It’s a sad reality that excuses for skipping a workout are always in plentiful supply. That’s because life itself is unpredictable. It rarely goes as planned and each day brings new surprises. As a result, there’s never a shortage of obstacles that can lead to reasons for your planned daily workout to be in jeopardy.
That’s precisely why it’s so important to prepare yourself for these eventualities, because they will come sooner or later. If you allow the excuses to start getting the better of you, chances are you’re not going to get to your goals, so you just can’t let that happen.
Listed below are 15 excuses for skipping a workout that people will typically come across, along with how to tackle them, and overcome them so that they don’t sabotage your fitness goals.
1. The weather is bad
There’s always a way to improvise a workout at home, even if you have no equipment. The number of body weight exercises you can do are virtually endless – squats, lunges, sit-ups, push-ups, bench dips, upside-down rows, just to name a few. You can even grab something heavy like a house brick or a couple of telephone books to make them more challenging.
Had a cardio session planned? No problem – how about some plyometrics? Jump squats, jump lunges, leap frogs, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, grasshoppers, and so on. Again, the list is endless.
Maybe you can even invest in some equipment for just the occasion – a few dumbbells, a Swiss ball, a medicine ball, kettle bells, etc. Once working out at home is a real alternative you may even decide that the weather isn’t so bad after all and make the effort to go to the gym anyhow.
2. I don’t have time
This excuse is the major reason why most people like to work out first thing in the morning. Once it’s done, none of the day’s inevitable surprises can get in the way of your workout. The reality is that we rarely ever manage to complete everything that we’ve planned for a day, which means that something always has to miss out. Even if you can’t manage to do your workout first thing, be sure to make it a priority and plan a time for it. Just playing it by ear is an almost certain way of relegating your workout to the mañana list.
3. I don’t have the energy
If you haven’t yet had a meal, you may well feel a little lethargic – you should eat before working out. If you’re worried about eating too soon before your workout, take a few antacids to help hold your food down, and/or try to make your workout one that isn’t going to give your stomach too much grief. If you have already eaten, then you do have energy, you’re just feeling lazy. Throw back a coffee and go! Just tell yourself that you’ll only do half your workout, but once you get going you’ll most likely do it all.
4. There’s something on TV I want to watch
Record it – plain and simple. Get TiVo. If you still have an old VCR, use that. With all the technology available these days problems like these are a thing of the past. If the program isn’t something super-recent then chances are you may even find it on YouTube!
5. I’m sore
Muscle soreness absolutely shouldn’t prevent you doing your workout. The soreness is really only a factor when your body is cold and hasn’t been moving. Once you get to the gym make sure you warm up thoroughly and you should be good to go. If you’re really worried about tightness then rub in some liniment such as Naman Thai Boxing Liniment, Deep Heat, or Ben Gay to really get some heat and looseness into your muscles.
6. My training partner can’t make it
This is absolutely the most important time NOT to skip a workout. By going solo you make a statement to yourself that you can stand on your own two feet, and your success isn’t hinging on anyone else. Doing your workout while your partner is a no show leaves you with a greater sense of satisfaction in yourself, so it makes your workout even more worthwhile.
When you’re used to working out with a partner it’s just not the same atmosphere without them, and you may even be one of those people who hates going to the gym alone. You’ll most likely find that it helps to zone out in that case by just putting in your earphones and losing yourself in your own world.
7. I need more sleep
Getting enough sleep is certainly very important, but often times we have actually had enough sleep but just find it too hard to get out of bed. That’s not lack of sleep however, that’s just . . . well, not wanting to get out of bed. The thought of getting out of your warm bed just to beat yourself up in the gym can sometimes be too much to contemplate.
If this is something that you find hard to overcome, then don’t plan to work out very first thing in the morning. Instead, plan to do other things first such as getting things ready for work, preparing lunches for the kids, etc. Don’t think about your workout – yet. Just get up to do these chores and once you’ve been up and about for a while and finished everything you need to do, you’ll be wide awake and find it much easier to go for your workout.
8. When I can finally make it to the gym, it will be too crowded
A busy gym can really be annoying at times but you have a few options here. You can do a cardio workout, where you can just grab one machine and stick to it, rather than needing to share lots of equipment with others. You can do a class, as most gyms often have a variety of classes at different times. You can opt for a home workout instead. Or you can head down to the local park for some sprints or circuit training. If you find this situation happening fairly frequently you can even sign up at a 24 hour gym and that way exercise later at night when you have the gym almost entirely to yourself.
