Get Fit: The Difference Between Reasons and Excuses

Updated: Mar 25

I am very straightforward with our members at Custom Body Fitness...


This is one of the reasons we can help them get fit. Many times I seem to be rude, and our members know that. But from the bottom of their heart, they know I care, and this is why I tell them the truth about their results.

One of the things I have noticed is that many people don’t know the difference between excuses and reasons.

I had a conversation with a new member, and I started the conversation by pointing out what we need to work on first. She is afraid of pain and injury like many people, of course. Who wants pain or being injured?

She told me about a muscle spasm in her upper back she got from separating two dogs during a fight. She started the conversation by saying that it was a poor excuse not to come to session, but it was painful. To which I replied that it is not an excuse but a reason according to her brain. So let’s figure out what is an excuse, a false reason and a real reason.


False reason…


The truth is that our new member does not know the difference between an injury and a muscle spasm, so her brain is sending a signal that something wrong is going on in her body, which is true. The muscle spasm is painful, and if she doesn’t know how to decode that, her brain is asking her to stop all activities to not aggravate the muscle spasm.

It is very normal that she is afraid, because all humans run from pain. So the reality is that she is not making an excuse. Her brain is just decoding the pain as a threat, and the only thing she can think is to stop exercising not to aggravate it. This is what I call a false reason, because it is a reason. There is pain, there is fear and there is an impediment. However, she can still workout, but she does not know that.

Here is another example of a false reason. The other day a member tripped and fell and got a bruised knee. She got hit on the knee and there is tissue damage, but it’s nothing that can be aggravated by exercise. You don’t have to be a doctor or have a degree in science to figure this out. Of course, just like the muscle spasm, there will be pain with movement.

However, in either of these examples experts in health and fitness recommend some level of movement and use. The movement and use will allow blood flow and muscle movement, which allows the injury to heal faster.

The truth is that many people are so afraid of any pain or small injury that they stop their activities. Like I said before, I don’t think this is an excuse. It is just that the person is not well-informed, is not used to this type of pain and does what he or she thinks is the best for her or him.


Real reasons...


When I was 28 years of age, I dislocated my knee. My tibia completely came out medially, spraining three ligament of the bone, ACL, PCL and MCL. I could not move my knee. The strength of my knee was lost instantly. It was painful, and I could not put any weight on it. That night I went to bed thinking about what could have happened to my knee. It was easy to conclude that, because of the

way my bone was, my ligaments were gone. I think, even though I was in pain, what really kept me awake was being worried about not being able to walk normally again or lift weights.

When there is a broken bone, a sprained ligament, a strained tendon, a funeral to attend, a fever keeping you in bed, a court session, one of your loved ones got into an accident or is in the hospital, delivering a baby … You get the point. Those are real reasons not to exercise and give yourself a break.


Excuses…

We all have excuses for our poor performance. As a matter of fact, if we are not aware of our false thinking, our excuses come automatically. For example, one of my bad habits that I have improved this year was to be late to almost all my appointments. In the morning, I usually start my drive at 4:40 a.m. It takes me 12 minutes to get to my destination. At the time there is no traffic. Sometimes I forget about traffic when I am driving later than 6 a.m. When I am driving, my brain starts to think about all the excuses I can tell my client in case I am late: “There was a lot of traffic,” “All the lights were red,” “The person in front of me did not want to move from the passing lane,” “There was an accident” … But I catch myself thinking all this. When I arrive, if I am late, the only thing I say is I am so sorry. I know your time is valuable and I messed up. It won’t happen again. How can I fix my mistake?

If I remember there is more traffic after 6 a.m, I can leave 10 minutes earlier and arrive on time. I need to wake up 10 minutes earlier or sacrifice some of my early activities. I can stop blaming the traffic lights, the person in front of me, the traffic, the accident, etc. Not giving myself enough time to be on time to my destination is my fault not anyone else’s.

Because I know how important people’s time is (because I value my time) and because I want to become a better person, I stop my excuses and take responsibility. I want results in my life. I want to improve.

However, yes, I won’t lie, many times I do come out with excuses. For example when someone is trying to sell me something I don’t need and I already told the person no and they continue to bug me, then I can make any kind of excuse, but that is because I don’t care. Excuses only show how much you care.

So when people come with stories — and I hear these stories often — such as “I am too busy at work,” “I was too tired to come,” “I did not feel good today,” “I stayed up late last night,” “I have too much to do,” I think all these are excuses. The reality is that their weight loss is not important. They are just looking for excuses to justify their lack of commitment to their health. I am not saying there is something wrong by coming up with excuses, but until the person becomes responsible and clarifies the real reason why he or she did not make it to the session, there will always be something or someone else to blame.

I admit, I need to work at not making excuses, consciously fighting my false thinking and accepting responsibility for what happens to me and determining if I am committed enough to my desires. I recommend you do the same and be aware of making excuses. It will help you a lot to face reality, and you will deliver better results because now you are responsible for your future and the consequences, not your excuses.

Now, it all depends how committed you are to your weight loss program. Yes, I think everyone should be okay with other people’s excuses. However, if you are making excuses, you are not fooling the person who you’re giving the excuses to. You are fooling yourself. You should also know that your excuses will not deliver results on your weight loss program.

So if you have an internal fight and you don’t know if you have false reasons, real reasons or you are making excuses, think again and be true and honest with yourself.

As I mentioned before, many times you have false reasons to avoid the new positive behavior and give yourself a break, but this won’t help with your goal. It is important that you inform yourself and think differently to overcome any false reason that prevents you from reaching your goal.

Also, don’t be so hard on yourself if you really have a reason not to exercise because there are real reasons that are going to stop you from practicing your new positive behavior. Take care of those real reasons and as soon as possible get back on your feet and continue with your weight loss program.

And remember, if you make an excuse, it won’t help you deliver results, and you’re lying to yourself, no one else.

Custom Body Fitness is located in Glenwood Springs CO and Carbondale CO

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