25 Lies You Tell Yourself To Avoid Working Out

Exercises in Futility


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Exercises in Futility

Exercises in Futility

Most people would love to have the fit, toned physique of a supermodel or pro athlete — not to mention their salaries, designer wardrobes, and sprawling homes, too. When it comes down to it, few people actually want to put in the work it takes to achieve such fine physical form (or at least shed those pandemic pounds). It's no easy task looking like Gisele, especially with the million excuses we tell ourselves when it comes time to put on our workout gear and start sweating. Here — from personal trainers and fitness buffs — are some of the most popular excuses (read: lies) we tell ourselves instead of hitting the treadmill or the trail. 

Related: This Cheap Workout Gear Can Help You Stay in Shape at Home

I Don't Want to Get Too Bulky

"I Don't Want to Get Too Bulky"

Manhattan trainer and group fitness instructor Brooke Ashleigh gets a kick out the many creative excuses she hears from her clients, most of which are fitness myths. For instance, some clients worry that if they work too much, they may get too bulky. You know — like Arnold. 

Related: 12 Ways to Work Out at Home and Stay Motivated

I Don't Want to Carry My Gym Clothes

"I Don't Want to Carry Gym Clothes Around All Day"

Carrying around an extra set of clothes can certainly be a nuisance. Who wants to have to do that? What do a cheap pair of leggings and a T-shirt weigh after all? Two … three pounds? It would almost be like you were working out. All day long. Shudder.

The Scale Doesn't Matter

"I'm Too Out of Shape to Work Out"

Kyra Williams, a certified personal trainer and nutrition expert, has helped women all over the world get in shape. Along the way, she's also heard every excuse in the book. Such as "I'm too out of shape to work out." It's an excuse that defies logic, as exercising, even if you choose a home workout over the gym, is all about getting in shape. Baby steps, people, baby steps.      

Adene Sanchez/istockphoto

"I Just Got My Eyebrows Done and Can't Sweat Today"

Yes, this is another excuse heard by Ashleigh from her clients, although it's unclear how a little sweat might hurt the newly sculpted eyebrows or age-defying makeup. Does that mean these same people won't be showering also? You know, because that would also get the eyebrows wet as well.

I Forgot My Headphones

"I Forgot My Headphones"

While it may be far less fun hitting the treadmill or Stairmaster when you're unable to plug into a television and catch up on the Kardashians, that doesn't mean you couldn't do something else at the gym that doesn't involve tuning out via your headphones. There are plenty of other activities not tied to a television — perhaps yoga or a spin class to name a few.

People Will Notice I'm Out of Shape

"People Will Notice How Out of Shape I Am"

A variation a previous excuse, this one adds the perception others might have of you if you head to the gym not looking as slim as the latest "it" supermodel. Here's the answer to that concern: Who cares? Be proud of yourself for doing what's good for you to lose weight and get fit.

"I Won't Know What to Do When I Get There"

"I Won't Know What to Do When I Get There"

This may be a legitimate concern. You don't know how to use the many machines at the gym. But the best way to figure that out is to actually go to the gym. You've got to start somewhere, right? Many gyms have free orientations and complimentary sessions with personal trainers when you sign up for membership. And all of those offers aside, there are also plenty of classes with instructors who will lead you through the exercises step by step.

It's Cold Outside and I Don't Want to Pull Something

"It's Cold Out and I Don't Want to Pull Something"

A personal trainer and 19-time world champion powerlifter, Robert Herbst of Larchmont, New York, didn't let weather easily scare him off when it came time to head to the gym. But as a trainer, he has heard weather-themed excuses time and again from clients. Yes, it may be cold outside, but you can spend some time getting warm once you get to the gym. They have heat there, promise.

I Don't Want to Get Too Tired

"I Don't Want to Get Too Tired Because I'm Going Out"

Uhmm, okay. But working out gives you more energy, not less. The priority should be your health, says Herbst.

It's Too Busy

"There Won't Be Enough Machines Available"

No one likes rush hour, especially rush hour at the gym when all the machines are occupied and you have to wait your turn. But what's a five-minute wait for the Stairmaster in exchange for progress with your health? Use the downtime to take a selfie, update your Instagram feed, or chat with a cute fellow gym member.

I Ate Healthy Today

"I Ate Healthy Today So I Don't Need to Go"

Okay, let's break this down. Eating healthy is an overall part of your health routine. It does not replace the need to exercise. The two actions go hand in hand. Are we clear on this?

Inflammatory: Stress

"I Will Go When Work Isn't So Hectic"

Is work ever not hectic. Or perhaps the more accurate statement is: Should all the planets be perfectly aligned in order for you to get to the gym? This excuse comes courtesy of RaShea Drake, an analyst for Verizon, and typically a very logical person. Except when it comes to the many excuses the Utah resident comes up with to avoid working out. Work out and find ways to manage your stress, too.

