I want to admit something upfront – I am single, I have no kids, and I work from home. So in comparison to many of you, I probably have a bit more leeway in terms of how much time, energy, and money I can dedicate to exercise. I don’t want to undermine the fact that many of you feel stretched to your limit in terms of time, energy, and money, and at the end of the day don’t have much more to give to anything else. But let me tell you about what is on my plate – I have a full-time job, a part-time job, and I volunteer several times a month with several organizations around Atlanta. And of course I work on my blog, as well as a few other things I currently have in the works (an ebook, an app, etc…you will find out more about these in the next coming months). So yes, I’m a very busy person too, like all of you.
Still, there’s no denying that exercise is an integral part of getting healthy. Can you lose weight and/or improve your health without exercise? Yes, absolutely. You can control those things just with diet. But I’d rather not lose all this weight and end up looking like a deflated balloon. I want muscle tone, and plus it actually makes me feel good when I’m doing strength training or running – it’s a great stress reliever and I feel stronger. And, don’t your kids deserve a healthy parent, and your spouse/significant other deserve a healthy mate? Most of all, don’t you owe it to yourself to be the healthiest person you can be?
So let’s take apart the Excuse of the Month, and discuss why it doesn’t hold water:
I don’t have enough time to work out.
My first job starts at 8am, ends at 5pm, then the second job starts normally at 5:30pm/6pm, and usually ends around 9pm or 10pm during the week, so I understand being busy and having a hard time squeezing in time for exercise. There’s no easy way to put it, but basically you have to fit in time when you can, whether it be early before work (this is what I do, from 6:30am – 7:30am), during your lunch break, or after work. Maybe even break it up during the day. My rule is that I have to do at least 20 minutes of something. You don’t have to go hard core, but 20 minutes of daily exercise can help you to start to get in the habit. Walking is probably the easiest thing you can do to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
Try other things like parking further from the store or your job. If you take public transit, get off at a stop further from your destination and walk the rest of the way…start small, and build up from there. Going to the mall? Park on the opposite side of the mall so you can get in a little walk to the store where you want to shop. If you travel for work, like I do, inquire about using the hotel gym. If you have to, there are all kinds of machines and gadgets out there that you can use to get in some cardio while watching tv.
Making time to work out also means scheduling and prioritizing other tasks. For example, the reason I do meal prep on Sundays is because with my work schedule I don’t have much time during the week – and if I didn’t do it then and had to cook during the week, that could take away time from working out during the week. Reassess how much time you spend doing other tasks, so that you can prioritize time to exercise.
I don’t have enough money to work out.
I’ve been broke before; I’ve experienced unemployment and underemployment, so I get it. In comparison to rent and lights, a gym membership and exercise classes may be considered a luxury. You can’t give up; you have to put in some effort and do a little research. And if we really are honest with ourselves, look at your bank statement from the past 90 days and count up how much money you’ve spent on buying little luxuries (eating out, alcohol, cigarettes, that fancy cup of cappuccino, those shoes on sale you had to have, junk food, premium cable, night out at the movies, etc), and you’ll see that you may have more disposable income to spend on exercise than you think.
You can find some low-cost deals on exercise classes on sites like Groupon and Living Social, or you can find a discount gym like Planet Fitness where you can get a membership for only $10/month.
Most cities have parks you can go to for free, or allow you to climb bleachers and walk around the track when the local high school and college stadiums are empty. Or just walk around your own neighborhood. Bad weather, or don’t like working out in public? There are plenty of workout videos you can find online or go to the library and check out some workout videos for free. I follow a couple of channels on YouTube with great health and exercise tips and workouts, such as Brick Build Apparel, DivaSlimsDown, JLovesMac1, and Lyzabeth Lopez.
I don’t have enough energy to work out.
Like I said before, I’m a busy person as well, so I understand feeling drained by the end of the day. Sometimes I’m just tired and don’t feel like doing anything. The crazy thing about exercise is that it can give you a boost of energy; however, it does takes time. If you have not been exercising for the past year, then yes, you are going to feel tired in maybe the first month or so of working out. Give your body some time to catch up.
Listening to music during exercise could help as well; the right mix of beats and lyrics and help give me a little energy boost. On a typical day I’m usually listening to something smooth like neo-soul (Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Eric Roberson), jazz (Esperanza Spalding), and old-school r&b (Earth, Wind, and Fire; Isley Brothers), but when I work out, it’s another story. I usually listen to a mix of rap and hip hop to get me going, like this mix of dirty south hits or maybe some 2 Chainz, Kevin Gates, Beyonce, Young M.A., Kendrick Lamar, or T.I.
I do want to recommend talking to your doctor however, as there could be underlying medical conditions that could be causing your lack of energy and may require treatment. I’ve dealt with this myself, so I can’t stress this part enough.
What do you all think? What would be your response if one of your friends or loved ones used these same excuses? Do you have any other recommendations to help people avoid these excuses? I’d love to hear your feedback!
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and cannot provide medical advice. Please speak with your physician before starting an exercise program.