You wouldn’t miss a doctor’s appointment – well, not on purpose – so you shouldn’t miss your exercise appointment, either, says Justin Thompson, fitness specialist and personal trainer at the TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion.
“It needs to be in your work schedule, or in your Outlook Calendar,” Thompson explains. “It shouldn’t be: ‘I’ll do it when I have time.’”
Excuse #1: "I'm Too Busy."
Being “too busy” is one excuse Thompson frequently hears from clients, so he suggests multitasking. Pick an activity that you can do with your family, or walk around the field while your kid is at soccer practice, he adds.
The American Heart Association's new guidelines for heart health advise 20 to 60 minutes of moderate cardiovascular physical activity most days of the week, along with two to three weekly strength workouts, Thompson points out.
He also says breaking up workouts may help people who are crunched for time. “Do your cardio in the morning in your neighborhood, and then do your lift after work,” Thompson says.
Excuse #2: “It’s Too Expensive.”
Thompson recommends purchasing a few inexpensive pieces of equipment – like resistance bands or a set of dumb bells – for at-home workouts. Other options for reasonably priced equipment include:
- A jump rope
- Fitness or yoga DVDs
- Pull up bar for door frames
- A weighted exercise ball
He also says there are several free resources available; you just need to know where to look. “If you look it up online, there’s free running and walking groups sometimes,” Thompson says. “Usually, they are through a running shoe store.”
For those interested in personal training, some fitness centers, including the Pavilion, offer options for shared or group personal training packages. “It’s also fun because you’re working out with people, but it takes a lot off the cost,” Thompson adds.
Joining recreational sports leagues is another inexpensive, fun way to incorporate exercise and keep your routine fresh, he adds.
Excuse #3: “I Never Reach My Fitness Goals, So What’s the Point?”
Goals need to be obtainable, precise and time-bound, Thompson explains. “Don’t aim for something ridiculous, like, ‘I want to lose 50 pounds by next week,’” he says.One of Thompson’s favorite ways to stay accountable is to exercise with a buddy, or take classes.
“If you know you’re not motivated, look up and see if there’s a class at the time you’re going to be [at the gym] and take the class,” Thompson advises. “Let somebody else plan your workout.”
Excuse #4: “I Don’t Know What I’m Doing.”
If people are new to exercise, Thompson recommends starting with low-intensity cardiovascular activities, like working out on the elliptical, biking or swimming, and then, after a few weeks, adding in strength training.
“If they haven’t worked out in years, to start lifting weights can be really hard on their body, especially if their body isn’t ready for it,” he points out.
Thompson also stresses that beginners should see a professional to avoid injuries while using strength training equipment. “I know sometimes a budget doesn’t work to have a personal trainer, but … I usually advise to at least consult with someone before you lift,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be a weekly thing, but see a fitness professional with a degree and a proper certification, to at least get you started.”
When it comes to exercise nutrition, pre- and post-workout meals differ slightly. Before exercising, Thompson says to go for complex carbohydrates that are not harsh on your stomach. This includes foods like oatmeal or a banana. After exercising, he suggests eating a meal that includes both carbohydrates and protein. "It could even be a light salad with chicken," he says, noting the importance of consuming protein right after you work out.