Excuse Busters

All of us have those times when we know a workout would have us feeling great, but we just can’t muster up the motivation to get it done. Yesterday, I experienced one of those times, so I thought I’d put together this post about common workout excuse busters to help you push past whatever’s preventing you from getting your workout in!

Our weekend ended up being quite a success: dinner party Friday, the wood floors are finished (pics to come!), dancing Saturday night away, and Arizona basketball on Sunday.

We really wanted to take Livi with us since it was a daytime game, but ended up asking nana to come stay with her at home. It gets really loud in McKale -I figured I’d bring her ear protection that we bought for fini flights on base- but we wondered if she’d be surrounded by baby-loving folks (some people aren’t, and that’s cool). I would have been happy to walk around with her in the arena, but in our seats we wanted to consider the fact that not everyone enjoys tiny cheerleaders saying “Hi! Hi! Hiiiiiiiii” to them throughout the game, especially an intense sold-old event. Next time, little Wildcat :/

Later I went to the gym for some cardio (30 min StairMaster and 10 on the treadmill) and then crashed out:

Men's Health on the Stairmaster

[random note: Men’s Health was my literature for the Stairmaster. Even though I originally chose it because Adam Levine was on the cover and I like the workout tips, I was blown away by the recipes. Chicken coconut curry with sweet potato? Um, yes please.]

Before I left for the gym last night, I felt one of the usual excuses coming on: ughhh, nighttime cardio! It’s so much harder to wind down for bed.

Cardio gets me pretty hyped up, so when I do it at night I have a harder time going to bed when I should. Then when Liv wakes up early, I feel like a sloth in the morning.

Sloths slow or everything fast meme

(Photo source)

Last night, instead of going upstairs right before crashing out, I immediately took a shower and went up to bed to read. Reading in bed never fails to make me sleepy, so I had no problem crashing out.

I have plenty of other favorite workout excuses, and here’s how I work through them.

Workout Excuse Busters

It’s too cold. In Tucson, it’s really not *cold* compared to other cities. I give myself a perspective pep talk and remember that what I call freezing is someone else’s summer. I keep that in mind, bundle up and remind myself that cold runs feel much better than sweltering summer Bikram runs.

Fountain freeze

(Photo from a crazy Tucson freeze two years ago!)

I have no energy. This happens to me when I head back to work from lunch and have Zumba first. After lunch, I usually want to siesta, not shake it. For this reason, I make sure that my lunch isn’t too filling -I’ll do a salad, small wrap or smoothie- and bring the rest of lunch to eat after class. One of my biggest “I have no energy” busters: I remember how energized I feel when it’s over, and the fact that it usual takes 5 minutes to feel really great during a workout. A little bit of coffee does the trick, too πŸ˜‰


I forgot headphones/socks/a sports bra/whatever. I usually feel like I need to have all of my “gear” with me to get in an awesome workout. Whenever this happens, I change up the usual plans (do weights instead of cardio if I forgot socks or a sports bra) or if I’m lacking music, I use my workout time to really visualize my muscles contracting and working during the movements. Mind to muscle!


What are some of your usual excuses? How do you bust them?

One “excuse” that is usually legit: I’m exhausted. You have to distinguish your body’s cues between laziness and true exhaustion. If I know that I need to rest, I’ll take an extra day off. Remember that working through exhaustion won’t result in an effective workout. It’s worth it to rest and enjoy a killer session next time.

Hope you’re all enjoying your morning so far!



Check-in time! Did you do Workout #3? How’d it go? Make sure to leave a comment to check in! A lucky reader will receive a new Pack and Dash running tank, courtesy of lucy.

Lucy tank

Congrats to the winner of our recent Winter Shape Up giveaway:

Beth, who said:

“After some schedule re-arranging (aka, too tired to get up), today was the stairmaster challenge. Holy man, that is way tougher than it sounds.

My workout reminder for morning workouts – that extra 40 minutes (broken up every 5 minutes by the snooze) isn’t good sleep anyways.”

Congrats, Beth! Send me an email (fitnessista at gmail dot com) and we’ll get your prize on the way πŸ™‚

Stay tuned for more amazing giveaways this week! xo

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  1. Laura H on February 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    I did workout #3 this morning. It was AWESOME! My muscles were burning the whole time and I was super excited to have a routine to follow instead of trying to come up things to do as I went, like I do about 50% of the time when I lift. I keep talking about how I want to get better at pull ups but I never seem to do anything about it, so I was stoked to work on them this morning. I did HIIT on the treadmill after. I have much more energy than I would have and it was nice to get it done before work! You are awesome, thank you!!

