I thought it’s been a while since I last tackled an Investing in Yourself subject, so for today I chose one that I really feel strongly about: fitness! I’m a huge advocate of working out often and keeping your body strong and fit. It’s absolutely amazing to know that your body has the ability to carry you through anything you throw at it, but for this you also need to take care of it. And working out is one of the best ways to give your body what it needs, rid it of toxins and ensure it stays a well-oiled, properly functioning machine for a long time.
But with all the benefits of exercising, we all know that as a whole, we are not getting enough done. Many of us lead mostly sedentary lifestyles that impact our health and body functions in a negative way. It’s become way to easy to postpone an workout, skip that extra rep or find basically anything else to do instead of practicing a sport. We dismiss the importance of breaking a sweat, clearing our mind and boosting our mood through physical activity. Which is why I’ve decided to tackle 5 of the most commonly used excuses when it comes to skipping a workout, and give you the motivation to skip your excuses instead.
And number one is:
But I get bored easily
To this I say- me too! There’s no way that doing the same type of exercise every day won’t bore and annoy you at least at one point. But the great thing is you don’t have to! It’s actually recommended to regularly switch up your training routine, for various reasons: to give certain sets of muscles and joints a rest, to make sure you work out your entire body so everything is kept in balance, and even to lose weight more easily (but more on that later). So the key is to switch up the type of physical activity you do- cardio for example is great for rapid weight loss. But weight lifting engages your core and strengthens your muscles to keep burning fat even after you stopped exercising. Pilates is amazing for flexibility and muscle tone and can be a great way to get back into fitness if you don’t feel like going straight to HIIT.
Not to mention there are so many ways you can get your workout on when your strict routine has you bored out of your mind: you can go to a dance course, be it latino, ballroom or zumba and get moving in a super fun way- plus, you get to learn how to dance. Or go to the pool for a few weeks instead of the gym, to get a full body workout that puts less stress on your joints- and how awesome is water aerobics? Or take a fun aerial class and challenge yourself, improve your balance and learn a few impressive tricks along the way. And if you prefer exercising outside instead of working up a sweat in a closed off room, why not take up cycling? If the city you live in has the infrastructure for it, biking everywhere can be a great way to exercise, get some fresh air and take in the views. Point is, it doesn’t have to be the same form of sport every single day- and to be more precise, it actually shouldn’t be!
And this excuse is followed closely by:
But I’m too busy to workout!
Here’s the thing: I honestly believe that if there is a word that can perfectly summarize the current state of 99.99% of individuals alive today, that would be “busy”. Or “exhausted”. Take your pick- they go hand in hand anyway. We are all insanely busy, busyness is now a common denominator and the state that most of us currently exist in. Everyday there’s school or work to get to, kids to take to soccer, violin and French lessons, old parents that need their medication picked up, the cat that needs to be taken to the vet, there’s dinner to be made and the house to be cleaned- oh, and did you remember to pass by your friend’s favorite store to pick up something nice for her birthday this weekend?
It’s insane, it’s exhausting and it’s stressful! But it’s also the rhythm of life today, and it’s not going to stop for you. And I’m speaking from experience here: working full time, running a blog & Youtube channel on the side, networking, socializing, reserving quality time for my fiance and for a quick coffee with my girls and still maintaining a workout schedule is haaard! But if you want to get things done, you gotta hustle. There’s so many different ways you can incorporate even the tiniest bit of exercise into your daily schedule. Even 10 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a day will add up!
And what I do is I lift some weights in the morning before going to work- just light ones, for 5 minutes. Or I do a few stretches and jumping jacks. Or I go for a brisk walk on my lunch break. I do 15-20 knee lifts every hour while sat at my desk at work. I always take the stairs. And my personal favorite: I bike 20 km to work and back 3-4 times a week. It’s free, it refreshes my mind and pumps me up with energy before I even start my day- what’s not to love?
And this brings me to the next excuse:
But I don’t have money to go to a gym! Well… what can I say, I totally feel you. When you’re trying to be conscious about your finances and mind your body and health at the same time, it can be rough. Still, there are so many free forms of exercising! There’s running, walking, climbing a hill or a mountain (you lucky ducks who live close to them!) There are so, so many free exercising videos on Youtube, including really fun and quirky ones! True, you won’t have the benefit of an instructor next to you to tell you if you’re doing it right or not, but you can always put your large hallway mirror next to you and try your best to mimic the postures correctly. There’s always dog walking- your own or someone else’s (which can also earn you a bit of money), there’s doing yoga in the park or babysitting your friend’s hyperactive 2 year old a couple times a week. I’m telling you, the solutions are out there, you just need to be willing to find them!
And here’s an excuse that might sound legit but isn’t: But I don’t know which exercises will work for me! Honestly, with the amount of free information we have access to in this day and age, there’s really no excuse not to research something before you get started. Sure, you wouldn’t want to do anything that harms your body more than helps it, or to hurt yourself during a workout. But luckily there are plenty of courses, articles and video explanations (from professionals!) online, so you can start doing your own research and decide what works best for you, when you understand how each type of physical activity impacts your body.
And of course, if you want to be 100% sure that what you’re doing is right for you, a specialist is always best. Doctors can help you with this, as can a dedicated personal trainer. Working out with a trainer will give you a better understanding of your body, how to take care of it, how much to push it and what you could be improving for a more efficient work out. Trainers also keep you accountable and motivated, so if you know you have a hard time staying on track, getting a personal trainer might be just what you need. And for my readers living in Cluj and looking to get in shape with a certified professional, I can only recommend you go to Iulia Humita. Driven, hard working and super energetic, she knows how to keep it fun but also give you the workout of your life!
And now, to top it all off, my favorite excuse for not exercizing of all times: but I still never lose any weight! Sigh… I truly belive that the moment you stop viewing your fitness regime as only a means of losing weight, you’ll actually become a lot more motivated to keep up with it. Working out is so much more than an annoying chore you have to do because you want to get thin- it’s such a great means of keeping your body strong, fit and healthy. Sure, it’s also an important tool for losing weight, but if you’re looking to do that, you’ll definitely need to adjust your diet too. Like I said in my nutrition post, eating and working out go hand in hand. If you eat junk all day and run on the treadmill for 30 minutes and then complain you’re still not toned and lean, I have good news for you: you’ve already discovered how not to do it, so now you can go ahead and do it the right way. Adjust your diet to a leaner, more veggie and protein packed one, cut out refined sugars and switch to healthier fat sources (hello, avocados). And on top of that, get moving! Also remember to switch up your routine often. Doing the same workout day in- day out means your body is getting used to it and won’t work as hard- so you won’t lose weight or get toned as easily. So alternate between cardio, weight lifting, HIIT and yoga/pilates to keep your body at an optimum fat-burning pace.
So this turned out to be quite the lengthy post, but you can blame it on the fact that it’s a subject I’m really passionate about. I hope that I’ve given you a boost to stop procrastinating and making excuses not to work out, and instead get right to it! And now it’s your turn: let me know how you stay fit, how you stay motivated to exercise and best of all, how you beat those excuses that creep out in all of our minds at one point.