As a Personal Trainer, I hear excuses all day, every day. Mostly coming from my clients, but also sometimes from myself. The truth is we all do it. We are all full of bulls**t. Ever since we learnt to express ourselves, we have developed an innate way of talking ourselves out of things we don’t want to do. We give in to our laziness, our fears or our insecurities, and convince ourselves (and others) that we lack sufficient time, money or energy to achieve our goals. And this generally leaves us feeling de-motivated, frustrated, and angry at ourselves. The fact is that we do find the resources for things that we like doing. If your family is important to you, you spend as much time as you can with them. If you have a job that you enjoy, you are happy to work overtime. And if you love a certain hobby, you will gladly spend time and money on it. In fact, you will happily spend your resources of time, money and energy on things that are important to you because you truly enjoy yourself when you are doing those things.
Now, over my years of training clients, I have noticed a generalised negative perception towards training and sport in general. The reasons vary, but a common explanation is the lack of positive encouragement to movement and exercise during their child and teenage years. Indeed, I myself clearly remember my school PE classes, which seemed to adopt a “survival of the fittest” approach rather than being a nurturing and supportive environment in which children can learn to enjoy sport and movement. As a result, it seems that a generation of people have grown up with a fear and an unwillingness to participate in any form of exercise. People subconsciously associate exercise with pain, hard work, and humiliation (and some Personal Trainers seem very willing to fuel that perception – but that’s a different blog post.) However, these feelings can be changed. And that is the key to you achieving your goals: changing your negative feelings into feelings of enjoyment and love.
One of the ways to enjoy your training (and to ditch the excuses!) is to find positive aspects that you love and look forward to. You might enjoy the social side of the gym or sports club, or you may like the chats you have with your Personal Trainer. You could love the buzz you get after a good session, and the positive feelings you get after exercise. You will also probably like seeing the changes you get from training, both mentally and physically. Your training time could likewise make you feel great because of what it means to you. Exercise can be a time for individual reflection. It can be a way of relaxing your mind, of spending time with yourself. Training can be your way of filling up on positive energy, of thanking and loving yourself and your body. Make use of your senses too: find smells, tastes, sounds, feelings and sights that make you feel great. It could be anything; from the feel of your clothes to the sound of the music. It could be the feel of the equipment, or the sight of the colours used in the gym. It could even be the taste of the cold water you are drinking, or the sound of your friend’s laughter. Start noticing small things that are enjoyable, and that you can look forward to.
The key to long term success is consistency, and the key to consistency is enjoyment. By changing your feelings towards training and exercise, you will achieve amazing results, with the added bonus of having fun along the way. Movement is fun, not a serious matter. Laugh lots, find exercises and activities you enjoy, and do them with people you love. Keep it simple and don’t overdo it. Congratulate yourself after a great session, but don’t bring yourself down if your workout wasn't one of your best. The fact is you are training and moving, and that is what matters. So the next time you are about to think up a new excuse for avoiding the gym, think about which feeling you prefer: the frustration of going against what you know is right, or the excitement of doing something great for yourself.
Love & Health