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Why Is Living A Healthy Active Lifestyle A Struggle?

I want to start this post with two conversations I have had recently with two of my current clients:

A week ago an online client of mine messaged me to say “Thanks” as she had just been golfing with a bunch of friends who she had not seen in months due to the pandemic and they all complemented her on how great she looked. One of her friends asked how much weight she had lost and how did she do it. She responded by saying she has been working out at home with the help of a trainer and in the last 9 months had lost almost 30 pounds. Just then another friend said “you know in order to keep that weight off you have to keep exercising for the rest of your life”. At the time my client said she didn’t know exactly how to respond. But, my response to her was “Yes, that’s right, it’s called a healthy active lifestyle, haha”. She laughed and agreed. When I reflected on this later it made me sad that living a healthy active lifestyle was seen as “difficult” or even “undesirable” to her friends.

Then another client, working towards her 10km run goal, messaged me letting me know it was going to be too hot to get her scheduled 8km run in the next day. I suggested getting up early to beat the heat. Then she told me she would be up late doing work, so getting up early wasn’t an option. After a few more exchanges we came up with a solution, then something hit me. If a motivated and dedicated client could come up with reasons not to workout, imagine the unmotivated and undedicated.

These two conversations are what inspired this post. Over my years as an athlete, coach and a trainer I have seen lots of people who are not living healthy active lifestyles. I have even been guilty of it myself at times. When I have talked to some of these people they can give me lots of reasons why this is the case. I want to focus on these reasons or “excuses” people use on a day to day basis and see if we can start to change peoples minds.

There is a giant rolodex of reasons or “excuses” that people can use to convince themselves or others why not to exercise. Here is my list of top 3 “excuses" people use not to exercise and for each one I am going to try to provide a solution to flip the mindset.

1) “I am too tired” - This is one I hear all the time. Guess what, everyone is tired, lol!!! There are very few adults, especially parents who actually get enough sleep to feel well rested on a daily basis. It’s a fact of life. But, it has been proven that exercise not only improves your quality of sleep, but will actually require you to get less sleep to feel well rested. Exercise also releases natural endorphins that make you feel more energized. Most of the active people I know, get less sleep, but function at a higher energy level than the sedentary people I know.

2) “I don’t have time” - This is a classic excuse that I feel can be debunked very quickly. There are 168 hours in a week. If you committed 5 hours to exercise you would see a dramatic change. That still leaves 163 hours for everything else you do on a weekly basis. I bet for a fact, that if people added up the time wasted watching television, on social media or just on screens in general you could easily come up with 5 extra hours to dedicate to exercise. Especially when you can complete a workout inside the comfort of your own home or just outside the door.

3) “I don’t know what to do” - 10 years ago this might have been a somewhat valid excuse. But, in today’s society there are endless solutions to this “excuse”. Every gym, community centre or private club has personal trainers for hire. You can even hire them to come right to your house with equipment. Online you can find trainers for hire or you can hop on YouTube and access workouts for free. There are thousands of apps and exercise programs online that everyone has access to at a small price or free. Or there is the old analogy of “two feet and a heartbeat” to get outside and go for a walk, run, bike or hike.

At the end of the day I feel there is one more huge reason people avoid exercise. It’s HARD!! Completing an effective and challenging workout is never easy. Even well trained athletes struggle with workouts. Then I remember back to my first year of football at UWO and a saying our head coach Larry Haylor always used, which I have adopted since. He said “Training is hard, if it was easy, everyone would do it”. At the time is didn’t mean much, but now I see its relevance. Living a healthy active lifestyle for a lot of people is very challenging. It is so easy to go the other direction, the easy direction. There also needs to be a personal mindset of wanting to be healthy and the desire to get to a specific level of health. Maybe, just maybe, if we promoted the benefits of exercise more often we could start to convert more and more into the healthy active lifestyle group. That is one of my main reasons I became a trainer and love doing what I do. Showing people how good it can feel and the many benefits you get when you join the club!

If you are having trouble getting motivated or when you read this post it sounds like you, please feel free to reach out. I would love to chat about how you can get started or even just about the reasons in your life that have kept you from living that health active lifestyle. Every day is a new chance to turn things around and start anew.

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