I don’t know about you, but I LOVE excuses. I love them so much that I pretty much have an excuse for everything. I often have so many excuses that I have to share them with someone else. Need excuses to not workout? I have a ton. Need excuses to not choose healthy food? I have some for that too. Need excuses to not try something new? You have waaayy too much going on to try something new!!! Here, take a pocket full of my excuses and get on your way! Or don’t, because you don’t have to do anything when you have an excuse for everything.
But you guys are smart, I bet you can you guess where excuses get you. That’s right… NOWHERE. And the beauty of them is that they get you there pretty damn quick. Instead of me taking time, energy, resources, strength, willpower & discipline to get something important or magical done, I can just hop on the Express Train to Nowhere with my One-Way, All-Excuses-Paid ticket. Sadly, as of late, I think I’ve been a season pass holder on that train.
As a personal master of excuses, you can imagine I was intrigued when I started hearing about No Excuse Mom, Maria Kang. You may have heard of her because she was brutally bashed in the media for her profile picture on Facebook which read “What’s Your Excuse?” and shows her in a sports bra and shorts with her 3 young children.
For me, that image was such an inspiration. Here was a woman who had 3 little boys in a very short amount of time and she looked way more healthy and more fit than I ever had. You’d start to think that maybe she spent a lot of time at the gym and not enough time with her children but if you followed her on social media, especially Instagram, you’d quickly see that wasn’t the case. She was often fitting in quick but beneficial workouts when she could, on top of making healthy eating a priority for herself and her family. She was running a business, working out and eating healthy all with kids in tow. This was something I could believe in. This was someone who did not let excuses get in her way, a concept I hadn’t thought of for quite some time.
In an effort to socialize with other moms in her neighborhood while staying fit, Maria started a No Excuse Mom workout group in her town. No Excuse Mom is now a global movement where mothers and caretakers all over the world are meeting together one or more times per week to do a FREE 30 minute workout together. Anybody can lead the group, no fitness experience necessary- you just need a desire to socialize and get fit! What an awesome way to meet other moms and workout at the same time!
Coincidentally I’d just moved to a new town where I didn’t know a soul. I’d be having my first baby in just a couple months and the only other moms I knew lived several hours away or on the east coast. That’s great for a late night phone call but where was I going to find local friends who would meet me for coffee? Or who would listen to me whine when I felt like I just couldn’t handle it anymore? I had to find friends, and I had to find them fast…
In the past I’d met friends through classes at school or by going out to the bar. Now, as a 31-year-old married, pregnant woman, I quickly realized my old friend-making avenues were no longer viable. So instead I went on Meetup.com and found a local play date group in my town. I didn’t have a kid yet but I would soon so I thought it’d be a great place to start. I met a few awesome ladies very quickly. Pretty cool!
So I thought what better time to start a “No Excuse Mom” group than now? There wasn’t one in my town already… There were definitely moms in the area looking for friends and I imagined some, if not all, of them would be interested in getting fit.
Well guess what I had ready to aim and fire? EXCUSES. And I had lots of them as always. What if no one is interested? What if they don’t like me? What if I TOTALLY SUCK at leading a fitness group? What if they don’t like my workout style? Do I have a workout style? What if I have no clue what I’m doing? (Oh right… I don’t). But guess what- these were all excuses I had pulled out of my pocket and spread out on the table. I looked at each of them and continued to respond to each one with the same question- Does it matter? Does it matter if no one is interested? Does it matter if they don’t like me? Does it matter if I totally suck at leading a fitness group? Does it matter if I don’t have a workout style or know what I’m doing? Does any of it matter? No, not really. Sure some of those things might help my cause but at the end of the day, what I wanted to do was something good and I doubted people would hate me for it. So it was settled, I emailed the “No Excuse Mom” Regional Director for my area and told her I wanted to start a group in my town. I received a quick response, signed up (no fitness experience needed) and I was on my way.
Or was I?
Now came the hard part- starting the group! I had only met a couple ladies and I was new to town so was terrified to suggest the idea. But I worked up the courage and I suggested the idea to my local Meetup.com play date group leader. I literally had the email in my drafts for a couple days before I worked up the courage to even send it. What was I afraid of? Well I was mostly afraid it would come to fruition and then I’d have to follow through and actually run the group! Terrifying. But I knew deep down that it’s when we take a step outside our comfort zone that magical and amazing things happen. It might be scary at first but it’s often worth it. The rare time it’s not worth it, just means we’ve had a chance to learn, grow, and try something different next time.
So I sent the email and the group leader loved the idea! She posted it on Meetup.com and we had the date of our first meetup set. As you can imagine, I was feeling incredibly nervous in the days leading up to our first meeting. Oddly, a couple days beforehand, I stumbled across this article. As I read the following words, I knew I had to get rid of my excuses:
“Before you are able to be good at something and do something important, you must first suck at something and have no clue what you’re doing. That’s pretty obvious. And in order to suck at something and have no clue what you’re doing, you must embarrass yourself in some shape or form, often repeatedly. And most people try to avoid embarrassing themselves, namely because it sucks. Ergo, due to the transitive property of awesomeness, if you avoid anything that could potentially embarrass you, then you will never end up doing something that feels important.” -Mark Manson
Wow. You can’t get great at something if you never try it. Pretty basic common sense right? But not something on the forefront of my mind as I planned this group.
So guess what- I went for it. We held our first Bayfield, Colorado No Excuse Mom group on September 24th. It was awesome! 3 moms showed up and I led a 25 minute workout that everyone seemed to enjoy. The best part is the No Excuse Mom organization provides you with a lot of tools for running your groups- event flyers, workout plans, location ideas, etc. A great resource for me has been VCNFitness, an official No Excuse Mom personal trainer.
I’m not sure where our Bayfield group will go from here but I know I have a few moms excited about the opportunity to socialize and work on fitness together. Even if it just continues to be the 4 of us and no one else joins in, at least we have each other and are making a difference in our lives and in turn, the lives of our families. This endeavor has made my husband more healthy as well, seeing as I’ve made him do the workouts with me before I unveil them to the group.
If I had held on to my excuses of fear, embarrassment, lack of confidence, etc then I would never get to hang out with these awesome women weekly and better my life. We can all make excuses for why we don’t want to workout or eat healthy. I learned that a lot of my excuses leak into other areas of my life as well, not just health and fitness. I also make excuses for why I shouldn’t try new things, or apply for that new job, or say hi to that new person. I hope that this is the start of me letting go of my excuses, not only in health & fitness but in other areas of my life as well. I’ve begun slowly pulling my excuses out of my pocket and throwing them in the trashcan as I head out the door. I encourage anyone who is scared to become a No Excuse Mom group leader to JUST DO IT. You don’t have to be the next rock-star fitness trainer, you don’t need fitness experience at all. All you need is a willingness to put yourself out there, connect with other people and help each other learn and grow along the way. Believe me- that big scary world out there is often way less judgmental than you think.