How to Fight Workout Excuses (And When to Give In)

Anna Issakova / Getty

Anna Issakova / Getty

Taking an rest day is imperative to sustaining a healthy workout schedule. But when too many of those off-days stack up in one week, its best you nip that little voice inside your head in the bud. You know, the one making all those excuses to take a raincheck on your gym date. In a healthy lifestyle there are no workout excuses. Allow trainer Rahman Grayson, aka Mr Shut Up And Train, to talk you through your most used excuses. Because seriously, couldn’t we all use some extra motivation?

“I dont have time.”
Bottom line: everyone has a little time. The key is to plan ahead, says Grayson. If you put exercise into your schedule [even placing it on your calendar], Im sure you can find 20-40 minutes a day, a couple day a week, to get it done.

“I had a stressful day at work. You know what I really need? Wine.”
Save the pinot for after the gym. Exercise is actually one of the best stress relievers. Whatever your stress may be, take it out on your workout. No one ever says they regret a workout.

“I use a standing desk at work. Who needs to hit the gym?”
The new wave of workout gadgets may enhance your routine (and lifestyle), but they dont offer full the benefits of going to the gym. A workout is all about intensity. You can stand at work all day, and thats a great added bonus, but thats just a supplement to an actual workout regimen.

“I dont have access to a gym.”
This is a smokescreen for someone saying they dont want to put in the time or money for the gym. It doesnt take much. All you need are cheap sneakers and a few workout clothes. With a set of dumbbells, a jump rope and a mat, you can do 60 or 70 different workouts at home. Plus, there are hundreds of online programs you can do anywhere, including Graysons Total Fit Challengea 21-day program that offers at home workouts and nutritional tips.

“I havent seen my friends in weeks. Happy hour is a must!”
Tell your friends to meet you at the barthe pull-up bar. I encourage people all the time to take classes with their friends, go on walks or jogs in the park. A study shows that 65 percent are more likely to stick to a workout program if they have the accountability of a workout partner. Schedule your next friend date at the gym, and head for a drink after.

“It gets dark too early.”
Take this as your excuse to work out in the morning. Get your personal development out of the way in the morningexercise, mediation, whatever it is. This is the one time of the day you can control. Who knows what the day will bring. [Also] if you exercise first thing, it gets you committed to a healthy lifestyle early in the day and that carries through. Plus, studies have shown you burn more fat exercising in the a.m.

“My muscles are sore.”
Soreness is goodit shows youre working hard. However, it doesnt mean you bail on the gym completely. If one muscle group is sore, you can always work another muscle group. Not to mention, oftentimes you feel better once you get the blood flowing in that particular muscle group.

But not all excuses are created equal: it turns out that sometimes you shouldn’t push through and hit the gym. Grayson lays down a few times you absolutely SHOULD skip your workout.

“I had a bad night’s sleep.”
If youre not well rested and dont feel like you can get through and complete your workout effectively, then you should reschedule your workout. Listen to your body and decide how much rest you really need. Maybe you can go a little later or alter the intensity. If youre functioning on zero sleep, its better to rest and recover. Lack of sleep can lead to food cravings, a horrible workout, and just a bad day across the board.

“I think I’m injured.”
While we dont recommend self-diagnosis, listening to your body is key to differentiating injury from soreness. Its not always going to feel good when youre talking about stretching, tearing and ripping new muscles. But if it feels worse than discomfort, take a rest. When youre injured you have to let your body recover.

“Im sick.”
I tell my clients, if your sickness is above the chest, you should be alright. If its belowyou have body aches, nausea, crampingthen you want to take it easy and take a day off. Working out may worsen your symptoms and take you longer to get betterand who wants that?

Read more: “Fickle” Fitness Could Be the Secret to a Perfect Body