Find A Way, Not An Excuse! / by PJ Monson

Let me preface this post by saying my inspiration for this actually comes from myself. Just the other day a fellow trainer responded to a thought I had by saying, "Polly that's just an excuse!" It was a wake up call. As a trainer and coach, I have heard so many different excuses on what stops people from losing weight that I thought I would be able to recognize when I am making them for myself. NOPE! If you are wondering what my thought was, read on. It is definitely among this list of doozies! ;)

1. "I'm just not hungry in the morning." One of the golden rules of weight loss is to start each day by fueling your body. This can be anything from a banana to a an egg white omelette with English Muffin. This will help kick-start your metabolism, keep your blood sugar levels from spiking, and prevent you from overeating the rest of the day. The body is capable of doing amazing things without you consciously guiding it but, just like babies and circus monkeys, it can be trained to operate on a certain schedule. It is not a perfect science, as any Mom I know will tell me, but you can manipulate your own sleeping and eating schedule over time. If you start each day by feeding yourself a little healthy kick start then, over time, your body will adjust and wake up expecting immediate nourishment.

2."I'm older now so it's natural to gain weight." This excuse usually comes from my 30 and 40 something clients who are frustrated their one-week back in the gym hasn't shown major results.The biggest change that happens as people start to hit their late 20's and early 30's is a natural loss of muscle mass. This can slow down your daily metabolic rate if you are not doing the necessary weight training to replace lost muscle. Muscle requires more energy (or calories) to work than fat so the more muscle you have, the more your body needs to burn food for fuel. A 23-year-old with 60% muscle is the same as a 42-year-old with 60% muscle. It just takes some extra work for the 42-year-old to build and keep that muscle.  I have noticed that a lot of my clients in their 30's and 40's actually have better bodies than some of my clients in their 20's just by being more comfortable in their own skin and picking a "healthy lifestyle" over the "instantly gratifying diet."


3. "I don't want to lift weights and look like The Hulk." (this is mainly for my ladies) Simply put, not possible. When looking at a typical body builder, a lot more goes into developing their physique besides simply picking up a weight. Their training is difficult and very specific and nothing you might "accidentally" do to yourself by spending too much time in a weight room. One pound of fat takes up about 4x the space as one pound of muscle. This should cause you to feel leaner as you get stronger. The bulky feeling people sometimes feel is the fat on top of the muscle they are building. Fat does not turn into muscle; fat is burned and muscle is built. If you don't keep up with your cardio and especially your diet, the excess fat can give you that bulky feeling. If you are still not convinced, keep bodyweight exercises as a large part of your normal routine. Just be sure to keep it challenging!

4. "I don't have time." (This was my excuse!) Being a recent M.S. graduate, I get it! Time is of the essence when important things need to be taken care of like work, school, and family. This is why I say "Thank Goodness" we have workouts now like high intensity interval training (HIIT) that can be done at home and in 20 minutes. If this is too much too fast, then work on making subtle choices throughout your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk around the block at lunch, or come up with your own 15-minute workout routine you do every morning before you shower. Worst comes to worst, if you truly don't think you can find the time, focus on your diet. You have to eat and eating healthy (even without exercise) goes a long way in facilitating weight loss. However, you need both and I think there is always a balance we can find. If you need help, ask me!=) 

5. "I am going to make a change right after…(this big project, finals, my birthday)!" One thing I have noticed as I get older is "life only gets busier." There will never be a perfect time. A way around this excuse is to not go to extremes. Don't tell yourself that starting Monday you will cut caffeine and sugar and start two-a-days at the gym; that sounds like a miserable Monday. Start by cutting back on one thing. Give yourself coffee in the morning, do a 15-minute workout before you shower, then cut dessert at night. Sure, this means it will take longer to achieve your goals, but, ultimately, who wins the race: the tortoise or the hare?;)