  2. Jay on February 11, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    My excuse is always “I could spend some more time with my son”, read: guilt, guilt, guilt. I have SO much going on and my little guy misses me so much, it’s tough to be away another hour. BUT, I always remind myself that he’s in great hands (dad or the rents) and I NEVER regret a workout. I hope I’m setting a good example for him too. I’ve been able to hold on to that for 5 weeks straight so far (the longest ever since he’s been born), here’s to 5 more! Wohoo!

  3. Katherine on February 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    My number one excuse is laziness/not wanting to go after a long day of work. The way I’ve been trying to combat all these excuses though is to 1) wake up early and go to a class or 2) tell myself i only have to go to the gym for 30 minutes. I’ll do one of your short but effective workouts (a recent fave is the raining sweat circuit!) that take only 25 minutes, but by that time i’m usually ready for more so i tack on some extra cardio or yoga and end up staying longer than 30 minutes!

  4. Brittany @ Kitchen::Candid on February 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    It’s always good to know others excuse busters. I’m totally guilty of using excuses to get out of going to the gym. Thankfully, I’ve got my husband and my cousin keeping me accountable! And that Stair Master is NO JOKE! Thighs on FIRE!

  5. Rachel C on February 11, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Workout #3 was amazing! At first glance, it seems fairly easy; however, it kicked my butt. My arms are already sore and all those lunges! I loved how the workout exhausted my muscles.

  6. catherine c. on February 11, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Holy arm burn!!! Did workout 3 today and will be using tomorrow as my rest day…I’m gonna need it πŸ˜‰

  7. Naomi on February 11, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    I did Workout #3 this afternoon, and it was a good one! I managed to do 13 pushups on my toes in each of the three sets, in the past I have only been able to do 8 actual pushups in a row before switching to my knees. I think the fact that it said “no knees” made me want to work a little harder πŸ˜‰

    And my biggest excuse is usually that I am too tired or have too much other stuff to do. I remind myself that workouts are energizing and I will likely spend at least an hour procrastinating homework anyway, so I may as well put that time to good use.

  8. Missy on February 11, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Did a light cardio DVD for today’s recovery.

    I HAVE to workout in the morning or else I will find an excuse to not exercise!

  9. Angie Kilar on February 11, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Ahh excuses…..Great post! I am the queen of excuses during Phase 1/2’s….but i vowed to not be this time. I work nights during phase 1/2’s. So i told myself i need to try to do something. We have a treadmill at home and i have hundreds of workouts/dvds i can do at home. even tho the base gym is literally 7 mins from my house.
    I changed up my workout and added HIIT runs lately and noticed results instantly. Being that i am working nights this week i knew these runs would help with my energy so this morning when i got home i got to bed earlier so i would get up earlier…it worked! I was able to get up in decent time, get my food prepped for the night and get in a super intense interval run on my treadmill before showering for work. Now i am energized and the sense of pride and happiness from that run is amazing. Not to mention i noticed a difference in my uniform today πŸ˜€ even more motivation.
    Thankfully i go in a little later tomorrow night so i can try to get to the gym for a run/weights sesh.

    The only workout we regret, is the one that doesnt happen!….i didnt want to be upset with myself all night/week for not working out. Not to mention i read something on FB earlier that got me..
    “next weeks progress will depend on this weeks workouts”

  10. Sarah O. on February 11, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    My major excuse is, “I don’t have enough time.” And to be honest… I haven’t really busted it, haha. On weekends, I have no problem whatsoever getting my arse out of bed and getting to the gym, but on days when I’m running around all day, I feel really frustrated when I have to rush myself at the gym. I’m the kind of person who likes to do a long, meditative warmup and then lift for at least a couple of hours. I like to take my time, man! But I just have to remind myself that even a half an hour is better than nothing.

  11. Karissa on February 11, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    I know it sounds dumb, but it’s encouraging to hear that I’m not the only person who has to fight the excuse bug sometimes! Some of my biggest are “I’m bored with my routine,” or “I don’t know anything about weight lifting/strength training” (which I don’t- trying to work on that). I also got into the habit of just doing the SAME thing over and over for my workouts, especially in college- not only mega boring but depressing cause I stopped seeing results. Trying to mix things up more now- another reason I love your blog!!

  12. Heather on February 11, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Thought today was a rest day, so that’s what I did! Will be up and at ’em tomorrow with Workout #3! looking forward to it! πŸ™‚

  13. Shannon on February 11, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    I haven’t done workout 3 yet because I went to a “Rock Solid” class at the gym tonight. I didn’t want to do the 15 minutes of HIIT but I talked myself into it!

