Motivation Articles

Arm Yourself Against Exercise Excuses

Winning the Fight Against Yourself

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I got into a fight this morning. It was not a “discussion." It was not a “disagreement.” It was a full blown fight. No, it wasn’t with my wife or kids or even the other drivers on the highway. The fight started before work and even before anyone else in the house was awake. The person I had a fight with was myself.

You see, if I am going to exercise, it has to go like this: Up at 4:45 a.m., running by 5:00, in the shower by 6:00, and then out the door to work. Now, I never said it this routine was easy (thus the fight). Always on time, I was awakened by the shrill beep, Beep, BEEP of my alarm, signaling the start of the fight. It was on!

You must be kidding. I feel like I just went to sleep a few hours ago! FOR GOODNESS SAKE, IT IS DARK OUTSIDE!

Another excuse jab here: I’m tired!

A plea punch there: It’s dark!

A surprise shot in the dark: Don't get out of this comfy bed!

I kept moving during the assault as the barrage of excuses filled my mind. I slowly made it to the bathroom to find today's running gear where I left it the night before. Even there, the attack continued: I can't get up and run when it gets cold in a few months. Then I was hit from behind with another jab of justification: It’s too dark. I could get hit by a car!

I put on my armor to boost my strength and defend myself better. Socks on. Shorts. Shirt, shoes, and visor. Trusty iPod in hand. That was all it took to bring down the offender. The fight was over and I was out the door. Even then though I could roughly hear his voice from the distance telling me: Just run three miles instead of the usual five. But it was too late—I had won today by a knock-out!

That's how my battle went this morning, but in reality, it's a battle I fight every day. I’d like to say that I am an undefeated champion, but that would be a lie. Sometimes I do lose and the voice wins. Many people think that a personal trainer never misses a workout and never struggles with eating the right things (or staying away from the not-so-right things). But I struggle just as much as everyone else. It is not easier for me than it is for others. It all comes down to the moment of the decision—like 4:45 a.m. every morning. That is where the battle is won or lost.

We all know how important exercise is to our health. We all know we should be doing it, but we allow ourselves “outs” with what we consider justifiable excuses. You can excuse yourself out of anything if you keep listening to yourself long enough. You can let those rationalizations make sense if you try. But I have come to a personal conclusion, a motto of sorts:

I will do what I need to do, in order to do what I want to do.

If that means getting up at 4:45 a.m. then so be it. I want to be healthy for a long time. I’ve got a long list of reasons why. I like to feel good and feel good about myself. I like the way exercise and eating well make me feel. I want to be around to spend a long, healthy lifetime with my wife. I want to wrestle with my kids and laugh and play and see them grow up and maybe even give me grandkids and great-grandkids one day! I want to be in the "90 and up" age category in the local 5K! I will do what I need to do (exercise and eat right) in order to do what I want to do (live a full life).

I'll tell you something I don’t want though. I don’t want to cheat myself out of precious time because I didn’t do the things I should have to live that long life. I don’t want to rob my wife or kids of years they could have with me. I don’t want to stare at the ceiling in a hospital room one day thinking, “I wish I would have taken better care of myself and not allowed this to happen.”

I want to encourage others to do what they need to do to be healthy. I want to encourage you to stay in the fight and not give into the excuses. Nike still has the best excuse-buster I can think of: Just Do It! Does it mean getting up early even though you'd rather sleep longer? Just do it. Does it mean staying up later to hit the gym and cook a healthy meal? Just do it. Is it hot or cold outside? Just do it. You name the reason why you shouldn’t do it, and just do it anyway.

The fight will be on again tomorrow morning. Same time, same place. Wish me luck—no, wish me determination—and I’ll do the same for you! After all, we are in this fight together.

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Member Comments

  • The weather is my nemesis when it's windy and rainy.
  • I find it is easier to get my exercise in first thing in the morning. Maybe I am just too groggy to argue with myself when I first wake up. Ha! Ha! However, if I leave it until later, I can find a million reasons to talk myself out of it.
  • it took a while but now I love my early morning exercise...
  • It took me 5 years post bariatric surgery to embrace exercise. Now it is my "go to" to deal with my feelings and I actually miss it if my schedule is thrown off. I will find some way to include it every day. If I don't I am very crabby. I used to be a crab when I could not eat whatever I wanted. I will take the exercise crabby over the food crabby any day.
  • Sometimes motivation is hard; especially if you don't feel well.
  • I have been told that the reason I'm not losing weight is because I don't like exercise. I have this same fight, every morning, when I get up to do my 6 miles. I lie, to my self, every morning. "You can go back to bed, if you just put on your workout clothes." "You don't have to go very far - just to the end of the block." I do that for all 6 miles. I have a fitness tracker, so I know how far I go. It's good to hear that successful people have the same arguments.
  • Great article. I have not had a problem with motivation because I've been so excited about the Spark program and working out every day! Thank you.
  • ANNE-IN-GTX
    Excellent article...you pretty much described most of my summer mornings!!!
  • What a great article. Very informative and motivating. I can do this! Wishing you "determination" in your next fight!

    SparkCheers,
  • Great article! Can definitely relate.
  • Who would ever thought a personal trainer would struggle with same issues that us "regular" people struggle with--exercise and eating right. Thank you for being transparent and for the encouragement to do what needs to be done to live longer and healthier.
  • SMITHNANCY
    Me too realize the importance of exercise in life and the only thing which is keeping me behind is my hectic work schedule. I'm a working mother and I hardly get time for fitness. Can you please suggest workout schedule to upgrade my fitness.

    Thank you :)
  • Great article... Needed this struggle daily with this battle
  • I love this article and definitely needed to read it today!!!
  • This is one of the most motivational articles I've read. I'm so glad to hear that you get it! You're a certified trainer and YOU get it! Very inspirational too. Thank you!

About The Author

Jason Anderson Jason Anderson
Jason loves to see people realize the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. He is a certified personal trainer and enjoys running races--from 5Ks to 50K ultramarathons. See all of Jason's articles.

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