As a fitness instructor, people often confess to me about their exercise habits.
People I don't know will stop me and somehow intuitively start up a conversation about how they need to start exercising more.
They'll go as far as to grab onto their problem area (often the gut) and say, "This! I've gotta work on this!"
I don't know why this happens to me.
It could be because I'm in spandex 99% of the time...
People I know, people I don't know, current students, former students... E'RYBODY tells me about when they last exercised, why they haven't been exercising, what they do instead, etc.
I find it fascinating.
I like to look for patterns in what people say.
Some people give completely legitimate reasons.
Some people give total b.s. excuses.
Wanna hear my favorite b.s. excuse?
This is a real conversation I had just the other day with a friend "Maggie," not her real name and not one of my students...
It went like this:
Maggie: I totally didn't go to Zumba® last night. I was just too tired.
Me: Really? But I thought you loved Zumba®?
Maggie: I do! It really works for me.
Me: *confused* So why didn't you go?
Maggie: Well I thought to myself, it's such a nice day... it's actually sunny out for once...
(uh oh, here it comes... )
**B.S. ALERT! B.S. ALERT! B.S. ALERT!**
I TOLD MYSELF I'D GO FOR A WALK INSTEAD.
Me: *smile* And did you?
Maggie: *laughs* NOPE.
THAT IS THE #1 THING I HEAR WHEN PEOPLE DON'T COME TO CLASS.
I decided to go for a walk instead.
I told myself I'd take an extra long walk.
It was such a nice day, I went for a walk.
Walking is terrific.
It really is.
Go on a walk.
It's so good for your body.
Be a bunch of walky-walk-walkersons.
But if you're reasoning is that taking a nice stroll with your dog is exercise. Sweetheart... that's not exercise.
That's a little something I like to call leisure.
But here's the second part of the b.s excuse....
MY FRIEND DIDN'T ACTUALLY DO ANY WALKING.
I'm pretty sure the only walking she did was to the kitchen cabinet to pour herself a glass of wine.
Have you done this too?
Given yourself an out from exercising to go for a walk and then not gone for a walk...
I wanted to show this example with someone else so you could observe what it looks like - what it sounds like.
Then you can observe yourself when you do it and realize that you may be in a similar pattern because you know what to look for.
There are exceptions to going for a walk as a way to get exercise, of course! If you're sick, injured, in recovery, significantly out of shape, truly (legitimately) exhausted (but in that case, take a nap)...
In these instances YES! Walking! So good for the body and totally a great starting place!
But walking as a replacement activity for an exercise where you sweat - that's a big ol' can of nope.
Now if you're power walking, that's a different story!
But I mean power walking like a pack of flesh hungry zombies are chasing you! Okay!
(And for the record, you would run from zombies, right? *worried face*.................................................................
You would?! OK. Whew! You've got a chance then.)
Here's the thing - we often don't push ourselves to the point of sweating in activities that are close to being leisure. It takes a decent amount of discipline and willpower to do that.
You can do it, but you know - will you?
So keep a compassionate ear out for when you start reasoning away your workout with a walk.
Any time you reason that you can take a walk instead of doing an hour of sweaty exercise, go to the class early and walk around the neighborhood for 30 minutes beforehand. You get the sun and the sweat. Problem solved. ;)
An important note: My friend laughed about her story and we laughed about it together and I laughed about it as I wrote it, because we ALL (me included) do this dance with ourselves. AND! And, this is something many of you struggle with, yes? Reasoning away your will to exercise and replacing it with leisure either in the form of a stroll or some wine or both? Is that right? And it frustrates you because you WANT to work out and NEED to work out and you can't get yourself to do it? Yes?
Hit reply or tell me in the comments what you tell yourself. How do you feel after this debate in your head goes down? How often do you use this excuse to get out of a sweaty workout?