Lee-Anne Wann is one of New Zealand’s most trusted health and fitness experts.

Lee-Anne Wann: How to bust your exercise excuses

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Exercising with friends and colleagues can help to boost your motivation, says Lee-Anne. Photo / Getty
Exercising with friends and colleagues can help to boost your motivation, says Lee-Anne. Photo / Getty

Lee-Anne Wann shares the four most common excuses from people battling to get themselves into a workout. If these sound familiar, read on for some top tips to help you get off the couch and enjoying exercise.

1. "I have no motivation to exercise"

• Focus on what you could do rather than what you don't feel like doing. If you can't be bothered or just flat out don't want to work out for 45 mins at lunchtime, that's great, don't!

Instead, spend 10 minutes outdoors and see how you feel. We have to take action to become active because waiting to "feel like it" is not really going to happen.

• Be efficient!

We're all busy and have so many more things we'd rather be doing than hitting the gym or getting outdoors to train after work.

So make your workout the most efficient you can.

If your goal is fat loss, dump the long walks and instead do 15 minutes of skipping.

If you want to tone up - try "compound" exercises like press ups, walking lunges and step ups. These use lots of muscles at once. When we are effective and see results, we get much more motivation to keep going.

• Make the little things work for you

Sitting at a desk all day can really bring you down and leave you feeling unmotivated to exercise after work.

Try adding in a few little bits throughout the day to keep your energy and motivation up.

Use the stairs at morning tea, do some chair dips while waiting for your computer to do its thing, walk to the lunchroom for some green tea. It all adds up and really can make a difference.

• Motivate yourself through media.

The more you involve yourself with health and fitness, the more likely you are to stay focused and motivated. Read fitness magazines, surf the net for health articles, or subscribe to a fitness newsletter. It all helps to keep your mind on the job and focus you on what you want to achieve.

2. "I don't know where to start"

Start with one small step. And I really do mean that literally. Most people start out trying to do so many things and build in so much that after two weeks they are either injured, exhausted, or feeling guilty because they haven't completed things.

• Be realistic

Consider where you are and decide what would be realistic and achievable over the next 14 days.

If you don't walk at all, aim for 3 x 10 minute walks over the week and let your body adjust and adapt rather than trying to do 5 x 45 minutes.

• Tell your friends

Mention to friends or colleagues that you're thinking about exercising and see whether they have any thoughts. People love to help and you'll find all sorts of options come up.

• Get a good base

I'm always a fan of creating a good base to begin from, so yoga and Pilate's classes are a great option. They teach breathing, great posture and help us become aware of our muscles and bodies, and many have beginner class options.

3. "I'm embarrassed at the gym"

Trust me, you are not the only one. Many of us have days when we feel that way, we just don't say we do.

Here are some little tips to remember:

• Most people are thinking the same thing

• Most people are more concerned about themselves rather than you

• It's something many of us don't spend any money on at all but getting some flattering, comfortable gym clothing can be key to feeling more confident at the gym

• Transporting yourself somewhere else with headphones and music or an audio book is a great distraction and helps you focus on something else rather than others

• Grab a buddy or friend and invite them to go with you. You'll likely feel more confident in a pair than you would being solo. Plus you can have a laugh and gossip at the same time

4. "I don't have time to be sociable and exercise"

Making your social life work for you in more ways than one is a great idea in our busy lifestyles. I love multi-tasking my social activities with some form of exercise.

• Swap your post-work drink for a post-work cycle at the gym with a friend. You can still sit and gossip but you're also getting in some cardio

• Try a new class with some friends. Meet beforehand for a drink and then have some fun trying something new

• Cross-fit and ludus-magnus groups are a great option as they are community-based and can be very social. Plus they are the perfect place to meet loads of new people interested in the same stuff

• Even a good ol' visit to the ten pin bowling alley is a laugh and provides some good exercise. Or check out tennis clubs. They offer great social activity as well as a great sport option.

Read more from Lee-Anne Wann:
Top tips for moving stomach fat
Why your workout isn't working
The best workout for your butt

Follow Lee-Anne on Facebook and check out her website

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Lee-Anne Wann is one of New Zealand’s most trusted health and fitness experts.

Lee-Anne Wann is one of New Zealand’s most trusted health and fitness experts. She is the Vodafone Warrior’s team nutritionist, ambassador for Men's Health Trust NZ and runs a health and consultancy business.

Read more by Lee-Anne Wann

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