Ask anyone who leads a passionate career in the fitness industry about what gets under their skin the most and they’ll give you one word: Excuses. Because everyone has them and some really abuse them. And all they do is get in the way of us desperately trying to do our job.
Problem is, though, that fitness is purely a customer service business, which means we are often forced to bite our tongue when the “I-can’t-because…” statements start to fly. So consider this a filter-free glimpse into what you don’t hear but what we’d like to say in response to a few of our favorites. And remember, we’re just here to keep it real with a dose of tough love.
“It’s Too Expensive.” Really? Compared to what? Because clearly you’re not contrasting your fitness options to all the money you spend daily/weekly/monthly on unhealthy vices such as indulgent meals and alcohol consumption. I mean, you don’t think twice about spending money on those things and yet they only put your health and fitness further in the hole. Talk about throwing money away. Do the math, people. Getting fit costs a heck of a lot less than these self sabotages AND it produces ample returns.
“I’m Already in Shape. I Just Need to Maintain.” What shape, exactly, are you talking about? Are you squiggly line? A trapezoid? A square? Let me fill you in on a little secret: When trainers talk about someone being in really good shape, we’re not talking the slightest bit about how they appear. We’re talking about their capacity to do anything – run, jump, knock down walls – that we might ask of them. So you can maintain that attractive shape all you want, but if you crumble when I hand you a dumbbell, we’ve got work to do. I mean forgive me, but I honestly don’t give a crap what you look like if you can’t perform.
“I Have to Lose Some Weight First.” Sigh. Seriously? Sure, go ahead. I’ll just sit here and wait for you while you try every extreme measure to look what you deem to be acceptable in gym clothes before you’ll feel comfortable stepping foot in the gym. NEWSFLASH: This whole damn process is going to be uncomfortable. With or without the additional 20 pounds you’re carrying. Might as well dive in and jumpstart your progress. Otherwise, I can look into my crystal ball and see that you’ll be coming back to me in a month – still with the weight on you – sheepishly asking where to begin.
“I’m Tired.” Excuse me while I roll my eyes at this let’s-state-the-obvious, join-the-club assertion. Do you think your level of exhaustion is special? Or outnumbers mine? I work 7 days a week and have been up since 4:30 a.m., yet I’m standing here in front of you wanting for you to be strong and healthy more than you want it for yourself. Talk about exhausting. Please do us both a favor and accept that the only way to truly kick your fatigue is by exercising and eating well. Your complaining about it is only draining you of more energy (and is sucking up what’s left of mine).
“I Used to Be an Athlete.” Ahhh yes. I remember. You played on the football team back in 1994. Surely all of those years of conditioning count for something now. Or not. I mean, c’mon guys (and girls). Let’s be real about this. Your glory days are distant memories and no matter how vivid they are, they alone do not constitute a foundation for fitness. If you gleaned anything from your years with sport it should be just how much dedication is required to excel at your game. So please. Toss the yearbook aside and let’s get to work.
“I Have a Bad Back.” And guess what? I can fix it! I have these magic pills. They’re called Stretching. And Developing Core Strength. And Losing Those Excess Pounds. In other words, avoiding exercise when you have back problems may just be the biggest fitness oxy moron there is. And yes – I know – you threw your back out once lifting something heavy. But were you ever shown properly how to do so? Because (get this) there’s actually strategy involved in picking things up and putting them down.