Cumbria Strength and Conditioning news

What's your excuse?


 In todays society I feel that excuses are constantly being made. In my line of work I think I get to hear my fair share of them. I’ve heard all kinds of excuses, ones that make me laugh, ones that make me cringe and ones that make my eyes roll.

But underpinning all of them I understand that, on the most part, excuses are made because they are so easy to say. It’s so much easier to make an excuse than to do something that needs to be done. And we are all guilty of it from one time to another. It may be a social event you don’t want to go to or a job that you keep putting off at home.

Obviously the ones I come across the most are those that stop people coming to the gym. Some will be completely legitimate, and some completely fabricated but it’s none of my business either way. I would never judge someone for giving me an excuse.

I do a lot of rehabilitation training. I help people recovering from injuries and surgeries to get them back to full health and also sporting performance. I have been through the rehabilitation process myself and it’s not a nice place to be in. But one that’s ultimately necessary if you want to get back to doing what you love most. For me it was just being active again. I had completely taken for granted the things I loved doing most and I never want to be in that position again. My attention has now gone from rehab to pre-hab so to not slip back into the bad habits that got me there in the first place. It’s one thing that I pride myself on, having the diligence to do the boring, mundane exercises needed in order to achieve the long-term goal. I trusted in the process to get me there and it did in the end. But it wasn’t easy and there were too many times where I could of made an excuse and not done what I knew needed to have been done, but I didn’t. I knew it was something I had to do in order for me to enjoy my life again and be as active as I ever had been. It was a hardship that I had to tackle head on, good days and the bad. It was me and only me who would make me do my rehab exercises. It boiled down to a simple choice. I either do them, and keep progressing on the road to recovery, or I don’t and I stay at the stop sign. I feel many people find they get stuck at the stop sign through one reason or another.

The stop sign is one thing, self discipline. I’m a military man and I had it drilled into me to be disciplined with everything I do but I’m only human and sometimes I lack discipline in areas of my life I know I could be better at and that’s for me to work on. But I’m in the industry that should be helping people become better, not just physically but mentally too. Because they both come hand in hand.

So I’d like you to ask yourself the question, what’s the biggest thing in your life you know you need to improve on but you’re not putting everything you can into it? And I want you to ask yourself why? What’s your excuse?

Chances are it’s something to do with your own health. It may be sticking to a routine at the gym, it could be maintaining a healthy diet, it might be trying to quit smoking or cut down on your alcohol intake. But ultimately it’s all your own choice.

I’m an advocate of there is no time like the present. I don’t like the term (excuse) ‘I’ll start it on Monday’. Why Monday? Why not right now? The days of the week are just something man invented and today is as good a day as any. The sun will still rise in the east and set in the west regardless of what day it is. Monday isn’t international ‘Start something new day’. Its just Monday. So whatever you keep putting off, challenge yourself to start it now. Right now.

So now I want you to make a step towards improving that part of your life. It doesn’t have to be a big step, baby steps will do at first. But……and here’s the most important part. If you start on your journey towards improvement, make sure you finish what you set out to do. You and only you will hold you back from finishing it.  

There are many self help books and organisational systems for people to follow in order to achieve their goals but ultimately in my opinion it comes down to one thing and one thing only, and that is choice. You choose to do it, or you don’t. You choose to go out for a run, or you don’t. You choose to eat that cake, or you don’t. I think you get my point by now.

Most of these choices are governed by time. And time, which is mostly limited for many people, is a great way to make the decision for you.

‘I don’t have time to go for a run’.

‘I don’t have time to eat anything else so the cake will have to do’.

‘I just don’t have time’.

We all know when we have made the easy choice. You may feel a short-lived sense of guilt, which subsides in a minute or two, maybe less. But then the guilt subsides and you’re back to normal again.

My career involves helping people make the right choices in the gym. I help people move better and more often in order to improve their health. My challenge to you is to try making small but meaningful choices that will increase your health and longevity. Because ultimately it should be your goal to live as long as possible. Do more movement today than you did yesterday, increase your knowledge on a subject you find interesting and challenge yourself daily. The challenge can be anything but It should be something to increase your physical or mental health such as increasing your step count, go for a tea break without having a biscuit or drink less caffeine and more water. These are simple but highly affective over time. They are also something that we don’t have an excuse not to do.

After a stint in hospital from something, which was out of my control, it’s now down to me to get back to full health and fitness. This isn’t going to be easy but one I know is absolutely necessary in order for me to live the life I lead. Excuses will be easy for me to make but my choices will determine how quickly I want to get back to full fitness. It’s all about how badly I want it, and I know I want it bad. I’ve said it before but at some point in your life your health will be your number one priority. Why not make it that now.