Friday, September 07, 2007

Strategies to Excuse-Proof Your Workout

No More Excuses. Period.

If you've recently started an exercise program, research tells us that most likely 50% of you have bailed on your goals!

One study from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania showed that a quarter of people who resolve to lose weight and change their eating habits on January 1 will go back to their old ways within a week. The following shows how many of these resolutions are maintained as time goes on:

- Past the first week: 75%
- Past 2 weeks: 71%
- After one month: 64%
- After 6 months: 46%

You've probably experienced some challenges on your journey to your goal. How have your dealt with them? Perhaps it's time to recheck your motivation and inspiration.

If you're one of those who's already hung up your sneakers, let me get you back on track.

Here's a list of common excuses NOT to exercise and the combat strategies to overcome them:

I don't have time to work out!

This is the #1 excuse to never starting or quitting an exercise program. When life gets tough, exercise is usually the first thing to go which should be the last. Exercise is one of the best ways of boosting your mental sanity when you want to get the tough going. Research demonstrates that exercisers are more productive; i.e., exercise saves time rather than consumes it.

Exercise also doesn't have to be a huge time commitment. According to the updated Physical Activity Guidelines from ACSM and AHA, exercise done in as short as 10 minutes for 3 times a day can count towards the daily activity recommendation and still reap health and fitness benefits.

I have offered many efficient circuit training routines that combine strength training and cardio circuit exercise into a total-body balanced workout. In addition, I provide a wide variety of effective weight training routines. All these training programs are designed to help busy people to get their workout done in 45 minutes. Superset workout is one of the most effective weight training systems.

You can also exercise first thing in the morning so that it's scratched off from your "To Do" List. Morning exercisers tend to stick to their routines better than people who exercise later in the day.

I have no energy!

"I'm too tired to work out!" is another perpetual excuse. Long time exercisers know from their experience that exercise actually refuels and revitalizes leaving you with more energy.

If you feel too tired to run, you can go for a walk. Walking in fast pace and moderate intensity can be a good exercise for your brain and heart health. Once you start to get going, you'll feel great and may want to run again because more blood and oxygen are pumped to your brain and muscles. When you get into the grooves, try the high intensity interval training H.I.I.T. cardio to rev up your metabolism, melt away unwanted body fat and reveal your six pack abs.

I'm too old to exercise!

You're never too old to exercise! You simply cannot afford NOT to exercise.

A 30-year old sedentary individual will suffer from a 10% decrease in muscle mass, aerobic capacity and flexibility. Their bone density will deteriorate. By the age of 68, an 80% decrease in strength will be noted. By the age of 80, an individual would have lost one half of their muscle mass. If you incorporate exercise, particularly weight-bearing activities, this rate decreases dramatically. The positive benefits of exercise have been displayed in 90-year-old subjects.

So it's never too late to get started! You can still stay fit even if you're over 40! Mary Stroebe is 89 years old and has been placed first in her age group for the fifth year in a row in the Life Time Fitness Triathlon. The majority of 89 year olds are either debilitated or barely capable of moving, not to mention to do a triathlon that includes swimming, cycling and running. She is an inspiration to everyone who knows her story. She's strong and still running.

If you're still in doubt, check out Kelly and Colleen - national fitness champion mother/daughter duo. They look so lean and ripped. Guess how old they are? Kelly (mother) on the left is 75 and Colleen (daughter) on the right is 46 years old! WOW!! Aren't they amazing. Kelly didn't start weight training until she was 53 years old. So says who that you're too old to exercise. You should feel ashamed to use this lame excuse not to exercise.

I hate exercise!
In the beginning, exercise may feel like a chore. Eventually exercise will become a need for both your physical and mental health. It's important to find activities that you actually enjoy doing so that you'll participate regularly, see the results and get hooked. Use music, try lifestyle activities like hiking or walking, and add variety by cross training to your program to make it more fun. You can also choose many physical activities, sports and workouts by your personality.

Some studies have also shown that people who exercise with friends tend to achieve better results. So find a workout buddy, join a running club or take a group exercise class. Form your own "circle of fitness" with like-minded friends. The support system or mastermind group may make it difficult to skip workouts. Having other people there may make the journey a lot more enjoyable.

An alternative is to find a good cause for running other than for yourself. Train and enter a fund-raising event that help cancer patients and family. A very popular one is Team in Training organzied through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

When you want to stay in shape, be aware of who you're associated with. Research shows that your close friends can be very powerful in a good or bad way, even the long distance ones. Your friends can make you fat !?

There's also no evidence to suggest that exercise needs to be painful. If it hurts that much, you may be doing too much too soon. That's the #1 cause of injury. Watch out for signs of overtraining and potential injuries.

I'm too out of shape to exercise!

Some people are self-conscious about themselves. They feel intimated when going to gym to exercise in front of mirror and other muscle buffs. A survey found the #1 reason why people choose not to join a gym is because they want to get into better shape or lose weight first. This backwards approach may never get you to your goals.

Find a facility that is non-intimidating where you feel comfortable to go and work out there. In fact, people tend to focus on themselves in the gym than on others. So just focus on your own workout and don't compare with other people.

If the gym scene is not your thing, don't make that an excuse. There are literally hundreds of things you can do from the privacy of your own home to get in shape. Go to your local book store and pick up a book on designing your own program. Rent some fitness videos. Hire a personal trainer to come to your house and design a customized in-home training program for you. On-line training and coaching is available as well.

I have a back problem! My knees hurt! I've got arthritis!

The health benefits of exercise often outweigh the risks. Certain orthopedic or medical conditions may make exercise more difficult but you can work around most problems. Consult with a fitness professional who can design a program that addresses your specific concerns.

I don't see any results!
One of the biggest stumbling blocks new exercisers experience is that the effort often doesn't match the reward. They've been exercising religiously for 4 weeks and jump up on the scale. Ugh, no change! They feel the program must not be working and give up. Unrealistic expectations can be a real downer!

Instead of measuring your progress by the scale, measure your energy levels. Monitor how many more repetitions you can perform of any exercise. Assess how many more minutes you can perform of any given activity. You may be making more progress than you think! If you can get through the first three months, you've put the most difficult part behind you. Soon, you won't believe that quitting was ever an option!

I always forget something!

Set up your gym bag the night before and do a quick inventory of everything you'll need. Keep an extra pair of socks and shoes and spare workout shirt and short/ pant in the gym bag. Plan ahead and always keep a set of gym outfits in your car.

Going to the gym is such a hassle!

Bypass the waiting line to the cardio machine and workout out at home. You can do your cardio training by running or biking outside. Keep simple training equipment at home such as several pairs of dumbbells, a stability ball, mat, Pilates ring, resistance tubing or bands and jump rope. If your home space and budget allow, you can build a home gym by adding an adjustable weight bench, squat rack, barbell weight set, a treadmill or an elliptical trainer, etc.

Remember, bodyweight strength circuit training can be just as challenging and gruelling if you do them right!

Follow these real-world strategies to help you overcome those daily hurdles that keep you from reaching your exercise goals. Ultimately, your lifestyle change is the secret to lifelong health and weight management.

Learn top 20 ways to stick to your workout. >>

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1 comment:

Carey Yang said...

This article was included in Total Mind and Body Fitness Blog Carnival 27 hosted by

Thank you.

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