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A Fitness Guru’s perspective – Excuses are for losers

“Yeah, but.” I hear it all the time. It is often muttered when a plan or a good intention goes awry. Say, for instance, you planned to go to the gym after work or you intended to finish that essay that was due tomorrow. Insert “yeah, but” here; “There was a business meeting, it was date night, traffic was bad, I was too tired etc.” You get the idea.

I often hear criticisms of training programs that include “yeah, but” and “It didn’t work for me” in the same story. It didn’t work because the client did everything but one critical part of the plan. Those statements are also paired with one of the most common obstacles to meeting one’s goals: time. There is never enough time to go to the gym, prepare healthy meals or walk instead of drive. Or so we perceive.

“Between 1965 and 2003, according to a study in the July 2007 issue of Harvard’s Quarterly Journal of Economics, leisure time increased by six to eight hours per week for men and women,” Greg Beato discusses in the December 2010 issue of Reason.com. What are you doing with those hours? Are you passively spending them on the couch, or are you investing them to better yourself? I prepare all of my food for the week during the weekend, in less time than you may spend eating a family dinner. I cook, sort food into plastic bags, and stack them in the fridge to grab a meal at a time. I complete an entire week’s worth of cooking in only two hours.

Ask yourself if you spend two hours doing any of the following during the week: watching television, going to a movie, going to the cafe, telling your Facebook “friends” that you are brushing your teeth, playing video games. Now think about investing some of that time into preparing what you put in your body or perfecting that speech you have in front you entire university for the rest of the week.

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I tell most of my clients that I will kick them out of the gym if I find them there for more than an hour at a time. Unless you are an elite athlete, there is absolutely no need for more than an hour at the gym, if that. Do you have an hour to workout? How about 20-30 minutes? Can you crank out pushups, squats, and sit-ups while you finish a load of laundry? How about eating lunch at your desk and going for a run in the late afternoon before you finish your paperwork for the day? A little sweat for an hour may be enough to keep your colleagues at bay to finish your work. Or perhaps you can meet your friends at the gym for a session with a trainer instead of a cocktail or cappuccino.

Excuses are for the weak. We have time. We have mobile phones, fax machines, email, text messaging, video conferencing, and overnight delivery. We are not bound by long-distance calls, snail mail, and telegrams. We even received the results of the 2012 Olympics via social media before the local news televised the events. Time is not the obstacle. What we do with our time is the obstacle.

Yeah sure, it’s easy to buy fast food or run through the drive-thru. It´s easy to change the channels on the remote or taping the snooze button a couple of hundred times before you wake up, but how in the hell do any of those thing help you improve yourself? They don’t!  One of my clients actually said it best. She said if her family can sit and watch television together, then they can all go to the gym together. Beneficial routines don’t have to be boring or run solo. Go to the gym now because you want to before your doctor tells you to go because you have to.

You control the paradigm between want to and have to. Change it for the better. Make yourself better tomorrow than you are today. Now that technology, wealth, and culture have given us more leisure time, how are you going to put more life in your every day? How will you invest your time? Will you hit the gym? Will you learn to play a musical instrument? Will you take on a business course? Or how about playing on your corporate football team? What do you want to do, now that you can spend less time doing what our ancestors had to do? Here is a challenge, remove “yeah, but” from your vocabulary for the next month and change how you invest your time in your health and wellbeing for at least one hour each week, you’ll see the substantial change your making, not only for your health but personal success.

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After cooking your food in bulk, portion individual meals into small, sealable bags. Each day, simply toss the bag in your lunchbox and go. If you do it this way, rather than in Tupperware, you can serve lunch on a real plate, which somehow makes eating at your desk more enjoyable. Schedule your workouts for the week at the beginning of each week and identify any obstacles that may arise, as well as how to overcome them. For example, if you have tentative meetings late one evening, consider it confirmed and schedule a morning gym session. Stand up during every commercial break. Use this time to prep your coffee pot and pack your gym bag. Perhaps even crank out a few squats or pushups. Place photos and motivational quotes on your fridge and at your desk to constantly remind yourself that your goal is worth it and to let everyone else see your goal so they can encourage you. Create a workout playlist or CD to listen to in the car after work on your way to the gym or even during your last hour at work. Don’t talk yourself out of a workout because a sappy ballad comes on the radio that sends you to the ice cream aisle. Make your own sounds, make your own music to get motivated enough to run that extra mile!

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