No Excuses

Instead of preparing for school this morning in a timely manner, I found myself lollygagging on my computer.  I stumbled across a great Nike commercial on YouTube that I’d like to share with you and discuss.  I’ll also share that I spent a good 45 seconds trying fit ‘lollygagging’ into that first sentence.

Nike has always had inspiring commercials, but this one is different.  Usually, we see advertising on television which features popular super-star athletes; Lance Armstrong, Michael Jordan.  While the message from these ads are the same, we view them with a bias against these world-class athletes.

What do I mean by this?

The motivational and inspirational messages of these ads are lost because we assume that the athlete has inherent talent.  Yes, this may be true, but they reached that level because they worked for it.  Many people have heard of Michael Jordan’s failed stint in professional baseball.  Fans and other commentators ridiculed him, but think about this:  How many of them made it to the pros in a second sport? Exactly.  Lance Armstrong has one of the highest VO2 maxes ever measured.  He’s dominated his sport for years.  To test the sport specificity of VO2 max, he participated in a marathon.  Considering Lance’s accomplishments as a cyclist, his marathon sucked.  However, it was still a very good marathon time.  While the cross-over ability of these two athletes helps demonstrate their natural abilities as athletes, it also shows that it takes more than natural ability to be good; it takes hard work.  Training hard, eating right, and recovering is habitual for these athletes; they know what needs to be done to be their best, and they don’t make any excuses.  The difference in their fitness levels and yours may be massive, but we can learn something from their mentality.  Don’t make excuses.

One of the reasons I love the commercial above is because it features Matt Scott, an athlete on the US Paralympic Basketball Team.  Maybe during the video you realized that Matt was in a wheelchair, maybe it surprised you at the end.  Regardless, ask your self this, “How do you feel about making excuses now?”  Hopefully, seeing Matt rattle off the typical list of excuses that people use makes you feel differently.  The way that I see it, is that if you are capable of doing something, you should be doing it.  There is nothing stopping you from going outside right now and going for a run.  There is nothing stopping you from going to the gym and getting stronger.  There is nothing stopping you from squatting, rowing, pressing, stretching, and sweating, and making yourself healthier.  There are no physical limitations; only psychological ones.  You don’t think that you can do it, or you make excuses for not being able to do it.  How many of you can identify with the excuses that Matt listed in that commercial?  You know you’ve used them before.  You may use them again, but hopefully not.  Hopefully, you won’t use excuses; you’ll just do it.


Here’s an example:

A while back, I was discussing training with a close friend of mine.  He has a ridiculously busy schedule, so I was explaining to him how to train as efficiently as possible.  I told him that he could see great results if he trained his entire body 3 times a week.  His response was “I don’t have that much free time.”  This pissed me off.

3 hours a week?  You don’t have 3 free hours a week?  Bullshit.  There are 168 hours in a week; 3 hours is 1.78% of your time.  That’s pretty insignificant now, isn’t it.  If you’re telling me that you really can’t dedicate at least 1.78% of your week to taking care of your body and improving your health, then I’m going to get pretty mad.  How can you not have that much time? Let’s think about it.

There are 168 hours in a week.  Let’s first deduct the 8 hours of sleep that you should be totaling each night.  (Side note: You’re not sleeping that much.  You should be.) That’s 56 less hours, and you now have 112 hours to play with.  You may be a student like my friend, or you may be a ‘real person’.  Let’s pretend that you have 8 hours of work to do each day.  We’re deducting another 56 hours, leaving you with 56.  You may have 4 other hours of necessary work each day, which leaves you with just 28 hours a week.  Say you want to watch your favorite TV show or 4, and you have 24 free hours a week.  That leaves you with about 3:26 of free time each day.  So even if you’re working 8 hours EVERY day of the week, and sleeping 8 hours EVERY night of the week, you have the time to exercise.  Obviously, you’re not doing either.  Instead of taking away from your precious sleep time, I’ll give back two 8 hour work days; you have weekends off.  Boom, 16 hours back on the clock, which gives you 5:43 of free time each day.  Are you still trying to make excuses for not being free?  When you look at it this way, you can’t.  Stop making excuses!  You don’t have to watch your TV show at the time that it airs.  You can watch it on Hulu.  (That’s what I do with Glee on Wednesdays, because I teach a drum lesson on Tuesday nights at 8pm.)  Say your friends invite you out for happy hour after a stressful day at work.  Yes, it will help you unwind from a long day.  But does it make you better? (Rhetorical question.)  Instead of going to happy hour, you could instead spend an hour at the gym.  In that hour, you can foam roll to improve tissue quality, you can use a dynamic warm-up to improve joint mobility.  You can get the most out of your training time by performing supersets and tri-sets, so that each second is spent training and no time is wasted.  You can perform metabolic intervals instead of steady-state cardio, so you can achieve more results in a fewer amount of time.  When you’re done, you may foam roll and stretch again to help maintain your mobility, flexibility, and long time joint health.  Or, you can have your Appletini and complain about how your boss is nagging you.

Stop making excuses.  The second you try to rationalize your laziness, you set yourself back.  Yes, I said laziness.  Why?  Because if you consistently make excuses of why you can’t exercise, you go from having a busy day or hectic week to being lazy.  This may sound harsh; I suppose it kind of is.  Nobody wants to be called lazy, do they?  It’s obviously not a compliment; it’s an insult.  It’s an insult to your person if somebody calls you lazy.  It’s an insult to your body if you don’t take care of it.  If you can’t set aside 3 hours, or 1.78% of your week, to improve your health, than I’m at a loss for words.  Go watch the video up top again.  Hopefully it inspires you to get better.  Here’s another motivational video for you to wrap things up.

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