I’m too tired. It’s too hot. My knee hurts. I have to go grocery shopping. The dog needs to go to the vet. Three books are due at the library.
The excuses I come up with for not going to the gym are varied, sometimes highly creative, but they all share a common theme: they are baseless. It’s just me rationalizing my decision to skip a workout.
Sticking to a structured exercise routine is hard for me. The slightest deviation from the status quo, a sick child at home or travel, has the capacity to derail my workout schedule for weeks.
Recognizing this, I consistently look for ways to keep me on track. Whether it’s planning to go to the gym with a friend, purchasing a cute workout top, or downloading some new songs, I’m always trying to mix it up and keep myself motivated.
Talking to my sweet personal trainer Marq about my challenges, he suggested the following: “Think about movement as something your body needs, like water, or vitamins. Just like you feed your body fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins to function properly, you need to give your body exercise. Think of movement as a nutrient.”
Ooh, I thought. That’s good.
Movement is a nutrient. Now that’s an interesting concept.
For some reason, this explanation has greater appeal than simply telling me to exercise “because it’s good for me.” That rationale rarely works on me. Maybe it harkens back to my childhood, being forced to eat Brussels sprouts, broccoli casserole, and meatloaf because they were “good for me.” Maybe as an adult I’m retaliating against those meals, asserting my power to make my own decisions. I will not eat Brussels sprouts because they are good for me, I tell myself. I can do what I want. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I don’t like being told what to do, even if it is “good for me.” Or maybe I’m just weird. (Um, yeah, that’s probably it.)
Whatever the reason, this subtle shift in thinking about exercise works for me. And it boils down to the word “need.” My body needs movement. It needs exercise to survive and thrive. Forget about what’s good for me, this is about necessity.
Well, since you put it that way… I guess I’ll go to the gym.