Exercising is just another task to fit into your day so how do you make exercise fit your routine without giving up on anything else?
In some form or another, the number 1 thing I hear about exercise (all the time) is: “I don’t have time”, “I can’t fit it in right now”, “how do you make the time to exercise with a toddler”. The answer is simple – you have to make the time and be organized and honestly, you actually have a lot more time than you think! (I hear the collective scoff now, but bare with me).
Exercising makes you feel good (it’s the endorphins) and I guarantee if you if you manage to fit it into your day/week you will start to feel more accomplished and confident about the rest of your life, this makes you more productive and focused in other areas too so actually spending 30-60 minutes exercising can help you at work! I have compiled a list of my best tips and tricks to help you make time to exercise and squeeze a workout in, even if you really “don’t have the time”.
What part of your body are you working on? Are you aiming for fitness? Weight-loss? Once you can answer that question you can tailor your workouts so that you get the most out of them in the least amount of time – making your workouts more efficient. Plus, knowing exactly what equipment or exercise you are doing helps you to get prepared the night before and know exactly what to expect the next day to cut down on “fluffing” time. Having goals also allows you to keep an eye on your progress and motivates you to continue (if or when you need an extra nudge).
At the beginning of the day (or the night before) I write out all of the things I want to achieve in that day and include my exercise in the list. It could be anything from tidying up, getting paperwork done or coming home from work and cooking dinner. Either way- write it down, this helps you know exactly where you need to be and what needs to be done and stop you from procrastinating. It can also help with multi-tasking to see if you can combine some things and save time. Writing scribbly lists are my favourite, plus it stops the amount of mental commitment I need to make to other things so I don’t have to remember everything and that makes it a little less stressful!
Know YOUR Timings
When are you free the most? When do you feel more motivated? Are you more active at certain times of the day? Spend a week paying attention to how you feel and work out when is best for you to exercise. If you are always tired in the evenings then it makes sense not to plan to exercise then and chances are you will keep fobbing it off which will demotivate you further! For example, I tend not to organize working out in the morning as I prefer to sleep in and I am more likely to hit snooze on my alarm! Although I did do the Early Bird Entrepreneur Challenge!!
Include your family
Get the whole family exercising! if you have kids then get them involved, show the bigger ones how to do the exercises with you and get the little ones learning fun new things like roly-polies. Not only will it occupy them and give you time to fit it in but it’s a great way to bond too while teaching them how to live a healthy lifestyle.
Incorporate chores & Multi-task
You’ve written your list of things to do so why not do two things at once! if you are washing up do calf raises at the sink, Cooking? you can do squats in between stirring or whilst in front of the oven (get a sweat on), Tidying up? try doing 10 jumping jacks every time you have to switch room (you would be surprised the workout you get when you forget things – which starts to make you more efficient tidying up!) or do lunges whilst hanging the washing up. – every little
Every little helps and HIIT is very effective when it comes to calorie burning too!
Get all of your workout clothes out the night before, pack your gym bag or get anything out you need to so that you aren’t wasting 20 minutes trying to find everything in the middle of the day which will eat into your allotted workout time. Also when you see your clothes laid out you are less likely to make excuses.
Break Up Your Workouts
This is specifically helpful for runners, especially if you are planning a long run but don’t think you have time. Rather than re-scheduling, split it in half, you will still get the effect of running on tired legs without having to dedicate a couple of hours at once (try to do full long runs where you can but this is a helpful alternative). The same stands for HIIT – you can break the workout up over the day e.g. 1hr into 3 x 20 min slots, just focus on keeping a high intensity to get the most from the workout.
Finding the time
Find out when your actual free time is, go through your week and find out which days you absolutely can’t workout on (try not to make excuses here). This will avoid you accidentally double booking and therefore having to skip a workout. The idea is you want to train yourself to set a time and stick to it, no matter what else happens unexpectedly that day. Being prepared is the best way to find time you never knew you had. If your week looks packed try planning by days instead and I guarantee you’ll be able to find 20 minutes here or there.
Hint: The recommended amount of time per week you should exercise (separate from your day-to-day activity) is 150 minutes so start from there and see where you can squeeze it in.
To be clear, I am not talking about food here. I am talking TIME, the currency of the gods! (too much?). Set yourself time rewards for working out e.g. I love to read a good book so If I do all of my workouts I plan for the week then I set myself some time to have a soak in the bath and read a book at the end of the week. Whichever your
Whichever your vice, whether it’s a favourite TV show or pampering yourself, schedule it in. You won’t stick to a workout plan if you feel like you are giving up all of your spare time. Take some time for YOU and reward yourself – you’re doing great. If you prefer (or have the money) to reward yourself with the dress that you’ve been planning on buying for ages then be my guest, just DO NOT reward yourself with food, it creates an unhealthy cycle and poor mental attitude linking the two (trust me – been there).
if you are planning a longer workout, warn your partner or friend that you won’t be around so that they don’t invite you or encourage you to do something else. This also helps if you have children so that everyone knows that mummy/daddy is doing something and that afterward will be their time so that they aren’t surprised when you are out a little bit longer.
Set a time limit
Decide how long your workout is going to last and whether you agree 10 minutes or 60 that is the time you are done. When there is an end in sight you are more likely to give it your all, also don’t run over (you eager beaver) because then you will eat into time for other things and feeling like it’s the workouts’ fault (when it is actually yours!). It is all about finding the balance.
Exercising takes a commitment but it doesn’t have to ruin all of your other plans too! Hopefully, I have helped you to fit it more easily into your routine!
*A version of this post appears on my ShopperLottie Author Contributions page*