Making an excuse for anything today is about as common as breathing. Our level for tolerance is so low that the slightest bit of effort makes us throw our hands up and say “I can’t do it!” How did we become like this? When did we stop seeing obstacles as a challenge to overcome and, instead, see them as a perfectly good excuse not to do something? To my dismay this ‘excuse’ culture has made its way and cemented it’s feet into the health and fitness industry. It’s something I, and many trainers around the country, have to deal with every, single day. And, to be completely honest, it’s the hardest part of the job. The upside is that you, the client, can help.
Many of you have goals. After 10 years in the fitness industry I’ve noticed everyone, everyone, has the same goals: lose body fat and be lean and toned. So, what’s the problem? Aside from a lifetime of habits and mistakes that need to be undone, as trainers, we are instructed with the task of undoing those habits and mistakes of our clients. To understand how difficult this is, imagine you’re a high school teacher and your job is to help your students pass a standardized test. Now, imagine most of your students can barely read! Finally, you offer all the info needed to help your students learn to read and pass the test, but it takes hard work and they give up after 1 week. They don’t pass the test and they blame you! See the problem? This is the situation most personal trainers find themselves in around the country. Here’s a perfect example of what happens in most consultations when a prospect is “ready” to make a change:
Me: What are your goals?
Prospect: I want to lose fat and build lean muscle. I want to look good at the beach/wedding/reunion/etc.
Me: OK, I need you to do X, Y, and Z for the next 1-2 years, minimum, with consistent work if you want to reach those goals. Are you serious about your goals?
Prospect: Yes! I’ll do anything! I’ve had these goals for years and now it’s time!
Me: OK (this is where I lay out the details of what need to be done with training, nutrition, lifestyle, etc.)
(fast-forward 45 days)
Me: So, we just did your measurements and nothing’s changed. You haven’t been training consistently, you’re not following your diet plan and you haven’t been getting adequate sleep. What happened?
Prospect: Oh, it’s because….
- Work ‘stuff’
- Travel ‘stuff’
- Kid ‘stuff’
- Spouse ‘stuff’
- Stress ‘stuff’
- Energy ‘stuff’
Let me make this very clear for all of you; I completely understand! Life can get a little hectic. OK, very hectic. Now, here’s something you need to understand: YOU’RE NOT SPECIAL! I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. I mean your lifestyle is not special. Everyone has at least 3 of the issues listed above affecting their every day life. Yet, somehow, there are individuals who make progress towards their fitness goals. Why do they succeed where the rest fail? It’s because I never hear them make excuses. They might whine once in a while but guess where I hear them complaining? When they’re in the gym training! Guess why they’re making results? Because, they make time to prep their food. They make their schedule work for them. Think of the number of hours you spend on social media, watching Netflix, or any other activity that is not useful of your time. That time begins to add up. It’s understandable when you don’t know what to do. It’s another situation when you’re paying someone to help you and they’ve laid the groundwork for you. All you have to do is follow the path. It’s a long path but it’s one that will get you to your destination.
For those of you who still say, “No, you don’t understand my schedule. I need to wait for things to calm down before I can really focus on my health and fitness goals.” OK, let’s imagine your work schedule doesn’t change….for the next 30 years! Is that still going to be your excuse why you’re not healthy, fit, and enjoying life to the fullest? Seriously. Imagine that situation. Is that what you’re going to tell yourself when you’re 60? 70? 80? The reason it hurts to get out of bed in the morning? The reason you don’t want to wear a 2-piece instead of a 1-piece? The reason you can’t play with your children and grandchildren because you’re tired and achy? The reason you’re going to the doctor every week to refill a prescription for something that otherwise could’ve been avoided if you simply moved more and ate better? That’s the future many of us face. Some of you are already living that future and you know firsthand how badly you wish you could hit the reset button. For the rest of you that future isn’t far off and will be here in the blink of an eye.
This article would be pointless if I didn’t give you a practical application exercise (pun intended) to help you stop making excuses. Here’s the exercise; for the next 60 days you can’t make an excuse. I’m serious. I’ve tried this exercise when it came to complaining and it was very eye opening within the first week. So, for the next two months you can’t make an excuse, within reason. It’s sort of like the movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey. He has to say ‘yes’ to any activity his friends suggest: similar idea but less extreme. Put this exercise as a calendar reminder in your phone. Maybe even set it up several times a day so you don’t forget. It won’t be easy but even if you fail you’ll have learned something about yourself and can act on that information for the better. Say it with me, “NO MORE EXCUSES!”
STAY FIT MY FRIENDS!