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Habits of Fit People: Don't Make Exercise Excuses

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You want to be a fit person, right? That's why I'm sharing my own habits for keeping fit and staying healthy in the ongoing Habits of Fit People series.

Here's one that works for me: not making exercise excuses.

The difference between fit people and unfit ones isn't a matter of intention—it's about consistency. We all have the best intentions to work out, but fit people will find a way to exercise no matter what life throws at them. They are committed to following their fitness plan day in and day out, even when long work hours, childcare, holidays, travel, and other unforeseen circumstances throw a wrench into their plans. They don't confuse "being busy" with being active. Fit people plan their workouts, maintain a backup plan, and even commit to a shorter workout if that's all that time allows. Put simply, they don't make exercise excuses. So how can you be more like them?

The excuse people most often make for not exercising is "lack of time," but the truth is, we're all busy. You can complain about it. You can theorize that everyone else must have it easier than you do. However, let's be honest: We all have commitments and obligations; we just choose to prioritize them differently.

One of my favorite Nike ads says, "Someone busier than you is running right now." Take a moment to let that resonate. I like to think about this phrase from time to time as motivation. No matter how busy I feel like I am each day—and I am definitely busy!—I know there are people who do much more than me each day and still maintain a healthy lifestyle. That thought inspires me to stay committed to exercise, too, even on days when I swear that I don't have time to work out.

If you still feel too busy to work out, you do have some options.
  • Break up your workout into smaller chunks throughout the day, such as 10 minutes in the morning, at lunch, and after dinner.
  • Try a shorter workout. On my busiest days, sometimes I only have time to exercise for 10 or 20 minutes, but I still get out there and give it all I've got rather than letting that all-or-nothing mentality convince me that I might as well do nothing.
  • Turn off the tube. If you have time to watch TV, then you have time to exercise. That's another thing I like to remind people who struggle to stick with a routine. I am certain that one of the reasons I can juggle so many responsibilities and still work out is because I watch almost no TV. Try it yourself! You'll be surprised how much time you discover in your schedule—probably enough to hit the gym and cook a healthy meal each night!

Life is always going to be busy, stressful and difficult, but we must learn to weave workouts and other healthy habits into our current lives. We can't all leave real life behind and live on "The Biggest Loser" ranch for a few months. It might take some re-prioritizing. It might mean saying no to others or asking for help. But it can be done! All the fit people in the world can attest to that!

Do you struggle with exercise excuses or is your commitment to exercise unwavering? How do you stick with your workouts even when you're busy?

