10 LIES WE TELL OURSELVES
By: Chivon John
There are many reasons goals go unfulfilled. It’s true that sometimes life happens. But can we owe our failure to make traction with our goals solely on this fact? Or are other factors – namely YOU – the reason behind why your goals are unfinished, deterred or abandoned? When things don’t go our way, excuses have a way of creeping up to explain away the situation. But upon closer investigation, these excuses are actually neatly packaged lies that we tell ourselves. Are you guilty of lying to yourself? Then it's time to get real.
Lie #1: “I don’t have to lose weight! I’m already thin.”
Reality Check: Being thin doesn’t necessarily mean you are healthy. The concept of being ‘skinny fat’ is more than just a buzz word, according to research by Britain’s Medical Research Council. People who rely on diet to maintain their weight rather than exercising are likely to have major deposits of internal fat.
Ensure that you are eating clean meals that include complex carbs, lean protein and healthy fats to promote muscle gains. Make a greater effort to include strength-training exercises for all of your major muscle groups at least 2 to 3 times per week and include moderate cardio.
Lie #2: “I have no energy, working out will just make me more tired.”
Reality Check: Studies show that light aerobic exercise, such as walking, can help people who have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) feel more energetic and less tired. Assuming that your problem is not medical-related, take an honest look at how much sleep you actually get per night and whether you are overtraining.
Heading to the gym may be the remedy you need to cure your lack of energy, as noted by personal trainer and nutritionist Lyzabeth Lopez, who observed that her clients who “work out regularly, eat healthily and incorporate rest and recovery boost their energy levels.” So if you’re avoiding physical activity because you feel too tired, your remedy may actually be found at the gym.
Lie #3: “I’m too old to work out.”
Reality Check: Although you can’t turn back the hands of time, using your age as an excuse does not exempt you from physical activity. As you get older, working out becomes even more important to prolong deterioration of flexibility, stability and strength. If you find yourself thinking that your age should hold you back, think of Fauja Singh, 100, who in October 2011, was the oldest person – and the first centenarian – to ever complete a marathon. If he could accomplish that feat, prioritizing 30 minutes of activity should not be a problem.
Lie #4: “I’m too busy to work out. I can’t find the time in my schedule.”
Reality Check: If you reflect upon how you spent the 1,440 minutes that make up your day, can you honestly say that you lack time? Try this: for seven days do a time audit on yourself. Write down every activity that you do and how long you spent on it. If you are as busy as you believe, did you manage to avoid distractions like TV and social media? If not, how busy are you really?
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Physiology showed that less can be more. McMaster University scientists compared short-term high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to moderate exercise to uncover that it is as effective for improving muscle as lengthy sessions of the same activity. Try 20 one-minute sprints on a treadmill with about 30-60 seconds of rest in between, three times a week.
Lie #5: “I’m bored with my workout.”
Reality Check: If you don’t enjoy working out at a gym, switch things up and go outside. Hate the treadmill? Try spinning or an aerobics class instead. The key is to find something that interests you. You will not put your best effort forward if you feel forced to do something that you don’t enjoy.
Lie #6: “I don’t like going to a gym. The equipment and atmosphere are intimidating.”
Reality Check: For some, the thought of going to a gym conjures up feelings of anxiety or embarrassment. Even experienced fitness enthusiasts have experienced bouts of self-doubt when trying something new. Get to know your gym by taking the orientations that are offered to learn about the classes, equipment and amenities available. Ask for help from a personal trainer or friend to feel more comfortable and to help overcome your insecurities.
Lie #7: “Going to the gym and working out is too expensive!”
Reality Check: There may be a bit of truth to this. Yes, not all gym memberships are created equal and some will break the bank. However, the gym is not the only place where you can work out. Between home equipment and a little creativity, you can spice up your fitness plan.
Stock up on some equipment that you can use at home such as a jump rope, yoga mat, stability ball, hand weights or kettlebells. If the weather permits, take your workout outdoors by going for a hike, doing hill sprints or join a running club.
Lie #8: “There is no point of me starting a program because I’ll probably quit after a few weeks.”
Reality Check: Wayne Gretzky famously said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Don’t let misconceptions about your abilities hold you back. By doing so, you are giving yourself a way out before you start.
Set attainable, measurable and time specific goals to help you stay on track. If your desire is to lose weight, identify a specific number or range, plan how you will do it and give yourself a realistic timeframe to complete your goal. Diving into a goal without a plan or with unrealistic expectations is a surefire path to frustration and giving up.
Lie #9: “I have no idea what I’m doing.”
Reality Check: Between CrossFit to HIIT workouts, there is definitely a lot of training information to digest and it can be overwhelming. But with a little research and asking the right questions, you can find out the information you need. Everyone was a newbie at some point in his or her life.
Start with what you do know and work your way up from there by reading magazines, seeking advice from friends or hiring a personal trainer. Some gyms offer trainers for free for a trial period so this is a great way to take advantage of the knowledge and get comfortable.
Lie #10: “I’m not seeing any results.”
Reality Check: Set achievable goals and stay away from the scale. A University of Michigan study found that women who exercised to lose weight spent 40 percent less time exercising than women whose intentions were not related to body shape.
The aesthetic changes of a fitness goal are typically the first and easiest way to identify success, but they are only part of the equation. Don’t ignore the other signs of progress that you may be experiencing such as increased energy and improved endurance and wellbeing.
Making the decision to incorporate fitness and clean eating into your life comes down to your commitment. Yes, we all have distractions or will have bad days, but give yourself a reality check and don’t get in the way of your success. MS&F
*Photo by Eva Simon