How many times have you been watching TV late at night or online, and one of those flashy miracle fitness ads pops up? “Find the best Fat Burner to help you achieve your goals!” “Lose belly fat with this one weird old tip!” We all know they’re BS, but that ridiculous click-bait still seems to weasel its way into our heads, nagging at us to get fit. As if we needed the prodding.

Thankfully, psychologists and doctors have spent the past century figuring out mental blocks and how to beat them. All you have to do is follow their advice to help you stop making excuses for not exercising, and start getting fit one day at a time.

The benefits of exercise

Did you know your mood can noticeably change even after a 20-minute walk? Exercise delivers a roundhouse kick to the face of depression, tension, and fatigue. Even a few sets of push-ups leads to a spike in energy, vigour, and blood circulation. We don’t need to tell you why that last one will be appreciated by your partner. Read on to see common exercise excuses and how to tackle them.

I ain’t got the time!

You don’t need Joanne McLeod and Hal Johnson to help you with a body break. Try an exercise spurt like a 10-minute walk during the workday, get out and play with your dog for 20-minutes, take a weekend hike with the kids, or hop on your bike with a backpack to grab a few groceries for dinner.

Exercise is boring

The easiest way to beat boredom is by being social, which is admittedly a bit tricky to do these days. Don’t be one of those ear-bud-wearing weirdos on the trail—grab a close buddy and enjoy a sunny Saturday with a socially distanced walk. Pro tip: schedule times to get outside when you’re the most energetic in the day.

Gyms are too expensive

call the Great Outdoors, and it’s free of charge. Some cities are even installing outdoor gyms in their parks, so really—money’s not an issue. Just remember to bring some hand sanitizer, and you’re good to go. Exercise is free, Comrade!

What if I hurt myself?

Pace yourself when you try new ways to get fit. Your body needs time to adjust to new activities. Always warm-up and cool down by walking or jogging for five minutes with any workout, especially when weight training. Don’t increase your weights by more than 10% each week, either. Talk to a buddy who keeps up with fitness—ask him or a trainer about the right level of intensity for your age, skill, and fitness level.

I don’t want to look ridiculous

Self-confidence (or lack thereof) can keep a lot of guys away from the gym. Rather than focus on the negative, visualize yourself with a fit body. It’s easy to turn those love handles into powerful motivators.

One study showed most guys wanted to work out more when they talked about their unfit bodies, but many still wanted to work out in a no-judgment zone. If you’re worried about that cute trainer catching a glimpse of your man boobs (they’re probably not looking anyway), head to the gym in the early morning before work when it’s empty. Once group classes open up again (fingers crossed), try a beginner class like boxing to hang out with dudes in a similar situation. Learning with a group can be incredibly motivating.

For an easy start, use the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Meter and assess your mental fitness. You don’t have to change much to beat those mental blocks, stop making excuses to not exercise, and start feeling good. And remember: action breeds motivation. Once you start…yeah, you know the rest.

Have you busted a mental roadblock that was preventing you from exercising? Share it with us in the comments below.

The article was originally published on May 28, 2015.

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