What Your Gym Excuses REALLY Mean

As coaches, we hear it all: All of the lame, pretend, exaggerated, and even outright lies people give to avoid joining or going to the gym.

We get it: We can’t all make it to the gym five days a week. That may not even be your goal, but the least you can do is be dead honest with your coach, and with yourself, why you're CHOOSING not to prioritize the gym that day, that week, that month…

I’m so busy!

How many times have you had this conversation with an old friend or acquaintance you run into in, let’s say, the grocery store:

Hey, how’s it going? How’s life?

Oh, you know, just really busy. You?

Yep, yep, work’s crazy right now.

The "I"m so busy" excuse is hands down the number one reason people give me for avoiding the gym.

Here’s the truth: We’re ALL Busy. Or are we? Our North American society places prestige on busy-ness. Being busy somehow means ambition. You almost never hear someone say: “I have moderate ambitions in life and have all the free time in the world.”

But how busy are most people in reality?

These allegedly busy people secretly binge-watch Netflix and spend hours carousing through Instagram before  they go to bed. I’m not judging Instagram lovers, by the way. The point is merely to say, we’re all busy and we’re all NOT actually that busy. We exaggerate our busy-ness because we think it’s an attractive trait, and then we use it as an excuse to get out of things we don't feel like doing.

Alas, the next time someone tells me he is too busy to come to the gym, I’m calling his bluff: 

What you really mean to tell me is that you're too important to make time for the gym.

I can’t afford it

I know, money can be tight, but again the ‘I can’t afford it excuse’ often comes down to priorities.

I had a client once who often complained about the cost. He didn’t want to do group classes, but he also didn’t want to pay for personal training or an individual program because he “couldn’t afford it.” The same guy had just come back from three months off work in Thailand and had an upcoming trip to New Zealand planned. Shortly after he quit because he could no longer afford $200 a month, I saw a picture of him on Facebook with a new Jeep Wrangler.

Too expensive, you say?


What you really mean to say is that you value trips and cars, or eating out and booze, more than the gym.

I’m injured

I’m not condoning doing more damage and working through injuries, but often times, for example, a foot injury is the perfect time to get yourself on an upper body strength program. Or a shoulder injury can mean legs days for days!

More often than not, though, the "I'm injured" excuse is:

A get out of jail free card and a guilt-free license to be lazy for a while.

A torn achilles is but an excuse to get better at handstand walking, perhaps...

I have a three-month old baby

Ok, I know I’m going to get blasted for this one, but unless you’ve had a bad pregnancy or labor complications and aren’t allowed to exert yourself physically for a certain amount of time, even this one is an excuse. I’ve seen enough women who have just given birth who choose to bounce back to their gym routine as soon as they can because it's a priority for them.

And again, I’m not judging a woman who chooses to let her fitness slide after giving birth. BUT I do believe it's a choice.

I’ve had other clients who maybe can’t make it into the gym for a while, but they still find a way to do burpees and squats in their living room as their baby is sleeping. 

What "I have a 3-month old baby" really means is I'm choosing to let my fitness slide for a while.

I never see results

This one is usually related to weight loss. Many people think the gym will immediately help them lose weight, so when they don’t drop pounds fast, they give up. (Usually what happens is they show up three days a week for a few months and continue to eat like crap).

This one is simple:

What you really mean to say is you’re not willing to change your diet.

As the saying goes, EVERYTHING IS A CHOICE!