Android app on Google Play iPhone app Download from Windows Store

 

15 Great Excuses Not to Form the Fitness Habit

‘Clear your mind of cant.’ ~Samuel Johnson

Post written by Leo Babauta.

Lots of people know they should be getting fit, but they can’t seem to find the time to form the fitness habit.

And while I understand this completely — I was stuck in overweight, unhealthy mode for years — I think it’s useful to take a look at the justifications we give ourselves to put it off.

I put things off because I didn’t have time, or energy, or I had too many family commitments, or not enough motivation, or work kept getting in the way, or I didn’t feel good enough to run, or I was sick, or other people would make things difficult, or I didn’t have the money for a gym membership … you get the idea.

But I’ve learned to kill all the excuses. Or to put it less violently, I’ve found loving ways to let them go and embrace the joy of a fit and healthy life.

I did it with six kids and a wife, a full-time job (and now my own business), a ton of family and work commitments, freelancing on the side, building a blog on the side, while writing various books … and so the excuses were ultimately meaningless.

Why might you be putting things off? Let’s look at the justifications, and try to blast them.

  1. I don’t have the time. Do 5 minutes a day. You can squeeze 5 minutes of brisk walking into your busy schedule. If you can’t, you might need to seriously rethink your priorities. Cut back on TV, Internet surfing, watching or reading the news. This 5 minutes a day (for now) will save your life. If you can’t go outside to walk due to the weather, do some pushups, air squats and lunges at home or near your desk. Start with 5 minutes of an easy exercise, and once you’ve learned to fit this into your day, you can expand to 10 minutes.
  2. I have kids, dude. Yeah, me too — I have six of them. They’re awesome, and I love spending time with them. So I take them to the park and play with them, running and climbing and lifting them up (like weights) and putting them on my shoulders and running up hills. By exercising in front of them, and with them, I’m setting a good example for them that they will take into adulthood. We combine exercise and bonding time. Or split time with your spouse, or do it when they’re at school or sleeping (at night or early mornings). You owe it to your kids to get healthy and stay healthy into old age.
  3. My job takes my time and energy. Mine too — at one point I was working two jobs while starting a blog/business (and writing about 20 posts a week). I know that work drains your energy and sucks up your time, but if you put fitness first, you can do both. Workout before work — it’s a great way to start your day, get some key thinking done, get energized before you start working. Or workout right after work — great way to unwind, de-stress, and perhaps spend time with your spouse or friend or kids.
  4. I’m too tired. Not working out actually makes you feel more tired most of the time — in my experience and from lots of people I’ve talked to about this. When you work out regularly, you feel refreshed, energized, de-stressed, ready to take on the world. If you’re tired, just tell yourself all you need to do is lace up your shoes and get out the door — even the most tired among us can do that!
  5. I’m sick or injured. If you’re really sick, with a fever or serious medical condition, exercise at this moment might not be best — rest is sometimes better. Same with serious injuries. But often you can do something with lesser illnesses and injuries, and we just let the pain or tiredness stop us. Consult a doctor if you have a serious condition, but most people who just have the sniffles can still go for a walk or do some bodyweight exercises at home.
  6. My family isn’t supportive. That is definitely tough, but you have options. One of my favorite tactics is getting my family on board early — before I’ve decided to make a change, when I’m still thinking about it. I send them articles I’m reading, talk to them about things I’ve learned, why this is important to me, etc. Then when I’m ready to make a decision to change, I ask for their help deciding — and then their help implementing. Another tactic is to just ask for them to give you the space to make your own change, even if they don’t want to support you, and then find support online. Finally, sometimes you have to take responsibility for your life instead of blaming it on others, and just do what you need to do, and try to win their support and educate them along the way, even if they’re not there at first.
  7. The gym is too expensive, or too far. Go walking or running outside. Doing bodyweight exercises at home or in the office is free. You can do yoga at home using free videos online.
  8. It’s too hard. Start easy. Just 5 minutes of walking, or just 5 pushups. If that’s too hard, do 2 minutes of walking or 2 pushups. Starting small and only progressing gradually beats this objection every time, and is generally a good idea for other habit-change reasons as well.
  9. I don’t have the right equipment/clothes. Use whatever you have. You can go walking in jeans and a T-shirt. I’ve walked and run barefoot many times. You can do bodyweight workouts in your bedroom in your underoos.
  10. I’m not good at it. No one is good at it when they start out. Everyone has to learn, everyone starts somewhere. You get good at it by doing it. Do it in the privacy of your home if you’re afraid of looking stupid. Find a friend who’s a beginner and do it with them. Or do it with a trainer or a friend who’s really good at it and can show you how.
  11. I don’t know how. Who cares? Get started — that’s the most important thing. You’ll learn as you go. You don’t need to read a dozen books or websites to learn something — just start, take it easy so you don’t get injured, and educate yourself as you go. If you’re worried about getting injured, do a free session with a trainer or find a friend who knows what he or she is doing.
  12. I’m not strong, fast, flexible. You know how you get strong? Do strength exercises. You know how you get fast? Keep doing it. A good way to get flexible is to do yoga. Exercise solves all these problems.
  13. I hate running. So don’t run! There are a thousand different ways to exercise. Walk, bike, swim, do yoga, pilates, tai chi, martial arts, strength training, bodyweight exercises, dance aerobics, kickboxing workouts, bootcamps, gymnastics, rock climbing, hiking, basketball, football, soccer, trampolines. Also, running can be fun if you start easy (walk/run intervals), go somewhere beautiful, and do it while conversing with a good friend.
  14. The weather sucks (too cold, rainy, hot, etc.). Do it inside. Go to a gym or public indoor pool. Or suck it up and go outside anyway! I’ve run in torrential rain (it’s amazing), done Crossfit in freezing early morning weather, done a GoRuck Challenge with 70 lbs. of weight on my back for 13 hours in the middle of the night, the heat of midday, freezing ocean water, with sand in my shoes. It’s hella fun.
  15. I’m not motivated. Bam. Motivated.

