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BE STRONGER THAN YOUR EXCUSES. That’s my new favorite saying. In fact, I like it so much that I just had a keychain made with that saying…so obviously it’s that important! It’s one of those sayings that you may hear and think ‘okay, whatever.’ But when you really think about it, it is the difference between success and failure. Achieving your goals or ignoring them. Letting obstacles get in the way or overcoming them.

That saying hits home for me more than you may realize. My fitness journey began long before I actually worked out or cared about health.

When I was roughly 14 years old I was pretty unhappy with who I was. I grew up in Southern California and in no way fit the mold of what a teenage girl should be in that atmosphere. Or at least that’s how I felt at the time. I was about 25-30 pounds heavier than I am now and, to me, that was everything that was wrong with me. As a 36 year old I now realize that obviously weight is nowhere near everything. Life is about so much more than that. However health is extremely important. 

I was a gymnast as a child…very active. But when I quit, I continued to eat the same (or worse) and had very little activity it offset it. As a teenager, I ate fast food nearly every single day for lunch. My naturally thin friends could handle that, but I couldn’t. I was frustrated and didn’t know where to start. Changing your eating habits and starting to work out is not fun. It really just sucks. It’s not fun for teenagers and it’s not fun for adults. Let’s face it…a burger and fries tastes much better than grilled chicken. Going for a run is very unappealing when you’re tired after 3 blocks. You feel out of your element and frustrated when you don’t see results immediately. So where do you start?

You need motivation and you need to create the habit. Without those two things your chances of success are low. Luckily, motivation is pretty easy. Creating the habit takes a little effort.

Nearly everyone has some level of motivation. The biggest motivator for most people is to lose weight, but that doesn’t have to be everything. Find several motivators! To become stronger, to be able to play with the kids outside, to have more energy throughout the day, to become more flexible, to be able to squat down and pick something up off the floor easily, to improve overall health. Create both short term and long term goals. It’s important to have bigger long term goals, but also short term so that you can easily accomplish something each day or each week that will make you successful and make you realize that making healthy decisions are not always that difficult and that it’s something you CAN do. Start taking your lunch instead of going out. Sign up for a class and really go to it. Make healthy dinners for you and your family. (Including your family is a great way to hold accountability!) Over time being health conscious will be a way of life.
Create the habit. Start one day or one week at a time. Find a class you like and commit to going to that class every week…NO MATTER WHAT. Commit to bringing your lunch twice a week instead of going out. After a few weeks those new habits will become part of your routine. It will feel as natural as brushing your teeth, going to work or caring for your family. Once those habits are established, add another class, one more healthy meal. Over time you’ll start feeling different and loving your new lifestyle. Chances are, you spend the vast majority of your day doing things for other people. You’re taking care of your children, answering to a boss, providing for clients, etc. You need to take care of yourself to be the best person you can be for others. You deserve one hour to get a workout in. Make your health a priority like you make other things in your life. You make your job, kids, spouse, school a priority. Why is fitness and health always pushed the the back burner?
This brings me back to my favorite quote…Be Stronger Than Your Excuses. We can think of a million excuses not to make fitness a priority. I’m too tired, I work too much, I’m too busy, I have young kids, I’m too old, I don’t know where to start. The list is endless. Be stronger than that! Rise above those excuses! You would never give your boss those excuses for not finishing a work project so why do you allow that for yourself? As a teenager I used every excuse I could think of why fitness didn’t work for me…but the fact of the matter is that I didn’t want to because it was hard. And it was hard, but that made me all the more proud of myself for accomplishing my goals. Today, my goals are different, but that quote still holds true. Most recently, I completed a Spartan Race. A year prior, I chickened out because I was afraid I’d get hurt and then what? Finally, I became stronger than that excuse and experienced a race that was easily one of the best things I’ve ever done.

So whether you want to be able to lose a few pounds, compete in a race or climb Mt Everest…be strong and let nothing get in your way. You got this!

Becky Ryan, FITT-RX Trainer

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