Excuse: tired and hungry after work
The solution to giving yourself enough energy to hit the gym before dinner could be to switch to a protein snack, or one that balances protein, fiber and carbs. Sugary snacks, including fruit, can make some people feel more hungry instead of less. Use lots of water to wash down your seeds and nuts or cheese and crackers, since it’s possible, at times, to confuse hunger with thirst. And be sure to snack before you start feeling ravenous so you’re not tempted to ditch your workout.
Excuse: don’t have time at lunch
If you can hit the gym for only 20 or 30 minutes, make it count. Get your heart rate up as quick as possible during a cardio workout. During strength training, work muscles “to failure” (which means that by the last rep you shouldn’t be able to complete the exercise). If you can do more than 12 reps without much effort, add weight. Trainers also recommend adding “big bang” squats and lunges that work a variety of lower-body muscle groups at once.
Excuse: can’t wake up in time
Research shows that people who work out in the morning are more likely to stick to their routines because it’s easier to find uninterrupted time then. To try and make shift to an early a.m. activity, gradually back up your wake-up time in small increments. If you exercise for only 15 minutes at first, don’t worry; it’s the routine that counts for now. When the new schedule feels comfortable, put the clock back 20 more minutes. If you still feel sluggish, try forgoing early-morning cardio in favour of strength training. And finally, giving yourself something to look forward to at the beginning or end of your workout (nonfat latte?) can be a powerful motivator.
Excuse: intimidated by the gym
Buy some workout clothes you feel great in. Clip back your hair. Turn on your iPod. Start off on the one piece of cardio equipment you feel comfortable with. Ask a trainer for an introductory session. Many gyms offer these for free, and they’re a great way to learn how to use new machines or try fitness aids such as a stability ball, which helps to stabilize your core muscles so you’ll get more out of strength-training exercises.
Excuse: not seeing results
Most experts say it typically takes four to six weeks to really see results, though it is possible to tone up more quickly. You may need to change your routine, since even a difficult exercise regimen becomes easier with repetition; eventually, you plateau and the workout loses effectiveness. To mix things up, alternate visits to the gym with a new class or an activity that offers the kind of muscle variation that machines can’t always provide. And do the intensity check: During an aerobic workout, you should feel like you’re pushing yourself at a level of seven on a scale of one to 10. If you are lifting weights, choose a more challenging amount.
Source: InStyle (2007). Style 101.