“I don’t have the time.”

This blog was directly inspired by my friend Lindsey who suggested I write about common excuses for not working out. I really liked this idea, and when she first gave it to me I had big plans. I was going to conduct a sort of informal facebook survey asking people what their number one excuse is for not working out in order to provide some evidence (minimal, yes, but evidence nonetheless) for what I was hoping to cite as the top excuse…

“I don’t have the time.”

But since I didn’t conduct the facebook survey (though I still might in the future, because I think the results could be super interesting), I’m just going to ASSUME that not having the time to hit the gym is a major reason why a lot of people who say they want to work out don’t work out.
(I apologize for the lack of a credible source on this one, and feel free to stop reading right here and now if you think everything I have to say on the topic is just going to be a load of bologna. But, let’s be honest… If not having the time isn’t number one, it’s certainly wayyy up there. Top 10 at least. So while I may not have the proof you so desire, I think we can all agree I’m not too far off the mark.) So, let’s get to it…

Life is busy. Life is hectic. Life is short.
We work. We go to school. We have families. We have social lives.
We’d rather relax. We’d rather have a beer and watch TV. We’d rather just be lazy.

Whatever your excuse is, there are plenttttty of other things to do than go to the gym on any given day of the week whether they’re productive or not. Some of us find ourselves busier than others, and some of us are making the switch from being previously responsibility-free to being a brand new TripAdvisor employee. (Or maybe that’s just me?)

For those of you who don’t know, I’m now working a full-time job, and I don’t have the same kind of time I used to have for working out. I also used to be a full time college student and a manager at a coffee shop, and my schedule had a habit of getting pretty tight. Long story short, I’ve definitely been acquainted with the idea being busy. Accordingly, work and school are probably the two biggest time-sucks there are, and they’re most likely the top two sources of the excuse in question; “I don’t have time.” 

Before I started working full-time it’s true that I definitely had more time to go to the gym. In fact, it was really my ONLY outing during the day. I had basically NO excuse to not be working out regularly, so I worked out a lot. However, working at TripAdvisor changed that. I now have an excuse to skip the gym, and it’s none other than the notorious “I don’t have time.” 

But instead of actually using that as a reason to slow down, I MADE the time to exercise; as all the motivational sayings go… you make the time, you find the time, etc. etc. Well, cheesy as they are, THEY’RE NOT WRONG. If you truly want to work out like you may say you do, then you will find the time to do so.

My work-out schedule now looks drastically different than it used to, and sure, I’m lifting half as much as I used to be and doing cardio twice as much. Sure it’s hard to motivate myself to actually GO to the gym on the weekends (one of the changes I made). Sure, this alteration is less than ideal. BUT, it doesn’t matter. I truly do want to work out, and this is what I have to do to make it happen. This is what I have to do to make the time. 

Now, I’m not trying to gloat or brag about how freaking insanely awesome I am for working full time AND exercising regularly like I’m somehow the only human being on the planet who’s managed the art of balancing work and fitness. Of course not. There are people in my office who go much harder; working later hours and hitting the gym more seriously than I do on top of actually eating a balanced diet and not just talking about it (…there’s an issue for another blog.) I’m not an idiot. I realize that this isn’t rocket science. Instead, what it really comes down to is the issue of motivation.

Let’s be real. THE TIME IS ALWAYS THERE. I mean, unless you’re the president of the United States (or something equally as demanding) I highly doubt you’re literally so busy that you can’t give an hour of your day to fitness. One hour. One single hour. Or maybe even LESS. 30 minutes is honestly plenty. And, even more honestly, you don’t actually need a gym.You could go rock climbing, or dancing. You could play sports or go swimming. You could go for a run outside or take the dog for a walk. You could roller blade (like I used to) if you’re interested in bringing the 80’s back. There are SOOOO many exercise options.

All you really need is the right mindset.

True, you may have to change, or shower, or freshen up, or bring a spare pair of clothes, or pack a post-workout snack, or this or that, and then there’s the time for the actual workout, and you might have to stretch before or after or maybe even both, and AHHH HOW WILL I EVER FIT THIS INTO MY MODERATELY BUSY SCHEDULE?!?! <- I feel like this is the overreaction too many people have…

So, when I hear people give this infamous excuse, I just want to laugh in their faces. Seriously.

