Exercise Excuses to Ditch This Year

These excuses just aren't going to fly

I was talking to a friend about writing an article about New Year's Resolutions, something I've done every year in the 14 years I've worked at About.com. She rolled her eyes and said, "Oh, forget about telling people to exercise.  We all fall off that wagon by February."  And she's right.  Courtesy of Statistic Brain's New Year's Resolution Statistics, only 8% of people actually achieve their goals each year.

Setting goals are great, but what if you took a different approach this year?  Instead of setting up some crazy workout schedule only a fitness fanatic could stick to, why not get rid of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of your workouts?  Your excuses.  Getting rid of those may just be the first step in getting rid of those extra pounds.

Oh, I had a salad for lunch...I don't have to workout!

Cropped Image Of Hand Holding Bowl With Salad
Albasir Canizares/EyeEm/Getty Images

There are often two kinds of weight losers in this world:  People who would rather diet to lose weight and people who would rather exercise to lose weight.  It's easy to think that controlling your calories is enough to lose weight, but dieting without exercise not only hampers your weight loss, it can also cause you to lose muscle mass.  Muscle mass is a must if you want to change your body composition, burn fat and get results.

The bottom line is, you really do have to exercise if you want to lose weight and it doesn't have to be awful.  Learn how to get started.  

 Amati, Francesca, et al. Separate and combined effects of exercise training and weight loss on exercise efficiency and substrate oxidation. J Appl Physiol 105: 825-831, 2008.

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Dang it, my gym clothes are all dirty!

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Getting started is definitely the hardest part of working out and I admit, there are times even just putting on a sports bra seems like way too much work.

And depending on the time of year, like when it's cold and dark in the winter, we often come up with any excuse to skip workouts.  I wish dirty gym clothes would work for you in the coming year, but I'm about to prove that you don't even need gym clothes to get in a workout.

Pajama-Friendly Workouts

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I sure wish I didn't have to rearrange my sock drawer...


If you're working out at home, there are probably a hundred other 'productive' things you could be doing instead of exercising, right?  How can you waste time on a workout when you still haven't alphabetized your book collection?

Ditch The Excuses

  • Remind Yourself that Exercise is a Priority - Sometimes, we skip workouts because we think we don't have time.  What that really means is that we aren't putting ourselves first.  Making exercise number one on your list may mean you need to update your thinking and start thinking like an exerciser.
  • Make Exercise Fun - If rearranging socks sounds like more fun than exercising, you probably need to rethink your workouts.
  • Join a Gym - Working out at home takes a lot of focus and discipline.  Some people just need to go somewhere else and, at the gym, there are no sock drawers to worry about.  Just a good old workout.

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My cat is sleeping on my yoga mat

Getty Images/Benjamin Torode

My dog regularly chews on my socks and my cats tend to think workout time is Circus Day for Kitties.  Pets are a great excuse for skipping workouts, especially cats because, well, cats usually aren't begging to go outside for a nice long walk.

If you have a dog, you know he or she needs regular exercise, but what's a cat owner to do?  Maybe you should just give in and learn how to do yoga with your cat.

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There are too many clothes hanging on my treadmill!

Getty Images/GK Hart/Vikki Hart

Oh, your poor little treadmill.  It really gets a bad rap sometimes and, yes, that endlessly moving belt does remind one that one is, in fact, going nowhere. Just some of the nicknames I've heard:

  • The Dreadmill
  • Satan's conveyor belt
  • That 'Thing'
  • The Human Hamster Wheel

If that's how you think about your treadmill, it's no wonder you've turned it into The World's Most Expensive Closet.

Treadmill Workouts That Don't Suck

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The Gym is Too Crowded!

Getty Images/Mark Bowden

Ah, the crowded gym excuse.  This is one of my favorites because, as everyone knows, people at the gym are already annoying and when you cram more into that small, sweaty space, gym etiquette seems to go right out the window. 

But, of course, I'm going to take away this excuse by giving you a couple of options:

  1. Make Your Workout Easier - If it's crowded, make a workout that keeps you in one area of the gym, like this Crowded Gym Workout.
  2. Workout at Home - There are times of the year when the gym is just more crowded like, say, January.  There's no reason you have to workout at the gym.  Try these home workout ideas:
    1. Best Home Cardio Workouts
    2. Cardio Exercises for Home Workouts
    3. Total Body Workout at Home
    4. 10-Minute Body Weight Circuit
    5. Boot Camp Circuit
    6. No Equipment Workout for Travelers

There. That should keep you busy until things calm down. 

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