You Can’t Fool Me

by tinareale on January 4, 2012

Yesterday I shared all about a fantastic book to motivate you beyond excuses and mental games when it comes to working out. If you missed it, head on over because a giveaway is involved. Ends tomorrow!

Today, I’m going to give you my own version of the tough love, get real approach related to the all too common excuses that inhibit us in our fitness goals. I had this topic planned for weeks, so I figured, after all the the comments for the giveaway, I would address those common excuses now.

I know them all too well. Yes, I get sucked into excuses too. How do I push past them? I honestly give myself a little reality smack upside the head to regain perspective and get my booty moving.

Loved this video that reader, Julia, pointed out to me:

Excuses don’t fool me anymore (well, at least very rarely) and they don’t have to fool you either. Here are some responses to have at the ready when those pesky voices trying to convince you to skip a workout decide to visit.

Excuse: “I’m too tired”.
Response: “Let’s make a compromise. Laying on the couch will NOT give me energy, anyways.”
I understand that it’s HARD to get moving when you feel like you got beat with the tired stick. So compromise. Decide to take 20-30 minutes for a workout at a lower intensity than normal. You may surprise yourself doing more than you anticipated, but at the very least you will feel more energy after getting in at least some activity.

Excuse: “I have no time”.
Response: “Do you really not have time? What about that time spent on Twitter / watching TV / primping for an hour / organizing the pantry again?”
It boils down to the fact that we MAKE TIME for the things that matter to us. Fitness should matter to us. Let me phrase it differently…does your life matter to you? Then, yeah. Fitness should matter to you too. You can get in a quality workout in under 30 minutes. If you’re a beginner, you really only need that much time to get started. If you’re more advanced, you can bust out some intervals or an intense circuit that will challenge you more than you think.

Excuse: “I need to _______.”
Response: “What truly matters more?”
My health? Or having dishes put away? This goes back to the whole time thing. YOU MATTER. Make time for yourself, even just 20 minutes. The things that need to get done WILL get done. Think of your priorities and align them accordingly. And health should be a priority, people. Besides, it’s been proven that working out gives you better focus to accomplish things. So work out, then tackle that to-do list in less time than you would otherwise.


Excuse: “I feel guilty not spending that time with my kids/spouse/friends/dog/etc".”
Response: “I’m a better person when I take care of myself.”
I PROMISE YOU! I cannot emphasize this enough. When you take care of yourself, you have more energy, higher self-esteem, a more positive mindset, feel better, and so much more. I dare you to get in a healthy, balanced workout habit and honestly tell me you aren’t a better person from it. I also bet you that your loved ones will thank you and notice a difference.

Excuse: “It’s too hard”.
Response: “It’s really not”.
Too many people have made the fitness industry a booming business with conflicting information. Sure, there is no cookie cutter approach and you may need some help learning the basics. But, that’s the thing – THE BASICS WORK! Go on a walk or jog. Do some squats, lunges, push-ups, and rows. Eat a bit less. Move a bit more. Continue educating yourself along the way or seeking outside support or advice to continue challenging yourself, but to get started? You don’t need to make it more difficult than it really is. Plus, I imagine the negative side effects of a less healthy lifestyle are harder to deal with.

Excuse: “I had a bad day”.
Response: “And skipping my workout will help my day get better….HOW?!”
Seriously. How will skipping your workout really make you feel better. Once again, compromise to do something. Even though it doesn’t make you a failure, skipping out will likely have some repercussions of guilt or feeling like you failed. That is not going to make you feel better.

get out put in

Excuse: “I already missed X workouts this week”. OR “I ate ‘bad’ today”.
Response: “SO?!?”
Yet again…how would skipping the workout help this situation? It wouldn’t. Plain and simple. Scrap the all or nothing mindset by focusing on each decisions as separate. Each meal. Each workout. Each decision is its own. And each decision can bring you closer to or further from your goals. You decide.

Excuse: “I’m too sore”.
Response: “So, I will scale back the workout and stretch well afterwards”.
The fact of the matter is that when you’re sore you probably need to move more. It will get blood flowing to the muscles. Keep things at a lower intensity and capitalize on the movement by stretching well after the workout when your muscles are most primed for a good stretch.

There are plenty of others, but I wanted to focus on the most prevalent ones I hear. Also, you may certainly encounter times where you should skip a workout and rest – injury, illness, family crisis, or something similar. Don’t feel bad for those times. Lastly, if you DO give in to excuses, don’t let it become a cycle. Eventually, the excuses will become fewer and farther between and working out will be a habit you can’t break.

What workout did you do today or do you plan to do today?


