Are you still waiting for the "right time" to start your fitness program? Chances are one of the following four reasons is holding you back. Read on, and discover why NOW is always the right time to start improving your health!
"I don't have the time."
This is one of the worst excuses we hear in the fitness industry. The way I look at it, our bodies come with a warranty. Like any warranty, you must follow the guidelines. Page one of our warranty says: you must exercise on a regular basis in order to maintain optimal health. Study after study supports this position, and the information has been widely available for some time.
Those who are active and fit are 50 per cent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Modest weight loss through diet and exercise reduces the incidence of diabetes among high-risk people by about 40 to 60 per cent over three to four years.
Physically active men and women exhibited a 30 to 40 per cent reduction in the relative risk of colon cancer, and physically active women experience a 20 to 30 per cent reduction in the relative risk of breast cancer compared with their inactive counterparts.
Exercise training programs were found to prevent or reverse almost one per cent of bone loss per year in the lumbar spine and femoral neck in both pre-and postmenopausal women.
When aware of information like this, how can anybody say, "I don't have time to exercise?" It's like that old saying, "If you don't make time for exercise, you must make time for illness."
If, like many people nowadays, you truly are pressed for time from morning to night, I recommend going for a 20-minute walk, five days a week as a start. This is a very attainable fitness goal, and you will reap the benefits from this small commitment to yourself.
"I can't afford it".
This is a very common barrier that keeps people from starting a healthier lifestyle. "I can't afford an expensive gym membership" or "I don't have money for a personal trainer" is the mindset. However, when people look at where they spend their money and the return on that investment, it often makes sense for them to change their spending habits and prioritize their health.
I'll give you an example. Recently, I met a young man -- we'll call him Kyle. He wanted to join the gym, but said that he couldn't afford it (the monthly dues were high). Now, Kyle happened to be wearing a trendy parka and some very expensive headphones dangling around his neck. The cost of these two items alone would have paid for a year of his gym membership!
Of course, I have no issue with someone staying warm in the winter or enjoying their music privately, but if you make your mind up to prioritize your spending so that your health and fitness routine comes first, you can make it happen.
"I don't know where to start."
I have been fit and active from the time I was very young, and I will admit that it does come naturally to me. However, advanced accounting, web design and quantum physics are quite a challenge for me to understand! So, for accounting and web design, I hire a professional to help me. For quantum physics, I watch the Discovery channel (it's a bit of a hobby).
My point is that over the last 20 years as a personal trainer, I have had the opportunity to work with people who aren't naturally drawn to fitness. Many of them had little experience with exercise. And you know what? They were motivated to improve their fitness. They were willing to learn a few new things that they could enjoy and get better at, and that's what kept them coming back!
I've introduced Olympic weightlifting to architects, yoga to lawyers, and boot camp classes to seniors. The bottom line is -- start anywhere. If you see an activity that looks interesting, try it. It might be just the thing you've been looking for.
"Gyms intimidate me."
There are two things that intimidate new members at almost any gym. One -- the people. Two -- the equipment.
Very often, people who are "out of shape" are intimidated by those who are "fit." Believe me, there is no conspiracy or hidden agenda among fit people. They are not looking down their noses at anyone else who is in the gym exercising. They may not have a high regard for the inactive, but once you are inside the gym door and have made the same commitment to yourself that they have, you will undoubtedly have their support!
As far as the fitness equipment goes, there is a lot that is new on the market, and some of it does look confusing! Almost every gym on the planet offers their new members a fitness equipment orientation, and very often people don't take advantage of this service.
Don't be afraid to walk up to the fitness desk and ask for help, or ask to see a member of the floor staff. They will be happy to do this for you, as it limits their liability (people are more likely to injure themselves without an orientation), it is an opportunity to share their knowledge and it helps them get to know a new member.
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Sometimes the mind tries to trick us into rewarding ourselves prematurely. When you try to use the fact that you ate well for the day to rationalize skipping out on the gym, remind yourself that a nutritious diet is only half of the equation. “Eating healthy is great, but only part of the battle,” says Scott Malin, a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and co-creator of the Dynamics of Motion workout system. “Eating healthy is a critical factor in losing fat, but you need to work out to build lean muscle. And building lean muscle significantly increases your metabolism, which will help you burn even more fat.” Photo Credit: © Flickr / Slice of Chic Click Here to See More Lame Excuses for Not Exercising, and How to Overcome Them
Most fitness experts agree, this excuse is OK to use every now and then. After all, you do need to rest and it’s OK to give your body a day off if you feel overworked. But when this excuse is used over and over again, that’s when it becomes a problem. “It's OK to work out every other day, but you need to find a system and routine that works for you,” says Jillian Lama, a representative for Mind + Matter, a company that creates nutrition and lifestyle programs for people who want to improve their mental and physical health. She suggests signing up for personal training or group exercise classes to help ensure that you’ll stick to a regular workout routine. Photo Credit: © Flickr / palo
This excuse is probably one of the oldest in the books, but it’s also probably one of the silliest; when you’re feeling tired and sluggish, exercising is one of the best ways to boost your energy levels. When this thought is trying to lure you away from your workout, Malin recommends that you do a bit of bargaining with yourself. Say, “I’ll do just a few sets of resistance training or 10 minutes on the elliptical.” More often than not, you’ll start to feel better and end up finishing a whole workout. And even if you don’t, at least you did something rather than nothing. Photo Credit: © Flickr / andreavallejos Click Here to See More Lame Excuses for Not Exercising, and How to Overcome Them
She suggests planning ahead so that you can maintain a consistent exercise routine and a personal life at the same time. But if you’re really serious about your goals, don’t let happy hour or other distractions disrupt your progress. “You have to ask yourself how serious you are about getting results,” says Malin. “If excuses like this are going to derail you, then you are not serious about getting into shape and reaching your goals.” Photo Credit: © Flickr / Luigi Anzivino
Working out with a friend is a great way to help maintain your motivation, but when your buddy bails (for whatever reason) it becomes really easy to say something like, “Well, now I’m not going to go either.” Malin says that if you’re serious about the goals you set then the gym will be a priority for you no matter what, even if your regular routine is altered a bit. “Use it as an opportunity to do some different exercises then you normally would,” he said. Click Here to See More Lame Excuses for Not Exercising, and How to Overcome Them Photo Credit: © Flickr / Gregor
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