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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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April 10, 2009

Today, We Shoot Down Excuses

By Mark Sisson
42 Comments

When it comes to eating and exercising, people are quick to produce an excuse – any excuse – explaining why they can’t do it. Coming up with excuses may be pretty easy, but I find shooting them down to be even easier.

I don’t have access to a gym.
You don’t need one. The Prison Workout can be done where you are standing. You can use the outside world as your gym. If bodyweight exercises aren’t enough, make your own gym equipment: DIY sandbags, slosh tubes, medicine balls.

I don’t have enough time to workout.
If you’ve got 15 minutes you’ve got enough time.

I don’t know where to start.
You do now:

I can’t afford healthy foods.
Sure you can. Organ meat is cheap and incredibly nutritious. Or try the Depression Diet. Heck, even organics are affordable, if you know how to do it. Even healthy cuts of meat can be had on a budget: grass fed meat options, thrift cuts. If you’re the ambitious type, save money on quality meat by buying wholesale. And here are some more tips for good measure.

I hate working out.
Don’t think working out has to mean jogging on a treadmill for miles and miles. Stop with the chronic cardio and start tricking yourself into working out.

I’m injured and can’t workout.
If you can walk without assistance, you can still workout.

Whenever I try to start the new plan I get overwhelmed and fail, so why even bother?

Take baby steps and you’ll discover it’s absolutely worth the effort. Ease into it. Cut carbs slowly if you’re used to eating a ton of them. Slowly ramp up activity levels. Finally, connect with a support group – like MDA! If you haven’t already, check out the #primal Twitter group for more support and recipe ideas.

My habits are deeply rooted and there is no way out.
I’d bet that your Primal genetics are even more deeply rooted than your bad habits. There are ways to break bad habits and ways to develop good ones.

There are too many social distractions. My family just doesn’t understand…
Don’t give in to the mob mentality. And if your family doesn’t quite get it just yet, just let it go. Your results will speak for themselves.

I hate structured, planned workout regimens.

Hey, I understand where you’re coming from, which is why I play instead. Or why not try a totally spontaneous workout?

I can’t seem to break through and see any additional results. It’s frustrating and makes me want to give up.
If you get stuck, there are little tweaks and hacks you can apply to jump start the progress. Or maybe you just need some extra motivation.

I don’t know how to cook.
I bet you can, and you just don’t know it. Anyone can broil fish, for example. And instead of launching into 20-step recipes, why not start with Primal dishes that can be made in 15 minutes or less? 15 Minutes too long? How about 2 minutes?

I don’t know exactly what to eat.
That’s the fun of it! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

I feel like “going Primal” is an all or nothing proposition.
Not in the least. Every little change counts. 60% Primal is better than nothing. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

I’ve seen Mark’s beach sprints. There is no way I could do that.
There are other forms of HIIT. It doesn’t have to be beach sprints – almost any intense exercise will get the job done. Find the one that works for you. Besides, I bet after a couple bouts with those, you’ll be ready for the sprints.

I recently gave up carbs, and now I have no energy during the day.
This is normal. Your body’s just transitioning to using fat as energy. Give it a few more days and you’ll become acclimated. If drowsiness is an ongoing problem, maybe you need more sleep.

I keep stress eating, going back to the carby stuff. I know it’s bad, but it makes me feel better.
You need to de-stress – but not with bad food. You might feel better in the short term, but you’ll feel terrible, bloated, and guilty in a couple hours. Why not look to other ways to remove stress from your life? Try meditation, Primal play, or even a glass of red wine.

Post this on your fridge. In times of weakness, or if you ever feel an excuse coming on, reference it. You’ll always have an excuse for not working out or not eating right, but I’ll always be here, ready to shoot that excuse down.

Share your best excuses and get ready to have them shot down in the comment board!

Further Reading:

Primal Bloggers Around the Net

Act “As If” – A 30 Day Primal Health Challenge

The Best of 2008

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42 Comments on "Today, We Shoot Down Excuses"

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Broseph
Broseph
7 years 5 months ago

Okay, here’s how it builds: I can’t workout without music. My iPod bounces around in my pocket during interval sprints, therefore I can’t workout unless I have an iPod armband. But I’m too cheap to spend $30 on one at Best Buy and too impatient to buy one on eBay. Therefore, I cannot workout. How’s that for lamest excuse ever?

