"Excuses are lies we tell ourselves." - Anthony Robbins
Every so often, I am approached at the gym by someone who feels the need to explain to me why they aren't in very good physical shape. These approaches are completely unsolicited. My theory is that they can immediately see I am someone who has been extremely dedicated to weight training and good nutrition for many, many years. Not to say I look like a pro bodybuilder, but close enough to the untrained eye. I'm not sure if they assume I am judging them and feel compelled to defend themselves. I won't lie to you, when I see morbidly obese people I can not help but be somewhat judgmental. I am sure there are massive emotional problems and depression that lead a person to do that to themselves, but nonetheless it does take astounding levels of sloth and gluttony to reach a weight of 600 pounds or more.
As for everyone else, I really don't care. If someone is in great shape, that's awesome. Props and much respect to them. If someone isn't? Oh well. They could be in shape if they really wanted to, but they don't want it that badly.
So the person will give me an excuse or a list of excuses. Many have to do with injury or illness, which I recognize as legitimate limitations in exercise. Others tell me how busy they are and often go on to run down their demanding schedules that will include work, cooking and cleaning, driving children around, and so on. This is an oddly informative first introduction from a complete stranger. So I listen. And I empathize with their situation. Some people honestly do have crazy schedules that allow little time for exercise or to cook and eat healthy meals, four or more a day. Injuries? Know all about those firsthand. They truly, truly suck and can be both intensely frustrating and vastly depressing to deal with. That's not even talking about the pain. But you know what? They all could have been or could be doing more toward their goal of trimming down (most common) or beefing up - if they wanted to badly enough.
I'm a horrible example because I've never had it too rough. The hours I put into work are nothing compared to what a lot of people do. No complaints. Health? Aside from a few injuries and the occasional cold, I'm good. My kids are older now and not so demanding to care for. Some people work some insane hours to support their families, God bless them all. But forget about garden-variety excuses. I have known and seen so many examples of men and women who refused to let anything keep them out of the gym and working hard for a better physique.
I've seen legally blind bodybuilders, hearing impaired bodybuilders, and even a Men's Physique competitor at the recent Arnold Amateur contest who was deaf and blind. Really. I have seen male and female competitors paralyzed from the waist down, missing an arm, or missing both arms. I've seen and known bodybuilders fighting cancer who still give it their all, like Brendon Doherty of New Hampshire.
It's very easy to make excuses and stay in your comfort zone. Believe me I know. But the problem with that is, you never achieve all your goals. And you never fulfill your potential. I'm not even talking about competing or how you look compared to anyone else. I believe that almost anyone can have an exceptional physique in relation to their starting point. I can look better. You can look and feel better. But how much do you want to look and feel better? Are you willing to make time for training even though you are busy running around all day from the time you wake up until the time you get to sleep? Are you willing to work around injuries and do as much as you can in the gym? Will you cook enough good, clean food regularly and take a few basic and effective supplements so that you are giving your body the very best quality fuel to run on? Will you do the above even though there will be many times when you are tired, in a bad mood over something, or feeling frantic and overwhelmed by your schedule on any given day? You will be inconvenience many times. You will feel sorry for yourself for having to put so much time and effort into your body. So is it a yes, or a no?
That's what the people that come up to me, and many others, need to ask themselves. Ultimately, the only person who really cares about how you look is you. So are you happy with the way you look? If so, no matter what you are built like, good for you. You're not worried about it or self-conscious about it. But most people who are very out of shape are not happy about it and in fact would love to be thinner or more fit-looking. Knowing women from my over 44 years on earth, I can't imagine more than a fraction would ever be happy with being overweight. But how unhappy are they? That's the difference. When an overweight person firmly decides to lose weight, they lose it. I've seen it so many times. I have seen guys from teenagers to in their 50's take pretty skinny or doughy bodies and sculpt them into something special.
They all had the same thing in common: they wanted to improve their bodies so much that they refused to let anything get in the way of them and their envisioned goal. They refused to make excuses. That is power, power over yourself.
So stop making excuses. All they do is hold you back from what you could and should be.