Welcome back! This week, we’re discussing workouts. Whether you are an athlete or a novice, we hope to have some good advice for you. Here are some common excuses for not exercising and what you can do to beat them once and for all.
“I don’t have time to workout.”
Not to sound like Jillian Michaels here, but excuses much? Who has time to workout? You make time. Get up earlier and make sure to go to bed at the same time every night. Get plenty of sleep and get up when your alarm goes off the first time. Sleep in your workout clothes if that’s what it takes to get motivated. You don’t have to get up six hours before you have to be at work or before the kids will be up. I recommend getting at least an hour of exercise every day, but you can break that up in manageable segments. If you only have thirty minutes in the morning before you need to be in the shower, great! Work it, shower, and then find time to exercise the other thirty when you get home. Or maybe take advantage of breaks at work to do some squats and such. Workouts can be very portable and do not need to require equipment or large amounts of time. Also assess how you are spending your time. Do you have two hours for facebook or twitter, and time every evening to watch your favorite shows? Give them up, abbreviate the time, or multi task and voilà!
“I don’t have energy for exercise.”
As counter intuitive as it sounds, exercise provides you with energy. The more often you work your body, the more often your body can provide its own energy boost. Strength training, for instance, allows you to perform every day activities with less effort, thereby saving energy for that three o’clock hour when you normally crash through the floor and grab a latte. You might just find your morning mocha isn’t as necessary as you thought it was.
“I can’t afford a gym membership.”
Neither can I. I’ve never been in a gym, yet I’ve worked out for years. You can buy equipment for a home gym, or you can use what you have. You’d be surprised what you can accomplish with a step stool, two one-gallon jugs of water, and a towel.
Never underestimate fitness DVDs. Home videos have come a long way since Richard Simmons (though in no way am I dissing him. He’s FUN!). The advantages are many, including cost, privacy, and ability to pause when you have to pee or get the baby.
There are also many classes you can go to that are not associated with a gym, such as Zumba. Zumba classes are usually only $4 or $5 each class.
As Kim mentioned, there are many great video games, ranging from having a virtual personal trainer to dancing your booty off against friends.
Not really your thing? Don’t forget good old walking, jogging, running, or biking. Long standing exercises all, and for good reason: they work.
“I don’t have anyone to watch the kids.”
Higher end gyms offer child care, but you don’t have to be a gym rat to get fit. Many Zumba classes, for instance, offer free child care. Try trading off sitting with another mommy for fitness reasons (or maybe she needs a sitter for a hot date!).
If you can’t get away from them, have them join the fun! There are great jogging strollers on the market for active mommies to take baby for a run. You can try mom and baby yoga. Both my kids (5 years and 15 months) love to do yoga and to dance. You can get a great workout on a playground while they play right next to you. Go swimming! Hiking! Bike riding! (I do not recommend bike seats for small children, however. They are not safe. Wait until they can ride their own bike.) Play a sport together! You’ll get fit, bond, set a good example, and wear the kids out so they sleep good in the evening. Everyone wins!
“Working out is boring.”
You aren’t doing it right. You can’t keep the same routine for five years and expect it to be fascinating. If it’s boring, change it. I change mine up every five or six weeks, keeping a separate calendar just for my fitness routine and goals. Running on the treadmill? Go outside or try running backwards (seriously!). Is your walk boring you? Grab a pal and chat while you hit a local park. Change your DVD, try a new class, challenge yourself with a heavier pair of dumbbells, add some jumping jacks between sets, try interval training, or race a pal. Reward yourself with non-food goodies, like a new fitness DVD or some cute workout clothes. Mani-pedi, new shoes, that dress you’ve had your eye on…set a goal, accomplish it, and it’s yours! Everyone needs some motivation now and again. Goals like, “Not be fat by March” are just not good enough to keep you interested, and they’re too vague.
“Sweating is gross.”
Yeah. It kinda is. However, you don’t have to sweat like a Gatorade commercial. There are plenty of gentle exercises that don’t cause you to perspire profusely, such as yoga, tai chi, or walking. You can always bring a towel to dab off. And if all else fails, plan to shower immediately afterwards.