Jane
Jane
7 years 5 months ago
My excuses generally involve my family – I don’t want anyone to have to cook something “special” for me for dinner. I feel bad when I add twice the amount to a grocery list to ensure I get the “proper” foods. I feel guilty being gone all day and as soon I get home rushing off to work exercise. It was months of excuses, generally these, before I made arrangements with my family (since, even from the beginning they were always supportive) to assuage my guilt. Now family dinners are meat + veggie that we will all eat, and they… Read more »
Holly
Holly
7 years 5 months ago

My toughest one is eating out (mostly weekends with friends) – even if I don’t order anything straight up against the PB, I get concerned there are hidden ingredients that totally blow it. Then it comes to the social excuse…

Manatoa
Manatoa
7 years 5 months ago

Great article, this.

Already printed and on my fridge.

There are now no more (good) excuses to not do what I know I should (and want) to do. Eat right, stay active and GET PRIMAL!

Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later

The one I find it hardest to shoot down is this:

“I know I will be ill when I am older, but I don’t care – when I am older I will be glad I had fun when I was young.”

My best shot is always to say this:

“You don’t know how you will feel when you are older. When you were 15 did you know how you would feel today? Illness will make you regret, I promise.”

Andy Poquette
Andy Poquette
7 years 5 months ago

Excellent post! I’ve been a lurker here for about a month, and this post, with links to the others is exactly what I was looking for!

Hopefully I can convince my girlfriend that eating LESS grains (against the advice of her trainer) is a good thing!

tony
tony
6 years 3 months ago

I hope this trainer is a certified nutricianist, Cuase a training can get in serious trouble telling clients about a nutrient regime, Its one of the first things trainers learn. Its illegal, tell your girlfriend that and her trainer is not qualified and she should only seek diet advice from someone certified.

greg g
7 years 5 months ago

hit ebay for ipod armbands! $10 or less!

Jennifer
7 years 5 months ago

For me, my excuses come in the form of illness. Like today, its a beautiful day outside, and I really want to go for a run and do some weights. Instead I have a killer sinus migraine. I took meds, that make me sleepy and take the edge off so I can do really unco-ordinated things, like vacuum, and housework.

I hate migraines. Tomorrow, when its planning on raining, I’ll probably feel awesome and itchin to get outside.

Son of Grok
7 years 5 months ago

I never had an excuse until now. Now I have a list of them! Thanks for enabling me Mark! 😉

My favorite lame excuse is the “I’ll start next week. That way I can give it 100%”

The SoG

Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach
7 years 5 months ago

Love the list! After getting two mooses in the family, I simply can’t yield to excuses – those moosies need to be walked every day at least. 🙂

Nena
Nena
7 years 5 months ago

Here’s what I struggle with:
I don’t have the energy to work out on weekdays. My job is mentally demanding, stressful and draining. This kills my motivation to exercise during the week. The weekends are no problem. I’m just trying to figure out how to clear that motivation hurdle during the week!

Beastie Girl
7 years 5 months ago

Uh… my excuse is that I don’t have a metal door to my fridge, so I can’t hang anything on the front of it with a magnet. Hurr hurrr….

I’m terrible actually – I don’t even let myself get to the excuses stage, I just don’t even think about it, full stop.

I need to get off my chuff and do it though – I have weight that’s not shifting…..

riceball
riceball
7 years 5 months ago
I planned NOT to work out for a week, skipped volleybal practice and even said no to my favorate ultimate frisbee. but I ended up walking more than usual every day! LOL (I wandered in some small towns near by , took walks with friends along the river, visited a friend who’s recovering from his surgery and ended up taking a long walk with him in the woods….and shopping!!) I guess I should plan some more resting and I’ll be working out even more. haha but I think it’s partly due to the beautiful weather. it’s just unthinkable to stay… Read more »
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Beth
Beth
7 years 5 months ago

One of the things I love best about MDA is not only all of the great information, but also how timely posts seem to appear! It’s as if you can see me through the PC and just peg the sloth in me! I like the little reminders as I work on going Primal, it helps keep me focused as well as reminding me of what I’m working toward.

