You can imagine the plethora of justifications people give for not committing to the gym. Some coaches in the fitness community might label these as excuses, and I think that’s pretty rich coming from people who live at the gym and therefore don’t struggle getting there. When we tell people who have difficulties working out to stop making excuses, are we helping them? Honestly, it seems like we’re trying to shame people into making a lifestyle shift, and I’m pretty sure that’s not going to work. Starting a new fitness regiment can be incredibly anxiety-inducing, and trying to invalidate these anxieties by being the douche bag coach yelling “no excuses” is the wrong approach.
That being said, I want to help people through their reasons, not excuses, for not working out. Hopefully by addressing these roadblocks we can quell our anxieties and ease ourselves into a fitness program that is right for us.
Here are five roadblocks and the detours around them.
1) I’m Not Fit Enough to Get Fit
If you haven’t worked out in 10 years, I’m not going to ask you to run a marathon tomorrow. My biggest response to this roadblock is to DO YOUR RESEARCH. If you aren’t fit but want to start working out, look into different programs to see what the intro classes look like. Programs like CrossFit have a bad reputation because they look intense, but popular culture’s view is misleading. You want to find a program that eases you into fitness and encourages people of all ages and fitness levels to join. Speaking from CrossFit NYC’s perspective, our introductory courses are almost too easy. We want to show you proper technique and mechanics and therefore keep the intensity low.
Tip: If the fitness program you’re looking into doesn’t have an intro class, I’d stay away. Throwing brand new members into a class of experienced members does not lend itself to a positive experience. More importantly, do you want to take a class that doesn’t have any instruction? Is that sustainable? Introductory classes are an investment. The longer you allow yourself to commit to these intro classes, the longer the fitness program will keep you engaged.
2) Not Enough Time in the Day
This is where group classes come into play. Being motivated enough to workout alone at a globo gym is incredibly impressive, but let’s face it. Most of us aren’t disciplined enough to stay motivated, and if we are, I’d bet we could benefit from a little coaching every once in a while.
Group classes motivate us in a few ways. When we sign up for a class, especially in NYC, we’re required to go or risk paying for that class anyway. Additionally, group classes commit ourselves to one hour of focused fitness. Can we afford to re-watch just one episode of Game of Thrones instead of two after work? If the answer is yes, you have enough time to fit an hour group class into your schedule.
This is absolutely easier said than done. My biggest suggestion is to make your class schedule as regular as possible. Try to get into a routine that doesn’t include having to make the conscious decision whether or not to work out every day. If the decision is already made that you’re taking the 6:30pm class on Mon/Wed/Fri, we’re much more likely to go to those classes.
3) Group Classes *cough cough* (CrossFit) are Dangerous!
CrossFit has kind of done itself a disservice by touting the footage of the fittest women and men of the world on ESPN. After seeing these crazy competitions, who in their right mind would believe that CrossFit is safe for a 65-year-old grandma or an adult who has been sedentary for the past 15 years?
CrossFit is a preventative fitness program. We want to teach you how to pick up your groceries properly (deadlift) or push yourself up from the ground after a fall (burpee). If you have a bad back, we want to help you safely strengthen those muscles so you don’t throw it out every other month. Again, CrossFit hasn’t done a good job of branding themselves in this way, but we are NOT interested in who can lift the heaviest. Rather, we want to prevent chronic disease and injuries.
With how much we walk to get around, New Yorkers can’t afford to be injured. So I believe that we absolutely need to ask questions about the risks of certain fitness programs. That being said, I can confidently say that you are much more likely to injure yourself doing a fitness program with no intro course, than you are to injure yourself in a program where there is proper instruction beforehand. Don’t judge a book by its cover here. Do your research.
4) Working Out is Intimidating
Holy shit is it ever. Every time I walk into a globo gym I see 80% of the members doing poorly executed and/or poorly programmed exercises and I still feel like an imposter. The name of the game here is fake it til you make it and leave your ego at home. None of the people in your intro classes will know what they’re doing either, so it’s no sweat if you make a little fool of yourself.
The other tip for this roadblock is to bring friends. A bunch of my friends have started doing CrossFit together, and not only does that ease them into the community of the gym, but it adds another layer of accountability when starting a new fitness program.
5) Gym Memberships are SO Expensive
I’m going to be very blunt here. We make room in the budget for things that are important to us. If you have enough money to go out once a week in NYC, you have the money for a gym membership.
Of course the argument can go deeper, but this is the bottom line. Your health is worth the cost of a gym membership. Don’t sell yourself short.
Just Do It
Of course I want you to do your research. But the biggest thing I can tell you is to just do it. Try out new things. Be vulnerable. Drag your friends along. Be a student. Drag your friends along. Set a foundation. DRAG YOUR FRIENDS ALONG.