“I have bad knees.”
If you have some physical condition that keeps you from doing certain things, then you already know what things you can’t do. You need to learn to think more positively and focus on what you CAN do. I know many women with bad knees who love to swim, saying it is much easier on their joints. You can do many low-impact exercises if your joints are an issue. There is even a Zumba instructor that is in a wheelchair because of a physical handicap. She’s still exercising with what she can do, and that’s what you need to do too.
Kim mentioned exercise-induced asthma. I have that condition too, but notice I didn’t say I’m an avid runner. I know my limits, and the condition for me lessens the stronger my lungs become from cardio. I go to Zumba once a week, strength train once a week, hike with my thirty pound baby on my back in a backpack carrier three times a week, and do yoga twice a week. I almost never have an attack, and if I feel I’m exerting myself too hard, I take a break to breathe.
Tips and Tricks
- Schedule in time to exercise like you would a work meeting, doctor’s appointment, or play date. If someone or something tries to take that time, you are booked. You have an appointment with yourself, and if you don’t put yourself first, no one will.
- Exercise and food work together. Food is fuel. If you eat crap, you’ll be running on crap all day.
- Take a day off every now and again, especially if you feel very ill or aren’t feeling it. You’ll enjoy the time off and hopefully be more interested in jumping back on the workout wagon the next day.
- Know your limits. Don’t give 112% or you might well end up injured. That goes double if you haven’t tried a workout before. Sometimes you can’t tell how sore you will be until a day or two later.
- Watch your form. Having a poor form can cause injury, limit results, or drain you too quickly.
- Results won’t occur overnight. It might be six weeks before other people really start to comment on your weight loss or tone, but you will notice a difference in your strength and energy almost immediately. Keep it up!
- Having a fitness friend is fun, but it’s also a great motivator. You are now accountable to another person. You don’t want to let them down or have them disapprove, so you go do your thing. Try sites like sparkpeople.com to find online communities of like-minded folks.
|My friend Allisse and I after a Zumba class. Glamorous. I know.|
- Little things add up. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk or bike to work (even just once a week), do five or ten minutes of exercise during a break, sit on an exercise ball to engage abs while at the computer (or stand!), and dance like a crazy person at your girl’s wedding. Hubby and I like to go on active dates where we play basketball, hike, walk, or go bowling. You can try rock climbing, zip lining, or horseback riding. If it’s fun, you’ll be less likely to view it as exercise, but it is! It all counts! Don’t forget sex!
- Don’t make too many changes at once. Start by requiring yourself to walk thirty minutes, three times a week. If you keep that up for a week or two, step it up to forty-five minutes, or five days a week. Habits aren’t formed until you’ve done something four months in a row, so it’ll take some time to ease yourself into a new routine. You don’t want to start a new job, pick up exercising seven days a week, get pregnant, move to New Zealand, learn Portuguese, begin volunteering at the homeless shelter, change the way you eat, learn to knit, and quit smoking all at the same time. You’ll blow a gasket and give up something…and that something will probably be working out as it takes a good deal of time and effort.
- The scale measures weight. That may seem pretty obvious, but your scale lists a weight and not a height, not a measurement of body fat (unless you have that special one, though they aren’t always accurate), not a measurement of beauty, brains, or wit. You are more than your weight, and whether you gain or lose, if you feel good about yourself, you have nothing to fear from the scale. Muscle and fat weigh the same, but muscle takes up less room than fat. So if your pants are looser, but the scale is being stubborn, be proud of the fat you changed to muscle. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and pretty soon you’ll be looking down at a number you love.
- Indulge every once in a while. I love chocolate. I would smack someone in the face if they suggested I not eat it ever again. Do what makes you feel good, but within reason. If you can’t give up your morning cup of joe, at least don’t have a 64 ounce caramel mocha super espresso double shot with extra syrup, cream, and lard. Watch serving sizes. Have one cup the way you want it and be done for the day.
Hopefully you’ve taken some valuable things away from our posts this week. We hope you check in again next Monday on our nifty new topic. Until then, farewell!