When the Excuses Keep Winning

Taz Barber Brain Gainz, No Filter Fitness

In my teens and twenties, my life was all about Sport and Fitness.

I played multiple sports. Was a CrossFit Games competitor.

Owned an affiliate. Coached clients. And coached coaches, too.

My friends were the type of CrossFitters who were breaking barriers (and the internet) like every other week.

It was a lot to live up to.

Sorta like how a doctor feels as if they can never be sick because that would reflect poorly on their knowledge or skill, I felt like I had to maintain a certain level of health and performance for people to believe that I was legit. Those feelings were almost as exhausting as actually working out.

Over the last six years, my life has drastically changed. I’ve had three kids, started a session planning business for CrossFit affiliates, and traveled around the world multiple times to visit my far-flung family.

Life doesn’t revolve around fitness anymore.

It’s what allows me to live more fully and keep doing the things I want to do.

But it doesn’t control my day. Because it can’t. And honestly, I don’t want it to.

The work calendar is full. My family life is busy. And it’s hard to consistently workout when you’re not in a group class with a coach pushing you.

The thing is, I actually enjoy working out. I love it! It lifts my mood and makes me feel good throughout the day.

Still… excuses… resistance… another day gone. I wanted to feel good, but couldn’t figure out how to balance my new life and fitness. Something always suffered. Mostly, my health and wellness ended up being ignored.

So, I got curious about what the heck was happening to me. After some digging, I eventually got to the root of my struggles.

I thought about my habits and what I’ve seen in the 13 years I’ve been coaching. I stumbled into the realization that we ALL use the same excuses to justify the behaviors that will, without a doubt, keep us from becoming the people we want to be.

Maybe you’re in a similar boat and you just want a bird to guide you back to land. Maybe something in this article could be that bird. Just don’t look up. 🙂



Here are MY most common excuses, and how I made progress on my path to work through them.

1. “I can’t do it. It’s not possible for me.”
The people who can, have been gifted with better genetics, more resources, more time, more talent, yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s not about practice and continued effort, it’s about being special or blessed or having “it.” What might work for them definitely isn’t going to work for us because we’re different.  This feels like fear of looking like the rookie. We’re afraid of looking uncool, of failing in front of everyone. We’re scared the wolf pack will sniff out our weaknesses and cull us from the group.

The first step in leaving this well-worn path is simple: start to think differently. It doesn’t come natural, but you can reevaluate past behaviors in order to shape future habits. Instead of using mistakes as proof that we don’t have what it takes, we need to think of these mistakes as opportunities to learn.

“Life is not a perfect science and if you’re afraid to push the envelope to the point that you’re going to fail, you’ll never know how far you can push it.” – Coach Anne Parmenter

This is the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

In a fixed mindset, you believe, “I am who I am. There’s no changing it.”

With a growth mindset, you believe, “I can change. With effort and self-discipline, I can improve.”

When we’re moving through the world with a growth mindset, we respond better to failure, obstacles and critical feedback. We also tend to have healthier attitudes around expectations and self-worth.

Those naysaying voices in the back of our heads are not watering a growth mindset.

And in isolation, they fester like toxic mold. Open the doors, shine some light on them, and they lose their power. Much like our doubts and unhelpful self-talk lose their energy when we talk about them with others. The more we share, the more we realize that we’re all worrying about the same stuff. We’re all in this together.

If you’re connecting with this, here are two podcasts that’ll take you deeper:

2. “I’m no longer in the phase of life where I can do these kinds of workouts… or maybe, work out at all.”
For whatever reason, our identity doesn’t fit with the workout program. We’ve worked hard to earn all those words we use to describe ourselves. Sacrifices have been made. But we also have to consider that much of who we are was formed by who raised us, the areas where we grew up, marketing agencies, our overarching culture, and a shift in circumstances. So, this identity is not entirely of our own making.

When we have deeply held beliefs that people like us don’t work out like this, then we must find a way to create harmony between our identity and our circumstances. It’s not about balance. It’s about imagination. We figure out a way to bring fitness into our lives in a way that feels more natural and more in alignment with who we are.

Personally, I’ve had to adjust my fitness expectations as my identity has shifted from athlete to mum. I’ve had to think deeply about my beliefs of who I am right now, what I need right now, and what’s possible right now.

What works for me today are home gym workouts that are less than 30-minutes.

Sometimes shifts are necessary.

You can still do things your own way, and make them your own. The desire to adapt and adjust will make you stronger in every walk of life. One step at a time. Be your own person and do it how you want. But know that you can do it!

My husband Pat sometimes listens to Broadway musicals while he works out.

I listen to my body more— I don’t feel the need to push myself (with the #NoExcuses) mentality when it’s really not the best thing for me. I get some sleep, eat good food and workout when I know it’ll make me feel better (not worse!).

Make it work for you. Not the other way around.

3. “Deep down, I don’t want really want it.”
This one often comes back to feeling forced into working out. We feel pressured to look a certain way. The cool people do it. Mom and pops will be proud. My husband/wife wants me to do it. Gag. It’s the difference between, “I should work out because…” (emphasis on the should) and “I want to workout so I can…”

You can traverse this minefield by getting really clear on your “why” — why you want to be more fit, what you hope to get out of fitness.

If you’re not clear on that yet, maybe ask yourself this question:

One year from now, if this program works out perfectly, how will I be different?

If a year seems too long, start smaller.

Focus on your own why and ditch the expectations of others. That’s not your load to carry.

And, of course —

Stay gold.


Additional Reading:

Taz Barber Editor
Co-Founder / Semi-Nomadic Programmer
I’m the one you love to hate — I am the master programmer here at OTB, which means I’m the one making you do all those burpees and all that running. #Sorrynotsorry. If it makes you feel better, I’m doing it too. I’m an outnumbered mamma (3 boys) and wife to Pat, and my other true loves are the ocean and cooking tasty meals inspired by our travels.