Making no excuses

Well, Lyle and I just finished the Las Vegas Half Marathon — Lyle’s first half. It was a really tough race just because of the sheer volume of people; over 44,000. We finished in fine style and left nothing on the course. I’m really proud of Lyle and the journey he has been on — dropping 140 pounds in just under two years, and then running a half marathon in two hours, 20 minutes. Amazing! He inspires me and so many others, and one thing that comes back to me time and time again, was the ‘no excuses’ attitude that we worked on. When Lyle asked to work with me, he was concerned that he didn’t live near my gym. No excuses, let’s set up a mini gym in your garage. Using some basic equipment and lots of body weight exercises plus cardio, it all started to come together.

Lyle is a busy father of two and runs his own business – he is a very busy guy! That’s another excuse I hear a lot of, “I don’t have time”. Interesting. We all have the same 24 hours a day, nobody gets more, and nobody gets less. Eighty-six thousand, four hundred seconds per day, period. The truth is you choose what you do with your 24 hours, and if exercise and being healthy was important, you would get it done because it would matter to you.

Don’t believe me? If you got a call during your busy day and your child or your best friend was sick and needed a ride to the hospital immediately – would you make time? Absolutely. Would it matter that you were busy? Not a chance. I risk being preachy here, but I hear people say they don’t have time to exercise and later I hear them talking about the TV show they watched last night. Please don’t get me wrong – watching TV isn’t bad or good, it’s just a choice. Just like getting healthy, it’s a choice. It’s often a difficult choice, because life is not set up to support us in choosing something like daily exercise. Work demands more and more of us all the time, children and family demands can be overwhelming, but let me ask you this: What could possibly be more important than your health? If you are healthy and have more energy – you can be more productive at work, keep up with your kids and be sick less often. Exercise is not a task, or a ‘to do’ item, it is an investment in you, and if you are like me, it is way too easy to put yourself last on the list. So I challenge you to change that: make your health a priority and get it done!

For those of you that work away from town, or do not choose to afford a gym membership, or aren’t quite ready to step into that environment for whatever reason, there are still plenty of options. The thing is, you have to get moving. Walking, jogging, running, hockey, aerobic classes, yoga, cycling, swimming, cross country skiing, square dancing, etc, etc. Find something you like and stay active. If you are away from home, there are plenty of workouts that don’t require any equipment at all.

For example, everyone’s favourite, burpees! Created in the 1930’s by psychologist Royal H. Burpee (I know you’ve always wondered), the burpee is an intense full body exercise that helps burn fat and tone muscles. A burpee is done in the following five steps: 1) Stand with feet shoulder width apart. 2) Drop to a squat and place your hands on the ground. 3) Kick your feet back and perform a push-up. 4) Jump your feet back towards your hands, to return to squat position. 5) Jump up with arms overhead (in celebration). It’s an amazing workout, and you can do it anywhere, any time (so no excuses right?).

Performing 50 burpees in 15 – 20 minutes is a powerful workout for anyone, and can be done in minimal space – even a hotel room beside the bed.

The rewards for committing to fitness are endless, and it really is worth your valuable time. As Lyle and I neared the finish line of the half marathon, I could see that he was really struggling to push through the final few kilometres, having given everything he had to reach for his goal. Afterwards, once he caught his breath, his stomach settled a bit and we walked around a while, he was absolutely glowing. He said in many different ways, how happy he was and how good if felt to achieve such an amazing thing. As I have said to him many times along his journey: Being fit gives you options, that’s all. You are still the same person, but now you have more options for living. Lyle chose to do a half marathon and maybe he’ll never be a career runner, but in the smorgasbord of life, isn’t it nice to know you can try anything you want to? No excuses.

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake. He can be reached at 403-887-7667 or check out for more information.

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