1 kaitlin @4loveofcarrots January 4, 2012 at 7:14 am

Whenever I think oh I’m too tired or there isn’t enough time I always tell myself its better to do something then nothing at all and that after I will feel better about myself and more accomplished

2 Khushboo January 4, 2012 at 7:37 am

Haha I love this! “What truly matters more?” My health? Or having dishes put away?–> couldn’t have said it better myself! People don’t realise how lucky they are that they CAN work out! I didn’t do any workout today because I’m suffering from shin splints so I am resting up but boy am I excited to get my sweat on soon..I would kill to e able to go for a run today!

3 tinareale January 4, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Funny how injuries will do that, huh? All about perspective.

4 Julia January 4, 2012 at 7:37 am

Love this post, Tina! And the video of course…
It’s a great reminder of how we should be GRATEFUL to be able to work out!
I guess, I need to say this to myself more often.

Today, I am gonna go on a nice 30 min run (part of the preparation for my upcoming first half marathon…). Aaaaaaaah….:-)

5 tinareale January 4, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Hope it went well!!!

6 Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers January 4, 2012 at 7:45 am

LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!! And you’re so right about “making time” – Ryan always says, “Workout at 5 a.m. I guarantee nothing more important will pop up on your schedule.”

7 Sue @ Sue In Training January 4, 2012 at 7:46 am

I have to admit, I’ve probably used every single one of those excuses occasionally. But then I try to remember how awesome and proud I feel after every workout, and that usually works. Today I want to try a new exercise dvd that arrived last night. My legs are still a little sore from yesterday’s run, so I won’t go all out today. I just want to move a little, sweat a little. It’s just like you wrote in your last point, “scale back the workout and stretch well afterwards”. Agreed!

8 Heather (Heather's Dish) January 4, 2012 at 7:50 am

you know, yesterday was an excuse day for me…i got sucked into a convo at work and couldn’t take my normal lunchtime walk. i vowed to get stuff done at home, but once i started i didn’t feel like it anymore. i did crank out a light lower body workout and, even though i didn’t necessarily ‘feel’ better i did have more energy!

9 tinareale January 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm

And I know how HARD it is to have the motivation during pregnancy!

10 Vicky January 4, 2012 at 7:58 am

Great post Tina and up until three kids i would’ve totally agreed with you, but with four i honestly have to say that sometimes i really had no time during the day to get a workout in and i’m so tired that i’m doing myself and the kids a favor by going to bed and sleeping instead of going to the gym. Off to play domino with Aiden now ;-)

11 tinareale January 4, 2012 at 9:40 pm

But, I’m betting you still get in regular activity. Workouts don’t have to be every day…but it’s the excuses that are every day and add up to an unbalanced, unhealthy lifestyle. Which I know isn’t you, Vicky. ;)

12 Vicky January 7, 2012 at 5:37 am

that’s sweet of you Tina, and you’re right, i do get in regular activity, just not as much as i used to

13 Kristy @ KristyRuns January 4, 2012 at 8:12 am

I love all these! I also like meeting friends to workout, because it holds me accountable. I can’t just not show up! :)

14 Glenneth January 4, 2012 at 8:33 am

LOVE these. Yes, if you really want it, you will find the time for it.

15 Lori Lynn January 4, 2012 at 8:41 am

I’m planning on doing a run on the treadmill, with a little bit of elliptical and stairmaster/stationary bike.

16 Parita @ myinnershakti January 4, 2012 at 8:48 am

I used to use the last excuse on your list more often then I’d like to admit. But I like your response and also believe that I’m not doing my muscles any favors by not stretching and moving them in some way. Love this post!

17 jobo January 4, 2012 at 8:58 am

YES YES And MORE YES!! I obviously completely agree with you! As for me, I was SO tired this morning, I didn’t sleep well last night and PMS always kicks my butt, and to top it off? I was facing a new interval/hill/tempo run thingie I was trying (that’s the technical term – lol) and was kind of intimidated. BUT I got up and did it and feel freaking awesome. Excuses really can take over the mind but when you have a good workout after combatting excuses, you feel awesome!

18 tinareale January 4, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Yes! Love that feeling after a great workout that you almost skipped. :)

19 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries January 4, 2012 at 9:05 am

LOVE this!! your responses to all of the excuses are absolutely perfect. there is no excuse too great to not workout (ok, except maybe for a major injury or illness).

20 Kelly January 4, 2012 at 9:10 am

I did a 3 mile run. It was all I had time to squeeze in this morning but something is always better than nothing! :)

21 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 4, 2012 at 9:30 am

I have definitely used the lack of energy excuse or being in a bad mood… when I DO go to the gym I always leave with MORE energy and my spirits lifted.

