It’s one thing to enthusiastically start on an exercise program and it’s another thing to keep at it.

As soon as muscles start aching, a plethora of excuses not to go on with the program crop up. Here are four of the most common ones plus some crafty ways to bust them:

“I’m too exhausted after work.”

You can always adjust the time you devote to exercise.

Fitness gurus claim that the best time to have a workout is in the morning before breakfast, especially if your objective is to lose weight.

You can also do mini-workouts at the office without having to change into gym clothes!
simple exercise excuse buster
There are hundreds of stretching and flexing exercises which you can do in the privacy of your office, and even within a cubicle. If at all possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator when going to your office. Halve the distance if you’re somewhere on the upper floors, and gradually increase the distance each day as your stamina improves.

Soon you’ll find that the more you stick to your exercise regimen, the less exhausted you will be at work.

“My exercise routine is so boring.”

Worry not – this can be caused by a lot of reasons and can also be remedied by a variety of solutions.

  • Convince a friend to join you. Having an exercise partner motivates you to attend exercise sessions and could help make things a bit more competitive. This partner could be your husband, best friend, or relative.
  • Consider changing trainers. Boredom can actually mean that your trainer isn’t motivating you enough. Don’t be ashamed to cut the cord. A good trainer should not only teach you the “How’s” – he or she should also instill the “Why’s.”
  • Try a new sport. No one said you have to stick to one routine forever. Based on your targets, you can find a sport that will help tone the targeted muscles or burn approximately the same amount of calories as when you were doing your workouts. Tennis, squash, and badminton are great and enjoyable substitutes.

“I just had a baby.”

Mothers who undergo Caesarean operations are advised to refrain from strenuous exercises for about 45-60 days.

However, those who undergo normal deliveries can begin exercising as early as the third week after childbirth. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of retaining the saggy belly pouch that you acquired during pregnancy.

You don’t have to shed all the gained pounds at once – break down your objective into smaller subsets to make the tasks more manageable and to give you a sense of accomplishment as you hurdle each goal.

Remember, it took 9 months for you to gain the weight, so it’s a tall order to get rid of those pounds in a very short period of time.

“I don’t have the right exercise equipment.”

This is an impressive try at making an excuse not to exercise, but you can easily perform a workout even without those expensive equipments and gadgets you see on the Home Shopping Network or elsewhere.

You can effectively increase your heart rate just by going up and down a flight of stairs. You can also use milk jugs filled with sand to simulate training weights.

And what about the classic sit-ups and push-ups? They don’t require any fancy equipment, but we all know how effective they are in toning our bodies.

Get going… have a great workout,

M. Jamal

P.S. What’s the # 1 excuse that tends to put you off your regular workouts? How do you normally deal with it?

Here’s a few questions for you…

If your colleagues get chocolate cakes, doughnuts and the like regularly at office… would you blame them for throwing you off your fitness and weight goals?

If your friends are big on pizza and Chinese takeout every time you hang out… would you blame them for your bad eating habits?

And… if your neighborhood is full of fast food restaurants… McDonald’s & Burger King… would you blame them for the unwanted pounds you put on?

Here’s what got me started on this…fast food, will it add to your waistline?

Some officials are pushing the idea of a “Fast Food bad in L.A.” which could stop new fast-food restaurants from opening in the area for up to two years (check it out here)

Their argument: South L.A’s got a 30% adult obesity rate that’s around 11% higher than the same figure country wide!

Now I’ll be the first to tell you I’m not big on fast food (But I’ll also admit… whenever I sneak in a cheat meal – about once a week – I’ll have a break from healthy food and indulge a bit to curb my cravings).

And… whether you like it or hate it… whether you chose to eat there on occasion or not… Wouldn’t you rather have a choice?

How about alternative ways around this…

Like maybe having fast food chains display the content of their food menu (amount of calories, saturated fats, etc.)… or how about pushing and promoting healthy options more?

Honestly, it’s a bit worrying when you think the government will start to make food choices on your behalf.

Who decides what’s good for you or not? How far can this go? Maybe it’s done with good intentions… yet is this the right way of going about it to see the publics’ waistlines drop?

