The Top 5 Excuses Not to Exercise & How to Beat Them

Article posted in: Fitness
woman yawning


We’ve all made them at some time or another: To ease our tardy selves into a meeting at work, to justify why the Chinese restaurant treats our dinner delivery as a standing order, or to logically explain to our emotions why we didn’t give that homeless man a dollar.

Some excuses are valid. You were late for work because the baby spit up on your suit jacket or there was an accident on the freeway. It doesn’t happen often.

Some excuses are, well, just excuses–like the ones we tell ourselves when it is time to hit the gym or when we conveniently forgot to do our crunches for the day. We all do it. From “I’m on my feet all day at work,” to “I don’t want to sweat, shower and redo my hair,” to “Working out just makes me hungrier,” many of us have a well-stocked arsenal of why we can’t.

Instead of exercising our brains coming up with can’ts, let’s take a look at some of the common excuses used to dodge yoga or avoid the elliptical and turn the negatives into positives. You can and we’re here to help you kick those common excuses not to exercise out the door!

1. “I’m too tired!”
Of course you are! Being sedentary actually increases fatigue, making you more tired than if you had done a little jogging. And forget those sugary energy drinks–the endorphins that exercise provides are way better than the wings promised by marketing teams. In fact, a study out of the University of Georgia showed that people who felt fatigued gained 20 percent more energy and decreased their fatigue by 65 percent with “regular, low intensity exercise.”

If you just don’t feel up to it after work, try waking up a little earlier and getting some cardio in before you head to the office. Not an early riser? Bring your workout clothes with you to work and drive straight to the gym after you leave the office. Tell yourself you only have to do 10 minutes of cardio (which, is one-third of My Daily 3). After 10 minutes, be honest with yourself: Do you feel more awake? If your endorphins are starting to stir, challenge yourself to another 10 minutes or balance your workout with strength training.

Still not convinced? A few studies have shown that exercise can help shorten the time it takes you to fall asleep and lengthen the time you stay asleep! Get your exercise and get your nightly ZZZs to gain energy, increase focus and avoid any sleepy excuses the next day.

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2. “I don’t have time.”
Probably the most recited excuse, being too busy has successfully kept many people out of the gym for years. Here’s the thing: You aren’t the only one with a full-time job, a family, a home to take care of, laundry to wash. What’s the real difference between you and people who exercise?

They make themselves a priority.

Too often we put our needs to the side to take care of others. A healthier you is a better you and people around you will benefit from that. Need to get some groceries for dinner? Walk to the supermarket. Not only will you have time to plan a delicious meal, but your energy will skyrocket (so you can prep a meal versus just grabbing the fastest, often unhealthy, option) and your outlook will be sunnier–leading to smarter choices at the market.

If you’re reading this thinking, “But, seriously, I run out of time! There aren’t enough hours in the day!” start a time-management journal. Keep track of what you do and after a week, analyze your data. Maybe you can replace all the time that added up to an hour playing games on the internet with a Zumba class. Take your gaming guilty pleasure on the road–so to speak–by playing while riding the stationary bike at the gym. Go from spud to stud by punctuating your TV time with crunches and squats, which will make those annoying commercial breaks fly by.

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3. “Gyms cost too much money.”
Some gyms do cost too much money and some cost $10 a month. For some, even $10 is a strain on the budget. Or what that gym offers doesn’t motivate you. Totally understandable!

But still not an excuse.

Channel your inner Rocky Balboa. Maybe don’t chase chickens around a yard or punch slabs of meat, but get creative! If running on a treadmill doesn’t excite you, try Tai Chi, Krav Maga, Zumba, hip hop dancing or barre. Go to a site like Meet Up to find group activities or subscribe to your city’s online newsletter or upcoming events calendar to get the latest dirt on fun and free local activities. You can even find out if your city offers access to workout stations, parks, pools… all you have to do is ask.

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4. “I’m losing weight without exercising.”
Half of those trying to get healthy might understand this excuse. The other half, please come back to us when you’re done rolling your eyes.

If you’re on a plan like Nutrisystem, you might be thinking, “Why should I exercise when I had steak and cheese for lunch, pizza for dinner and dropped three pounds this week?” Proper nutrition is only half the battle! Working out not only helps you shed pounds, but it helps you gain muscle, which in turn ups your resting metabolic rate. That means the new you burns more calories just sitting there than you did before you added lean muscle to your physique.

Additionally, working out is just plain good for you! Not only will it kick stagnant weight loss off a plateau, countless studies have shown how regular exercise combats heart disease, respiratory issues, osteoporosis, diabetes–the list go on. Exercising also decreases your risk of certain cancers.

And looking great in the celebration bathing suit you just bought yourself for losing weight is another bonus. A flat tummy and toned legs will have you channeling your inner Bo Derek this summer!

5. “I’m too out of shape to join a gym.”
“I’m already fit and lean and don’t need to work out, but I’m going to anyway,” said no one ever.

Everyone at that gym started there either to get fit or to stay fit. Many were just like you–intimidated by the people, the machines and the mirrors–but here’s the thing: Everyone is so involved in their own hang-ups, they aren’t paying attention to you. If they are, they’re probably looking at you and thinking, “Wow! He has lost a lot of weight since he started!” or “She has really owned that machine this week. Amazing!”

And if the gym feels foreign, make it home. Being there regularly, saying “hi” to the person at the front desk, working out at the same time or taking the same class will start to make the place–and the faces in it–familiar.

The idea that you are too out of shape to get in shape is one that paralyzes a lot of us, but we’re stronger than that. One day, you’ll turn around and see a newcomer with the same look in their eyes that you had and it’ll be your turn to smile and welcome them.

*As always, consult a doctor before starting any exercise program.