Everyone makes excuses.
This is what makes us human – we validate our actions, by finding a truth from within to why we chose the route we took and use such truth to confirm that choice to ourselves, as an excuse, or to others around us, who may have been affected by such actions.
An excuse can have a myriad of effects on those around us and to ourselves, depending upon the circumstances to which they are raised.
We may look to an excuse for simple tasks such as failing to bring in our washing or being 10 minutes late to an event, or for bigger events that bring an inherent sense of guilt for our actions that warrant some form of validation. It is through such guilt associated with this bigger events that we place pressure upon ourselves to find an excuse we know to be worthy of our choice, and as such, this pressure can often place unnecessary pressure within on our mental and physical health.
But why an excuse? Why not just tell the truth? – I suspect we use excuses to protect ourselves, to create a barrier between what we know to be true in our selves and the actions we may take that do not always align with what is inside. They protect us from the choices we have made against the knowledge of perhaps the choice we ought to have taken. With a good excuse we can defer our responsibilities to ourselves and to others.
Yet, the presence of an excuse reflects the complexities of life and the many challenges we face in navigating our way through our days. As we get older, we move away from lives with very few competing priorities (i.e work, study, friends) into highly complex ones where partnership, family, schooling, work, social and exercise are ever competing priorities that must be balanced against each other with the scarce time we often find ourselves with. However, it is through such complexity that we can find greater capacity to defer, to avoid or to hide our actions with an excuse. It is such that our excuses become an art form, a deliberate choice that commonly features in our day-to-day lives.
So why is the art of an excuse relatable to Peak Physique Studios? – Well, it is quite simple! For all of us here within our community, finding time to fit in a training session is always balanced against the many other priorities that exist in our lives, and as we continue to get older, our ability to balance these priorities with exercise will continue to be squeezed and challenged.
I for one often find it hard, at times, to get to the studio, or out in the park for the run, because balancing exercise with my studies, work, partner and hobbies is a challenge. There is no secret to this balancing act in my life and I suspect for many here, my circumstance is not unique. Yet, in response to this challenge, I often use excuses to myself, to my partner and friends to why I defer my responsibility to myself and my body to my exercise routine. It is not easy to do, but it can happen when exercise is viewed as something discretionary, at times, or substitutable for other priorities, like an extra hour in bed or a second pint at the pub.
Yet, I suspect I am not the only one that, at times, has found exercise to be a priority that can easily be pushed aside with an excuse, because it often only affects ourselves. We often do exercise individually and for our own mental and physical wellbeing. A missed session is primarily at our own detriment, not to others, and that is arguably why we can easily validate to ourselves an excuse – to be too tired, too sore, too busy or it is too hot or cold outside. It can be easy to say no to ourselves, and that is the sad thing to an excuse to exercise, because it should be something that you can’t wait to get involved in!
It should be a yes, because you want it to be a yes, and it is important we keep pushing ourselves because regular training is important to a healthy lifestyle. For I am constantly reminded by Miguel of the importance of training, not just for my physical development, but for my mental and emotional well being as well. While the baggage we carry; whether it be that tired and disgruntled feeling after having a long day at work, the mental and physical drain associated with spending the day with the kids running around, god-awful train delays, will always be a part of our lives. But that feeling we get after completing the session and to be surrounded with smiling faces can really take that weight of stress off our shoulders and bring context to many of theses stress points
“It’s the positive spiral” as Miguel likes to call it. You train, and you feel an array of positive emotions – relaxed, happy and complete. But it is more than that feeling, it is a mentality that drives a want to sustaining this positive emotion and it can be done through making more sustainable and healthy choices. The opposite is Miguel’s “negative spiral”, where you eat poorly, exercise irregularly and you fall into negative emotions, where the bad choices and the unsustainable choices begin to weigh down on your physical and mental health. Yet, as Miguel reminds us regularly that nothing lasts forever, and any cycle – whether positive or negative – can be broken as easily as it can be made, and the true challenge is first identifying the right track for you and then committing to it whole heartedly, which is why we must be willing to push ourselves past any internal barriers or excuses we seek to impose and be part of the positive change we want in our lives.
So how do we push through these excuses to make sure we keep our commitment to exercise? (especially now at a time where many of us have endless time at home due to lockdown, where perhaps the distractions around the house are more readily accessible than before.).
1. Finding the right exercise regime and studio is a crucial first step! This is because having a safe place to exercise and a challenging training program is a far more appealing prospect than a drab old gym. We have that here at Peak Physique Studios, and that is reflective of the hard work Miguel and his team have put into building the amazing training program they run as that makes us all want to get into the studio and work. It makes saying yes easier because its enjoyable! For Miguel, he believes that the right exercise regime is one that mixes the right balance between the physical need, but the emotional and mental aspects as well, and this comes through the manner in which he works with each and every member in each session he leads.
2. Having a place that makes you want to come in because it is inclusive, open and supportive is crucial. It’s easier to say yes when you know that awaiting you at the gym, or your place of exercise, is a few friendly faces and a great community atmosphere. When a studio has this atmosphere, you can’t wait to get in there and have fun, and exercise becomes a desire, a priority linked with socialising as much as it is exercising. I feel this every time I come into the studio – always friendly faces, great support and conversation. Miguel and his team understand the importance of that community feeling to ensuring high attendance rates, and that is why the social side of the business is every bit as important as the training. It makes it a safe space. As Miguel tells me –
“The social interaction is an integral part of peak physiques program. The connections that people form in the studio not only help you stay motivated, but also means you have something in common – regardless of age, weight, or even personal goal – with everyone at the studio, which is a sustainable and healthy lifestyle. At the studio, there are many reasons why people train – for some it is to lose weight, others it is to simply run faster, to be stronger or just feel better, both mentally and physically. But for everyone, it is that desire to be healthy in their own way. We all work hard here as a studio to make it a place where everyone can come together to achieve those goals, where you are supported by other members all on the same journey of improving their own health. Regardless of ability, regardless of current health level, everyone can get healthier! This is why this second point James has raised here is an important one for us, and something we pride ourselves as a studio in delivering for all of our members. The studio atmosphere is always welcoming, members are always engaging and openly celebrate everyone’s achievements, regardless of what they are, you are never left feeling isolated or intimidated, you simply feel part of something. Something that will help you. When you create these relationships all of a sudden it makes committing to times easier, kerb”
3. Having a goal or setting milestones helps us commit to that yes and maintain our routine around exercise. Set small targets that can be iteratively met and improved upon, and through these small successes you can build an attitude and routine on performance and growth. This is where finding the right trainer comes in. They work with you to set the right goal and pace and help you get there without pushing you in a manner that gets that pish back. They support you in a manner that is defined by you, and having this support close to you, builds a relationship that strips away the excuses.
These are just a few steps and tips that make saying yes and pushing through our excuses to ourselves to defer our exercise commitments. This is not an exhaustive list, and I would really like to hear from our community on the topic of ‘excuses’, and the methods or approaches people take to push past the excuses to maintain their commitment to themselves and their bodies to exercise.
Miguel & The Team,
Peak Physique Studios