Carla Cunningham
7 years 5 months ago
I can relate to this article as I know from first hand experience just how hard it is to lose weight, and to maintain it. I wrote a book called Alone in the Storm, which has recently been published, and it is about an overweight woman who subconsciously put on the weight to protect herself from being hurt by love. She struggles with her weight issues, and in the end she manages to overcome them, but not before she learns some important lessons about herself and life. Carla Cunningham, Published Book Author of Alone in the Storm The website for… Read more »
Jonathan Aluzas
7 years 5 months ago
My first visit here, great post. I think it would be great if we could redefine what people think of as a “workout.” It doesn’t have to be 60 minutes in the gym, moving from machine to machine (I’d kill myself if that was still my idea of a workout, so I can understand people’s trepidation if they have to gear up for that dismal nightmare). It doesn’t have to be 60 minutes of soul-crushing cardio machines (unless you like it). It doesn’t have to be complicated or regimented to the degree that it sucks any and all enjoyment out… Read more »
Crystal W.
Crystal W.
7 years 5 months ago

My best excuse is that I am afraid I might die. My body makes zero cortisol which is a bad thing.

I haven’t worked out in months but I decided there is no excuse. So, I’ll be heading back to the gym shortly, starting slow.

Carly
Carly
7 years 5 months ago
“I’m injured and can’t workout. If you can walk without assistance, you can still workout.” Gee, Mark, it’s not always that simple. For example, this whole post made me feel terribly for not being able to work out right now. I’d love to, but, you see, if I work out right now, it could kill my unborn baby because I’m strictly on bedrest, probably for the next three months. I normally love your posts, but today you come off as very condescending, and I sincerely hope that people who shouldn’t take your advice can get past your attempted guilt trip… Read more »
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[…] Daily Apple posted a beginner’s roadmap for people with nothing but excuses when it comes to getting in […]

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Donna
Donna
7 years 5 months ago

I never have an excuse, i’m always ready to exercise because i actually really truly enjoy it!
My ShihTzu is a couch potato and when i say wanna go walk in the park, she’s always wanting to go, she loves exercise, too.
I work out, then later in the day i’ll go on a walk in the park, i have so much energy i just keep going all day!

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[…] if you have other excuses, Mark’s Daily Apple already took the time to shoot them all down. Get up, get out, do […]

April Cicora
April Cicora
7 years 5 months ago

I love this post!! My excuse yesterday was that I simply didn’t feel like going to the gym, but I did end up taking my puppy for a 30 minute walk so I think that counts.

I am saving this one in my arsenal. So many people ask me what to eat and how to exercise and this post links up to all of it!! Cheers!

Heather
Heather
7 years 5 months ago
Carly, don’t take the post personally, there are always exceptions to anything someone might say. Obviously a high risk pregnancy is an exception, and I doubt anyone who had been told to NOT exercise would go ahead and do it just because Mark made them feel bad about it. His words are directed at the general population as encouragement & motivation, not condescension. Would his suggestions make you feel this way if you had read them a year ago? Best of luck with your pregnancy, I know how scary your situation can be, my mom was on bedrest for 3… Read more »
Trinkwasser
Trinkwasser
7 years 5 months ago
“I drove to the gym but I couldn’t find a parking place near the door so I drove home again” (I bet Mr Korg says that) Today I took my 93 year old mother for a walk round a massive nature reserve. It was hard going in places as her one remaining good eye makes it difficult to judge lumpy ground. But she made it, it took about an hour. Meanwhile I clenched my buttocks, did some silly walks etc. to hit a few other muscles. Actually walking really really slowly is quite hard work especially with a wobbly old… Read more »
APPLE AL
APPLE AL
7 years 5 months ago

My favorite excuse is, but I just spent 10 hours climbing trees, wielding a chainsaw and moving brush by hand. Do you really think its necessary. Actually at the end of the day I love to go for a bike ride just to wind down. Nice post.

GeriMorgan
7 years 4 months ago
Broseph’s excuse reminds me a lot of my cousin, who actually did use music as an excuse not to do things. “I can’t fall asleep without music!” “I can’t take a bath without my music!”, etc. She’s better now. Anyway, I did my first workout today! I feel like total crap afterward (think I completely trashed my limbs for the week), but it was worth it. I’ve gotten a good assessment of my limitations now (I can not do hopscotch after push-ups; my knees gave out and I took a foot to the crotch), and I know that even if… Read more »
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