Workout of the Day

Three Honest Reasons Not to Exercise


Let me start by saying that you -- the members of No Boundaries and participants in this movement and improvement culture -- who juggle crazy schedules and mounting obligations, and still manage to show up and apply yourself -- you all inspire me. I see the challenges you face to make your fitness happen, and I think that’s pretty rad.
The fact of the matter, though, is that you are all a select few. For every one of you that is a regular member of the gym, there are a thousand people out there who have just as much reason to be in the gym, but currently are not.

Enter, excuses.

Excuses are common, and perhaps most common are the excuses that are used to veil the true motives (or lack thereof) behind an action or inaction. I’ve heard quite a few of them, and the overwhelming trend that I’ve seen is that verbalized excuses are mostly just diversions from what’s really behind it all.

I’d like to look at what I view to be three honest reasons for not exercising. The point of this exercise is to pull the veil off of the excuses that are commonly used, and to display, in plain language, what people often say when they provide all the reasons in the world that they can’t, won’t, and shouldn’t participate in exercise.

1. “I’m not at all interested in improving my physical fitness.”
If you truly have no interest in improving physical fitness, or in having the conferred benefits on physical and mental health that exercise provides, then I suppose there’s no reason to exercise.

2. “I value everything else that I do in my day and my week more than I value exercise and fitness, and I am already optimally efficient with how I spend my time.”
If everything that occupies the hours of your days and weeks (including television, social media, hitting snooze repeatedly, general putzing about, etc.) is more important to you than exercise and its benefits, and if you are already operating at peak efficiency all the time, then I guess exercise just doesn’t have a place in your life.

3. “I straight up hate exercising and everything about it.”
Hate the anticipation, the feeling during, the feeling after, movement itself, the topic, and the physiological and psychological effects of exercise? I’m not interested in telling you what you should and shouldn’t like, and so I won’t tell you that you have to like exercise.

This may seem like a bit of a strange topic to be putting out on a fitness and growth-mindset oriented blog that is read almost entirely by individuals who already have a regular movement practice, but the point is that while all of the above reasons are entirely honest and therefore (in some sense) legitimate, none of them are really sentiments that very many people would willingly and openly express. This is because we know better. We know that the benefits of exercise are pretty tremendous, and I believe I speak for most people in saying that we want a piece of that. We know that we fill the hours of our day with fluff, that we waste countless hours on the internet and in front of the television, that we let ourselves fall into incredibly inefficient patterns of time usage. We know that, while some aspects of exercise may be quite miserable in the moment, the feelings of accomplishment, the hormonal rush after an intense bout of exercise, the life-changing effects of a healthily functioning body, and the enrichment of investing in and improving oneself are all incredibly enjoyable. We don’t say these reasons because we know they sound a bit absurd when you really dig into them.

In addition, if we provide any of the above reasons for not wanting to participate in exercise, it puts the onus directly on us. These reasons express that the unwillingness to exercise is a conscious choice, and it is in our control. If you look at the two most common excuses -- “I don’t have enough time,” and “I don’t have enough money” -- the real blame for the ostensible inability to exercise is put on some external, nameless force. It deflects the blame onto the two things that we all don’t have enough of and would all love more of, and it’s hard to argue with that. This is what makes these excuses so comfortable and easy. But the fact that the person who doesn’t have enough money has never ventured into at-home bodyweight workouts (FREE), taken up hiking (FREE), or taken advantage of the (FREE) fitness complex at their work or community center shows us that there’s probably more to the story. The fact that the person who doesn’t have enough time to exercise posts an average of 32 memes a day on Facebook and goes out to bars into the early hours of the morning three nights of the week tells us that time perhaps isn’t the issue.

The fact of the matter is, people who have kids, full-time jobs, pets, family obligations, long commutes, debt, night school, overtime hours, physical limitations, illness, and more all find a way to exercise. They may exercise at home or in a gym, alone or with a coach, but they find a way.
I realize that this post is likely being read by people who have more or less figured this out, and therefore I might be preaching to the choir to some degree. But what I think we can all take from this is that having the honest conversation, with ourselves and others, will always be more fruitful. We owe it both to ourselves and to those around us to hold this standard.

If someone comes to the gym and tells me that they hate exercise, or that they value their hour of television over exercise, or that they’re just not interested in fitness, I won’t be offended. I’ll question the premises that have led them to such a sentiment, but I’ll respect their honesty.
But if someone comes with their diversion-oriented, smoke and mirrors excuses about how life just doesn’t let them exercise, I’m not buying it.

Keep being uncommon, you beautiful bunch of badasses.

- Preston Sprimont


  • Power clean - work up to 1rm

  • 1 min AMRAP wallballs (20/14)

  • Rest 1 min

  • 1 min AMRAP KB swings (53/35)

  • Rest 1 min

  • 1 min AMRAP thrusters (95/65)

  • Rest 1 min

  • 1 min AMRAP hang power clean (95/65)

*record total reps