You think you don’t have enough time
I don’t dispute anyone’s busyness these days. We’re all putting so much energy into the rest of our lives, it seems we don’t have enough left for exercise. However, here’s a fact I often annoy my clients with: People who exercise don’t have more time than people who don’t exercise. The difference is, they carve out that time and set aside that energy, just for that workout. They make it important.
So, how do you do that? Start here:
Find some time: You know you can find some time to exercise. Maybe that means less TV or staying stuck at level eleventy nine in Candy Crush, but you can find it. Make it simple, 15 to 20 minutes, 2-3 times a week. This 4-week jumpstart program is the perfect place to start.
Put it in your calendar: Block it off just like any appointment. As you do this, your mind will come up with a bunch of reasons for why you can’t exercise. Just ignore it…it’s only afraid of failing, a fear you can overcome with patience and practice.
Pick your workout: It can be anything - A walk, a few weight training exercises or a mixture of both. Check out these timesaver workouts for ideas.
Prepare the night before: Get every single thing you need together - shoes, clothes, snack, water bottle, etc. That way you have fewer excuses to skip your workout.
Plan a reward: Each time you finish a workout, give yourself a little something. For example, if you do 15 minutes of strength training, you get 15 minutes to read a book or play Candy Crush Saga or whatever you enjoy doing.
Try this for two weeks and see what happens. Is it getting easier? Are you sticking with your workouts? If not, what could you do to change that? Experiment and you’ll become a more consistent exerciser.
You’re trying too hard
If you’re a bit of a perfectionist, you might make exercise hard for an entirely different reason: Doing too much, too soon. This is the person who shows up on day one ready to do every workout they’ve missed in the past 6 months…Pushups and burpees and squat jumps and what about a few pullups?
The problem? 1. You won’t be able to move the next day. 2. There’s a good chance you’ll injure yourself. 3. Doing exercise in this manner will eventually lead to hating exercise. Face it: You can’t exercise if you can’t move and you won’t want to exercise if you hate it. Instead, remember these facts:
You have to start slow: We want to make up for lost time, but the body doesn’t understand or care that you spent the last month eating every single cookie from that cookie exchange. What your body does know is that it has limits and it doesn’t want you to push those limits too hard or it will cause you to wince whenever you try to sit, stand or blink the following day. Start slow - like 3 days of moderate cardio for 10 to 30 minutes (like this) and 1 to 2 days of a simple total body strength program Here’s a 30 Day Quick Start Program for something more structured.
You have to be patient: Your body will build strength and endurance, but it needs time and practice to get into condition. You may have to experiment. If your program feels easy and you’re energetic the next day, you can probably ramp it up. Even if you’re a little sore, you can still do light exercise. However, if you wake up the next morning and require a crane to get up, go easier on your workouts. How a workout feels in the moment isn’t always a good indicator of how your body will feel later. Should I workout when I’m sore?
You have to experiment: Here’s the other thing: The first workout program you choose may not be the right one. There are a lot of things you have to get right to create a solid exercise program: The right time of day, the right amount of time, the right intensity, the right activities to keep you engaged, etc. Give yourself time to figure that out. But, the most important thing you can do: If you don’t like your workouts, don’t give up. Change them, try something different or work with a personal trainer to help you find something you’ll enjoy…or at least tolerate.
You give up too soon
Now, there are those who try so hard, they try themselves right out of exercise. And then there are those of us who give up on exercise as soon as something goes wrong. And, trust me, something will always go wrong.
The kids will get sick, the dog will eat your iPhone, you’ll lose a shoe, break a shoelace…these things will happen, but you still have to keep up some semblance of exercise. Here’s how:
Schedule your workouts: I’ve heard my clients say, “Oh, sure, I’ll workout tomorrow.” And when I ask what time, their eyes glaze over and they say, “Probably after the kids go to school.” That translates to: “When I get around to it,” which is probably around the same time I’m going to clean out the gooey lint behind my refrigerator. Find a time and commit to it like you’re paying for it. Hire a trainer and you will be paying for it.
Be flexible: Of course, there will be days when your child will choose that very moment to see how far a popcorn kernel will fit up his nose and you spend your workout time in the ER. Other schedule changes are less dramatic - Working late, a doctor’s appointment, bad weather…these are the times when you have to figure out how to avoid abandoning your workout. It might mean a shorter workout, something you do at work, or some extra time exercising the following day.
Know what to say to yourself when you’re tempted to skip your workout: Many of us skip the workout without much thought, mostly because we don’t want to feel guilty. But, if you stop and think about it, you can make an informed decision about whether or not to exercise. Ask yourself these questions before you decide and you’ll feel better about it.
Examine what’s behind your tendency to give up so soon: I’ve had clients who would cancel an appointment for a hangnail. That tells me this person really wants to be committed to exercise and they’ve hired me because they believe that will strengthen that commitment. However, if it isn’t there from the beginning, I can’t conjure it up out of nowhere, even with all of my magic powers. If it’s not there, explore why you’re not exercising. Are there fears standing in your way? Do you simply not know where to start? Figure out the problem and the solution will probably be right there in front of you.