Secure your spot while tickets last!
"I Don't Have Enough Time."
What you really mean: "I'm not making enough time."
We all get caught up in this one. After a long day at the office, the last thing you want to do is jump on the treadmill, especially if it means missing out on happy hour drinks, your favorite shows, or a home-made dinner. You have to have priorities. If fitness is a priority, that means you simply have to make time for it. The best way to do this is to build a schedule. Some people find that hitting the gym before work is their best bet. Others like to go right from the 9-to-5 to sets of eight. I know some guys who work out during their lunch break. Find a consistent block of time in your schedule and carve it out for working out. Make sure that you are doing this at least three times a week (and no more than six, your body needs rest).
The biggest point personal trainers and fitness professional make when people tell them that they don't have enough time is that working out doesn't take that much time. A full workout can be achieved in forty-five minutes. If you're taking longer than that, think about how much time is being spent chatting, drinking water, watching TV, resting between sets, and admiring yourself in the mirror. If you really don't have that much time, focus on making your workout as efficient as possible.
"I Hate Working Out."
What you really mean: "I hate my workout."
You probably don't hate working out, but you might hate your workout. There is more to fitness life than the treadmill. There is more to getting lean than the bench press. There are endless modifications and approaches to getting fit. You may find that throwing tires around a warehouse gets you going (I believe they call it "crossfit"); you may find that beating your friends bloody is your ideal way to get in shape (MMA); you may even find that nothing brings your fitness joy quite like mindful stretching (yoga). Odds are that people who hate working out just haven't put in the effort to find something they enjoy.
It may also be the case that you don't like working out. That is possible. If this is the case, then you have to ask yourself what you like less, working out or being out of shape. If you'd rather grow flabby and weak than step foot in a gym, there's probably not much we can do for you.
"I'm Not Seeing Any Results."
What you really mean: "Either I'm not working out correctly or I'm not eating right."
Everybody wants to believe that they are unique. When it comes to working out, people seem to believe that the reason they aren't seeing results is that their body just won't take to the gym. Unless you are an alien being sent to learn our secrets or a vampire, rest assured that your body can change for the better. If you have put a decent amount of time in (2 months at least), and you haven't seen results, then, as the Internet loves to say, you're doing it wrong.
If you don't see results after six to eight weeks of consistent workouts, the problem is probably your workout. Are you challenging yourself? Are you increasing weight, reps, and/or duration over time. Are you running further with each use of that Nike app? If you aren't pushing yourself, of course, you won't see dramatic results. Another reason you may not be seeing results is that you may not being treating your body right outside of the gym. A bad diet, heavy drinking, a sedentary job, and stress can all impact how receptive your body is to getting fit. Fitness is holistic, and if you have a nasty habit of eating your feelings doused in chocolate syrup after a tough day at work, you can't expect to make that much progress.
Another possibility is that you have set your expectations too high. This is a hard pill to swallow, but not everyone is going to look like Channing Tatum after a couple weeks at the gym. You need to set reasonable goals and be proud of yourself when you hit them. If you don't know what reasonable goals are, then your should talk to someone who does. Just know that you aren't going to popping off forty-five weighted pull-ups like its nothing if you still have time on your trial membership.
"There Are So Many Douchebags At the Gym."
What you really mean: "I don't know how to tune out all the douchebags at the gym."
This is true. However, there are also so many douchebags at the bar, at house parties, and pretty much anywhere you can find groups of attractive women, yet that doesn't stop you from making it to these places every weekend. There are likely going to be more douche-bros in the weight room than, say, at your book club, but that's just something you're going to have to deal with. The trick is to find a way to tune out the sounds of clanking weights, yelling, and dumb bullshit coming at you from all corners. Always bring your headphones to the gym. Whether it's music, podcasts, or audiobooks, find something that will mentally transport you from your douchy surroundings. Once you've done that, the only interaction you'll have with the bros around you is when one of them inevitably walks up to you and asks, "How many sets you got left?" Scowl at him and tell him you have at least one more left. That's kind of like stabbing a guy on the first day of prison. It let's people know you mean business.
"The Gym is Too Crowded."
What you really mean: "I am going to the gym between 5 and 7 pm."
If you are young, you probably don't have a lot of disposable income. If you don't have a lot of disposable income, that probably means you belong to a budget gym like 24 Hour Fitness or Planet Fitness. And so does everybody else. There are a few ways to deal with gym crowding. You could always go earlier or later. Some people hate getting up at the crack of dawn or hitting the gym at midnight. But, if you haven't tried it, you don't know if it can work for you. Another strategy is to get the same workout a different way. I prefer bench press to dumbbell press, but if I'm crunched for time, sometimes, I'll have to use free weights. You can also move on to the next workout in your sequence and come back to what you missed later on. Sure, these aren't ideal methods, but if the crowds at the gym are enough to make you want to stay home, it's time for desperate men to take desperate measures.
