If you clicked on this post hoping to find excuses to get out of going to the gym, you're probably going to be a bit disappointed - because I'm about to debunk them all!
Here are some reasons I've heard people come up with as to why they think they can't join a gym, and my responses to each one:
1. "I don't have time"
This is the number 1 excuse people use for anything they don't really want to do. But have you ever noticed that people will make time for things that are important to them? If your health is a priority for you, you'll find time to go to the gym, whether it's by getting up an hour earlier and squeezing that workout in before work, going in your lunch hour or setting aside some time at the weekend instead of spending the day shopping for things you don't really need or going out for cocktails. You might need to make a few sacrifices, but it'll be worth it.
2. "It's too expensive"
Gym memberships can be extremely expensive and some require you to sign up for a whole year. There are a few ways to save a bit of money, though. Do your research online and shop around for the best deal. Don't be afraid to walk in and ask for a tour of a gym you're interested in so you can see whether it's worth the money. Some gyms offer free (or really cheap) trials so you can try it out before committing yourself.
3. "I'm too fat/self-conscious about my body"
You might imagine that everyone in the gym is a young twentysomething with a banging body who'll judge you the minute you walk through the door. But trust me, no-one will be looking at you - they're all too worried about their own bodies or how many reps they've done to give anyone else a second thought. If you're a woman, however, you might find it less intimidating to join a ladies-only gym or to visit during quieter times of the day if it makes you feel more comfortable.
4. "It's too scary"
Everything is scary the first time you try it, but I guarantee that your reluctance is just fear of the unknown. Try joining up with a friend or tagging along with someone who already goes to the gym and will be able to show you the ropes and be there for moral support. Once you've crossed the threshold into the gym once, you'll realise it's not as scary as you thought and (hopefully) there'll be no stopping you!
5. "I'm too old"
6. "I don't have the energy or motivation"
If you feel tired all the time, the gym could be exactly what you need. Working out actually gives you more energy and makes you feel more alert. As for a lack of motivation, sometimes you just need to start anyway. Tell yourself you'll just do ten minutes - chances are, once you get into it, you'll want to keep going.
7. "It's too hard"
Working out is hard, but that's the whole point. Nothing worth having ever comes easily. You have to work hard for what you want in life, but when it comes to a new workout regime you don't have to go flat out at first. Start with baby steps and work your way up. When you start seeing improvements in your body and mind you'll be encouraged to keep pushing yourself a little further.
8. "I have a bad knee/shoulder/other body part"
An injury shouldn't stop you from training completely - in fact, depending on the injury, gently working the affected body part can often help to speed up recovery. Just make sure you warm up properly and then use lighter weights and higher reps, slowly and carefully, using the correct form. If an injury is particularly painful, simply don't train that part at all. If your shoulder is giving you grief, for example, try a circuit which places more emphasis on your lower body, and if you have a bad knee you might want to avoid exercises which involve squatting and lunging.
9. "I don't need to lose weight"
Maybe not - but weight loss isn't the only reason to go to the gym (in fact, it should never be the sole reason). Working out will tone your body, give you confidence and improved quality of life as well as a longer life expectancy, speed up your metabolism so you'll burn more calories even while resting, and flood your brain with endorphins which make you feel good for the rest of the day. What's not to love about that?
What excuses have you heard people use to avoid the gym? Leave a comment!