Updated: Jan 19, 2021
In the coming weeks you are going to receive a lot of messages from the fitness industry attempting to motivate you to join a gym or other fitness program. Some of these message will be accompanied by a photo or video of a woman who is supposed to be representative of you, telling you there are "NO EXCUSES," because if she can do it, so can you.
How have these ads, memes or posts made you feel in the past? Have they motivated you in a positive way? Or have they made you feel inadequate, guilty or ashamed?
Let's dig a little. What ARE your excuses anyway?
Well, maybe you . . .
Struggle to secure reliable child care.
Have a partner who makes it difficult to carve out time for yourself.
Have trouble affording a trainer, gym membership, home-based program or equipment.
Live or work near a gym whose schedule is not compatible with yours.
Feel judged because of your age, gender or size.
Are not offered modifications to workouts that make you feel included and accomplished.
Believe that there is only one way to workout - operating at 100% output all the time even when you feel crushed.
Feel like your training program is not flexible enough to accommodate injuries, mood and other long or short-term limitations.
Fight fatigue during the day because your sleep is constantly interrupted by hot flashes.
Have depression, anxiety or another mental illness that affects your mood, motivation or self-image.
The list can go on, but let's be clear, these are NOT excuses. These are REASONS - legitimate reasons that affect your ability to show up consistently for a workout program.
And if you default to saying, "Hmmm, I'm just lazy," I challenge you to find a kinder and more true opinion of yourself. Ask yourself why you believe you are lazy. When you answer that question, ask why of that answer. It can take up to five Whys to uncover what is driving your choices. Chances are, your "lazy" is actually a legitimate barrier, like the ones listed above.
No one should attempt to make you feel inadequate or guilty for being a real person with real life struggles. Unfortunately, capitalizing on these feelings is a large financial driver in the fitness industry.
Remember this: NO EXCUSES are not just words to be shouted or all-caps-typed at you. To be truly meaningful, this statement must be reciprocated by the trainer or gym using it. You are placing yourself in the vulnerable position of looking to them for help. Are they willing to acknowledge your REASONS and help removewhatever barriers they can? If so, that is a sign of empathy, and the beginning of a successful partnership for your health journey!
So when you are confronted with #noexcuses, say #noway to feelings of guilt, shame or inadequacy that may creep up and, instead, identify your REASONS and find the support you need to work through them.