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Sunday, November 15th, 2009

No More Excuses by Olympian Jeff Galloway

OK, there are days when you need a day off, due to sickness, or too much physical activity. But when exercisers are tempted to skip the workout is most often due to laziness. The left brain monitors stress and sends you a stream of communication that steers you toward the couch. Each message is perfectly logical but may not be accurate. You don’t have to believe the bogus messages. Once you quickly decide that there is no medical reason for these blasts, use the following to be positive, get going, and feel better in every way .

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether there is a reason for the excuse. The following is a guide to help you sort this out. In most cases you will find yourself moving ahead, experiencing the productivity increase in everything you do because you have taken “your time to yourself”. As a first step, I like to use the Human Touch Massage Chair. This not only warms up the muscles for exercise. This is a meditation time when the stress is off and things can be sorted out.


Most of us have several “weak links”. These areas of the body are the first to hurt when we are stressed and talk to us more on the days when we have more stress. If there is no inflammation, loss of function, or real pain, it is usually OK to exercise. Indeed, exercise releases the stress which can erase or reduce the pains. But if you have any medical concerns, talk to a doctor who wants you to keep exercising.

It’s a physiological fact that stress can greatly aggravate the symptoms of your weak links. Read more about this in MINDBODY PRESCRIPTION by Dr. John Sarno. While there is almost always some aggravation in an area, stress can reduce the blood supply and aggravate the nerve response, producing an increase in the intensity of the symptoms. Gentle exercise can bring blood flow to the area while it releases stress.

“I don’t have time to exercise”

Most of the recent US Presidents have been regular exercisers, as well as most of their vice presidents. Are you more busy than the President? You don’t have to exercise for 30 minutes straight. You will get the same benefit from your weekday workouts by doing them in pockets of time: 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there. Many who have been exercising for 6 months or more don’t need as much sleep as they get in better shape. They set the alarm clock to ring half an hour early, and exercise beore the day gets started. Ask yourself “Are you going to take control over the organization of your day or not?” Spend a few minutes in the morning to plan the day, and the next day. Some do this during the time on the treadmill. By making time for exercise, you’ll also tend to be more productive and efficient, and will “pay back” the time you spend. You have the time—seize it and you will have more quality in your life. Your loved ones will appreciate this too, because after a workout, you’re nicer.

Tip: Cramped for time? Just walk for 5 minutes

The main reason that beginners don’t make progress is that they don’t exercise regularly. Whatever it takes to keep you going every other day—do it. Even if you only have 5-10 minutes, you will maintain most of the adaptations. Besides, if you start with the idea of going for 5 minutes, you’ll usually stay out for 10 or 15.

“People will talk about me”

Many beginners deprive themselves of the fat-burning, the vitality enhancement and the attitude boost of their workout because they are afraid that someone driving by will see them exercising, and judge them in some way. Actually, most people admire and respect those who spend the energy to exercise—whether they look like athletes or not. Besides, it’s not a good idea to let the opinions of unknown people stop you from doing something that can enhance your life.

Exercise makes me tired

If this happens, you are the one responsible. You have almost complete control over this situation. By starting each workout with a good blood sugar level, paced conservatively, with sufficient “recovery” breaks, then you will feel better and more energized than before you started. If you have a bad habit of going too fast in the beginning, then get control over yourself! As you learn to slow down, you’ll go farther and have more energy at the end—and afterwards.

I don’t have the right build (or technique) for exercise

Just go to any large gym and you’ll see an amazing diversity of body types—often including those who weigh more than 300 pounds. Virtually every one of us is genetically designed to walk and run, and when we do so regularly, our movements become more and more efficient and natural. Even if you don’t have smooth form, you can enjoy the way you feel during and afterward. With all of the different pieces of equipment, you can find one that will work for you.

I need to spend some time with my kids

There are a number of exercise strollers that allow parents to walk with their kids. My wife Barbara and I logged thousands of miles with our first child, Brennan, in single “baby jogger”. We got a twin carrier after Westin was born. With the right pacing, you can talk to the kids about anything, and they can’t run or crawl away.

You can also walk or jog around a playground as you watch them play, or around a track while they play on the infield. Home equipment allows busy moms and Dads to get in their workout as they watch kids napping or watching TV, or talk with them while they are playing.

I’ve got too much work to do

There will always be work to do. Several surveys have found that exercisers get more work done on days they work out. A gentle workout (when paced correctly) can leave you with more energy and a better attitude. All of this comes with an erasure of stress. Hundreds of morning exercisers have told me that during the quiet morning exercise, they plan their day and solve problems. Others say that the after-work workout relieved stress, tied up some of the mental loose ends from the office, and allowed for a transition to home life. You will get as much (probably more) work done each day if you work out regularly.

I don’t have the energy to exercise today

This is one of the easier ones to solve. Most of the exercisers who’ve consulted us about this excuse, had not been eating enough times a day. We don’t mean eating more food. In most cases, the quantity of food is reduced. By eating about every 2-3 hours, most inprove their energy level all day. Even if you aren’t eating well during the day, you can overcome low blood sugar by having a “booster” snack about an hour before a workout. Caffeine, taken about an hour before exercise, helps (as long as you don’t have caffeine sensitivities). The dynamic food duo that we use is an energy bar and a cup of coffee. Just carry some convenient food with you at all times.

JG head shot webI don’t have my exercise shoes and clothes with me

Load an old bag or backpack with a pair of running shoes, a top for both winter and summer, shorts and warmup pants, towel, deodorant, and anything else you would need for exercise and clean up. Put the bag next to the front door, or in the trunk of your car, etc. Then, the next time you are waiting to pick up your child from soccer, etc, you can do a quick change in the restroom and make some loops around the field, school, etc.

Note: Olympian Jeff Galloway has coached over a million runners through his running schools, beach and

Tahoe retreats, books and training programs—which are fun and offer individualized coaching from Jeff. Subscribe to his free newsletter and blog at

Jeff Galloway is a member of the Human Touch Wellness Council and enjoys relaxing and rejuvenating in Human Touch massage chairs.