I’ve been busy. I know what busy is. I’ve also been hugely lazy and wildly unproductive. I know what that’s like too. But no matter what my calendar looks like, I have almost always found the time to make it to the gym. I’m very consistent when it comes to this actually, because I just refuse to not go. If I have to miss a day that I normally wouldn’t, I make up for it on what would have been my off day. If I have to push my workout back a few hours to get something done, so be it. I do what it takes to make the time, because that’s the only way I’d be able to exercise like I want.

So now I encourage all of your to figure out exactly what your motivation is. Decide how much YOU want to work out; how much does it really matter to you? Decide what your goals are or what they’re going to be. Prioritize your days and decide where fitness falls. Then, if it lands high enough on the list, decide how much time you’re willing to dedicate to it, and then FIND that time in your life. Don’t wait for it to come to you.

If you take anything away from this blog let it be this sentence; if you really think you don’t have enough time in the day to exercise then you’re fooling yourself. 


– – –

Lastly I would like to address (very briefly) what I believe are some other common excuses for not exercising:

1. Lack of motivation.
This is easily the toughest excuse to overcome, and I can only give you advice based on personal experience… When I just really don’t feel like going to the gym, I don’t. If my motivation is that far gone, then honestly, my workout isn’t even going to be that great. It’s better in my opinion to skip a day, rejuvenate, and then get back to it the next day. However, here is where the line gets blurry because if you allow yourself to miss a workout too many times in a row it has a way of turning into habit, and suddenly you haven’t been to the gym in 4 weeks. So you really have to judge the situation; could you go to the gym and still make the best of it? How many other workouts have you missed that week? How have you been eating recently? How stressed have you been? Etc. If, after factoring all those other things in, you decide that it would be best to workout, but you just still don’t FEEL like it, here’s my personal-experience advice… I think about how much better I’ll feel once it’s done, and I allow myself what I call a “cheat workout”; doing my favorite exercises rather than just what’s on the agenda for the day. Cheat workouts are awesome because they actually help me look forward to gym-time when I’m less than motivated, and they manage to get me into the gym when otherwise I would have just stayed home. Give ’em a try on your next I-just-don’t-feel-like-it day, and of course, always keep in mind that you’ll feel GREAT after your workout. 🙂

2. I never have anyone to go with.
Dumb. Quit it. Stop relying on other people to get your butt to the gym.
In my opinion, fitness is a very very personal thing. Sure it can be great to have a gym-buddy to help motivate you or to provide competition, but when it comes down to it, your fitness journey is YOURS and yours alone. How far you go on the treadmill, how many calories you burn on the elliptical, how many pounds you can curl, or how many push-ups you can do all mean something very unique and specific to YOU. What you want to do in your workout, how long you want to spend doing cardio, how many resistance exercises you want to do, etc. should be up to YOU. Everything about your own fitness is only yours. The way that you understand, celebrate, or punish different parts of your fitness can not be equally understood by someone else. So relying on another person to make your fitness happen just really doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I encourage you to find a way to self-motivate so that having a gym-buddy can be a nice bonus rather than ever being a hindrance.

3. I have medical issues.
This is not something to be ignored for sure. One of the major cornerstones of fitness is AVOIDING hurting yourself. (What do you think I stress proper form for?) So performing exercises that may have a negative effect on your physical health is NEVER a good idea. But it’s also NOT a reason to skip out on exercise. As I mentioned earlier in this post there are endless different ways to exercise. Within a gym even there are tons of options; free weights, bar rack, assisted machines, cardio, body weight exercises, etc. There’s definitely something out there that you can do, all you have to do is find it!

I hope you are able to take these pieces of advice to heart and not only make it to the gym, but also make the best out of your workouts.

Pura vida, everyone!

– – –

As always, if you liked this feel free to visit Fit4Review’s home page to check out all the other fitness related posts! You’ll also find a variety of restaurant reviews mixed in among Fit4Review’s blog.

And, lastly, as much as I hate to do this… If you liked this post, please share! This blog is a baby and I’m trying to maker ‘er known! Thanks so much for reading! 🙂