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Stop the Workout Excuses!

I’m with you. My calendar is constantly overflowing, too. There’s birthday parties, events for work, meetings, school plays, dinners, business trips, doctor appointments, etc. Now you want me to make the time to work out? Oh, but it’s much easier for me to make an excuse. And believe me, I’ve used every one in the book. We all have. Yet, at some point, we come to realize that doing backflips to avoid working out isn’t going to help us get in shape. And eventually we must admit that for every excuse there is a solution or four.

Here are some of the excuses I’ve made (any sound familiar?) and some of the solutions that have helped me find a few minutes for exercise during even my craziest or laziest of days:

You feel too far behind to even start. Start anyway.

*One of the greatest lessons we learn in early motherhood is that baby steps are the only way to begin. A year from now you are going to be thinking, “What if I had just started taking small steps a year ago?” Use an app such as My Fitness Pal to help you get started.

There’s nobody to watch the kids. Take them with you.

  • Join a gym with child care.
  • Work out with your kids—put them in the stroller, and head out on an adventure.
  • If your children are older, play tag, go swimming, or just try to keep up with them on the playground for an hour.

It’s too cold/hot/rainy/windy out. Work out at home.

  • Arm yourself with some home gym equipment, like weights, a medicine ball and a yoga mat. If you have it in the house, there is no excuse not to use it.
  • Download an app like the Fitness Builder App, which provides more than 700 workouts that you can do while in your own living room. Or, simply search for challenging, at-home workouts on YouTube.

I’m just not motivated. Get motivated.

  • Buy yourself some new workout clothes. (Click here for some of my current activewear must haves.)
  • Make plans to meet a friend in the park for a walk/run. Create a reward system ... that doesn’t involve food. After 10 workouts you can buy yourself something you’ve been coveting. Or after two weeks of sticking to your goals you can get a massage. You get the idea.
  • Search for motivational Instagram accounts that provide quotes and photos to inspire you. A few to follow immediately: @fitmotivation, @fithappyandhealthy, @yoga_girl, and @thefitnesscloset. (Please fill me in on some of your favorites, too!)

I’m just too tired. I know this sounds like a reasonable excuse, but it’s illogical.

  • Remind yourself that working out can give you more energy.
  • Tell yourself that you’ll start with 10 minutes and if you’re still too tired after that, you can stop. I’m betting you won’t.

And the big one…

There’s no time! Make the time.

  • Write it in your calendar like any other appointment and make it one that you cannot cancel. Even if it’s just a 20-minute powerwalk some days, it’s better than nothing.
  • Keep a few yoga and Pilates videos bookmarked on your laptop or iPad so you can access them anywhere at any time. YouTube is a treasure trove for quick and intense workouts. StylemeFIT, an extension of StyleHaul, has the perfect workout routines to get you started. Then, delve into the more advanced videos. Also, iTunes has an extensive list of 20-minute yoga classes. For longer practices, check out yogaglo.com, which I mentioned in last week’s post.
  • Establish a personalized 20-minute circuit training routine that you can do at home. Ask a trainer at the gym to help you, or find a guide online, such as this one.
  • And be thankful that we live in the age of technology when gadgets like the Nike Fuelband and the Fitbit can help us realize that so much of our everyday activities can help us get fit and stay active. (Note: It was just announced that designer Tory Burch is partnering with Fitbit to bring us a fashion-forward version of the ever-popular fitness tracker. Sign up here to be the first to know when the collection is released.)

Photo by Adam Wiseman/Corbis

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