People are lazy. I’m lazy. You’re probably lazy. There - I said it. LAZY!
With 25 years in gyms and personal fitness, in clubs large and small, with people who are absolute beginners through to pretty darn athletic, my astounding, scientifically fact-based, thoroughly-researched conclusion is that people are - generally speaking - lazy.
So, with that profound, jaw-dropping revelation comes the natural defence used by all; “I’m not lazy, I just don’t have time for exercise”. Ok. Let’s dig this one up.
When people cancel gym memberships the top two reasons are in essence the same thing. “I don’t have time” and “I’m not using it enough”. My reply (I never say this out loud by the way); “you’re lying, and you’re wrong”.
Seriously, we need to explore this lack-of-time thing for a moment. There are 24 hours in the day. You sleep for 7-8 (if you’re lucky). You work (with travel time, prep etc) for probably 12 hours of the day. Where do the other 4-6 hours a day go? I’m obviously simplifying but let me also ask:
How much TV do you watch each night (be honest)?
How much time do you spend scrolling through social media (and how much of that adds real value to your life)?
This is the point in the article where - in your head - you’re probably saying “he’s right, I actually do spend way too much time in front of a screen at home”. You’re just not ready to admit that out loud yet. Why? Because it’s embarrassing, self-incriminating and really tough to deal with when you pride yourself on being pretty impressive at “life”. And you probably really are impressive at “life”. Got children? Got partner/spouse? Got a home? Got friends? You see where I’m going with this.
So we’ve now established you’re not actually lazy, as such. That was more of an attention-grabbing headline. Apologies. More accurate perhaps to say you’re lazy when it comes to exercise. So why? Why is it that watching box sets, checking out the gossip on social media and slumping on your couch (which is really bad for you by the way) is more important than going for a fast walk round the block each evening?
One of the reasons is that, depending on your age and health (and the two are so commonly linked of course), you may not feel that daily exercise actually is that important. Well there are some pretty obvious things which we should be aiming for. If they’re not on your radar yet, they probably will be in years to come and, as they say, “prevention is rather better than cure”. Here comes the obvious ones...
Increasing life expectancy, improving mental health, preventing heart disease and cancers, losing weight, feeling and looking better (often considered the same thing), keeping strong, preventing illnesses, keeping blood pressure in check, preventing bad backs and generally feeling flippin' awesome.
So I ask again; “Why don’t you exercise daily? It’s not a lack of time. It’s not a lack of importance. You know the answer - say it with me - when it comes to exercise “you’re lazy”.
Ok - progress. Let’s make this a little lighter. In the gym world we give customers personas so it’s easier to know what we’re trying to sell you. We’ll call this persona “Lazy Lisa”.
Nice to meet you, Lazy Lisa.
The funny thing here is that you actually do want to exercise. You know you should do it. You know the benefits. You know what’s going to happen if you don’t. But you still don’t do it. You even know you’re not lazy when it comes to work, your friends, your family, things you love and things you want to do. And there it is. WANT TO DO. We all work hard and achieve more when we actually WANT to do that thing.
You have to WANT to exercise. It’s key, crucial, fundamental and where the journey begins. What makes it tougher still? When you start exercising there’s a good chance you won’t enjoy it. You also won’t see life-changing results in the first month (whatever the advert says). This is important to recognise because the combination of not enjoying exercise, and not seeing results is the biggest reason people stop. And once you’ve tried, and effectively failed (by stopping) it’s sooo much harder to start again.
It’s ok to be a Lazy Lisa. But I know you want to exercise more. I know you lack motivation and I know you probably don’t enjoy exercise. However you find that motivation, find it. Start exercising. Do anything. Take small steps, don’t get over-ambitious. When you start to find it easier it means you’re getting fitter. Slowly embed your new routines into your lifestyle, reap and enjoy the benefits you’ve earned!