Here are some tips to stop procrastination from getting in the way of your workouts
Published: Wednesday, June 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 31, 2005 at 10:49 p.m.
What's your excuse?
For not exercising, that is.
Nearly everybody can come up with an excuse for not working out at home, outdoors or in the gym.
People say they're too tired, too busy or too out of shape to exercise.
Or they just can't fit it in.
They're on spring break. Or it's tax time. They have to go home and eat, sleep, relax, etc., etc.
"I've heard every excuse in the book," says Jana Dunson-Martin, a YMCA fitness director.
"People will use any excuse they can get their hands on - like it's Thursday and it's raining," she says. "Excuses usually have to do with lack of time, but you have to have a goal and you can't let the excuses get in the way."
Exercise-excuse makers can take heart.
Fitness experts and the American Council on Exercise have some ideas to get you off the couch and keep you motivated.
ACE, a national fitness advocacy organization based in San Diego, Calif., has the following tips for workout procrastinators or people who might be shy about starting a fitness program:
ACE polled more than 1,500 visitors to its Web site, www.acefitness.org, and asked, "What keeps you from going to the gym?"
The organization found that 46 percent of its Web site visitors said they didn't go to the gym because it was too crowded; 21 percent said they didn't go because they don't know what they're doing; 19 percent said they felt they would be the only one who isn't "buff" or in really good shape; 11 percent said rude gym etiquette (people not wiping sweat off machines or not letting others work on a machine) keeps them from going to the gym; and 3 percent said they're afraid to ask questions.
But, Oneilo Perez, a personal trainer for Gold's Gym, says procrastination is the greatest obstacle for most people to overcome in getting and staying motivated to work out.
"Procrastination is the biggest thing that drives people away," he says. "They put it off for a day and a day becomes a couple of weeks and a couple of weeks turns into months and then years."
Perez tells his clients that fitness need not be intimidating, that it is a step-by-step process of proper diet and regular exercise.
There aren't any gimmicks or tricks involved in overcoming procrastination, Perez says.
"It's self-motivation," he says. "If you are willing and capable of making yourself healthier, you can do it."
Dunson-Martin also recommends that beginners set realistic goals.
"Set goals that are achievable so you can see progress," she says. "It took a long time for a person to get out of shape, so it's going to take a long time to get back into shape."
Goals with emotional or familial attachments are also good motivators, Dunson-Martin says, such as running or walking in a 10K race or in a marathon, especially if it's a fund-raiser for a cause, such as breast cancer awareness or medical research.
It can be as simple a goal as wanting to get fit to go for long bike rides with family members, she says.
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