From years of training people in the gym, I’ve found that a woman’s devotion to myths about healthy living often becomes her greatest obstacle. Some women may even cling to exercise myths, fearing to test their falsity. I will call this behavior “cray cray” because in truth, these perceptions behave like frenemies. They appear well-intentioned but in reality, they are bent on deceiving you. I said “cray cray” and frenemies in the same sentence…now you know this will be an “interesting” read, haha. So here it goes…
Myth #1: “I don’t have time to exercise.”
This is actually the number one excuse for why people say they don’t exercise. Time is not something that multiplies itself. If only, right?! I’m pretty sure we can all say that we’ve used this excuse at one time or another. In fact, my grandmother said it perfectly once….
Grandma: “I hear you haven’t been using your new exercise equipment very much.”
Dad: “Yea, last month got really busy with the business.”
Grandma: “Well, what about this month?”
Dad (with a little uncomfortable chuckle): “This month? We were out of town the first two weekends and last weekend…well, I guess last weekend I was just catching up on some things around the house.”
Grandma: “You know what I hear?”
Dad: “What’s that?”
Grandma: “All I hear are excuses, excuses, excuses!”
‘Nuff said, Grandma! Amen!
If only I had the courage to be as straight-shooting as my Grandma! Love her. I’m sure a few clients would have walked right out the door! Haha. Seriously though, how often do you keep piling excuse upon excuse? The average American watches 5 hours of TV a day and, according to a report from Nielson,
“The average American then spends another 32 minutes a day on time-shifted television, an hour using the Internet on a computer, an hour and seven minutes on a smartphone and two hours, 46 minutes listening to the radio.”
Ponder the amount of screen time you get on a daily basis and tell me honestly that there isn’t a day or two in the week when you can give it up and enjoy some fresh air (or even stinky, body odor air at the gym…compelling, right?).
Myth #2: “I have to be in better shape before I go into the gym.” This is something that people think but rarely say out loud.
I have seen this time and time again….and it drives fitness professionals nuts. People will be afraid to come into the gym because they think it’s a place where everyone will be staring at them agape if they’re not trim and toned. Perhaps there are a few snobbish facilities in the world; however, the vast majority of gyms actually exist….get this…to help you! Yes, there will always “that person” trying to show off their six-pack but doesn’t she look just as egotistical as she does impressive? Not to mention most other people are too concerned about how they personally look to notice. And yes, there will always be a few vain trainers who are just interested in lifting weights as often as possible, and staring at themselves in full-length mirrors all day long, but they are in the minority. Whew. Most trainers have solid intentions and genuinely want to help you. Yes, YOU! It takes a lot to “make it” financially as a trainer, and professionals understand this going into the industry, so believe me when I say that these are kind, people-oriented individuals with an interest in serving others.
Now, before you get scared and say that you don’t want, don’t need, or can’t afford a trainer (ahem, “excuses, excuses, excuses”), allow me to say that you can approach trainers without having to pay them for a session. Most gyms actually have a trainer walking around the gym during peak hours to assist members. If not, there is likely still a trainer hovering around in between clients. If a trainer is not presently with a client then feel free to approach him/her and ask ANYTHING!
Why not take a few minutes of a professional’s time? They will be glad to give you a pointer. It’s also in their interest to show you good customer service and share their knowledge. At the end of the day, if you DO decide to purchase a session or two, you might consider reaching out to them first. They know this and thus, will put on a smile!
With regards to the energetic professionals teaching group classes:
Unless you know that a group exercise instructor is also a trainer or health professional, be wary of asking them too many questions outside of the scope of their class format. The advice may be more opinion than anything else. It very much depends person-to-person. If the required knowledge is out of their scope then feel free to ask them if they can introduce you to another fitness employee who works full-time in the field.
All this to say, come to the gym when you’re desperate, have put on weight, feel blue, and want to hide in your closet. It will make you feel better because there are normal people, just like you, there too.
Myth #3: “If I can’t workout a lot then it’s a waste to workout at all.”
You may be in denial at having thought this before but chances are that over 50% of the women reading this blog post have felt that it’s simply too overwhelming to begin a workout program because they think that being in a good routine means exercising every day. Although it’s true that establishing a daily routine can help with exercise adherence, it’s not easy to go from never working out to working out every day.
Believe it or not, you can actually gain health benefits from working out only once a week. Yes, it’s true! You will not become a power lifter or a marathon runner from this routine; however, over time, you will make your nervous system sharper. In plain language, your muscles will better know what to do when it comes to external stimuli which correspond or relate to the task of the exercise you performed. For example, if you’re doing squats and lunges once a week then your body may be more flexible and less prone to injury when lunging across your living room to catch a puppy who just ran away with your socks. Am I the only one who has this problem on a regular basis?! Another example: If you do shoulder press regularly then you will be more capable of lifting a heavy box onto a high shelf or reaching overhead without straining your back or neck.
The first 4-6 weeks of any brand new routine are largely about how the body’s nervous system is responding and adapting. These adaptations happen first before major strength gains. Think of it like a baby learning how to move its legs before crawling or walking. Your body has to learn before it will perform. The more you commit to working out a little bit, the more prepared you will be to ramp up your routine before an important event like a wedding, anniversary, or road race, without getting injured or intimidated.
Please do not let perfectionism or fear get in the way of exercising. Whatever energy you can put in will be better than nothing. There are MANY benefits from ANY exercise. Period.
Note: To help you plan your routine and make it past February, the following articles will be published soon:
The Nitty Gritty; Secrets that exercise professionals know that you should too.
Let’s HIIT it; What high-intensity training is and how it can help save you time in the gym
Yours in health and wellness,