What you really mean: "I'm working out incorrectly and hurting myself in the process."
Sometimes, it is a good idea to take a day off and allow your muscles to recover. However, soreness can also be a symptom of bad form and technique. Just like with pretty much everything in life, from relationships to seafood buffets, if you try to do too much too soon, you're going to pay for it. If you wake up sore, or worse, you leave the gym with an injury, take the time you need to recover, but also think about what got you there.
Pay attention next time you hit the gym, and observe people doing workouts. If there is an grizzled grey-haired guy, definitely watch him, because he's probably been doing this for a long time. You're going to see a lot of people with terrible form working their way towards injury. You are also going to see some ripped guys lifting less than you would expect, but lifting the weight correctly. Of course, working out with a partner or hiring a personal trainer can go even further in ensuring that you're approaching your workout the right way. If you don't have those luxuries, listen to your body and observe how the gym veterans keep their bodies prepared to lift another day.
Some soreness is natural after you lift, and if you're experiencing that light, dull morning after pain, to you we say, "No pain, no gain."
"My Girlfriend Loves Me No Matter What I Look Like."
What you really mean: "I only work out if I'm not getting laid."
Two problems here.
First, you shouldn't be doing this for anybody but you. Everybody wants to look more attractive as a result of their gym time, but if you aren't in it to get healthier, you're probably not going to last very long on any workout routine. Vanity can be a strong motivation, but it isn't likely to hold up over the months and years of hitting the gym.
Second, just because your girl loves you for who you are, doesn't mean it wouldn't be nice if "who you are" was also someone who turned her on. No matter how loving and understanding a person is, they probably wouldn't mind laying down next to skinnier, leaner, hotter you at night.
"I Work All The Time."
What you really mean: "I have no sense of work/life balance."
Granted, this is an extension of "I don't have time," but it deserves its own discussion. In the age of unpaid internships and multiple jobs, it is easy to put yourself in a position where you are working all the time, save the precious few hours you get to sleep. Before I headed off into the real world, my father told me that "if you don't have money, the most important asset you have is your time." It took me a few "unpaid career experiences" and jobs literally and figuratively shoveling shit to figure out what he meant. The world is full of people who will take your time away from you. If you're making enough money to pay rent already, you can ask yourself if you want to give them your time. Some jobs require twelve hour days. Others demand that you put in your forty hours and then take night classes after so you can get that promotion. I've been completely freelance before, which can mean that you work until there's no more work left. All of that is well and good, but at some point you have to think of work/life balance. If you are working so much that you can't take care of yourself, then maybe it's time to re-evaluate.
"I Have No One To Go With."
What you really mean: "I'm afraid to work out alone."
Working out alone can really suck. Unfortunately, after college, that's probably how it's going to be. Not only do you have to find someone who is free when you are, but this person has to have a similar routine and belong to the same gym. Whether you live in a big city where there are gyms on every block or in a small town where gyms can be thirty miles apart, this is going to be tough. There is a good chance that you'll have no friends available to get your back in the weight room. You might meet someone at your gym, but making a gym buddy out of a stranger is an awkward bromance indeed. Many of you will have to embrace the quiet zen of working out alone. Solo workouts can actually become a place to clear your mind after a long day. And don't worry, if you need a spot when you max out your bench, most decent guys in the gym will do the right thing and take a minute out of their workout to help you out.
"I Don't Know What I'm Doing."
What you really mean: "I'm afraid I'll look stupid."
The first time you do anything, you're going to look dumb. You'll probably look dumb for a while. The good news is that pretty much no one will notice. Everyone else is worried about how they look. As with any activity that puts strain on your body, it is important to know the basics before you get started. There are plenty of blogs and videos online that should give you enough to get you going. More complicated and high weight workouts might take a few watches or reads to get down, but if you start with low weight, you likely aren't at risk of injury. I try watch the bodybuilding.com video of deadlifts whenever I add significant weight to make sure my form is still tight. It's never a bad idea to revisit your form every once in a while. If you're really unsure of your moves and 4G has abandoned you, there is likely someone on staff at the gym who would be happy to get your form in shape. After all, it is in their best interest to avoid someone writhing on the floor in pain after their knees give out from under a squat.