On Finding Time to Work Out

Thursday, December 27, 2012

When people say that they don't have time to work out, they're most likely wrong. I've been one of those people. Unless you're an on-call ER doctor with a family at home and heavily-involved research in progress, it's probably safe to say you do have pockets of time in your day in which you can fill with movement.

I know from experience that finding time to work out is possible. I've been a full-time college student with a full-time job and a social life before who found time to work out. I've been a newlywed with a new house to fix up, a new full-time job and a new marriage to tend to who found time to work out. I am now a full-time worker with many hobbies and goals (and at one time a side freelance job) and a son in the same fixer-upper who still finds time to work out. I do have days where I'm finally on the treadmill at 10:00 at night. I do have a million and one projects going on at one time that I have to set aside in order to get a sweat session in. But most days, I do have workouts scheduled into my daily planner--and I do them!

How? I make them a priority. After family and work, my workouts are of the utmost importance. Not because I'm vain or obsessive, but because I understand the necessity of exercise for a healthy body. I like the extra energy I get from it, the strength, the endurance and the bodily benefits I get from it. I never sacrifice meaningful time with my family for workouts, but I do sometimes set aside other less meaningful projects to sneak in some treadmill time. I walk on my lunch breaks at work, I walk or bike to and from work, and I also sweat it out after work at least three times per week. This is about growing stronger physically and mentally, breeding good health and carving out a healthy future. Those things are so so important! I would like to share a few personal tips that I've used to "make more time" in my day, so I can work out and accomplish other goals.

Really, you can use these tips to find the time to do almost anything that your heart truly desires. If you want to find time to start your own business, learn a new language, go back to school, or some other life-changing event, you can use these same time-savers to tackle your dreams.

1. Cut out TV. If there is one life lesson I've learned, it is this: if you have enough time to watch TV, you have enough time to take over the world. I'm not exaggerating. I would like this quote to go down in the quote history books with my name attached. The things you can accomplish in the time it takes to watch two full-length episodes of Grey's Anatomy would probably astonish you. Honey Boo Boo is not going to get you any closer to your dream body or fulfilling life, believe me! If you do feel the need to watch TV (ahem!), you should pull up a mat or a treadmill and multitask. That's even a rule that I've set for myself. If I'm going to watch some frothy reality show (Big IF), I make sure my butt is being productive while I'm at it. It's perfectly OK to be a little indulgent if it's your reward for breaking a sweat.

This is our new giant of a TV that I try not to spend time in front of, unless it's a workout DVD.

2. Be intentional with your time. Take a good hard look at what you're really spending your time on. Maybe record every activity you do for a week, or even one day. Then, see where you can prune your free time. Cruising Pinterest, reading gossip mags, and lying on the couch present prime opportunities to get moving. My guess is you'll find many 1/2-hour or even 15-minute pockets of time when you could take a walk or even dance to the radio. Make a separate list of all those important tasks that would fulfill you, make your dreams into reality, or make your biceps pop. Work on weeding out the time suckers and substituting them for pieces of your wish list. Make a promise to yourself to be more intentional with your time rather than letting circumstances control it. Many of the things we spend our free time on are highly unnecessary.

3. Multi-task: If you really do love those gossip mags, give yourself permission to read them only on the treadmill. Or listen to some podcasts or book recordings while you're pedalling away. Steal away for a few squats in the bathroom. Do your workout on your work lunch break. Jump rope while your dinner is simmering. Do three laps around the mall before you start your Christmas shopping. Do whatever it takes to blend your workouts into your daily life.


4. Schedule it in: Schedule workouts into your day as you would a work meeting. Then, schedule your other things around it. I usually work out Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. So, I normally schedule doctor and dentist visits, play dates, dinner dates and other things on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or I just switch workouts around a bit. They don't get removed from the schedule, just moved. The point is that workouts should become a non-negotiable item in your planner. Once those habits are formed, they will be difficult to break.

5. Tunnel vision: At-home workouts are a danger zone for some people, including me sometimes. You start tidying up a corner of the house, folding laundry and suddenly you don't have time to work out anymore. If working out at home is your only option, I suggest acquiring tunnel vision. You need to walk into your bedroom with purpose, change into your workout clothes, and plant yourself in your workout space while ignoring your peripheral vision. Just do it, as Nike would say. Don't let all those familiar distractions deter you from obtaining a healthier body.

6. Go to bed a tad bit earlier: and then work out first thing in the morning. Check exercise off your list before too many other items overtake said to-do list. We all could stand to go to bed 15 minutes earlier.


7. Incorporate the Kiddos: Mommas, I hear ya. It's difficult to work out while the kids are around. Well, there's no reason why working out and spending time with the kids need to be mutually exclusive. Hook up the bike trailer and go for a family bike ride. Have your Peanut throw punches too while you're doing your TurboFire, like mine does. Sneak in a playground workout while your little one is running around. Find a reformer workout you can do on the trampoline. Or just workout next to your children as they're playing. You'll really be doing your kids a favor by showing them that working out is something normal, that we should be doing. My Peanut is learning this well. Fitness is just something that we do at our house. And hopefully one day he'll never have to "find the time" to do it, he'll just do it without thinking.

Our bikes, Daddy bike, mommy bike, baby bike

I hope this post has enlightened you to work out with what little time you think you have. This is especially helpful if your New Year's resolutions are fitness-involved. Do you have any other secrets for sneaking in fitness?

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Kristin said...

I believe this is not really about time, but about motivation and energy. These two things are most important when you start working out. When I started going to the gym my friend advised me to try nutritional supplements. At that time I thought I did not need them, but I changed my mind after I've tried. It was little more than a month I've been taking Military Grade nutritional supplements, when I realized I did not feel fatigue in the end of the day. And even more: after workouts I still had energy to spare. As time went by, my shape was improving more and more. I was losing fat and gaining muscles. Now I feel really fit!