Finding time to workout when your schedule is packed.
For many people, finding time to workout is the biggest hurdle to reaching their fitness goals. A lot of us have the best intentions to exercise every day that is, until we get sidetracked by work, school, family time, social commitments, or a long to-do list of errands and chores. There's no denying that working out is a commitment that takes time. But with efficient planning, plus a few creative twists, it's not as hard as you might think to make regular exercise a habit that sticks.
Here are five tried-and-true methods to make time to workout despite a demanding schedule.
- Add Time to the Clock
No, you can't wave a magic wand and add extra hours to the day. What you can do is squeeze a bit more out of the 24 hours you already have. One of the best ways to create time to workout is to wake up earlier than usual and do it first thing in the morning. It can be tough, at first, to hear that 5:00 a.m. alarm. But after a week or two of regular workouts, you'll love the way you feel and start hopping right out of bed. You'll still need to make sure you get enough sleep, so to counter the early alarm, cut down on time spent lazing around in the evening. Eventually, the sacrifice will be worth it.
- Multitask to the Max
Another way to maximize your time is with strategic multitasking. Think of the time commitments you already have, and ways in which you can add workouts to the mix. Exercise at home while the baby naps or while you oversee your kids' homework. Do a workout in the lap pool while your child has swim practice. Strength train at night while watching your favorite TV show. Head to the cardio machines when you know your must-watch show is on the air. Bike or walk to work and turn your commute time into a fitness session. No matter who you are and what your daily routine looks like, there's probably something you do each day that could be enhanced with the addition of exercise.
- Efficiency is Everything
Let's be real here. Hardly anyone is successful at going home after a hard day of work, then heading back out the door to go to the gym. You may think you'll do so, but more likely than not your motivation will wane as soon as you see your sofa! Instead, hit the gym (or yoga class, etc.) on the way to work or on the way home. Be sure to choose a workout facility with the amenities you need to comfortably get ready for the day ahead. A few extra dollars a month in gym fees will pay off with healthy-lifestyle rewards. Another time-saving technique is to prep your morning workout gear the night before. While you're getting ready for bed, toss your clothes and shoes in your gym bag, or set them on a chair where you'll get dressed. You can also prep your workout fuel in advance. Fill a water bottle with electrolyte replacement drink and store it in the fridge. Pack a BlenderBottle ProStak with protein powder so that you'll have a ready-to-mix recovery shake right on hand.
- Ditch the Distractions
Make the most out of your time to workout. Forgo the gossip session at the end of the lap lane, or the heart-to-heart talk on neighboring treadmills that threatens to derail a solid workout session. Do a short warmup (during which it's perfectly fine to talk), but then get to the business of boosting your heart rate. On the flip side, if you struggle to fit in social time and exercise both, try combining the two. Turn your next coffee date into a downtown power walk. Rather than kicking back over beers with the boys, invite them to kick around a soccer ball instead.
- The Little Things Count
The little opportunities for exercise throughout the day really do add up. Whenever you can, take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator. