James grew up in Uganda. Early on in his life, he lost his family due to disease. His grandmother took him in but was unable to fund his dream to go to school.
Graduating from high school seemed like a long-shot for James. He certainly could have folded, and trekked the conventional route that his culture adopted - forgo pursuing an education and work in the fields.
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But James refused to settle and let excuses guide his journey.
With help from his grandmother he drafted a plan to get financing for his education. The first step was to sell two goats. With the profit, James bought a ticket for an eight hour bus ride to the capital city where he boarded with his aunt. Then, step two was initiated.
He wrestled through barbed-wire fence to elude the guards in order to ask the president for financial assistance for his education. The scene sounds cinematic, but once he got inside he was granted his wish. James didn't allow the plethora of potential excuses hold him back from getting what he wanted. Today, he has two masters degrees and a great job.
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This story about James can be relayed into your health and fitness journey. If you have big plans for yourself in regards to your fitness - but the obstacles seem to great to overcome - you can learn from James and bust through the ear-full of excuses you keep feeding yourself.
Losing fat, building muscle and becoming your best self is an aim pursued by many people. If you're reading this, it's probable that you're one of those people.
The fascinating part about this pursuit is the fact that some people achieve it and others don't. The primary claims of this discrepancy?
Time and knowledge.
The default narrative is usually "I don't have time," or "I don't know how." But this is simply a scapegoat for the lack of responsibility.
For starters, we all have the same amount of time - 168 in a week. The fact that some people who are just as busy, if not busier than you achieved their health and fitness goals proves that it is possible.
Secondly, your once click away from information. The problem isn't access to it - it's what to do with it after you've possessed it. Meaning, you probably know what to do, you just don't execute.
Instead of falling back on the same ol' excuses over and over again, it's time to expose them. By identifying the excuses that hinder your progress you can arm yourself with strategies to overcome them.
Just like James who saw the obstacles and devised a plan to conquer them, you too, after walking away from this piece, will have a plan to dominate the excuses that have graffitied your journey thus far.
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5 Bodybuilding Lifestyle Excuses
Excuse #1: I don't have time to cook every dayFair enough.
But you don't have to cook everyday to eat well. Plan ahead by cooking in bulk for the next day, the next few days or for the entire week.
By investing a few hours to on one or two days of the week, you can have your meals ready for the entire week. This alleviates the anxiety and pressure of having to cook everyday.
Here are a few quick tips you can use right away:
Since most people are rushing out the door in the mornings these days, cooking a breakfast you'd normally order at a five star hotel (something like eggs benedict with lemon ricotta pancakes) is out of the question.
It's too involved and takes too much time. Instead, a quick but practical way to cover breakfast is with a smoothie. Two scoops of your favorite protein powder, a handful of greens, frozen berries, ground flaxseed, milk of your choice is a baseline suggestion. This is breakfast in three minutes - and you can drink it on the go.
At dinner time, cook extra. If you're making any type of protein (steak, chicken, fish, pork) make double, or even triple portions. Do the same things with your veggies (broccoli, asparagus, sautéed spinach) and starchy carbs (rice, or sweet potatoes). By doing so, you automatically have lunch and possibly dinner for the next day.
Always remember this as well: Every meal does not have to be decadent. As long as your providing your body with nutrient rich foods that meets your needs and goals, you're doing just fine.
Save the indulgences for special events, birthdays or weekend date nights.
Excuse #2: I don't want to be an outcast at social eventsNobody does.
But here's is something to consider.
During my years as a fitness coach and writer, I've been in what used to be those awkward moments. You know, when you're the one choosing not to get blasted at the company party by having five too many drinks - in which usually makes you the headline of office gossip over the next week.
Everyone asking you why you aren't drinking or celebrating definitely causes some pressure. You can feel like an outcast. This is until you realize that most people at social events want to have the discipline you are demonstrating.
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Johnny six-pack: "Hey man, you want something to drink?"
Me: "No, I'm good, thanks though.
Johnny six-pack: "What? Are you on a diet or something?"
Me: "Something like that."(After some small talk, the conversation usually ventures down the path of what we both are passionate about)
Johnny six-pack: "So you're a fitness writer and personal trainer huh?"
Johnny six-pack: "You know, I've always wanted to get back into it. I've just got so busy - but I keep telling myself to get started. I need to lose this (as he pats his belly as if it's a separate organism).My point is this: Even though you might feel like an outcast by sticking to your guns at social events, the people who let the wheels fall off want what you have - the commitment. The discipline.
Reminding yourself of this can usually boil up enough resolve to stay on track.
With that said, here is my disclaimer: I'm not condoning that you prance around with your nose in the air because you don't drink. That's the quickest way to create some beef - ain't nobody got time for that type of person.
Instead, have a back pocket of strategies for social events that you can rely on every-time. Here are a few:
If you know that the dinner party is going to be fancied with finger licking calorie bomb foods, you might try fasting for the day or eating some low-fat protein to hold you over to create room for the influx of calories later on that night.
Sticking to straight alcohol (minus the mixers) will save you a ton of extra sugar and calories.
If the party you're going to involves people you know, if at all possible, recruit someone with a similar mindset as you - one who is practicing discipline in their health and fitness. Having a comrade around a sea of temptation does wonders.
Set a deadline to the event. As the night progresses, decision making capacity dips. The later it gets, the worse the decision usually is. Set a time when you'll leave the event. The trigger to remind you it's closing time is important. Set an alarm on your phone. Then, ask a friend take you home or request an uber.
There's a lot of pressure to celebrate with drink and food. But this doesn't mean you have to be a hermit or zealot. Instead, use the strategies we just went over to navigate social events to get the best of both worlds.
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Excuse #3: I don't have time to workoutThis is arguably be the most used excuse. By as we touched on earlier, how is that people who are as busy as you or maybe even busier somehow find time to make exercising a daily habit?
It's not like they are creating more time - they have the same amount as you, 168 hours per week.
In my research, I've found there are a few key strategies that busy people use to ensure they exercise consistently. Here they are:
They schedule it.
This might be painfully obvious, but common sense isn't always common practice. Busy people can't wing their days, weeks or months - they must plan how they will use their energy - or else they will fail short of their responsibilities.
I've found that in their planning, exercising is treated like an appointment. It's something that cannot be missed and is treated with high urgency. It's part of the success equation, not a side dish or something they get to if they happen to have time.
Schedule your workouts. A simple system I use is the 5/3/1 system. At the end of each day I list down the five most important things that must get done the following day (training is one of them). Then, I list three things that I did well that particularly day. Lastly, I jot down one thing I'm grateful for.
They have a contingency plan.
When things go well and there's no traffic, no fires to put out at work and your energy is through the roof, it's easy to follow through on your ideal training plan. Bangin' out a 60 minute strength training session at the gym is easy peezy.
But what happens when Tom holds you late at work? Or when a client is relentless in the reversal of her investment and you have to handle it causing you to miss lunch? Joanna, your babysitter can't watch little Cooper tonight, what now? The highway is locked up and (you could probably could run home faster) and it takes you two hours to get home, what do you do then?
This is where the battle must be won because life is going to happen. When things go sideways and your original plan gets thrown out the window, you must have a contingency plan to back you up. Or else, you simply throw the towel in and severe any momentum you had going in the first place.
If you can't stick to your ideal training program because life throws a curveball, set up a contingency plan. The formula looks like this: If I can't do X, then I will do Y.
In workout terms, it will follow like this: If can't make it to the gym and do my regular program, I will do a circuit style body-weight workout at home.
By having a back up plan you have piece of mind that regardless of what happens, you are going to follow through on your habit of working out. This builds confidence and sustains momentum at the same time - two crucial ingredients in your fitness journey.
Excuse #4: I don't have time or want to track my macrosMy first reaction to this claim is this: "Is what you've been doing working for you?"
If the answer is yes, keep doing it. If the answer is no, then you have to change what you've been doing. More often than not, getting specific with your intake is the answer.
If you have a solid understanding of nutrition basics (i.e., you know how to source protein, carbs and fats), then tailoring your intake to match your goal and activity levels is the logical next step.
Tracking and counting may make you want to pull a tooth out voluntarily in place of the discipline, but you don't have to do it forever if you don't want to. Tracking for a at least a season is priceless. You'll get a far better grasp on accurate portion sizes and realize the power of specificity in your diet.
In a lot of cases, many people are simply guessing their way through a transformation. It's something like playing darts blindfolded.
Save yourself the frustration and do what works. Track your intake and count your macros.
Excuse #5: I can't afford to go to the gym and eat healthyI get it. With warehouse gyms requiring membership that can exceed over $225 a month, personal training sessions averaging $50-60 per pop, and the seemingly overpriced healthy foods at grocery stores can all be a little overwhelming.
However, you have a choice.
With a little creativity, you can make it work. The question is if you're willing to make it happen or not? Maybe you prefer using the expense excuse to satisfy the lack of responsibility?
In any case, here are a few ways you can realize that being fit and healthy isn't reserved for those with six-car garages and heated swimming pools in their backyards.
The Harvard School of Public Health determined that it costs a mere $1.50 more per day to eat a nutritious diet as opposed to an unhealthy one. A dollar fifty. That's it. If you thought eating well was expensive, you were right. But I would bet that your estimation was exponentially higher than $1.50 a day.
If investing into a gym membership isn't in the cards for you, it's all good. There are a ton of bodyweight workout programs you can do from home or if you have a local park that has a pull up bar and dip station you can use that too. If you have a few bucks to spare, buying a set of dumbbells and/or a suspension strap system like TRX can equip you for some great workouts in your garage, spare bedroom or basement.
Wrapping UpDon't let the excuses hold you back. I know, they seem too real to conquer at times. But like James who we mentioned in the beginning of this piece, you can look at the overwhelming obstacles in front of you and do one of two things:
Fold or refuse to conform.
I hope you choose the latter.