Excuse-proof Your Workout

Studies have shown that regular exercise can actually increase your energy level.


  • We make excuses to reduce our discomfort about not doing something, expert says
  • Getting into the exercise habit can lead to a “healthy obsession”
  • Top excuses for not exercising include lack of time and lack of energy

(Health.com) — We all have our reasons for not working out. Some are legit — we’re working late or nursing an injury — but often we’re just talking ourselves out of exercising.

“We make excuses to reduce what’s called cognitive dissonance,” says Dan Kirschenbaum, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Medical School. “If we are committed to exercise and yet don’t do it, the excuse allows us to feel less dissonance, or discomfort.”

That’s not to say you’re lazy; it’s a normal response. The secret to countering it? Get into the habit of working out. When you do that, your brain flips a switch and develops a “healthy obsession,” which makes you want to get moving, Kirschenbaum explains.

Until then, here’s how to overcome your top four gym deterrents (as revealed in a Health.com poll). No matter what your psyche throws at you, we have you covered.

Health.com: 30-minute workout, no gym required [1]

The excuse: I’m too pooped.

The reality: It’s the number-one reason you blow off workouts. Know this, though: Studies have shown that regular physical activity can improve energy. If you don’t believe it, commit to a week of exercise and see if you notice a difference.

Of course, for many of us who work out in the morning, simply getting ourselves out of bed is the issue. If that’s you, download the Sleep Cycle alarm clock app ($.99; iTunes). Then place your phone on an upper corner of your mattress and set the app’s alarm for a 30-minute window; your iPhone’s built-in accelerometer measures your subtle movements, and the app wakes you when you’re in your lightest sleep phase, when you’re most rested and ready to get active.

Prefer working out at the end of the day (when your Circadian rhythms want you to chill)? Enlist an exercise buddy — it’ll make it harder to skip the gym.

Health.com: How to get more energy, from morning to night [2]

The excuse: There aren’t enough hours in the day.

The reality: You’re busy, for sure. But the time is there, insists Laura Vanderkam, author of the book “168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.”

“If you work 50 hours a week and sleep eight hours a night, that leaves 62 hours for other things,” she says. And the American Heart Association says 75 minutes of vigorous exercise is all you need to squeeze in each week to improve your health.

To find pockets of unused time, keep a 24-hour log of one weekday and one weekend day. You’ll quickly see where you can slip in mini chunks of exercise. “Most people find they could take a 30-minute walk over their lunch hour,” Vanderkam says.

Health.com: Walk off 350 calories in 45 minutes[3]

The excuse: I don’t want to redo my hair and makeup.

The reality: You can take care of post-workout primping in five minutes flat with this regimen from Paige Padgett, green beauty expert and Jillian Michaels’s makeup artist. Give your sweaty spots a once-over with an antibacterial wipe, and do the same on your face, using an all-in-one cleansing pad.

Next, apply a beauty balm, which is similar to a tinted moisturizer, but with the added benefits of a primer and blemish control ointment. Touch up mascara and use a three-in-one color stick to add shimmer to eyes, cheeks, and lips. Finally, apply a little dry shampoo to the crown of your head to freshen up your hair, and you’re done.

Health.com: Beauty tips from Bobbi Brown[4]

The excuse: Exercise makes me eat more.

The reality: Actually, if you work out at a moderate-to-vigorous level (think a brisk walk), a shift in hormones may help suppress your appetite immediately post-workout. In a recent study, researchers at Brigham Young University showed images of food to women who had just finished a 45-minute morning workout. Their neural response to the food was less than it was on non-exercise days. The researchers also found that women did not eat more on the workout day to make up for calories burned.

The key? Eat a snack right after your workout, says Stella L. Volpe, chair of the department of nutrition sciences at Drexel University. Aim for a 150- to 200-calorie mix of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. It’ll keep you feeling full so you don’t eat back all those calories you just burned off.

Copyright Health Magazine[5] 2011


  1. ^ Health.com: 30-minute workout, no gym required (www.health.com)
  2. ^ Health.com: How to get more energy, from morning to night (www.health.com)
  3. ^ Health.com: Walk off 350 calories in 45 minutes (www.health.com)
  4. ^ Health.com: Beauty tips from Bobbi Brown (www.health.com)
  5. ^ Health Magazine (www.health.com)

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    • XP
    • April 30, 2013

    Can I Have Some Good Workout Tips? Hey could I get some good workout tips. I’m medium built but i want to be lean and fit. I also want to tone and shape my legs a lot. Please tell me if you have any good tips!

      • HealthNut
      • April 30, 2013

      Yes,visit the following sites for fitness.You may not need a full-fledged diet right now, but you can still incorporate some slim-down strategies into your daily life.

      Eat breakfast. Studies show that eating breakfast is associated with keeping weight off once you’ve lost it.

      Fill up on low-cal foods. Start every meal with the items on your plate that are lowest in calories. By the time you get to the other foods, you won’t be so hungry, possibly decreasing your total intake.

      Begin with soup. Starting lunch or dinner with a broth-based, vegetable-filled soup will curb hunger so you’ll be less tempted to eat higher-calorie foods.

      Arrive fashionably late. Without as much time near the buffet table at parties, you’ll eat less.

      Divide your lunch. Afternoon snacker? Cut your lunch in half: have part at mealtime and the other half later in the afternoon.

      Swap mustard for mayo. A tablespoon of mayonnaise has 100 calories, compared with 10 calories for a tablespoon of yellow mustard.

      Duration of Exercise
      You may not be exercising long enough. The rule of thumb is cardio for 30 minutes, three times per week. If you really want to reach your goal, try five 45-minute cardio workouts per week. That sounds like a lot of exercise, but remember this is in order to meet your goal, not necessarily maintain it.