Today I ran a mile, did 100 decline crunches, and ~30 mins of triceps and chest. Word to the new year. ;)

22 Cara January 4, 2012 at 9:30 am

Great post Tina! I give into the excuses from time to time, but I always know that even a little bit is better than nothing! I’m playing the lazy excuse on my 6 mile run today meaning I’ll probably only get 3-4 in, but its better than nothing!

23 tinareale January 4, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Yep! Hope you had a great 3-4 miles. :)

24 Lauren @ What Lauren Likes January 4, 2012 at 9:33 am

Great post! I definetly have used alot of those excuses before :)

25 Mellissa January 4, 2012 at 9:34 am

Love this! I have to go in the morning or I won’t go. Life gets in the way. I go in the morning and get it done! Today was cardio intervals and an arm workout that made it hard to wash my hair. Love it.

26 tinareale January 4, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Those are the best arm workouts! I felt the same way leaving the gym earlier too.

27 Athena @ Fitness & Feta January 4, 2012 at 9:38 am

I love this post! Today I am planning on doing a spin class followed by a free TRX demo my gym is offering!

28 Kinley @ Better Off Barefoot January 4, 2012 at 9:47 am

Totally love the “It’s too hard” no, “It’s really not” one – lol!! No excuses!!

My favorite quote of the week is “I turned my cants into cans and my dreams into plans”. I have no idea where I got it from (probably pinterest or something) but it sounds good to me!

29 Megan January 4, 2012 at 10:01 am

Whoa, that video was inspirational. Gave me chills!!

30 mariel January 4, 2012 at 10:02 am

LOVELOVELOVE thispost. i really need to like…post this on my wall or something

31 Rebecca @ Miss Magnolia Munches & Moves January 4, 2012 at 10:02 am

I love the interest/commitment quote. My workout buddy and I always ask each other, “Are you interested or committed?”

32 Miz January 4, 2012 at 10:03 am

nothing to add Sister as you NAILED THEM ALL.
it’s a choice huh?


33 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 4, 2012 at 10:04 am

Sadly I really don’t have time for a workout today. Got up at 5am to fly from Charleston to Kansas City, where my mom is picking me up and we’re driving straight from the airport to Colorado! 9 hour drive! Haha but I ran yesterday and will probably do the same tomorrow!

34 tinareale January 4, 2012 at 9:58 pm

See, that’s the thing. Workouts don’t have to be every day…but the excuses CAN’T be every day. And I know yours aren’t. Not that traveling is an excuse because I bet you planned to have the day off.

35 [email protected] January 4, 2012 at 10:15 am

LOVE these tips! What a reality check!! I need to print this post & put it on the fridge! I always have time for a trip there! lol

36 Michelle January 4, 2012 at 10:15 am

Love this!! Nothing pisses me off more than people saying that they “don’t have to time” to be healthy and workout. BS!

I slept like crap last night and got up and went to my 5:45am spin class. It made me feel SO much better and gave me the energy I need to make it through the day :)

37 Tiff January 4, 2012 at 10:25 am

I busted that excuse about not spending enough time with the spouse. On our day off together, I made him walk with me outside even though it was cold. He skipped the leg work I did once we got back to the house, but we both got healthier while enjoying a long, uninterrupted conversation.

38 Lilly January 4, 2012 at 10:34 am

This is such an amazing post!!! Who hasn’t used the excuses above. I have really been needing a little extra motivation lately – feeling lethargic after the holidays and with the new cold/snowy weather. I just discovered the blog through a post by Julie at PBFingers, and I will def be visiting this blog regularly!!

39 tinareale January 4, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Welcome! And hope to keep hearing from you, Lilly. Love Julie! She is a dear friend.

40 Jess January 4, 2012 at 10:41 am

LOVE everything about this post, was nodding right along throughout, shouting “YES!” in my head the whole time (if out loud, my coworkers might think I’m nuttier than they already think i am!). I particularly dig the making time for yourself – and not using the “I have no time” theory to back out of “me time” workout-wise. It is SO SO SO important to carve out that time, even if it means *gasp* not putting away the dishes or the laundry instead. ;-)

41 Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food January 4, 2012 at 11:09 am

Great post! Being an instructor, I hear a ton of excuses about why people didn’t make it to class, had to leave early, etc. While I know things pop up, most of the time those things aren’t as important as our health!

42 Megan @ Fiterature January 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm

This is excellent – I am guilty of the “I need to _____” excuse. And your response is perfect – “What truly matters more? My health? Or having dishes put away?” I can’t put the dishes away if I am a shriveled up wimp! Thanks for the added motivation!

43 J @ ... semplicemente j ... January 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Today I am planning to continue my Half Marathon Training (I have not yet decided the Half to do … ) Today is a 3 mile run … looking forward to it … last year after my injury I kept finding a myriad of excuses … I am truly afraid that the injury will come back as I sometimes feel it on runs … but I am tired of excuses and my year as been fabulous in terms of my motivation (though not easy) so far!

