We Don’t Want to Hear Any Goddamn Excuses

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“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one,” George Washington once wrote, but apparently the advice of the founding father of modern America isn’t enough for the modern gent: according to a recent survey of 2,000 Britons, essentially nearly all of them have an excuse for not being healthier.

Enough is enough. Yes, there are some good reasons not to be in shape. No, yours are probably not valid. Please allow us to smash your invalid excuses to bits – tell ’em, RuPaul.

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It’s too expensive

At 68%, this was the top excuse for not joining a gym – although it’s worth noting that a year’s membership to Oxford Street EasyGym (£24.99 a month) costs less than a single night out staying in London (£330 for a hotel, cab and two-course dinner, according to TripAdvisor). Still too much? Train at home, or in the park: do five rounds of ten press-ups, ten squats and ten lunges (each leg) and you’re already ahead of most gym-goers.

I’m too self-conscious

OK, this is reasonable, and 14% of men said it. But if snapback-clad bros make you uncomfortable, there’s an easy fix: go in with a plan. By picking an established routine (pick from these workouts) and sticking to it, you’ll move with purpose, eliminate second-guessing and super-charge your #gainz while your persecutors stay in bench-press limbo. Advantage: the man with the plan.

I’ve got too much work to do

Really? Obviously, this is possible – perhaps you’re a junior doctor, or Warren Buffett – but if you’re even a little bit tempted to click on this gif of a cat playing with a pig, it’s a fair bet you could structure your time better. Download LeechBlock, get off social media and then get to work disciplining your superiors. If questions are asked about your lunch-hour gym habit, tell them you’re more productive in the afternoon after a bit of physical activity.

My colleagues just love biscuits

Iit’s impossible to eat healthily, said 16% of you, because your workmates are a bad influence – which is fine, until you remember that you’re an adult and entirely capable of not having a custard cream when the packet’s passed around. If it helps, tell people that you don’t eat biscuits, not that you can’t – not only will they be more likely to respect your decision, but you’ll reframe yourself in your own mind as the sort of person who’s above petty Jammie Dodger-related concerns.

I haven’t got time to make healthy food

A third of you said this, though it’s rather at odds with the four hours and 32 minutes of TV that the average UK adult reportedly watches in a single day. Even if you’re at the low end of that spectrum, prepping shouldn’t take long: set aside half an hour on Sunday to chop peppers, broccoli and green beans while you stir-fry up some chicken and turkey mince, and you’re done for the week.

RECOMMENDED: The New Rules of Fitness

Joel Snape

From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.