  1. Reply

    Can You Give Me Some Workout Tips On Buns? I have a big butt and I don’t know how to lose the waight. Can someone help me out? Can you name some workout tips that might work for me?

      • HealthNut
      • April 30, 2013

      Squats….work a treat, trust me!

  2. Reply

    Can You Give Me Some Workout Tips On Buns? I have a big butt and I don’t know how to lose the waight. Can someone help me out? Can you name some workout tips that might work for me?

      • HealthNut
      • April 30, 2013

      I saw an interview with Fergie not long ago. She said that using the uphill setting on a treadmill is what gave her her glorious booty. My friend has been doing just this for a few months and i’m already seeing results. It works the thighs and hips too!

  3. Reply

    Any Good Workout Tips For Men? I need workout tips that I can use at home and that works.

      • HealthNut
      • April 30, 2013

      Eat healthy. consume a little more protein (meat) than usual. Work out helps but working out is about your body fat percentage. Eating healthy is the main thing, then work out. Two strengths when combined, result in that figure your looking for. When you work out don’t do the same routine work out everyday. alternate between 3 days and do different things each of the three days. like Monday do crunches, Tuesday sit ups, Wednesday go for a run. then Thursday go back to crunches. You can do more than one thing a day certainly but don’t do the exact same workout everyday. Your body gets use to it. Mix things up. Eat a healthy breakfast. Eggs, bacon, milk, orange juice. that sort of thing. Just combine eating healthy with work out and you should see results in the first few days.

    • Ben
    • April 30, 2013

    How Can I Get A Good Source Of Carbohydrates And Proteins, Plus Workout Tips? I am wanting to start working out and getting healthy and gain lean muscle mass but i don’t really know what foods i should eat before and after a workout to get a good serving of protein and carbohydrates. so anyone who is maybe an athlete or just trying to get healthy too share some meal ideas? and maybe a few workout tips? thank you.

    By the way I’m a 19 year old male weighing in at about 164lbs and about 5’7″ if that helps
    Oh and i have access to workout equipment like dumbbells, that machine where you work out your legs by pushing weights with them, (don’t know what its called) treadmills, and those stationary bikes and an elliptical.

      • HealthNut
      • April 30, 2013

      I’ll give you a list of some common foods that are high in complex carbohydrates and take notes because it’s great for you to add them to your meal plan:

      Home-Made Pizza

      The above mentioned foods make your stomach full for a few hours. They make you have a slow digestion. So it’s good for those who want to slow down their metabolism. These foods are also beneficial for those who want to build muscle because they are great sources of energy for your body and muscles.

      Now I’m going to give you a list of foods high in protein that you should make sure you add to your meal plan. These foods are very important to build muscle mass.

      Here is the list:

      Sausages (healthy choices)
      Seafood (Fish, Calamari, Octopus, Salmon, etc.)
      Poultry (Chicken, Turkey, etc.)
      Peanut Butter
      Dairy Products
      Protein Shakes
      Protein Bars
      Liquid Protein

      As you can see there are many sources of proteins. So I recommend that you choose various, not just one.

      Doing combinations of these foods high in complex carbs and proteins will be the best way to create your meal plan.

      Three other foods you might want to add to your meal plan are:

      Ice creams

      These 3 are very good and delicious.

      Workout Tips:

      Get your form straight before you go heavy
      Progression is key – Add weight or reps when you can.
      Don’t get greedy – This is a long game. Adding too much too soon can leave you injured
      Eat. Adjust as needed.
      Focus. Gym time is work time. Socialization is fine, but spend time under the bar.
      Don’t buffet train – You don’t need to hit your biceps from 8 different angles, you need to get your primary lifts up.
      Get brutally strong – Your chest isn’t impressed with 15 pound flyes. Get your lifts up and good things will happen.
      Have fun – If you hate your time in the gym, you aren’t likely to make much progress.

    • Deej
    • April 30, 2013

    What Are Some Good Workout Tips That Will Help Me Get Into Shape Quick? Im 22 5’6″ and weigh 178lbs. im sick of being fat and repulsed when i look in the mirror at my body. i just would like to know some great workout tips to help me get fit and lose about 40 lbs in 2 months

      • HealthNut
      • April 30, 2013

      Well the best way to lose weight is to run everyday morning and night or after for hour and of course you wont be able to run the whole 1 hour as your not in shape yet so try to run for 30 minutes or more if you can and then walk for like 10 minutes and then run until you get to an hour and if your finally able to run the whole 1 hour start running for 2 hours

      also start weight lifting as well as muscle burns fat so just get normal 15 lb or lighter if its to heavy and do curls dumbbell presses etc and most important of all do free weights such as push ups and if your unable to do allot of push ups do like 10 rest 10 seconds 10 rest 10 rest until you get to 100 or 200 if you can also get a bar and try to do pull ups front wards and you probably wont be able to so try really hard and go to the top and go down slowly, and you will have to do ab workouts like crunches and raise your legs

      and do a quick warm up and and stretch before you lift and also with running do a quick warm up run like 10 minutes then stretch and start your 1 hour run

      the other most important key fact to weight loss is a big change in your diet which mean more calories out then in so no to any fast food for the rest of your life unless you want be fat the rest of your life, don’t eat any junk foods high in fat like donuts and stuff like that because if your going to be burning like 1000 calories and then eating 3000 calories you wont be losing fat but instead just gaining fat and the only difference will be you will be gaining 10 lbs everyday instead of 5 lbs

      what you should eat is salad fruit vegetables yogurt eat meat but not one in a kfc bucket a kind that homemade eat eggs also good in protein

      follow these steps and i guarantee you of you being fit

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