9. I can’t find my iPod
Granted, doing cardio without your iPod can be pretty difficult if you work out intensely and you’re used to having your music with you. If you really don’t think you can do it, then take the opportunity to do some weight training instead and work on developing your mind/muscle connection for each movement. That will keep your mind occupied throughout your entire workout so that you won’t miss your music.
Alternatively, do your cardio anyhow, without the iPod. Sure, it will be tougher, but treat it as a mental conditioning session. It will be character building!
10. I’m exhausted
Another risk with not doing your workout first thing in the morning is that you can have a long, tiring day and end up feeling too exhausted to go to the gym. When this happens, ask yourself whether you’re feeling as tired as you would normally feel in the middle of a workout. Probably not, right?
So you know you have it in you to do at least half a workout. That being the case, head down to the gym with the intention of doing half you’re usual workout. Worst case, it won’t be a total loss. And best case, you may find that once you’re warmed up and going you actually get a second wind and see it all the way through.
11. My friends/colleagues have invited me out for drinks
This can be a tough one to get around. If it’s a drink session “just because”, then hopefully you have your priorities straight and realize that your own health is more important thing. No, missing one workout isn’t the end of the world and it won’t make a noticeable difference to your results. But falling into the habit of skipping workouts because of impromptu social engagements is asking for trouble.
If it’s a special occasion on the other hand, it’s not always so easy to say no. Perhaps you can make an appearance for just one drink out of courtesy, and then go for your workout. The longer you stay, the harder it will be to drag yourself away and into the gym. Also, don’t make the mistake of being honest about why you need to leave early. In that kind of environment with the alcohol flowing, the peer pressure to stay would be overwhelming.
12. I have an injury
All injuries should be taken seriously of course, but unless it’s something quite major it doesn’t mean you can’t work around it in some way. That is, of course, unless you’ve been advised otherwise by your doctor.
It’s never a good idea to work out an injured body part unless you’re doing specific rehabilitation exercises, but what you can do if your injury is somewhere on your lower body is to train your upper body, and vice versa. There’s always something you can do, even if it’s some light cardio or, in the worst case scenario, just going for a walk.
13. I don’t have any clean gym clothes
There’s no need for you to be dressed right for a workout – anything that you can move and sweat in will work. An old t-shirt and shorts will do just fine, perhaps you can even borrow something from your partner if necessary. Remember, no one in the gym really cares how you look, they’re each doing their own thing. Besides, if you’re someone who works out seriously then the good impression you make will far outweigh the fact that you’re dressed a little shabbily.
14. It’s my birthday
It’s entirely up to you whether or not you’re prepared to work out on special days such as you birthday, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and so on. The thing is though, these days don’t suddenly appear by surprise. You know they’re coming. So if you really don’t want to go to the gym on these special days, you can schedule your program around them.
To plan to have a workout on your birthday but then decide against it on the day is nothing more that using it as an excuse to get out of a workout. If you planned to do it, then do it. It will be the best birthday present you can give yourself.
15. I have the kids
Having to watch the kids doesn’t mean you actually have to sit there doing nothing but watching them. Once again, you have the option here of working out at home. Just make sure that they have something to keep them occupied for the hour or so that you’re working out, such as their homework, reading, or watching TV (something educational, of course!) Better still, maybe they can actually join you and work out as well.
A lot of gyms now have child minding facilities and/or playrooms for children, which is a great alternative. Check to see whether your gym provides this and if so, problem solved!
As you can see from this brief list, overcoming excuses for skipping a workout really isn’t at all difficult with just a little bit of thought. These small challenges are quite insignificant in fact, but when your level of motivation or commitment is low, you tend to exaggerate their importance and use them as an escape clause from doing what you know needs to be done.
You can’t allow yourself to get into that habit however, as it can very quickly railroad your ability to get to your fitness goals. Always remember, you need to look for excuses why you can, not excuses why you can’t.
What excuses do you find yourself often falling victim to for skipping workouts? And what strategies have you been able to come up with, if any, to successfully overcome them? Let me know in the comments below!