Motivation is everywhere. It’s in the mindset. It’s in the people around you doing something amazing, showing what’s possible. It’s in the idea that moving your body can be fun, joyous, miraculous, and that sitting is killing you.

You can have excuses, or you can move. Your choice.

The Simple Fitness Habit

Today I’m launching my new fitness course, called Simple Fitness Habit. I’m super excited about it.

What is it? At its heart, it’s a course on forming the fitness habit, aimed at people who:

  • Want to learn how to break mindless eating habits; and
  • Are beginners and have a hard time starting out; or
  • Want to gain muscle or get lean;
  • Want to train for a half marathon or similar event;
  • Want to get fit as they age

If you fit any of these categories, you should benefit from Simple Fitness Habit.

So what’s in the course? A ton of great content and more:

  1. A module on forming habits
  2. The Mindful Diet, aimed at learning how to change eating patterns
  3. Mindful Diet recipes from me and Jules Clancy of Stone Soup
  4. Fitness plans for different goals, from a great group of experts
  5. An accountability forum to help you stick to the habit
  6. Monthly webinars (for Gold & Platinum levels)
  7. Bonus ebooks (for Gold & Platinum levels)
  8. Ask the Expert features (twice-monthly for Platinum levels)

We have a super lineup of experts contributing to the program, in addition to myself:

  • Craig Ballantyne is the founder of Turbulence Training and other bodyweight & kettlebell workout programs meant to reduce bodyfat and build muscle. He’s a long-time Men’s Health magazine training expert.
  • Jules Clancy of Stone Soup is a cooking author and blogger, and a food lover who adores her veggies. She teaches simple cooking methods and shares some wonderful, simple recipes in this program.
  • JC Deen of JCD Fitness is a fitness author who has written for numerous fitness sites (such as Bodybuilding.com) and has helped many people build muscle, lose fat, and look good naked. He teaches beginners how to build muscle in this program.
  • Scott Dinsmore of Live Your Legend is passionate about helping people do work that lights them on fire, and has had great fitness habits for years. He shows you how to use the 30-day fitness challenge to make fitness fun and interesting.
  • Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete has run in numerous marathons and ultramarathons, and helps people not only run better, but do so on plant fuel. He helps beginners run their first half marathon in this program.
  • Rog Lawson of RogLaw Fitness is a dynamic fitness guru who helps people look good and feel great while having a helluva lot of fun. He shows you how to get sexy and lean, and lose those stubborn last 10 lbs.
  • Chris Lopez of Fit and Busy Dad helps reshape the physiques and lives of busy family men, one dad at a time.
  • Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple teaches people about living a healthy lifestyle based on how humans have lived for most of their history. He’s the author of The Primal Blueprint.

