Illustration by Ariana Villegas


7 Common Workout Excuses… And How to Bust Through Them

Because, yes, you do have time

by Molly Hurford

Whether you're a longtime runner, a casual CrossFitter, or someone who stops and starts new workout routines on a regular basis, you've probably found yourself making an excuse to get out of a sweat session at some point. Here are a few that I've heard as a coach (or told myself), and how to get yourself past the excuse and into the workout.

"I have no time."

This is a big one! Sure, we all know the saying, "Everyone has the same 24 hours as Beyoncé," but we also all know that's not exactly true. Still, carving out a bit of time, even 20 to 30 minutes, is worth it. Exercise has also been shown to increase productivity and cognition, so any time you do spend making moves will be gained back with your new efficiency! It might hurt at first, waking up 20 minutes earlier or missing half of your lunch hour for the sake of sneaking in a run, but you'll adapt quickly to the new normal.

"I'm not flexible/in shape/have the right body type."

The most common refrain that I hear from new yoga students coming to class is: "I'm not flexible." But those are exactly the people who should be in yoga classes! Really, being a beginner is the best part of starting any kind of fitness or training regimen. It's the time when you see "linear gains," meaning for every yoga class or run or strength session that you do, you'll almost certainly improve. It's way more exciting than a year in, when #gainz are much harder to come by.

"I don't have the equipment."

You may not have the equipment to do the exact workout that you have in mind, but you can absolutely make what you do have work for you. That gallon jug of water? That's an 8.5-pound weight, which is perfect for things like overhead presses, rows, and even goblet squats. If you're more into cardio at home but have no space for a treadmill, you can get a small stepper that takes up almost no space for $50.

"The gym is too far away."

Screw the gym. In fact, this is probably the most common excuse with the least amount of rationality behind it. See the above excuse for how you can work out at home… Or make getting to the gym part of your workout by riding, running, or walking. And if the gym really is too far away, it's probably time to cancel your membership and figure out something that aligns with your current situation: A YogaGlo subscription lets you stream yoga classes at home, or if you need the intensity of a spin class with a kickass instructor, you can consider splurging on a Peloton bike for the house since you'll be saving on gym fees.

"I'm too sore/sick/tired today."

Sometimes this is an absolutely valid excuse, but, more often, a low-intensity workout like a walk or casually pedaling your bike for a few miles will actually make the situation better. Getting outside in nature can boost your mood and your energy, while an easy walk can help gently stretch your sore muscles. If you don't start feeling better after 10 minutes, turn and head home.

"I need to poop when I run."

Shit happens—and on your run, unfortunately, sometimes that is quite literal. If you found yourself nodding when you saw this one, you can still be a runner… You might just need to plan a little smarter. Mid-day or late afternoon, at least three to four hours after a meal, is going to be your sweet spot. Those early morning runs might just not be for you. You can also plan your route in a smart way, either looping back past your place after a mile of warming up or just making sure your route is spotted with public restrooms or Porta Potties.

"I can't get sweaty on my lunch break."

Fair. Most of us don't have the ability to sneak in a hard run during lunch at work or between work and meeting friends/going on a date/your second job that you need to pay off student loans. But if you do have time between things, there are low-cost, low-impact options that won't make you sweat. The simplest? Walking. If you have time where you can be at home, you can do an easier yoga flow (there are tons of free options online), or you could take a yoga class—just skip the hot yoga!

"I have no one to work out with."

If you're more of an extrovert, or someone who relies on an accountability partner, but you don't have anyone fitness-y in your life, it can be tough to get motivated. But there are dozens of ways to find accountability outside of your immediate circle of influence. Pre-signing up for a month's worth of classes, joining an online challenge on an app like Strava or MapMyRun, hitting up your local running shop to see if they host group runs—the possibilities are endless if you're willing to think slightly outside of your comfort zone.

"The weather is too hot/cold/rainy."

This may sound the weakest excuse out of all of these, but it's also the most legitimate. You may not have the right gear to do a run at -15 degrees during a blizzard, or it may actually be too hot to handle a CrossFit WOD, or you may live in an area where riding your bike in the rain is downright dangerous. But there are always indoor options. A day pass to a gym or splurge on a boutique fitness class will give you shelter from the elements, and if that isn't in your budget, you can still do a yoga routine or simple series of bodyweight exercises at home.

"Even if I work out, nothing is changing."

This is almost the opposite of the "I'm too out of shape to train" excuse. If you've been putting in the time for a few months, maybe you saw results at the beginning but now it feels like you're working hard, but you don't feel any different, you're not running any faster, barre class still hurts like a bitch… Basically, you're stuck. This is completely normal. But it is a signal that you need to spice up your routine—our bodies are smart and adaptable, so if you run three miles four times a week, pretty soon, your body will adjust to that and stop making changes. Don't throw out your routine, jazz it up instead. That might mean sprinkling some sprints into your run, going a little bit longer, adding a little more weight to the bar in the gym, or trying a different yoga routine.