4 Common Exercise Excuses and How to Bust Them

Common Exercise Excuses

How often do you find yourself making excuses for not exercising after a long day at work? You probably say to yourself, “I’m too tired, I’ll start tomorrow, I deserve to veg out on the couch and catch up on my favorite shows.” But day after day that scene replays itself and these common exercise excuses repeat to the point where months go by and you are yet to break a sweat.

Exercise is an important part of many top performers days, in fact for many of these people an hour at the gym is like an important work meeting they can’t afford to miss.

4 Common Exercise Excuses & How You Can Bust These

In order to build the exercise habit you first have to stop making excuses, and commit to making the change.  So how do you do that?  You start with smashing the excuses that keep you from exercising in the first place.  Let’s take a look at the 4 common barriers that might be holding you back.

1. “I don’t have time”

Probably the most common excuse you’ll tell yourself.  If you genuinely want to add exercise to your day, then maybe it’s not that you don’t have the time (since of course you seem to always have time to watch TV) rather the change you want to make might be too big.

Do you find yourself planning to work out 1 hour everyday after work?  That might be too much to expect when starting out. The key to breaking the “I don’t have time” excuse is to shrink the change, making your daily exercise commitment take less time so it’s easier to accomplish.

Research shows that even just 20 minutes of low to moderate exercise like walking, is beneficial, so why not start there?

If you can’t even find 20 minutes then shrink it even more. Try just committing to 10 pushups a day for 30 days, then once you’ve proven that you can accomplish that, then increase the amount of exercise you commit to at a doable rate.

2. “I’m too tired”

Counter intuitively sweating it out for even just 20-30 minutes a day can help combat that tired feeling whether it come from emotional or physical fatigue.

The reason for this is that when you exercise you improve the efficiency of your cardiovascular system, which in turn improves the transport of the nutrients and oxygen, which translates to feeling more energetic and alert throughout the day.

It’s like the old saying goes “You got to spend money to make money,” where in this case we’re spending energy to get more energy.

3. “I just don’t see the return on investment of 1 hour of exercise”

This is an invisible script to the “I don’t have time” excuse. What you might really mean when you say you “I don’t have the time” is the fact that you just don’t see the return on investment on exercise. “I don’t make money from 1 hour of exercise,” you might say, “so I’d rather work an extra hour instead.”

There are actually many productivity related benefits that include but aren’t limited to improved creativity, increased focus, better sleep, and relief from stress.  In a new study done by the Journal of Labor Research, researchers found that those who exercised often made 6-10% more than those who didn’t, probably attributed to exercise’s many productivity benefits it affords.

Even Richard Branson, the famous billionaire once remarked that exercise added an extra 4 hours to his day. What other action could you invest just 1 hour into that gave you a 4x return back on your time and an increase of up to 10% on your income, that doesn’t have to cost you a dime? Exercise may very well be one of the best investments you can make in yourself.

4. “I can’t afford a gym membership right now”

You might think that you need a gym membership to workout so you can have access to the machines and weights. But really you need nothing more than your bodyweight and a few staple exercises to get started. Anyone can do pushups, squats, lunges, jumping jacks and planks at anytime and anywhere regardless of whether they have a gym membership or not.

You can also get really creative and go to the park and use the monkey bars for pull-ups or the benches for dips. The possibilities are limitless and are only constrained by your beliefs about what you really need to get started.

The point is this, gym memberships are not a prerequisite to exercise, they’re a nice to have if you can afford them, but never let not having one keep you from building that exercise habit.

So as you can see many of the common excuses just don’t hold up to a little bit of reasoning. Part of building an exercise habit is smashing those excuses and just getting started. As Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” So start now, smash those excuses and leave them behind so you can begin to reap the valuable benefits of exercise today.

What other common exercise excuses do you hear most people make for not exercising and how would you smash those?

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Kevin Asuncion is the founder of Movemo, a health and fitness company that teaches and empowers those who move our world forward to live healthier so that they can increase the positive change they make in the world. Looking to improve your fitness, lose weight, and get back to making a difference? Sign up for our monthly newsletter and get access to our“5 Days to Better Fitness “eBook today!


  1. Sam Macmillan on the 23rd July

    I’ve started using an app on my iPhone called “You are your own gym”. It’s based on the concept that exercise can be done anywhere with little to no equipment and only take 30 minutes of your day.

    I’m on week 4 of the 10 week beginner program and have never felt better. 30 minutes is all it takes and I do it in my small one bedroom apartment.

    Time is a silly excuse. 30 minutes is a drop in the bucket of your day. Especially when you can remove travel time to and from a gym.

  2. Matt on the 23rd July

    This is a great post. A big reason why I got out of shape is because I couldn’t work up the motivation to exercise. Then I checked out “The Truth About Six Pack Abs,” which has a great program to help you get motivated and work out. My review of “Six Pack Abs” is at my website; it’s really a great system.

  3. Tissue paper machine on the 23rd July

    Great job on the blog, it looks great. I am going to bookmark it and will make sure to check back weekly!

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