  14. Kristin on February 11, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    I did the stair master workout today. This was my first time on that machine and I cannot believe what a fantastic workout it was. I was dripping sweat by the end. Thanks for another cardio option during these winter months!

  15. Katie on February 11, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    I did workout #3 today and my rest day is tomorrow. That workout was very tiring but awesome!

  16. Carolyn on February 11, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    My worst excuse is that I don’t want to cut into my sleep if I plan on an AM workout. I also like eating bfast at home…but if an AM workout is my only option i need to learn to make it work!

    I did workout 3 + the my biscuits are burning elliptical workout today! I liked the two smaller sets it went really fast and my arms were shakin’ at the end πŸ™‚

    • Carolyn on February 11, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      I forgot to mention that i never took the elliptical seriously but since I ran 6 miles yesterday, I couldn’t run again- but that workout really makes me shake it! I was huffin’!

  17. Tori @ Get a Word in Veg Wise on February 11, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    #1 excuse = “I’m sooooo tired”. Solution = put workout clothes on BEFORE taking a quickie power nap (usually around 15-30 minutes). That amount of rest helps me perk up without feeling groggy when I wake up. Also, I feel ridiculous walking around the house in workout clothes when I haven’t worked out so that helps motivate me to get to the gym/outside for a run/etc.

    #2 excuse = “I don’t have time”. Solution = spending 1 hour/60 minutes at the gym is only 4% of your day, therefore a 30 minute workout is only 2% of your day! Remembering that statistic helps me realize that yes I can squeeze it in.

    Great post and great comments – I really enjoyed reading them all πŸ™‚

  18. Mary A on February 11, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Today I recovered from a set of backshifts, so all I managed to get done was some shoveling. Better than nothing, I suppose!
    Can’t wait to tackle workout 3 in the morning.

  19. Carleigh on February 11, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    I did Workout 3 today with the 15 minutes of HIIT! My muscles were burning at the end, but it was a great workout and I look forward to doing it again!

  20. Katie S. on February 11, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    This workout kicked my butt! My legs were shaking before round two. I couldn’t finish all the sets, but I hope to improve!

  21. julia on February 12, 2013 at 12:11 am

    did workout 3 today with a friend!! our shoulders are SO sore already!!

  22. Emily Stember on February 12, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Today was a long and light cardio day. Stoked for WO3 tomorrow!

  23. Bek @ Crave on February 12, 2013 at 2:09 am

    My excuses? I don’t really have them to be honest. I always do a workout unless my body is achy or I’m exhausted. But sometimes I go into a workout in the mood where I’m ‘not feeling it’. But quickly pep up.

  24. Pam on February 12, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Good workout! I really like short circuits over a long repeated circuit. And the pullups!! (I used an assisted machine) Definitely going to feel it in my arms and chest tomorrow (hello tennis ball stretches).

    Also, I’m awful at working out at night … usually I will fandangle a way to go to a class if I need to work out at night, it’s one of the only ways I can get myself to the gym, otherwise I’ll find a way to fritter around until the gym is closed (even if it closes at 11!)

  25. Chelsea on February 12, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Wowza WSU #3 was awesome!!! I think it’s gonna hurt to brush my hair tomorrow…love it! Followed it up with 12 min HIIT at home…lots of jumping jacks, jump squats, burpees, etc. Gets it done ;).

    Thanks so much Gina!

  26. Sarah on February 12, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Just did workout#3 and it was great! Today was one of those miraculous days where you wake up feeling rested, so I really pushed myself!

  27. Lena on February 12, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Getting out of bed this morning was roughhhh thanks to WSU #3 and 15 min of HIIT. I’ll be trying to sneak out of work to do some lifting during lunch, and then hopefully some cardio tonight if I don’t get home too late.

  28. Carrie on February 12, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I did work-out #3 with my coworkers. They all agreed it was a toughie! My buns are feeling it today!

  29. Kristin on February 12, 2013 at 10:34 am

    I did workout 3 today – WOW! My arms shook when I was shampooing my hair later. My arms are so much weaker than my legs, I did have to modify some of the numbers in order to maintain my form through 3 sets, like 12-15 push-ups, 10-15 dips, etc, and sometimes during the 3rd round had to break it up further (like 8 push ups, rest 10 seconds, finish 4 or 5). I figure since I was having to really fight for the last few reps on every exercise regardless of the total number, that means the workout was just as effective!
    ..I hope πŸ™‚

  30. Cara H. on February 12, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Workout #3 done! Loved it. I just discovered Lucy this weekend while in San Jose. Great store.