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_CYNDY55_ 7/10/2020
Thanks Report
CECELW 4/3/2020
Once I get started i'm ok. It's just taking that first step that is the hardest Report
thanks Report
Great info! Thanks! Report
Well said and practical. Report
I've realised that if I plan and track nutrition this leads to me sticking to it so ... I am going to do the same for exercise ...lightbulb moment for me.... time to stop pondering and get on Report
Really strong advice here. I can use this. Report
good points Report
If I question whether to work out or not, I tell myself that if there is no compelling reason not to work out (sickness), then there is no excuse not to exercise! Not "feeling like it" is no excuse! After I work out I always tell myself how great I am doing! Report
Like that Nike quote. Every time I see the President working out I say to myself I can't be more busy than he is, I need to work out. Report
I don't watch TV, I don't read and I don't do any of my hobbies anymore because of time. I am only getting about five hours of sleep a night and I am behind on my chores at home. I do workout but something has to give. I am exhausted and stretched too thin. I get up 4:15 a.m. every day and go to work. I exercise on my lunch hour, or sometimes in the evenings depending on my schedule. I just started studying for a certification exam so I think things are going to get worse. I don't make excuses, I do exercise, but it is really wearing on me. Report
SO easy to make excuses and i'll start tomorrow, i;ve been saying that since xmas last year and still haven't done much about it... will have to make a conscious effort and write a plan to stick to or it will never happen, can use some support guys... thanks! Report
I made too many excuses in July/August for not training hard, it was too hot, i don't feel like it etc. I have paid fpr it in inches ( YUCK!). September is the month for NO MORE EXCUSES JUST RESULTS. Report
I totally have this problem. I try to tell myself that if I skip today then I'll skip tomorrow and then where will I be, but it doesn't always work. Report
It really is so easy to make excuses like this! I am a very busy person between work and school and trying to spend time with family but I know I can place exercise at a higher priority and I'm working on that :) Report
Used to make excuses but now have to beat my own mind to it!!! I come home & have my dinner about 6 p.m. By 6.30 p.m., I'm out walking my 2 dogs for about 1/2 an hour. Then when I get back, I go straight & do my cardio on stationary bike for an hour while watching TV & then go up to my room to do 10 minutes of ST [bootcamp workouts]. Used to come back home & slump in front of TV & it was very difficult to even start exercising. Not to say about mindless eating in front of TV! Now, exercising is a must!!! Report
I make excuses all the time thanks will do better Report
That's how I find time to read. I find if you love it, you'll find time to do it. So my advice is find something you love. I always find time to swim or walk when I want to. Report
needed to hear this!! Report
Very Helpful! Report
Instead of using my full lunch hour to sit in the break room at work, I will use half the time to take a brisk walk and the other half to eat. I love this because it adds a half hour of exercise to my routine without taking extra time. If I want to watch TV, I will do a full body circuit with weights at the same time. Also, I live just under three miles from my job, and walk briskly to work two days a week. By the time I'm home for the evening I've had plenty of exercise and am free to do something else. Report
I walk 3 miles every morning 2 miles on my own with lots of hills it takes me about 25 minutes with walking poles. Then I stop and pick up my 13 year old dog (he can't handle th big hills anymore) and walk another mile with him. I find it better to do it first thing in the morning then it's over with and I can enjoy the rest of the day knowing I got my 30 minutes in. When I am watching t.v. at night I do yoga or work on my ball or do weights I feel that if I can watch a show for an hour or so I can be productive at the same time. I never had to work out before my 40ies now I have no choice if I want to keep this body I have to work it. :) Report
Great points! Especially about TV...I definitely watch too much! I will remember this next time I want to make an excuse to not exercise. Report
I work out first thing in the morning. Right now I am jogging. No matter what work out I am doing... every morning but Sunday, I get out of bed, put my clothes on, drink some water and go. All the way to the door I am making excuses. I ignore them and go. Once I am out the door I am okay. I know that if I don't do it early I will not do it later. I have all kinds of excuses running through my head every morning. I don't jump out of bed a say" Yipee, time to go jogging." I have just learned to do it. When I am done I am so glad I did. Report
I love that! Someone busier than you is running right now! Maybe, someone more tired than me, or lazier than me is exercising right now too - get up and go! Report
I am constantly making excuses! (But I have a good excuse!) The hardest thing for me to be is tough on myself. Yet at the same time, I am constantly critical of myself. Maybe it's easier to beat myself up than to do anything positive to change. Wow! Sometimes I am really deep! Report
I love the Nike ad quote-I think I'll post it at home, in my vehicle, and in my office to help keep me motivated. Thanks! Report
