What’s your exercise excuse?


Shore up your fitness routine and get your body in gear with these stay on track solutions

While we may take out expensive gym memberships and splash the cash on new workout gear in a bid to feel healthier and slimmer, sticking to an exercise regime for the long haul is another thing altogether. No matter how serious we are about achieving our goals, or how good our intentions, our get-fit resolutions can often slip off our to-do lists.

Need some motivation to recharge your get-up-and-go? Health and wellness coach Joanne Henson dedicates her book to doing just that. What’s Your Excuse For Not Getting Fit? (£4.99, amazon.co.uk) provides easy to follow advice and smart tips to stick with exercise long enough to see some pretty awesome results. ‘I wrote the book to help people take a fresh look at their own self-sabotaging behaviours and limiting beliefs, and to motivate them to change their mindsets, and move forward,’ she explains. Here she shares the most common excuses and her simple solutions to stay on track.

Excuse 1: I don’t have time to exercise

Workouts don’t necessarily have to be lengthy or laborious if you’re looking to lose weight or get healthier. A short, sharp sweat sesh will see you bid farewell to hundreds of calories while targeting a whole range of different muscle groups. ‘Three to four times per week is ideal – this still leaves another three to four days a week when you don’t have to exercise. High-intensity interval training sessions could be as short as 10 minutes, and the best way to ensure that it gets done is to prioritise and diarise. And if you think you don’t have time, try keeping a log of how you spend your time and re-evaluate what’s important,’ says Joanne.

Excuse 2: I live too far away from the gym

Brrrr! When it’s freezing cold and chucking it down outside you’d probably prefer a date with your duvet over dragging yourself all the way to the gym – especially if it involves an epic commute. We get it. Even those of us with the loftiest intentions can falter when inconvenience thwarts our fitness plans. ‘There’s no point in joining a flash new gym if it’s a 15-minute drive away, which you might not fancy after a long day at work. Much better to join the more basic gym at the end of your road. Then you’ve only got to find time for the workout, not the workout and a journey,’ says Joanne. Gym still not near enough? Try out a range of fitness DVDs and apps that fit easily into your lifestyle.

Excuse 3: I’ve lost my fitness mojo

Having a dip in motivation every so often is normal and if that means you miss a few sessions, so be it – but don’t let that derail your efforts to get back on track. ‘If you do skip a few workouts, remember that the longer you leave it the harder it’s going to feel when you go back. And consider how far you’ve already come – do you really want to waste the effort you’ve already put in? Capitalise on the progress you’ve made so far and stick with it,’ advises Joanne.

Excuse 4: I find exercise boring

Exercise doesn’t have to be difficult and unpleasant. Ease yourself into it and up the ante when you’re ready. ‘Find something you enjoy. This is an obvious one, but so many people treat exercise as a form of punishment, as something to be endured not enjoyed. But there are dozens of different forms of exercise which you might find more fun, from dancing to rock climbing,’ says Joanne. And, if you get bored of your routine, switch things up a notch by trying new classes, working out different body parts and varying the intensity of your workout.

Excuse 5: I’m not seeing results

Let’s be realistic; you won’t see results overnight, but the more dedicated you become, the faster you’ll see improvements in your overall fitness and your figure. ‘Be patient, give it some time, and remember that exercise has long-term, ongoing health benefits beyond body shape,’ says Joanne. Try keeping a workout journal so you can chart your progress, writing down small achievements after every session, whether it’s going for two minutes longer on the treadmill or reaching a press-up PB.

Achieve your best-ever results

Try Joanne’s shortcuts to help you stay on track

1. If you treat exercise as an afterthought, and put it at the bottom of your list after checking Facebook and work drinks, you’ll run out of time every day.  But, if you schedule a workout into your day and plan your activities around it, it will get done.

2. People give up because they are looking for a quick fix, and when they don’t get one, they become disillusioned. You’re not going to undo years of unhealthiness or change your shape in a month. But be patient and you will see results.

3. If you have a specific goal, and you’re going to invest a lot of time and effort in exercising, make sure that your time and effort is well spent. Consider carefully exactly what it is that you want to achieve. Be honest with yourself and then, if necessary, get some good advice on what sort of training would be most effective. For example, if you want to get rid of bingo wings, try resistance training rather than going running every day. And it you want a flat tum remember it’s fat-burning workouts, not crunches, that will make a difference.