If you participate in any sort of organized fitness, the concept of excuses comes up from time to time – if, for example, you decide to skip a workout. Or eat a doughnut. I used to feel defensive when people would accuse me of making excuses but I don’t any more, and here’s why.
An excuse is something you proffer if you are failing in some way, or made an error. An excuse is something you use to justify having done something you shouldn’t have, or not done something you should have. You offer an excuse to someone who has the power to decide what you should be doing.
Therefore, it makes sense to offer excuses to your boss (and they better be good) if you miss work. And, it makes sense to offer an apology to a friend if you forgot to answer her email. But, exercise and healthful eating are things that you decide to do, that are between you and your body. Your choices in this realm aren’t hurting another person, or taking something away from them. You’re not failing to do something, like you job, that you promised to do, where your absence causes problems for others. So, no excuses needed.
This came up for me because I see people in the fitness realm being shamed for making choices that they, are sovereign adult humans, are perfectly entitled to make, based on what works for them at that time. I get whiffs of it sometimes because I attend organized weight training twice a week, even though 4 days a week are available to me, because that schedule works for me right now. I’m not “making excuses” for not attending the other two days, I just don’t want to attend them. I don’t need to make excuses because I don’t need to answer to anyone else about how I manage my free time.
However, there is a caveat to this thinking. Make sure you really, really know what you want. If you want to weight train twice a week, then weight train twice a week and make no apology. If, at your deepest level, you would really rather be out there three times a week, but you miss that third session because it’s just easier to stay home, or because your clean laundry might get dirty, or because you’re a little scared to try a challenging move, be aware of that, and don’t use “I am a sovereign human” as a crutch to avoid the challenge.
By the same token, if you really want that doughnut, then eat that doughnut and tell the food shamers to suck it, but if the doughnut is just a buffer between you and unpleasant feelings, then maybe try to get a handle on the feelings instead of trying to make them go away with doughnuts, or ice cream or frosting (pro tip, it doesn’t work).
For me, I love weight training but I also love other things, like my spiffy new mountain bike, so I do my two sessions a week and love them, and then I spend the rest of my time as I please.