for Your Fitness
By Bill Boylan, Home Bodies trainer to
Maine and Southern NH
Have you ever made excuses for why your exercise and nutrition program is not delivering the results you desire? It’s all too easy to blame work, school, family, friends, and even “life” in general for your shortcomings. Is it your boss’ fault that you decide to go out to dinner and overeat on Friday nights? Or is it because of your busy work schedule that you decide to watch an extra four hours of TV per night instead of getting the sleep you need to recover from your workouts? Maybe you do have a busy and stressful life that does interfere with your training, so that gives you even more of a reason to get your health in check. This article isn’t supposed to make you feel guilty, but instead help you make better choices in life and take responsibility for your health.
I used to live downstairs from the loudest people on planet earth. They came in at all hours of the night and made as much noise as humanly possible. This nightly racket was severely limiting the amount of sleep I was getting. My workouts went down the drain, and my concentration with my clients and at school was nearly non-existent. As far as I was concerned it was entirely their fault that my life was so interrupted, and I welcomed being able to use them as an excuse. After realizing that this course of action did not provide a resolution after three months I decided it was time for a change. A wise teacher of mine once said “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” He may have been referring to my study habits and my grades but nonetheless I feel the quote applies here. So one night, after being awaken at around 2 AM, I decided to take action for myself and put this to a stop.
At about this part of the story you may think this is where I am going to tell you how I stormed over to their door and demanded that they keep it down, or else. Well, sorry to disappoint, but I believe in treating others with the same respect in which you expect to be treated. I walked over to their side of the house and calmly knocked on my neighbor’s door. I introduced myself and explained my situation to them. As it turns out, they had no idea that their lounge area was directly adjacent to my bedroom, and that my paper-thin walls did nothing to reduce the noise. We had a pleasant conversation (as much as I am capable of at 2 AM) and they were very open and apologetic to my situation. They were totally unaware that they were disturbing me at all, and we came to a resolution that we both felt comfortable with.
Had I not taken responsibility for my own health I would still be skating by on five hours of sleep per night and be mired in a frustrating plateau in my training. I was very comfortable using them and my lack of sleep as excuses, when what I should have been doing was taking steps to address the problem. For me the problem was external, but for many of us the process of taking responsibility can be much simpler. Maybe you talk on the phone all night and would rather gossip than workout, or maybe your favorite TV show is more important that prepping your food for the week. These are all valid excuses for why your training is falling apart, but don’t forget that you are not the victim and you can and should do something about it.
I challenge you to take a few minutes and evaluate your daily life. What factors are interfering with your health that you need to take responsibility for? In my life there are definitely times that stress rears its ugly head and threatens to ruin my training. At these times it’s not important how much you train, but the fact that you train at all. Whatever it is that is hampering your goals, stop making excuses for it and start doing something about it! So let’s turn off the TV, shut down the computer, get off the phone and start making training our top priority.