Thank you! This is just what I needed to hear right now. Report
This is absolutely my biggest problem. I'm really trying to change my mindset and stop making excuses. It's hard, but I'm getting there slowly. Report
I needed this article as today I was "too busy" to find time for a walk.
But I NEVER do watch television, just spend too much time on computer! Report
Great article~~thanks Report
I find this to be quite true. I found that once I started exercising I had less time for TV but I wasn't missing it. When I was sick and could not make it to the gym to work out after work and went straight home I realized how much time I really had in the evenings to do. On days that I am really really busy and I do a shorter workout I feel better knowing at least I did something. It is true if I have a busy weekend day and I don't plan and factor in my exercise time it doesn't get done and at the end of the day I think to myself I could have exercised at such and such time if I only planned for it and brought my gym bag with me. Report
I hate to exercise, so it is a real issue. Getting STARTED is the hardest part. Report
Great article! It's a miracle my friend and I came to this conclusion on April 19th. We continually complianed we don't have time for exercise....but sure found time at 5:30 AM when we'd normally be sleeping. We now have accountability, more energy, and a sense of pride that we actually did what we said we were going to do. We agreed on working out 5 days a week, for an hour, for five weeks to get us jump started. I plan on continuing with it because we all know, working out is like brushing our teeth; we have to do it to stay healthy. Report
Definitely I'm one to make tons of excuses..Realizing that life is way harder being so out of shape. Ready to make those necessary changes. Commit to exercise! Report
Some mornings, I'd rather just stay in the robe and pjs. But, since I drive our boys to school, and the nice track is right there, I get the sneakers on, drop off, and walk for an hour. I always feel so much better after I walk, which is something I forget when the lazy feeling comes on. I have to admit that the lazy feeling comes on more in the summer than during the other three seasons. The hot, humid air gives me multiple excuses not to move at all, let alone exercise. This is the discussion that goes on in the head - "It's too hot to walk" -- "Well, then get up early, before the heat kicks in" -- "Get up early?! Oh, man! The kids aren't even in school and I have to get up early?" And so on and so forth. I am happy to say that the "Get up early" side of the conversation wins 99% of the time. Report
"Mind over matter" and all that jazz. I have to remind myself all the time that I am making a commitment to myself and I WILL stick to it. To become a better healthier you, we all need to make sure we MAKE time for exercise. Simply..........MAKE time for you! Report
I needed to read this article today. Again I looked outside at 5:30 am looked at the dog and said it's too dark yet. Plopped on the couch and watched the news for an hour. What a waste. Not going to let myself do that again. Thanks for the push. Report
This was very timely for me to read as I am currently really working on this issue. My main form of exercise is bike riding but I'm still very much a beginner. I don't yet have the gear needed to ride in a light rain or the bike handling skill to ride on rain slickened streets. I am working on ways to keep exercising in the spring rainy season and not make excuses. So far, I've found that I enjoy walking in the rain and I do have an exercise bike indoors. I am working on ways to make the indoor cycling more interesting and rewarding. Report
I will start today!!! Report
i've recently learned to follow my plan and not let my feelings or emotion at the time (too tired, too busy, it's too wet outside..blah..blah..blah ) dictate whether i'm going to exercise that day or not. I may not always start that day's exercise excited & motivated but it always ends with the same feeling inside of peace and well-being. I look forward to feeling a bit sore and tired after putting my energy into a workout. Having a exercise "plan" and being committed to it is great advice. Report
This is so true and I will remind myself of this everytime I consider not following my plan there is always something I can do. Great reminder. Report
This is so true. After all, the president of the United States exercises daily and who is busier than him? Report
Thank you for the kick in the butt! I really need to be consistent. I I I ~ it is all up to me! Thank you so very much for the reminder. I do appreciate it. Report
When I start to think about excuses I just remind myself this :


I just love the NIKE add. Report
Anytime I'm thinking of bailing on a workout, I ask myself, "Is this a reason or an excuse?" Forgot my socks? Excuse--I work out sockless. Not feeling good? Could go either way. I make myself talk out each of these things. Next time I forget my socks, it may be a reason...my heels were kinda scraped up after last time, but at least I'm giving it thought and feeling good with that decision. Report
Now that nice weather is here I should not have any excuse not to ride my bike everyday. Thanks Report
Enen if I cannot control my food choices, I can do walking anywhere and that makes a huge difference when I travel. Report
Thanks I used walk everyday rain or shine and would feel horrible if I missed. I have a hard time getting in the groove so to speak. I needed to read that article! Report
Walking Guide