  31. Mary A on February 12, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Oh wow, my arms are like limp noodles… Workout 3 was awesome! I was crunched for time, so I only managed 2 rounds of each circuit, and replaced my HIIT with 20 minutes of shoveling all the wet, heavy snow that fell last night.
    I challenged myself with the push-ups… I was only able to get 10 real ones in before switching to my knees, but by the end of the week I want to do all of them without any knees.

  32. Amanda Lee on February 12, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Workout 3.. done x3. Ouch. My legs-butt- and arms are super sore today.

    Even yesterday after I was done I could already feel it in my arms. Wowza. Definitely repeating this circuit (even after the Winter Shape Up). πŸ™‚

  33. Leah O on February 12, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Just finished workout #3! My arms are like jelly haha. My biggest excuse is that I am too tired and that I need to sleep more. In some cases it is true but most of the time as soon as I get up and get going I’m alright and I usually feel great the rest of the day if I just bust out a workout! This morning was the 2nd time since my 11 month old has been born that I have worked out in the morning before he gets up! It feels great:)

  34. Ana on February 12, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I did workout 3 yesterday and my shoulders/chest are feeling it!

  35. Amanda on February 12, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I did workout #3 and my HIIT this morning. Whoa- my arms are definitely going to feel it!

  36. Alexis on February 12, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Completed workout #3 yesterday. It is by far my favorite!! thanks!

  37. Rebecca Smith on February 12, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I did workout #3 yesterday and I can’t believe how sore my arms are this morning. I also went up in weight and had the “shaky arm syndrome” going on last night.

  38. Monica on February 12, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I’m switching up this week’s schedule a bit. I’m exhausted and I don’t think a workout would be smart today. I’m sad because I want to try workout #3, but I need to listen to my body!

  39. Liesl on February 12, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Completed workout #3 this morning, and loved the emphasis on arms! I love working my arms much more than my legs.
    Even did the pullups on the wooden rafters of our ceiling…there is always a way. πŸ™‚

  40. Jeannie on February 12, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    I did workout number 3 this morning and my arms were killing me! Also did jump rope HIIT. My new fave! Loved it!

  41. Shaina Anderson on February 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Just finished workout 3! Some shaky arms over here…I like it. πŸ™‚ I have a love/hate relationship with walking lunges, so the second half of the workout was my favorite half haha.

  42. Shayna on February 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I did workout 3 plus 20 minutes HIIT. Those pull ups we’re tough! I’m loving these short and effective workouts!

  43. Hillary on February 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I had to switch up the schedule because work is crazy this week, but I did workout 3 yesterday. My legs hated the walking lunges, but I felt great at the end!

  44. Miriam on February 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Did workout #3 yesterday with my workout ladies – Rachel and Esther. We are all dying today…our upper bodies are sore which is awesome! loved it!

  45. Lauren on February 12, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Holy cow. My arms are so sore. I thought I was in shape too! Although I have to say the lunge jumps did not satisfy my craving for plyometrics. Did jump roping for 15 minutes HIIT

  46. Vera on February 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Workout 3 was awesome. Just what I needed on a cold cloudy day.

  47. Karen on February 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I got my workout 3 done nice and early today and feeling great. It was an awesome workout.

  48. Alycia on February 12, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Early morning workouts definitely kick your butt! πŸ™‚

  49. erin on February 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    i did workout 3 yesterday and ooof my arms are definitely sore today. and HITT — 15 minutes on the treadmill – 20 sec on and 10 sec off. i was feelin’ good!

  50. Lauren M. on February 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Completed workout 3 today! The pull ups reminded me of the days I did p90x and though I do them assisted I can always tell I get stronger over time. For HIIT, I did 15 minutes of running. And I still need to take my dog on a slow few mile run later on πŸ™‚

    Quick Question – I noticed you are doing some of Zuzka’s workouts for your HIIT. I just received the dvds I ordered from her a few days ago. So I was wondering what workouts you were doing for HIIT? Are you going in the order of the dvd?

    Thanks – L

    • Fitnessista on February 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm

      nope, i just grab a dvd and pick a random workout! sometimes i’ll do the bonus abs for an exclamation point at the end

      • Lauren M. on February 12, 2013 at 9:51 pm

        Thanks for your reply! I’ll try one of Z’s workouts for one of the HIIT workouts this week. I think you mentioned that you were planning on writing a review on her new workout DVDs – I’m definitely looking forward to hearing what you think! πŸ™‚

        • Fitnessista on February 12, 2013 at 10:10 pm

          it will be up in the morning! πŸ™‚

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