Stop the Excuses – 10 Common Excuses Used to Avoid a Workout and Tips to Power Through

This morning I really struggled with myself. I did not want to go workout. I came up with a million things to do instead of going to the gym. I told myself I needed to shower, I needed to unload the dishwasher, I needed to wash dishes, I needed to pack for my weekend trip, I needed to meal prep for my trip, and I needed to work on my dissertation. I wanted to do all these things before 5:30 am!  Really?!?  All of these things could wait. 

You may be thinking, I bet the workout could wait too!”  Perhaps it could. But we tend to make excuses for why we cannot go to the gym. That is what I was doing this morning. I was making excuses to not go to the gym. We all do this!  I hear excuses all the time. I made excuses this morning!  

Your excuses do not have to be your reality. Here are a few of the most common excuses we make to avoid a workout and some tips to overcome, get through your workout, and stay on track. 


  • I am too busy!  Sure you are. We all are. We all have work, school, financial, family, and social responsibilities. But we make time for things that are most important to us. You are important!  Make time for yourself. It can be hard to find time to workout when we have numerous commitments. If you find yourself using this excuse try these things instead. 
  1. Wake up 30 minutes early. You would be surprised what you can do with an extra 30 minutes a day.  In 30 minutes I can unload the dishwasher and clean the dishes in the sink and then have time to get ready to go to the gym. It can be hard to start waking up early, I get it. But try getting up 15 minutes early for 3 days, then 20 for 4 days, then 25 for 4 days, and then 30 minutes. Your body will adjust. 
  2. Not enough time to workout, huh?  Who said your workout had to be hours long. It is possible to get an effective strong workout accomplished in less than an hour.  In fact you can get a major workout in only 15 minutes. Women’s Health Magazine online reports exercises that last for only 15 minutes can improve strength, flexibility, sleep, and cardiovascular health. I have included a quick 15 minute workout for you below. 
  3. Still struggling to find the extra time needed for a workout? Try scheduling that time. When I first started working out, I literally scheduled my workouts. I was specific with that appointment too. I knew exactly what cardio I would do and listed my lifts for the day. This helped me get in and get out. It is ok to break the times up too. Sometimes my schedule would not allow for both cardio and strength in one time slot. So I scheduled 2 blocks of time for working out. Schedule the time daily in your calendar and then set that reminder so you are alerted, “it’s time to work, ?$&@!”  