Read more about Simple Fitness Habit & sign up today!

Note: Sea Change members, please check your email regarding a discount.

Zen Habits

Leo Babuata
Chapters
Neither Averting Nor Craving in Each Moment
How Taking Care of My Finances Changed My Life
Tips for Traveling with Kids
My Grand Travel Experiment
The Parent I Aspire to Be
The Best & Less-than-Best Motivations for Learning
The Miracle of Suspending Mis-Belief
7 Strategies for Dealing with Toxic People
Finding Motivation on Important But Non-Urgent Tasks
Learning Tips for the Top 8 Learning Challenges
The 30-Day Learning Challenge
The Place Where You Are
Feeling Determined to Change
Practicing Non-Judgment
Hold Your Own Feet to the Fire
Don’t Waste Your Opportunity
How to Beat Procrastination with Daily Training
The Time When We’ll Be Present & Content
A Simple, Powerful Self-Compassion Method
When Others Frustrate You
Your Internet Habits Create Your Reality
The Case for Replacing Exercise with Play
Leave Yourself Wanting More
Fail Faster at Habits
The Anti-Bucket List
Getting Started with the Discipline Habit
The Case for Caring About Your Work
Questions of Priority
The Futility of Always Pushing Myself to Be More
Pare Down with the Declutter Habit
You’re Not Doing Life Wrong
Getting Lost in Just Doing
An Addict’s Guide to Overcoming the Distraction Habit
The Source of Contentment
Savor Discipline: Merge the Interests of Your Future & Present Selves
What You Can Say Instead of “I Don’t Feel Like It”
The Things That Get in the Way of Doing
The Girl Who Saw Through the Illusions
A Gradual Approach to Healthy Eating
Unconditional Acceptance of Yourself
My Typical Day: How I Get People to Think I’m Productive
The Contentment Habit
The Delightfully Short Guide to Reading More Books
In Praise of Limits
The Art of Being My Dad
5 Ideas to Create an Amazing 2015
Essential Zen Habits of 2014
Karate Chop
Practicing Slowness & Being Present
Overwhelmed by All the Changes You Want to Make
My 2014 Successes and Failures
Finding the Motivation to Change Your Entire Life
When You’re Lonely
The Brain’s Fast Mode
5 Questions to Simplify Your Life During the Holidays
The Zen Habits Holiday Gift Guide
The Four Hidden Habit Skills
The Power of Delay
Overwhelmed & Rushed? Do a Stress Assess
Writer as Coder: The Iterative Way to Write a Book
Please Support the Zen Habits Book
Are You a Lift or Drag Force?
When Resistance Smacks You in the Face
When Your Plate is Too Full
The Quickstart Guide to Quitting a Bad Habit
The Zen Habits Book is Almost Done
A Quick Guide to Gaining Confidence When You Socialize
The Empty Container
The Realization
A Guide to Changing Self-Destructive Behaviors
Pushing Past the Terrifying Dip in Motivation
It’s Not Too Late to Change Bad Habits
The Smart Way to Stick to Habits
My Most Effective Learning Tools
What I Do When I Fail
How to Put Your Writing in Public
The Productive Sprint
The Biggest Reasons You Haven’t Changed Your Habits
Seized by the Thunderhold of Fear
What to Eat for Fat Loss
The Heartbreaking Cruelty of Comparing Yourself to Others
A Brief Guide to Overcoming Instant Gratification
How to Get Motivated After a Vacation
7 Strategies for Facing Your Internet/TV Addiction
How to Breathe
7 Discipline-Mastering Practices
7 Rules That Keep My Life Simple
An Education in the Majestic Sierra Nevada
The Lies Your Mind Tells You to Prevent Life Changes
How to Believe in Yourself
Don’t Waste a Moment
How to Find Your Life Purpose: An Unconventional Approach
How to Be Great
Making Yourself Work
Inhabit the Moment
How to Master the Art of Living
The Delusional Fantasies We Live With Each Day
Living the Simple Life
How to Be Prepared for Anything
Turn Toward the Problem
The End of the Day Philosophy
