive-thru lane at fast food restaurants each weekday or driving to & waiting for your meals at a sit-down restaurant than you would have if you had simply prepped your meals at home.   You can find a great list of quick, healthy meal cookbooks here or just find recipes that appeal most to your tastebuds by surfing the net.  There are a number of foodies out there who have devoted a great deal of time and energy into crafting healthy recipes for common comfort foods and, thankfully, they usually love to share their recipes!

Know your excuses so you can defeat them with logic (and maybe a little sheer force of will). So take that excuse of “I don’t have enough time” and kick it to the curb where it belongs once and for all.

Continuing my Know Excuses series, we are moving on to another popular excuse…”I don’t have the money to join a gym” or “I don’t have the money to get a treadmill/elliptical/stationary bike/exercise equipment” needed to workout. To both of these, I call BS yet again and am armed and ready to deliver another small dose of tough love.

Oh, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, you’re thinking. She doesn’t know the true sad & sorry state of my finances. True, I don’t have access to your bank statements, wallet or pocketbook. But it’s a pretty safe bet you have your own body weight (and body weight can be the very best resistance tool you can use- hence the power of push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, tricep dips, planks, burpees, mountain climbers and a variety of other exercises in which no equipment is required other than your very own bod). And it’s a pretty safe bet, there’s a sidewalk near you…or maybe even a lovely trail that you can use to walk, jog, run at full speed, bike or merrily skip down.

If you evaluate your spending, you may very well find room in your budget for a gym membership, personal training, equipment or whatever else you feel you need in order to get moving by cutting out unnecessary spending (i.e. fast food or restaurant meals etc.). In so doing, you’ll likely be eating healthier as well- double score!

For the exercise options that do cost $$, there are many affordable options out there for the taking. If you’re the type who feels they truly need a gym to get a routine going, there are some fairly inexpensive options out there. Call around your nearby gyms and see what deals they’re offering right now and you may be able to find an affordable, no-frills option near you. If you find a workout program that intrigues which requires certain exercise equipment, check out www.craigslist.com to see if you can find used dumbbells, resistance bands, kettlebells, whatever you’re looking for. If you love to work out on an elliptical, treadmill or stationary bike, you may also be able to find a good deal on www.craigslist.com or your local classifieds as, unfortunately, many of these pieces of equipment wind up being used more as a clothes hanger than a piece of exercise equipment. Heck, you may even know someone who has one that’s been collecting cobwebs and dust. Ask around!

If you’re just starting out and feel really unsure about proper form when it comes to strength training, as well as what type of cardio you should do and for how long, you may be able to find group personal training programs at different gyms. These programs are usually a lot more reasonable than the cost of one-on-one personal training. Again, call around and ask. Talk to friends, neighbors, your family about their own personal recommendations on local gyms and personal trainers as well.

Finally, check into the wide variety of workout programs available on DVD that you can do in your home. Again, ask the folks around you for their recommendations. Read online reviews. Go ahead and check out the Beachbody store on my site at www.coachpetrina.com for complete Beachbody programs. If you have any questions about programs or need some suggestions, contact me.

Speaking of Beachbody programs, Slim in 6 is a great 6 week program that comes complete with a Step-by Step Nutrition Guide and a resistance band for only $59.85. It’s an affordable option that’s perfect for starting an exercise program.

 

Chances are this six week program would cost less than you would spend on six weeks worth of a gym membership and the gas you’d spend driving to and from the gym. And, you’d get online support not only from me, your Coach, but also a whole network of peers online at www.teambeachbody.com. For the biggest bang for your buck, get the whole enchilada of fitness, nutrition & support/accountability by taking the Beachbody Challenge!

Don’t let money be yet another excuse holding you back from getting in shape. Find free or low cost options and start a program now. Your health is an EXCELLENT investment.

Moving on to Part III of my Know Excuses is the ever popular catch-all “I’m too…” excuse. As in “I’m too old to start a fitness program” or “I’m too fat to work out” or “I’m too weak.” Let me hereby clear you of such nonsense.

Too old to start taking care of yourself and making your health a priority? Did you hear about the 71 year old woman who set the Guinness Book of World Record for holding plank position? Or how about the 100 year old man who recently ran a full marathon- and who hadn’t even started running until the age of 89. 89! Why bother, you figure? The answer to that question is all around you- it’s in the mirror as you face your reflection, the faces of those you love and who love you. You could not only add years to your life, but also quality to those years. So, why not?

Too fat or too weak to start? I hear you and I felt EXACTLY the same way years ago. My path to transformation came not from an urge to even make a transformation (at 240 pounds and in my early 30s, any sort of transformation seemed ridiculously out-of-reach and, therefore pointless), but rather to help my sister out in her quest to stick to Atkins. I was one of those who would have simply thrown up my hands and said, “what’s the point?” One of my greatest regrets during my year-long Atkins experiment was that I didn’t start up a fitness regimen while I was dieting. I could have been gaining muscle while I was losing weight. I would have gotten stronger as I was getting smaller. Now that I’ve learned how wonderful it is to be able to run and play with my kids, how beautiful muscle looks, how awesome it is to be able to discover just how much my body is capable of doing, I wish I could go back in time and shake some sense into myself and started on the path to health sooner! All those years spent huffing and puffing on stairs, all the times I said I was too tired when my then toddler son Spencer (now almost a teenager!) wanted me to play with him or take him to the park…it makes me very sad to think back to those times.

One of the motivational pictures I’ve recently come across pretty powerfully stuck with me, inspiring these “Know Excuses” pieces. It was a clearly obese woman in workout gear, lying on her back on the floor looking utterly spent with the words “You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great.” I wish I had the good sense to realize that back when I was obese…that I had been that woman lying on the floor after pushing my limits- then slowly becoming amazed at just how limitless my body’s potential was rather than waiting until I was smaller to even try to push those limits.

Before throwing your hands up in the air and saying “I’m too old/too fat/too weak/too whatever” to work out, check with your doctor. Chances are you’re not too old, too fat or too weak to start out. And that’s my last dose of tough love- unless of course you’ve got another excuse floating around. If so, contact me and I’ll be happy to debunk it for you.

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