It's Tuesday morning. I've just negotiated double school and nursery drop off day. I am free.
This is my running time of the week. Every Tuesday, when I get 'the freedom' I know I'll go out for my longest run of the week - and I'll feel amazing.
But every Tuesday, whilst driving home from the nursery drop off, the same thoughts ramble around my head:
- You could be more productive if you stayed at home.
- Ah - but I really want my coffee now.
- I have a bit of a headache - should I really run with a headache?
- I'm not sure I can face that hill today.
I know I'll have these thoughts. This is perhaps why, whilst having these thoughts I am already dressed in my running gear so that as soon as I walk through the door to my house I know I can turn round and run back out again.
I am a fitness trainer. Pilates actually but let's call it fitness for the sake of argument. I advise people on being fitter and healthier for a living. Hey - I'm doing it now!
But just because I am a fitness trainer and because I am in relatively good shape for an approaching 40 mum of two little darlings does not mean I always love training!
Just because I do this for a living does not mean I leap out of the door at the prospect of lifting weights or near vomit inducing speed intervals on the treadmill.
My husband is also a fitness trainer. A very good one at that. We work as a team. And for an approaching 40 dad of two (with a rather high maintenance wife) he is in exceptionally good shape. Some would say he's quite hot. Whilst he has some weird motivational chip that means he'll keep training even when it hurts a lot (whilst the rest of us mere mortals would need someone telling us to keep going) this doesn't make him immune to pre workout mind chatter.
No one relishes the prospect of squats!
It is so easy to make excuses. We are fallible human beings, primed for survival. We will always take the easy option. Don't believe me? How many labour saving devices do you own? You are reading this on one of them.
So what makes these trainers who are making excuses hit the gym anyway? What's the difference between Joe 'knows he needs to exercise but would rather eat biscuits' Smith and Sam 'knows he needs to exercise so is actually going to do it' Jones?
- Fit people have accepted the excuses are mind chatter and have learned to ignore them.
- Experience has taught fit people that exercising will make them more productive. I have had some of my best ideas whilst cooling off after a hard run.
- Experience has taught fit people that they are probably nicer to be around post workout. Some call it me time, I call it self care. If I'm snapping at everyone around me, I need to get out and work out.
- Fit people know that only they can take control over their health. They are no longer victims of their schedules or perceived lack of motivation - they recognise when the excuses are creeping in.
- Fit people know when they need to get in resources to help them, like online coaching, signing up to an event or a regular class - with class mates who'll know if they're being slack. I've recently discovered the joy of catching up with my favourite business podcasts whilst running.
- Fit people know when they need to create exercise insurance to counter their excuses. I have one class member who regularly wears her running leggings to bed so she has no excuses when she wakes up.
- Fit people know the difference between an excuse and illness or major catastrophe (when exercise might not be wise).
- Fit people know that exercise can be a great way to manage moods and ward off depression or anxiety.
- Fit people know that gyms are often full of weird people with weird habits, just like any walk of life. It's not the gym's fault - it's just humanity packaged in lycra.
- Fit people know that for every excuse they listen to, they will miss out on that amazing, smug feeling they get when their workout is over and done for the day.