Hello, friends! We are now officially 26 days away from 2013. Not only does the New Year typically represent a fresh slate from which to create new goals, but it also means planet Earth is going to explode soon and I don’t know about you, but I want to look incredible when I’m flipping the bird to the Mayans on my way out of town.
I mostly love but also sort of resent this time of year. The positive side of me loves it because a vast majority of people tend to take fitness and diet seriously, so for at least thirty days everyone listens to every word we say as fitness professionals. It’s like our yearly 15 minutes. Our Gangnam Style.
The cynic side of me becomes annoyed that people can only take their health seriously based on some arbitrary calendar date that really has no effect on your life, and wishes that razor-sharp focus happened year round.
I recently read a great article over at Lift Big Eat Big that really resonated with me about their most hated excuses. Now, I am fully aware I have never been confused for having the most comfortable shoulder to cry on. Maybe it’s because my parents never let me mope or feel sorry for myself, maybe it’s because I was lucky enough to have parents who raised me to be active, or maybe it’s because I’m just plain not a sympathetic person. Either way, I have never been the best sympathizer with bullshit problems and excuses. If something is not right, fix it. Or at least try try to.
I’m a fitness coach and results facilitator, not a therapist.
I’ve never been the type to say, “No, please. Totally sit down and tell me allllll about why you can’t do something.” It’s just not in me to agree with you on why you can’t do something. If that’s what you think you’re in for here, you will be mistaken and you might be offended.
I’ve witnessed paraplegics put themselves through aggressive workouts, I’ve been chunky to the point my older brother called my legs hamhocks, and I’ve been short on funds, so when I hear the following excuses I respond to them the only way I know how.
Some people turn temporary January changes into permanent habits, some fizzle out after a month and some go back and forth the entire year just kind of walking in place. One step forward, one step back. Not better, not worse. Those who fizzle give into of the following.
“I Don’t Have Time”
You don’t have 45 minutes door-to-door to go to the gym but you have that same time to:
- Stop at the store to get wine to sip and take Instagram photos of yourself.
- Sit around and wait for Chinese delivery to arrive.
- Lay on the couch for five hours after work.
Riiiight. So, it’s not that you don’t have time, it’s that you physically don’t want to make time.
So, my question is why? And my answer is two part. You either think you need to spend more time at the gym than necessary for results, or you have a very false sense of self-importance and how busy you really are. I can solve the latter. You are not that busy and you are not that important. You have time, so why not allocate for yourself.
Let’s address the length of workout issue. If you are a bodybuilder who is trying to achieve the top 1% of figures in the nation, yes, you must dedicate some serious time to the gym. It requires splits of body parts, massive amounts of cardio and serious body part isolation all while meticulously watching diet. All of the above take time.
However, if you want to get strong, burn as much fat as you want, tone up and get all around more athletic then you are looking at 25 – 30 minutes of gym time, tops. By developing a routine that focuses on total body, heavy lifting on major movements and lighter, faster body weight and plyometric movements you can have a little bit of it all in a very condensed time frame.
“I Don’t Know What To Do”
I realize not everyone is a fitness professional and all the free weights, machines and cornrows of ellipticals can make it tough. But to use it as an excuse to quit before you start?
That’s like saying, “I don’t know what car to get so I am just going to walk everywhere.”
You’re right. Doing nothing is totally better than doing something. <—Sike.
Join a gym that programs for you. There are thousands of gyms around the country that handle all of your programming so all you have to do is show and go. Mindless, easy and produces results.
If you elect to go at it solo then simplicity is your lover. Squats, push-ups, rows, pull-ups, lunges and sit-ups. Those can take you a long, long ways. Once you get a better understanding, work as many compound movements as possible, rotate lower body, upper body, core in a given workout, ie. squats, pull-ups and sit-ups. Keep a quick pace for 30 minutes and go heavy on movements like squats and deadlifts.
