April 14, 2015,
Posted by Josh Wight in
Health & Fitness
Ok. Let’s take a deep breath and get serious for a moment. I’m about to tell you something that you are not going to like. Something that is going to make you uncomffortable. It might make some of you defensive. Others of you, maybe angry. Some of you may even begin to feel ashamed. If talking about uncomfortable stuff typically elicits one of the above responses (defensive, angry, ashamed), then PLEASE KEEP READING. Don’t turn away now, because that little bit of discomfort is certain to become comfort by the end of this post (see my post titled When Your Plan Reaches a Fork for more on this concept).
Today’s topic is working out. Or more specifically, the LAME excuses we make for NOT working out. Without further ado, let’s check out the Simple Man’s top 3 LAME Workout Excuses, some things to consider, and what The Simple Man Says about each:
Lame Reason #1 – “I’m just too busy to get a good workout in.”
Consider: How long, exactly, do you think this “working-out” thing needs to take? Sure, if you currently aren’t working out and you’ve got grand visions of spending an hour in the weight room (because secretly, you still pull out your original copy of Arnold’s book The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding and envision people crowded around you at the bench press station at the gym) and then another 30-60 minutes doing boring cardio on the treadmill (because that’s what the doctor told you to do if you want a healthy heart), you are bound to FAIL to START. Adding that kind of routine (2 hours, not including time to get ready to go and actually get yourself to the gym!) to your already busy day would be like deciding to take up mountain climbing and deciding on Everest for your first climb.
The Simple Man Says … Start smaller. Getting healthier and working out more, doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing task. Take the advice of the authors of The Power of 10% and The Compoud Effect and use them to your advantage. In short, making small changes is easier than big changes and those small decisions ultimately lead to larger, more impactful ones. Therefore, instead of an hour of weights, start with a pushup/sit-up/pull-up routine that you could perform daily or every other day. Maybe even something as simple as a pull-up bar in your garage or a doorway. I recently installed a pull-up bar in my garage (went the DIY route) and told myself that I would do a few pull-ups each time I went out into the garage (I go there far more than I imagined throughout the course of a day). It wasn’t a HUGE commitment, but I started doing this and within a matter of days, I started contriving excuses to go to the garage and do pull-ups. In other words, I made a complete mindset shift in a few days – from not working out, to thinking about working out throughout my entire day. That ultimately led (Compound Effect) to more complex workouts, doing far more than just pull-ups.
If you are ready for something more than just a few pull-ups and push-ups, but still don’t have an hour to burn in your day, try this weight lifting routine and treadmill workout (Note: you will likely have to modify the routine if you are new to working out or running, but the format is a great template. Try starting at 5mph and working up in speed each ’round’). I recently introduced a gentleman in his 60s to this routine and he is able to complete the ENTIRE routine (weights + HIIT portion of the treadmill workout) in about 45 minutes!! Satisfy your inner-Arnold and your doctor in 45 minutes. Booya!
This strategy also applies to excuses like: “I’m too fat,” “I’m too old,” and “working out is boring.” Start small, rely on the compound effect, and when you only have to perform 3 sets in the weight room and are changing the setting on the treadmill every minute, you won’t have time to be bored!
Lame Reason #2 – “I can’t get to the gym because of my (cue shameful gasp) KIDS”
Consider: This excuse might sound a lot like Lame Reason #1, but in reality it is often the follow-up excuse to #1, once someone has pitched a reasonable workout idea like one of the suggestions above. The conversation typically goes something like this:
Friend: “You really should try to work out a few times a week.”
You: “I know, but I’m just so busy and working out takes so long!”
Friend: <Poses workout routine above>
You: “I mean, that sounds great … if I didn’t have kids. They just keep me so busy and I don’t have ANY spare time in the day to spend in the gym doing something like that.”
Sound familiar? I’ve heard it from the mouths of moms and dads, no bias here, but it’s LAME either way.
The Simple Man Says … Workout WITH your kids!! First, if you are the stay-at-home mom (or dad) variety, check out bootcamps for Mom’s in your area. In the Beaverton/Portland area, we have a great program called Baby Boot Camp. Check them out here or go to www.babybootcamp.com to find a program in your area. If there isn’t one near you, there’s bound to be something like it (Click here if you don’t know where to start). Also, don’t be fooled into thinking that these bootcamp classes are just a bunch of moms wearing expensive workout clothing, sipping their lattes, and strolling around a walking path. I made that mistake a year ago and in a matter of 2 months ended up losing 20 pounds AND gaining some serious husband-points for being the only man in attendance.
If Baby Bootcamp doesn’t sound like your deal, then what would you say if I told you that some of the best workouts I’ve had in the last 3 months came at my son’s school playground?!?! That’s right, take your kids to their favorite playground and work out there!
Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve actually sat and looked at the play structures at any kids park, but if you look close enough, they look a whole lot like some of the gym equipment at your local gym: most middle school parks have a track, monkey bars work great for pull-ups (you can even use the outer, thick bars, for grip-strengthening pull-ups), parallel bars can be used for dips or hanging rows, picnic benches can be used for incline or decline pushups, etc. Check out the pic below from indyfamilyresource.com for some additional exercise ideas:
In addition, here’s a link to the workout I did at my son’s school a few weeks ago: https://www.evernote.com/l/AQj1Oyz3aJ1K_Z8eN4qNJwKs_OzGrh1DJDc
Not only did I get a 45 minute strength and cardio workout in, but I spent the time with my son and he even performed some of the exercise (and some of his own), during our time there. Added bonus: When you work out, it cements healthier habits and mindsets in your children!
Lame Reason #3 – “I’m not a fitness expert and I don’t know what to do when I get there.”
Consider: Now we are actually getting somewhere close to a legitimate excuse with this one. Not knowing what exercises to do when you get to the weight room or using only LONG, steady-state cardio on the treadmill or elliptical is a surefire killer of your workout routine, even if you manage to get yourself all the way to the gym (or to the park as I suggested in #2). But, as the title of this article suggest, this is STILL a LAME Reason because the real excuse is: You don’t have a plan.
The Simple Man Says … Have a plan and mix it up! Since this post is getting a little too long-winded to categorize as “simple,” let me point you in the direction of some resources to help you plan your routines:
1. I’ve done both the weight program and treadmill workouts prescribed in #1 above and continue to utilize them in my current routines. That’s a great place to start and you don’t really have to worry about mixing things up, until it starts to get boring or your progress plateaus.
2. Pick up a copy of Zach Evan-Esh’s book The Encyclopedia of Underground Strength and Conditioning. It’s a great resource for putting together your own program of body-weight exercises or programs to develop “functional fitness.” FYI, I used this resource, plus resource #3 to develop my playground workout above.
3. Subscribe to a Workout of the Day (WOD). Personally, I like WODs from www.Spartan.com/workout-of-the-day. Especially if you are going to be trying to get workouts in at parks or at your house, most of these WODs require no equipment and take between 30 and 45 minutes. Plus, as an added bonus, they will get you ready to compete in your first Spartan Race (post to come about this soon!). If the Spartan workouts are not your style, just google WOD and you’ll find a slew of links to WOD subscription pages.
Well, there you have it! 3 LAME excuses and 3 Simple Man Solutions. If you saw the length of the post, and like me, just read the Bold sections or skipped straight to the end, this is for you. The Simple Man Says … Dump those lame excuses where they belong, start small, workout with your kids, and have a plan!
Now get after it!