Excuses, excuses, excuses!

What is the craziest excuse you’ve come across in the gym? There are plenty of ridiculous ones out there and I’m guessing you’ve heard a few corkers. Generally, people who are serious about training avoid excuses and find a way to be successful, no matter what life throws at them. But it makes you wonder if there is actually such thing as a genuine excuse.

So today I want to talk about one of the more unique excuses that I’ve come across that actually got me thinking. There are certain things that we can control when we train, such as the food that we eat, how much sleep we get and what supplements we take. Then there are the other things that we can’t have an impact on, like injuries, the weather and some inate personal characteristics.

It’s that last one that I want to focus on – our personal characteristics. By that I mean are there certain things that we can just never get good at? We assume that with the right diet and exercise that anyone could succeed in the gym but often our attitude for other activities is different. For example, somebody who was 30 years of age and never tried ballet probably wouldn’t think that they could start tomorrow and pick it up straight away.

And this attitude manifests itself in a number of different excuses that all essentially amount to the same thing – somebody who genuinely believes they weren’t born with the right credentials to succeed. You hear this a lot with people training for specific sports. People will say it doesn’t matter how much they train, they’ll never be able to kick a ball like Messi or swim like Phelps; they’re just born to do it. Is this just another excuse?

A perfect example of this is when people think they can’t train for something because they aren’t the right nationality and that other people have an unfair advantage. So you might here someone from Britain saying that there is no point in going into sprinting because Jamaican athletes just have a natural advantage. They could even say the same about long distance running and East Africans. Although Paula Radcliffe has long made that a difficult argument to maintain.

Now obviously it doesn’t matter where you are born. Your parents could have gone anywhere in the world before you were born and it wouldn’t make you any faster, stronger or more flexible. But there are certain characteristics that are associated with certain nationalities regardless. And there is no doubt that genetics will play a part in somebody’s ability to succeed at anything, particularly sport.

The point isn’t that it has an effect though, the point is that shouldn’t stop you putting in the same amount of effort. Even if you don’t believe that you are blessed with the same gene pool as somebody else in the gym, you shouldn’t be using that as an excuse. Mainly because the basic principles that apply to the gym apply to us all. If you eat the right stuff and work out correctly then I don’t care where you were born, where your grandparents are from or where you grew up, you are guaranteed to succeed.

And what is the point in concerning yourself with the things that you can’t change anyway? You aren’t going to alter your genetic make up anytime soon, so you are just wasting energy if you use that as an excuse. It’s no surprise that the most successful people are the ones who don’t make excuses because all their energy goes into being a success.

Ollie Lawrence
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