Overcoming the Workout Excuse with Trainer Mike Arlotto

Mike Arlotto
Mike Arlotto

It’s always a good time to jumpstart your health with a regular workout routine. Unfortunately, many of us are very good at justifying reasons for not doing so. “There’s not enough time. I’ve set goals before and it never works out. My body type just won’t change.” While there’s a portion of validity to these, they are mostly a means to continue down the same path that has disappointed you before. Equinox Group Fitness Instructor Mike Arlotto has heard it all, and found solutions for those who truly want to start living a better life. Known for his highly curated, immersive experiences that are a unique combination of personal motivation and fitness coaching, Mike possesses deep insight into how someone can mentally and physically attain change. Our bodies are connected to our mental and emotional outlook; they deserve our best because we deserve our best. The input Mike has offered here is a perfect means of inspiration to prompt you to start exercising and approach your individual obstacles.

Mike Arlotto States, “The greatest obstacle impeding overall health gains is consistency. Willpower is a limited resource and we shouldn’t rely on it to get us in shape. This is why I stress that health and fitness should be a lifelong commitment, a lifestyle adjustment that is part of what you do everyday and not a one off week long cleanse or diet for example.  This takes time, but creating a routine that becomes part of your life is key to getting fit and staying fit. While it may be helpful to find a gym or classes that you enjoy or like going to, not everyone has that option. Remember that it doesn’t cost anything to walk around the block or take the stairs.  Find what works for you to make healthier choices that become part of who you are and what you do.”  

Types, Excuses, and Combatting Them    

“I can’t gain muscle regardless of what I do” (hard gainer)

There is a lot that goes into building muscle mass beyond the gym floor. I understand the desire to see results right away but I would encourage patience. It takes some time and dedication to bulk up, if done naturally. Creatine and protein powders can be effective too but creating a caloric surplus with a diet high in protein and carbs is essential so that needs to be considered and part of the muscle building plan. Finally, I would reiterate the importance of good, quality sleep and recovery. Many people fall into the false thinking that more is better, and while progressive overload principles in weight training is a great way to increase muscle mass, we get stronger and bigger when we allow our muscles the time they need to repair the micro tears/damage from the training itself.    

“I can’t lose regardless of what I do”

First off, this isn’t true. Yes, you can lose weight and it’s simply a matter of figuring out how. We need to start with honesty – because the truth is – in order to lose weight, there must be a caloric deficit. That can be created by exercising more, yes, but some people will fall into the trap of eating more after their workouts because they are hungrier, and want to reward themselves. So, we need to get real about what and how much we’re actually consuming. It’s been said that nutrition/diet is 80% of the battle, and I agree. Losing weight, especially when there is a significant amount to shed, requires a lifestyle overhaul, and while that sounds daunting, the endless benefits of committing to this big change are well worth all the effort.  We need to look at all the factors that contribute to weight gain/loss, and not just exercise – these include but are not limited to diet, stress levels, alcohol intake and general physical activity. Making the switch from soda/juice and other beverages can make a big difference.  Looking for opportunities to increase physical activity and essentially burn more calories is another good tip for losing weight. Can you walk to work one day a week? Take the stairs wherever possible? Do some leg raises while laying down on the couch? Finally, working out releases natural endorphins, and I would argue that everyone feels better after exercise. When things feel good, we’re likely to do it again and again. So find something, anything physically active that you enjoy and do it. Exercise will also make you tired, so you will likely sleep better and when you get yourself on a routine it is easier to make healthier choices – and the cycle continues. It’s about finding your entrance point on that upward spiral of health and staying on it, and you, like everyone else who’s done it, can start to lose some weight, feel better, look better.  

“I’m too old and out of shape to really get fit”

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course, as we age we can’t expect to move as we did when we were younger, nor should we try to. Finding age appropriate exercises that work well to help maintain strength and cardiovascular health without causing too much strain or stress on an aging body is not only possible but highly recommended. Fractures due to falls are a concern for older people and the use it or lose it mentality applies to our bones and bodies.   Many people don’t know that strength training not only improves muscle mass and tone, it actually helps to strengthen our bones too! We can safely make the argument that exercise later in life is just as important, if not even more important than any other stage of life.      

“I’m too busy with work and/or family responsibilities to get into shape” 

This is a common excuse that again requires some honest, real talk and consideration. We set our priorities. We consciously or subconsciously set our priorities based on what we deem important to us. If this is something you are telling yourself I’d suggest we make a list of what is truly important, and if living a long and healthy life is up there on that list, some things will need to be adjusted. Not to mention the fact that exercise and eating well will in fact give you more energy, allowing you to be more effective at whatever else it is that’s keeping you too busy to work out!  

The Vegan/Vegetarian

This is a listen to your body answer to a common question in my mind. Vegan/vegetarian diets don’t work for everyone, and require supplementation with vitamins to be done effectively and safely. Nonetheless, I know many strong, healthy vegans and it can be done. While this is not my area of expertise, I would direct clients to do their research and learn as much as they can.  Your body will tell you what it needs. All you need to do is listen to it.  

Meat & potatoes/regular beer drinker

You can keep your meat and potatoes and beer too – in moderation.  Everyone needs a cheat day but if you’re going to be serious about your health and fitness, overconsumption of alcohol, red/processed meats and saturated, high calorie food and drinks just won’t work. If you’re someone who has never eaten a clean diet, we can introduce healthy choices incrementally and change eating habits in a progressive manner. Feeling restricted or “you can’t” do something only makes you want it more – and willpower is a limited resource. So, allow for your indulgences but ensure they are just that – indulgences every once and a while. If you get off track, just hop back on. There is no need to give up all your progress if you happen to have a weekend, or even a week of unhealthy eating choices. Pick up where you left off instead of reverting right back to your old ways. 

Closing Thoughts from Mike Arlotto

“Become conscious of your unconscious”.  “You need to become objective about your subjective self”.  This to me means that we need to take a good hard look at what we’re doing and how it’s working for us.  Most of us don’t stop to think about this until its’ too late – they’ve been diagnosed with an illness or debilitated by stress or anxiety or 100 lbs. overweight.  It can be very useful to have someone reveal to you what you are doing because we get so caught up in our own life that it’s hard to even notice or see it.  Additionally, there is no doubt that we work harder when others are watching. When we’re alone, we make excuses for ourselves and let ourselves rest longer than we need to, or not do something we know we should (like exercise).  A good trainer like myself will encourage you to push a little harder without over straining you, and causing injury.  Certainly knowing how to do various exercises properly and having one on one hands on adjustments provided makes all the difference.  Education and motivation aside, it feels so good to be around people who love what they do and are passionate about it.  That energy is palpable, and it rubs off on others.  I am confident that people are drawn to my classes because they are inspired to be the best versions of themselves and do whatever they do with passion and integrity because that’s what they see me do.

Writer: Sharon Howe

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