Fitness: No excuses for not hitting the gym
Laura Williams tells us the top reasons of why we don't exercise - and how to tackle them
It's that time of year when Easter excesses need burning off and Operation Beach Body is about to start.
But what happens when you're too tired and unmotivated to contemplate lacing up your trainers? Here are my solutions to the biggest exercise barriers.
■ Lack of time
The truth is, we make time for the things we value. No doubt you found time to watch telly, have a bath or do some online shopping last week, so you probably are in a position to carve out 30 minutes for exercise a couple of times a week.
■ Too tired
It may seem like a huge effort to don trainers and head to the gym or tarmac instead of the sofa but after the initial tough few minutes, exercise will help to wake you up and increase energy levels.
Try to schedule your exercise sessions into your most energetic time of day - or your least lethargic.
■ I don't like it
There are many different ways to exercise so it's unlikely you'll dislike them all.
If you currently associate exercise with endless stints on the treadmill, think again: from pole dancing to CrossFit; Zumba to Tough Mudder, there really is something for everyone on Planet Fitness.
■ I can't afford it
Gyms and health club memberships are getting cheaper - many clubs offer pay-as-you-go membership nowadays, while off-peak memberships offer huge discounts.
You can always just go for a run for free.
■ I don't know what to do
This is really no excuse with the amount of safe, effective fitness advice available online nowadays.
Whether you're looking to achieve the physique of a bouncer or bikini babe, online content is easy to find and decent.
■ It never works
For exercise to make you fitter and slimmer, it takes time. If you give it a week and go flat out, all that will happen is that you'll end up tired and sore.
Giving it a few weeks, however, and eating well during that time will mean you see results.
■ I feel self-conscious
Most people feel a bit self-conscious getting sweaty in Lycra. In fact, it's more normal to feel embarrassed getting up a sweat than not to do so.
The thing to remember is you only look weird to yourself - to everyone else you just look like someone exercising.
Starting something new or unfamiliar will compound feelings of self-consciousness but that doesn't mean you shouldn't persevere.
Wearing flattering, comfy kit should help to minimise feelings of embarrassment.
■ Working out is dull
Ah, the battle cry of the couch potato. Exercise can be as dull or entertaining as you make it.
Trying intervals and new classes, regularly updating your playlist and exercising outdoors all help to ease exercise boredom.
If you end up on a stationary bike cycling in slow-mo gazing at muted uninspiring daytime TV, you only have yourself to blame.
If you don't like your workout, change it. We're approaching the perfect time of year for you to form an office basketball team, investigate the many fabulous local river runs or even swim yourself lean and lithe at one of London's lidos.
■ I've got no motivation
Motivation comes in many different forms - for some, it's investing in new workout gear or even a new MP3 player; for others it's finding a fitness buddy.
Sometimes just getting in the habit is motivation enough but you need to give this a little time to work.