“I Have Bad Genetics”
Being fat has nothing to do with your genes and everything to do with your lifestyle. It’s an elective action made over many years of terrible decision making and if you tell yourself any differently, you are lying to yourself. I was 25 pounds fatter in college as a result of being amazing at beer pong and stuffing my fat face with Papa John’s and Sheetz. That’s it. It was all me. Had I continued, I would have become even tubbier. I have an incredible metabolism. Didn’t matter. I ate like ass.
Fast, slow, medium, slim or vintage fit metabolism all results in a fat you if you dine on garbage.
And puh-lease don’t throw the whole thyroid thing or educational disadvantages, blaming it on the system or some other hippie nonsense. In reality an incredibly small fraction of people actually have a condition with the thyroid that creates serious adversity, and I never had to once be taught that consuming an entire wheel of cheese would make me fat.
Are certain folks predisposed to storing more fat? Absolutely. But most people just prefer to prioritize taste and be sedentary. That’s the reality.
You can either wallow in self pity, resign to the fact you are destined to be overweight or you can grab the kettlebell by the horns.
It takes A LOT to finally make a change and fight your fears. The gym can be an intimidating place if you have let yourself go. I get it. But, I’ve seen some inspirational and truly amazing fat loss transformations that further support my opinion and aggressive stance on the matter. Nothing is more impressive to me then someone who walks in and gets it done.
I promise you that there is no weight or condition that healthy eating an exercise cannot eradicate. There is nothing that cannot be undone.
It might take you longer but the grind will build your character, enhance your confidence and transform you into a new person.
It’s either that or an early grave.
“I Can’t Afford It.”
There is no excuse that makes me want to base jump into a volcano more than this one.
Here’s the deal.
A globo gym membership costs $30.
A functional gym membership costs $99 – $199.
Let’s use our average cost at P360 as an example. Our average member pays roughly three bucks a day to train with us. That’s less than a Venti Frappasomething at Starbucks’s. That’s one drink at happy hour. That’s a jar of salsa. That’s twelve quarters. That’s not going out ONE night out of the month.
You are not poor, you’d just rather spend the money on material things. There’s plenty of crap in your life you can give up to improve your health, fitness level and appearance. Just pick something. Anything. What could possibly be more important than the way you look and feel?
As people, we afford what we prioritize. If you have big goals for yourself then you need to make big changes. No one with a clue ever said big results require small changes.
If you can’t afford it, you need to re-prioritize. You have one to three bucks a day to spend on your health. No one can tell me otherwise.
“I Like Running”
Good for you. If you’re an endurance athlete.
If you do it as a hobby or expect it to get you results, congrats on getting awesome at running and literally nothing else. Get a new hobby like fantasy football. Running is bad for joints, bad for your physiology, bad for your gut and does absolutely jack for your muscles, toning and strength.
Jared from Subway is the prime example. Sure, he has lost a lot of weight but would you say he has a good body? It’s the definition of skinny fat.
Running as your only routine removes miles from your tires and trains your body to store fat. I am yet to train a competitive endurance athlete without an injury. I am aware that all forms of aggressive fitness create injury but the percentage skews much higher and much more permanent in runners.
This is not my opinion. These are facts.
For those of you who do compete, here is a great article on why you’ll suck at it without the inclusion of weights.
For those of you who use it hoping for fat loss and toning, trade the Asics for a gym membership.
“I Like Food Too Much”
Guess what? You don’t have some unique medical condition that predisposes you to enjoy cheesecake more than the average person.
“I’m just such a fooooooodieeee”
You know what I love? Apple pie and ice cream. You know what makes me a fat ass? Apple pie and ice cream. So I don’t eat it except for random weeks when I turn into Superbad Jonah Hill.
My pops used to give me this malarkey all the time when he was trying to drop some pounds, about how he had all of these business lunches that the waiter somehow twisted his arm and applied a sleeper hold until he ordered fettucine Alfredo. I had to just bluntly tell him, “No, Dad. You just have the will power of Nick Nolte.”