The Painful Beauty of Impermanence
How to Change Other People
Pursuing Happiness When It’s Already Within You
The Quickstart Guide to a Decluttered Home
Parental Zen: How to Keep Your Cool as a Parent
Looking for Love
How to Stop Your Habit Changes From Getting Derailed
Why We Have Regret
The Essence of Fatherhood: 6 Simple Lessons
A Call for Revolt: Advertising is the Anti-Minimalism
The Frustratingly Slow Pace of Making Changes
My Struggles with Eating Boring Food
The No Procrastination Challenge
Creating a Lovely Morning
A Father’s Manifesto: Raising Young Men Who Respect Women
Turn Inspiration Into Action
Coming Back From a Setback
The Gift
A Guide for Young People: What to Do With Your Life
No Excuses: Minimalism with Kids
How to Make a Marriage Work
Love Notes
Flavorless: My Month of Food Boringness
The Letting Go Ebook, Free
The Miracle of the Self-Compassion Habit
How I Tackle a Big Writing Project
The Habit Action List
The Reality of This Moment
Confidence in Your Business
10 Ways to Do What You Don’t Want to Do
On Making It Through Tough Journeys
The Hard Stuff Often Matters Most
What to Think About During Exercise
You’ll Be OK
The Most Important Two Minutes of Your Life
A Call for Compassion for the Defenseless
The Cure for Your Distraction Syndrome
You’re Not Worse Than Other People
Being Mindful of Your Stress
What if You Didn’t Have to Worry About Yourself?
The Universe of a Single Task
Simplifying Is Painful
Becoming Emotionally Self-Reliant
How I Cleaned House & Simplified My Work Life
The Busy Person’s Guide to Reducing Stress
My Month Without a Smartphone
What I’ve Learned as a Writer
What the Exercise Habit Did For Me
Fear is the Root of Your Problems
This Moment
36 Lessons I’ve Learned About Habits
The 3 Do-What-You-Love Conundrums
How I Conduct My Business
Constant Task Switching
The Habits of Five Amazing Founders
The Incredible Importance of Sleep for Habits & Motivation
What Really Motivates Us to Stick to a Project?
I Tried to Quit & It’s Too Hard!
Unwired: A Month With Limited Internet, & Now No Cell Phone
Procrastination is a Mindfulness Problem
Letting Go of Judging People
Don’t Scratch the Itch
Become Happy in the Face of Physical Misery
How Repetition Can Kickstart a Habit
Zen Productivity
When You’re Feeling Self-Doubt & a Lack of Motivation
The Child That Holds Us Back
Stateless Mindset
My Month of (Almost) No Internet
12 Changes for 2014
Essential Zen Habits of 2013
The Fear of Being Alone
The Calm Approach
Things Every Man Should Own
Family Gatherings: The Ultimate Mindfulness Training Ground
Letter to an 18-year-old on the Career Path Less Traveled
A Method to Find Balance
16 Surprising Lessons from My First 50-Mile Ultramarathon
The Simple Fitness Habit Holiday Challenge
Struggles with My Morning Internet Fast
Surrender, Mindfulness & Entrepreneurship
How I Learned to Stop Procrastinating, & Love Letting Go
Finding Focus
When You Run Out of Ideas
The Necessary Art of Subtraction
Jealousy & Suffering
How Creativity Works, & How to Do It
Self-Discipline in 5 Sentences
Make It Your Job
Developing Selfless Compassion
Lyrical Learning, & Why We Learn Habits Wrong
A Month Without Sugar
Why I Read (+ a Dozen Book Recommendations)
12 Indispensable Mindful Living Tools
Burn Down the Farm
My Most Minimal Travel Setup Yet
The Exquisite Habits of the Founder of Blue Bottle Coffee
3 Little Tricks to Deal With People Who Offend You
My Healthiest Travel Routine Yet
Startup Founder Megan Casey’s Habits of Priorities
My Pursuit of the Art of Living
A Month Without TV or Video
The Way of No Debt
Letting Go: How to Live With the Loss of a Loved One
The Way to Be
Ramit Sethi’s Entrepreneurial Habits
The Time to Shut Down
The Pain & Beauty of Life Changes
8 Creativity Lessons from a Pixar Animator
