I can think of 15 excuses why you do not have time to exercise today and I am sure I missed a couple (or more). The point is, if you want excuses there are plenty of them but is it what you want? Are you looking for excuses to make you feel better today and regret it tomorrow? There is always time to exercise but sometimes you just have to try (hard) to find it.
1. Wake up 15 minutes earlier in the morning
I know… 15 minutes of less sleep is a lot of time especially in the morning but what is more important: achieving your fitness goals or sleeping 15 minutes more? Your answer will also determine how bad you want to lose weight or not. During those 15 minutes you can do 5 minutes stretching to wake up your muscles and 10 minutes walking around the block. Certainly this is not a complete workout but it’s a promising start.
2. Close the TV in the afternoon
For most people working 09:00-17:00, the best time to work out is the afternoon after work. We all know though that this is not easy especially if you have kids at home or if you are used to relax sitting on the couch watching TV or cooking dinner etc. What you can do is push some of your afternoon activities at night and find 35-40 minutes to go to the gym or do some home exercises.
Is your favorite TV show playing in the afternoon? Record it and watch it at night. Do you have to help your kids study? Let them do some homework and catch up with them later. Do you have to cook dinner? Do it from the night before.
3. Set a reminder on your phone
Treat your workout sessions as actual appointments you cannot miss. Plan in advance the date/time you want to exercise and create reminders (appointments) on your phone.
When you have an appointment with the dentist you always find the time to go, treat your workout appointments the same way. Leave excuses behind and stick to your schedule.
You can also use these reminders as a way to track your progress and evaluate your results over a period of time.
4. Split your workout into smaller sessions
You don’t have to work out for 45 continuous minutes per day. If 45 minutes is a lot of time to spare then split your sessions into 3X15 minutes each. You can do 15 minutes in the morning by waking up earlier, 15 minutes in the afternoon and 15 minutes before retiring. You can also do 10 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon, the combinations are endless.
Various research studies shows that small workouts spread throughout the day can be as efficient as longer workouts in terms of heart health and weight loss. See how long should a workout last for more detailed information.
5. Set an appointment with a friend
Having someone to exercise together has many benefits but it is also a great way to stop excuses. When you set a meeting time with a friend to go for a jog or for a fitness class you are more likely to go rather than disappoint your partner. It’s motivating and rewarding and can keep you going during the difficult periods.
6. Do something you love
This is very important for 2 reasons. First if you are bored working out or going to the gym, you will never try hard to find time for it and you will always find excuses. Second doing something that you like will keep you motivated for many weeks and you will be able to get results.
7. It’s easier than you think
Don’t overestimate the effort needed to find 30 minutes per day for exercise. It’s as simple as 10 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon. Open up your calendar and create your schedule for the next 2 weeks, it will only take 5 minutes! Be creative with your schedule and always balance the real reasons you want to make this happen with any obstacles that may appear in the way.
8. Stay active throughout the day
Don’t wait until your ‘formal’ session to exercise. Stay active throughout the day by walking during lunch breaks, using the stairs and not the lift and generally by engaging into any activity that requires movement. You don’t only have some gain in terms of calorie burning but you also prepare your body and muscles for the formal workout session.
9. Combine activities and use your time efficiently
Combining different activities can make better use of your time. For example if you have small children to look after you can:
Find a gym with a kid’s playground
Find a sports or leisure center where kids can play or do other activities (with a supervisor) while you exercise
Hire a nanny for 45 minutes (twice per week).
While at home you can:
Watch TV and run on the treadmill or use any other home gym equipment
Do the garden or some ‘hard’ household chores (like cleaning the Windows, dusting, taking out trash etc.). Studies show that you can burn up to 150-170 calories per hour by doing household activities.
Do some lunges or other body exercises while cooking (This is where you should innovate!)
10. Set your priorities
At the end of the day if you want to find time to exercise, it’s a matter of priorities. If it’s important for you, you can find time to do it no matter what. There are no magic ways to get generate more time, one day has 24 hours and it is your duty to set your priorities correctly so that tomorrow will be better than today. Read our 10 fitness motivational quotes for more inspiration.