"I Can't Go Because I Drank a Dr. Pepper"

"I Can't Go Because I Drank a Dr. Pepper"

Another excuse from Drake, the theory here is apparently that sodas like Dr. Pepper or Coca-Cola will make one feel ill — both during the workout and after. Should we pause here and go over the fact that soda aren't good for you anyway? Or just leave it at avoiding them on days when you're supposed to work out?

I Can't Miss My Show

"I Can't Miss the Game on TV"

How’s that for some irony? Some folks find it more important to watch professional athletes work out (and be paid handsomely) than to work out and get the physical and mental health benefits of exercise for themselves. They have to know: Spectator sports burn very few calories, even the Super Bowl.

I'm Going to Eat A Lot Tomorrow

"I'm Going to Eat a Lot Tomorrow, I Might as Well Wait"

Let's remember, you can always work out again tomorrow, too, or the day after tomorrow. When your meal plans for the future start impacting your exercise routine for today, it's time to take a good hard look at what's really going on.

Tai Chi

"I Don't Want to Use My (Yoga, Pilates, Spin) Classes Too Soon"

Hmmm, the logic here is hard to identify. After all, didn't you buy the classes in the first place to get in shape? And can't you buy more classes? Perhaps the real issue is your budget. If that's the case, then it may be time to find an exercise routine or program that's less pricey. There are plenty of activities that can be done without spending a lot of money. Do the words "hiking," "running," or "walking" ring a bell?

I Just Did My Hair

"I Just Did My Nails or Hair"

Let's all do it together — eye roll. As Herbst likes to explain to clients who offer up the excuse that they just did their hair or nails, it's important to make a commitment to yourself and your exercise routine, because nothing is more important than your health.

"My Workout Buddy Is a No-Show"

"My Workout Buddy Is a No-Show"

Waiting to do your spin class with a workout buddy? That's a good one. With the hectic lives we all live, most of us can barely find the time to cram everything we need to into a day. You're setting the bar even higher trying to coordinate with another person's schedule, too. Here's an idea, go with or without your workout partner, or recruit your pet to exercise with you. Think of it as an added bonus if your buddy is able to show up.

Back pain

"I Don't Want to Pull a Muscle"

Newsflash: You can stretch at the gym. Who knew? There are even some newfangled classes at many gyms that are all about stretching — they're called yoga.

I Won't Have Time to Cook Healthy

"I Won't Have Time to Cook a Healthy Meal, So Why Bother?"

Yes, the gym does take precious time in the evening after work. Deciding how to spend that time is a big deal. But there are so many ways to address the issue of eating healthy that do not involve nixing the gym visit. For instance, prepare a healthy dinner the night or day before or during the weekend. Or make a simpler, healthy meal on gym days. How long does it really take to make a salad?

It's Friday the 13th
Ildo Frazao/istockphoto

"It's Friday the 13th"

Yes, this is an actual excuse. Mickie Carter, the creator of the fitness blog One Strong Southern Girl and a former personal trainer, has heard this and many other such reasons for avoiding the gym. Carter's typical response is to have the individual in question do some soul-searching about why they don't want to exercise. We all know that Friday the 13th at the gym is like every other day. Jason Voorhees will not be there in his frightening hockey mask, and there is no disaster waiting to befall you.

It's My Birthday

"It's My Birthday"

Do we all need to do some collective soul-searching? The excuse that it's your birthday is nothing more than that — an excuse. Think of going to the gym before your big party, girls' night out, or pub crawl as a present to yourself. You're giving yourself the gift of good health.

"My Ex-Husband Will Be There Today"

"My Ex-Husband Will Be There Today"

Did we suddenly tune into an episode of the "Real Housewives of Orange County"? Carter has heard this excuse plenty of times before as well. Here's a thought — wait until he leaves to go. There are 24 hours in a day. He won't be there all day, right? And working out at home is an option.

"It's Cold Out and I Don't Want to Get Sick"

"It's Cold Out and I Don't Want to Get Sick"

Perhaps gloves, scarves, coats, and hats aren't available everywhere yet,  because cold weather is a commonplace excuse. Important reminder: Going to the gym keeps you healthier overall. Think of your workout as an added layer of protection against the cold. Or maybe consider investing in some good winter outerwear. REI, L.L. Bean, they're all selling coats and boots these days. They even have mail order.

"It's Almost Summer — I'll Start After Memorial Day"

"It's Almost Summer — I'll Start After Memorial Day"

As good of an excuse as any not to go to the gym. Luckily for those in search of excuses, Fourth of July follows Memorial Day, and after that is Labor Day, and so on. But frankly, this is just an exercise — in procrastination.