Last Winter he got straight with himself, didn’t let the fact he has arthritic knees from eating marathons for breakfast in his past hold back and dropped 40 pounds almost purely through diet.
He didn’t have a disease. He just had no discipline.
I can understand this one as many gyms contain a lot of fit people who know what they are doing. I am going to let you in on a little secret, though. 80% of people at the gym don’t have a clue what they are doing. They are just moving stuff around, putting it back and walking to where the girls are lifting.
So, walk in with that head high and move with purpose, you’ll be fine. I promise. Start out going with a friend and employ the strength in numbers approach. Your fears will be broken down after just one week, guaranteed.
We always hear that folks wanted to try us sooner but were too intimidated to do so. I get it, you walk into a gym with people who are generally fit doing crazy looking things and you get the impression you must be some kind of super athlete to go there.
I can completely empathize with that but it’s a completely false perception. Speaking purely for our gym, just about every single person has started out either average or well below average. Everyone was in your shoes when they first started too, and I think you will find that at most functional gyms around the country, the community will be nothing but inviting and supportive.
All you have to do is take the first step and understand you are more capable than you think.
“I Don’t Know How to Plan Goals”
Again, another good one yet I urge you not to over complicate things. Just go. Go and move for a while and let your goals present themselves to you.
When you start, just focus on self improvement.
- Step 1 – Feel Better
- Step 2 – Look Better
- Step 3 – Perform Better
Your personal goals will reveal themselves to you after a short while.
“But Weights Will Make Me Bulky”
This one used to make me want to exfoliate my pores with sulfuric acid, but now, it’s a conversation I enjoy having with women at our gym because I enjoy the education process and helping them have “the lightbulb go off.” Or is it, on. Or is it, “switch goes on”. Shit.
The reality is that, yes ladies, for a very small percentage of you, maybe 5-10%, weights will make you make you a bit bulky (hey, I told you we were having real talk). But, the question I pose to that incredibly small minority is, “would you rather have way too much fat or slightly too much muscle?”
(If you said “too much fat” then close this window, delete my blog, throw your computer out the third story window and never return to this site again.)
You know what really makes you bulky, ladies?
By and large the overwhelming vast majority of women will not and physically cannot get bulky with circuit training. There are too many physiological disadvantages in play such as lower testosterone. 90% of you will get more toned, lose fat and much more babe-a-licious from a circuit based program.
Looking at worst case scenario, if you happen to get slightly bulky it will only come after you burn all of your fat and you can always dial it back and de-bulkify. Muscle ain’t permanent, ladies.
Train with a proper program and you won’t even get bulky in the first place. Think one heavy movement (squat) with many bodyweight and plyometric movements on top if it (push-ups, box jumps, sit-ups, sprint). Fast circuits with a heavy lifting inclusion.
While injuries suck, you can almost always train around them and still make advancements towards your goals. You’ll never see me riding the hate train on the injuries suffered in aggressive training. Training aggressively yields aggressive results, and sometimes there are temporary and minor consequences to training hard.
That said, it’s not a death sentence it’s just your body throwing up the yellow cautionary flag. Unless you are messed up bad there are always things you can do to still get better and inch along your goal.
Performance360 member Tom Stillman broke his foot and did not miss a beat with his training. It was really eye-opening and pretty damn inspirational. We simply removed legs and anything that was weight-bearing and told him to get aggressive with anything else that was comfortable.
If your shoulder is hurt you can get excellent results from pure squats.
If your knee is bothering you then ride the bike and work core and upper body.
Where there is a will there are results waiting to be achieved.
As I said in the intro, I don’t really handle excuses all that well. You’ll have to pardon my abruptness and refusal to be warm and cuddly with them as it’s an area of coaching in which I admit I am terrible.
As a little green Jedi once said, “There is no try. There is do, or do not.”