What’s your take on this?

M. Jamal

P.S. As a side note, here’s some interesting facts about the fast food industry:

  1. 69% of consumers say they ate “fair to poor” diets when eating out vs. 39% who say they ate “fair to poor” diets at home.*
  2. Burger King sells about 100 Whoppers for every Veggie Burger and roughly 10 Whoppers for every salad! Its fried chicken sandwiches outsell grilled chicken about 10 to 1!*
  3. Pizza Hut sells roughly one lower-calorie Fit N’ Delicious pizza for every 100 pan pizzas.
  4. Top 3 most popular foods consumed in restaurants:
    For men: Hamburger, French fries, Pizza.
    And for women: French fries, Hamburger, Pizza.* (* source: USA Today)

    And if you ever wondered how those burger’s stack up…
  • Hardee’s Monster Thickburger at 1,420 calories with 107 total grams fat (34 grams saturated fat)
  • Jack in the Box’s Bacon Ultimate Cheesburger at 1,025 calories total 70.5 grams fat (29 grams saturated)
  • McDonald’s Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese at 770 calories, total 47 grams fat (20 grams saturated)
  • Burger King’s Double Wopper with Cheese at 1,060 total 69 grams fat (27 grams saturated)

(Here’s an interesting resource with a big list of fast food diet facts)

You won’t exactly be “punished” for missing an aerobics class or forgoing your weekly weight training, but that doesn’t mean you should totally stop exercising if you’re on a full schedule. There are very simple exercises you can do at the office for those times when you simply can’t squeeze in your gym schedule.

There are simple routines you could perform even while you’re working, say, in front of a computer monitor. At several times in the day, you can help your body relax by taking deep breaths through your nose and holding them for a couple of seconds before exhaling through your mouth.

Head turns are also easy to perform and help prevent stiff necks. Relax your shoulders and slowly turn your head to one side; then center, looking straight ahead; and then to the other side. Hold each position for about 3 seconds before moving on to the next. Repeat this for about 10 times.

Give your shoulders a similar workout by rolling both at the same time, repeating the motion 20 times.

Prior to performing exercises, even those which are as simple as the ones you’ll find below, you need to do some stretching exercises to loosen your tired muscles and unwieldy joints. Do warmups for about 4 minutes and cool down for more or less the same duration.

Exercise 1 – The Front Lunge
lady doing lunge exercise
Get up from your desk and stand with the feet apart, approximately at your hips’ width. As you contract your abs, make a large step forward with your right leg.

Lower your body to the floor by bending your knee, and hold this position for 2 seconds. Use power in pushing off with your front leg to return to the starting position. Switch legs and repeat this for 20-30 times.

This simple exercises helps tone the quads, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and calves.

Exercise 2 – Front Squat Shoulder Press

Start by standing with your feet apart at hip width.

Contract your abs and cross your arms over your chest. As you inhale, lower your body to your heels into a squat. Make sure that your knees are aligned with your ankles.

Hold this position for 2 seconds, and then slowly revert to the starting position as you exhale. Raise your arms as you stand, but do not lock them. Refrain from arching your back. Repeat this exercise 20 times.

These squats help tone the hamstrings, gluteus maximus, shoulders, and quads.

Exercise 3 – Abdominal Curls

As you sit on the edge of your chair (make sure it’s stable), extend your arms in front.

While keeping your back straight, slowly contract your abdominal muscles and lower your torso towards the back of your chair without letting your back touch the seat. Hold this position for 2 seconds and repeat 10 times.

A variation of this exercise is done by crossing your arms over your chest and curling your shoulder downwards towards your hips, pulling your abs in. Hold your position for 20 seconds and repeat 10 times.

When doing these exercises, make sure you remove high-heeled shoes and constricting jackets. You can also make use of paraphernalia, such as a body toning bar, for the first two office workouts.

M. Jamal

P.S. Have you ever tried some sort of exercise at office? Whether during coffee break or when you were working late into the evening… did it help keep you motivated and on track? Let us know what you think (hit ‘comment’)

P.P.S. Below is an interesting video that shows 3 at-office exercises for your triceps, abs and legs.