44 RunEatRepeat January 4, 2012 at 12:33 pm

No workout today. I seriously have no time since I’m traveling. Boo.

45 Bonnie January 4, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I love this post, Tina! You cover every excuse in the book and while it might be a bit of tough love, it’s SO true and SO real. Way to put it out there – this is a post we can all come back to and remind ourselves of truth. :) Thanks!

46 Heather @ Better With Veggies January 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I love this list! Having the answer for every excuse already written out makes it almost impossible to use that (flimsy) excuse. :)

47 Shanna, like Banana January 4, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Mentally I am soooo ready to work out, but I don’t want to risk anything 7 days post partum, so if I can do a walk around the block, I’m going to call that one heck of a workout! :)

48 tinareale January 4, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Well yea…a week post baby needs rest. ;)

49 Katie @ Pop Culture Cuisine January 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Love it! I went to a spin class…I keep avoiding them because it means dragging my daughter to the gym day care, but man did it feel good to sweat like that!

50 Meredith @ DareYouTo January 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Thanks for these! Some of the truths you listed, I already acknowledge, but some provide a great response to my mental excuses. I’m bookmarking this page for when I need a kick in the butt!

51 Ela January 4, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Those are great comebacks! Funny, too. It’s amazing how the excuses come up, but if you go ahead and work out anyway, you often feel so much better.

I love my rebounder so much, because I always know it’ll feel good, and it helps me feel like doing other exercises too.

52 Kerry @ Half Healthy, Half Nuts January 4, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Awesome post! The excuses we make for ourselves just to get out of a workout are so bad – especially after reading your rebuttals on all of them. I am so guilty of the “I’m too sore” one, which I used this morning when I didn’t want to get up. Grr.

53 Heather @ Run Eat Play January 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Love this post! Today I did BodyPump and 20 minutes on the elliptical. I’m going to Yoga-Lates tonight. I don’t usually do so much in one day, but Yoga-Lates is only on Wednesday nights!

54 Paige @ Running Around Normal January 4, 2012 at 4:53 pm

This is a great post, Tina!! I’m super good at believing my own excuses when I make them ;) My worst one is “I just washed my hair yesterday, and it looks good…so I don’t want ot have to wash it again.” Rational? Maybe not. Rationalized? Sometimes… :)

55 Laura @joyful shimmy January 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Great post! I have said all of those excuses and I hear t from my clients too. It’s a matter do I put myself in my priority list. If so, what actions I’m taking towards my own well wing. It’s key.

Having fun is not always fun when we are in it. Our job is to show up and do what it’s in front of us. The next right action.

56 Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! January 4, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Fantastic post! I know I’ve thought all these things in the past, but now fitness is a priority, and often comes before other luxury time – wouldn’t have it any other way! But even so, I hear my friends and family say these things all the time, and it often takes so much power not to give them a piece of my mind, or any unsolicited advice.

57 Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) January 4, 2012 at 5:59 pm

organizing the pantry again is not an excuse?! Uh oh :)

Great post, Tina! I think it’s so easy to fall into some of these traps at some point or another.

58 Carol @ Lucky Zucca January 4, 2012 at 8:54 pm

You’re a genius Tina. I love this post. I need to print it out and post it on a string hanging in front of my face!

59 Jane January 5, 2012 at 12:50 am

Hi Tina,

This is an awesome post, but then again, yours always are. Thanks so much for the rebuttals to all those pesky excuses. I have printed this out and it is going on my bedroom wall so it’s the first thing I see in the morning.

I haven’t comment in a while, but I do read often and I am loving the new look site.

60 tinareale January 5, 2012 at 8:06 am

Thanks, Jane! And I understand the commenting thing. It’s hard to have time! I relate. Thanks for reading, though. And hope you have a GREAT day.

61 Kara January 5, 2012 at 7:12 am

Does “I was up 4 times last night with a screaming toddler last night and now my head feels too heavy for my body” count as a good enough excuse? No? Ok fine, I’ll run. :P

62 Tracy January 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Amen! :-) Very well written and all so true… I especially like the one and unfortunately have said it to myself way too many times bringing up twins….”I’m too tired”… I think I will go do some Turbofire now :-) I feel a built guilty after reading all of this :-) Thanks for the kick this afternoon…. ~ Take Care

63 Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic January 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I’m a little behind on my blog readings and just saw this. Awesome post! One thing I always tell myself when I start to make up excuses is: “you never regret a workout!” It’s true and it keeps me motivated. This morning I was feeling too lazy to go to the gym but I reminded myself that I will feel better if I do, and I did :)

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