  • I am too sleepy to work out – adequate sleep is a MUST but that is for a different post. So, you feel too tired to workout, are you sure? 
  1. Exercise will actually give you MORE energy. Working out moves increased oxygen through your body. This will increase alertness and raise energy. Exercise will also increase endorphins, the feel good brain chemicals, and increased endorphins will guarantee some extra pep in your step. Exercise will increase your heart rate, and this will also alert the body and give you sustained energy. 
  2. Exercise will help you sleep better tonight. So maybe you didn’t sleep well last night, get in a workout, and you will probably sleep better tonight. 
  3. Ask yourself, “am I really tired, or am I just not looking forward to my workout”. I text my trainer the other day that I was really tired and was planning on skipping my lifts for the day. He texts back and asked me, “are you sure you are just not looking forward to your lifts for the day?”  I was annoyed because he was right. I wasn’t really tired, I mean I was awake and alert. I just wanted to avoid my workout for the day. Boy am I glad he held me accountable. I killed my workout that day!
  • I am too sore – Maybe you killed your workout yesterday. Good for you. But maybe today you are sore. It can be easy to avoid working out when we are sore. I find that working out makes me feel better. 
  1. We are designed to move and be active. Did you know that your risk for health conditions significantly increases if you sit all day? If you sit all day you may feel achy, sore, and even swollen. That’s because the body was designed to move and go. 
  2. Try stretching instead. Stretching improves, strength and flexibility. It helps restore and repair muscles. Stretching will keep your muscles lean and relaxed which will reduce soreness. 
  3. If you are sore and you have been spending some time working out, then take a rest day. Perhaps you have been working too hard and your body is wanting to rest. Everyone should have at least 1-2 rest days a week. It is also recommended that there should be rest between working muscle groups. For example if you worked legs yesterday, try working biceps, triceps, and shoulders today. Rest will help muscles repair, restore, and grow!
  • People will watch me while I am working out and I am too embarrassed. Gyms and fitness facilities have mirrors on every wall. This can be intimidating and embarrassing to think everyone will see what is going on. The mirrors are your friend, trust me!
  1. The mirrors are there for you to see and check your form. You may feel like you are doing an exercise right but when you glance in the mirror you can see if your alignment is off. Adjusting your alignment can prevent injury. 
  2. The mirrors are there for you to see your progress. You can see a muscle develop, you can see your waistline shrink, and you can see yourself look stronger and leaner. The mirror is your motivator to keep going. 
  3. No one is paying attention to anyone else. After all my years and time in gyms I have learned that people are not watching me or anyone else. They are more concerned with how they look and appear in the mirror. 
  • I have no idea what I’m doing. Exerising can be intimidating. There are so many machines, exercises, and options and fitness does not come naturally to people. Fortunately for you there are lots of ways to quickly learn how to be an expert in the gym so this cannot be your excuse for long. 
  1. There are so many great resources out there. A great site to get workout plans, see exercise videos, and have your questions answered is You can even print out the workout plan complete with pictures so you know exactly what to do. What is your excuse now?
  2. Still uncertain?  Take a group fitness class. You will have a fun, motivating, and perky instructor guiding your workout. The instructor will teach you proper form, teach you new workouts, and even provide you with a new music playlist!
  3. Group fitness not your thing?  Personal trainers are a great resource to learn more about exercise. Anyone at any fitness level can use the help of a trainer. They are experts in the human body and exercise, use them to guide you on your fitness journey. 
  • I can’t afford it. It is an additional expense to pay monthly gym fees. But guess what, expensive gyms are so overrated. You can get your sweat on and still keep your hard earned money. 
  1. Physical exercise decreases health, improves health, and lowers risk of illness and disease in the future. A monthly gym fee can be annoying but costly medical bills are more annoying and likely to strain the pocketbook. Is it worth it to neglect yourself care now to save a few bucks to have to spend hundreds, and thousands of dollars later to treat an illness or a disease? No!
  2. Working out at home is free!  There are so many Youtube videos with home workouts you can follow. It is fairly inexpensive to purchase workout equipment for your home. Most stores sell resistance bands, stability balls, and hand weights. This is all you need to get started and maintain an active fitness routine. 
  3. Lots of workout programs sell DVDs to use at home. When I first started my fitness journey I bought 3 $10 DVDs and worked out to these in my living room a few times a week. I spent only a few dollars and my weight (and eventually my clothes) fell off. 
  • I don’t feel well – this excuse requires being really honest with yourself. If you are really, truly sick please avoid the gym. But this excuse is similar to the “I’m too tired excuse”. Perhaps you are really just avoiding the workout for the day. 
  1. Try walking around the house or around the block. Evaluate how you feel. Sometimes moving the body will help you feel better. 
  2. Are you anxious, nervous, worried?- these feelings can upset your stomach and increase heart rate so you may feel uncomfortable and not well. If this is the case working out can relieve this upset and make you feel more relaxed. 
  3. Pay attention to your body and honor it. If your body is ill, rest. Failing to rest will only make your illness worse. Give yourself permission to est today and then plan to go tomorrow.
  • I didn’t eat enough or I ate too much. I agree working out while hungry is distracting. Hunger can also make you feel weak and not well enough to get through your workout. Eating a big heavy meal right before a workout may make you feel like you are going to be sick, and nobody wants that. 
  1. Remember you planned your workout, so go ahead and plan your meals. Knowing when you will eat will help you avoid meals that will upset your stomach while working out. You will also have notice to eat something before working out so that hunger doesn’t overcome your workout.
  2. Fitness magazine suggests eating foods that contain carbs before you workout. Try a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter a banana and cinnamon. This will give you energy to power through your workout. 
  3. If you eat a big meal you may feel better after working out. But let the meal settle before heavy cardio or plyo moves. 
  • I’m not in good enough shap to exercise. That is why you workout; To improve your health and fitness. 
  1. Good for you for trying to improve your life and your health. 
  2. Fitness is for EVERYBODY. Every age, every size, every shape, every interest. Everyone!  Even you. 
  3. Exercises can be modified. It is ok to take a break, catch your breath, decrease your weight, or slow down. You are changing your life for the better and participating in behaviors that make you healthy. This is fitness. If you are practicing fitness, you are fit. Keep it up, go workout, and the rest will catch up. 
  • Working out isn’t any fun. Well this is just not true!  It may seem daunting but try these three things and it will likely change your mind. 
  1. Pull out that iPod and download all your favorite jams. Put in those earbuds and get down. Let the music motivate you!
  2. Bring a friend. You can talk to someone, catch up, and fellowship while you break a sweat. 
  3. Try a group fitness class. The music, the moves, and the people will have you smiling and forgetting you are working out!



This morning instead of making up excuses I went to the gym, and I’m glad I did! I had a killer workout. Excuses only impede our goals and keep us from going outside of our comfort zone. Excuses will keep us in fear and trapped in our current situation. Now the only excuse between you and that workout is you!  

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