Zen Mountain: Leave It All Behind
Overcoming the Social Costs of Being Different
Finding Quiet and Mindfulness Through Food
My Failed Month of ‘No Sitting’
The Thinking Habit That Changed My Life
Liking Healthy Foods is a Choice
Unschoolery: My New Blog on Unschooling
My Advice for Starting a Business
Creating Your Habit Environment
Travel Lessons with My Family
Easier Decision-Making: Conduct Experiments
Simplify: Let Go of Your Crutches
The Fear of Being Found a Fraud
The Flexible Mind
Declutter Your Life
A Month Without Coffee
The Healthful Vegan Diet
Living the Quiet Life
The Art of Tasting Chocolate Mindfully
Why Fear of Discomfort Might Be Ruining Your Life
The Habits of Happiness
How to Keep Habits Going During Travel
A Year of Living Without
The Key Habits of Organization
I Failed
Vegan Guide to San Francisco
The Futility of Comparing Yourself to Others
A Secret to Dad Greatness
Habits: A Simple Change in Mindset Changes Everything
The Worry That You’re Doing the Wrong Thing Right Now
6 Steps To Being More Creative
How I Finally Faced My Weight & Debt Problems
Working with the Obstacles in Your Path
9 Rules for a Simpler Day
The Little Book of Contentment
The Obstacle is the Path
5 Lessons in Contentment from Billionaires Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger
Smile in Each Moment
A Guide to Practical Compassion
6 Steps To Healing Yourself
The 7-Day Vegan Challenge
Why You Should Write Daily
Achieving Without Goals
Flowing with the Stresses of Kids (or anyone else)
Habit Mastery: Creating the New Normal
Defeat Distraction: Refocusing with Purpose
Expanding the Envelope: A Method for Beating Anger
A Guide to Practical Contentment
The Practice of Work Mind & Vacation Mind, Simultaneously
How to Eat Real Food Without Spending Hours in the Kitchen
Quitting Your Habits
The 38 Best Methods of Successful Exercisers
How To Make It Impossible To Fail
The Not Knowing Path of Being an Entrepreneur
How to Change Your Life: A User’s Guide
Getting Your Family On Board with Life Changes
How to Stick to a Habit When Life Falls Apart
Zen Mind in the Middle of Chaos & Stress
Create a Sacred Space in Your Heart
Meditation: The Most Fundamental Habit
Creating the Genuine Connections We Long For
Tremors of Psychitude: One Little Trick to Find Purpose and Motivation
Create the Habits of Being Lean, in 7 Years
Walled-in: Life Without Facebook
The 7 Habits of Calmness
The Four Habits that Form Habits
Advice to My Kids
My 10 Essential Email Habits
The Daily Checklist
Sticking to a Habit: The Definitive Guide
The Meditation Diet: How I Lost 60+ lbs. by Savoring
The Power of Habit Investments
Discomfort Zone: How to Master the Universe
The Most Successful Techniques for Rising Early
Do Less: A Short Guide
How to Savor Life
What We Lack in a Hyperconnected World
Simplify the Internet
12 Rules to Live By
The New Rules of Fitness for 2013
52 Changes for 2013
The Unprocrastination Month, and the Relaunch of the Sea Change Program
Essential Zen Habits of 2012
The Other Person is Never the Problem
The Do Plan, or Why We Know But Don’t Do
28 Brilliant Tips for Living Life
The Clutter-free Holiday Guide
The Little Trick to Make Any Moment Better
Tim Ferriss vs. Leo Babauta Showdown: On Whether Goals Suck
The Work You Love is Waiting For You
The 7-Step Method to Find Focus for Writing
The Buy-Nothing Holiday Survival Guide
Challenge: Buy Nothing Until 2013
How to Learn Anything
Shaken By Life’s Beauty, Shaken
Untrack: Letting Go of the Stress of Measuring
15 Great Excuses Not to Form the Fitness Habit
How to Make Health Insurance a Bad Bet
Why the Fitness Habit is More Important Than the Plan
The Willingness to Think Differently
Create a Superhealth Community
A Vegan Tour of NYC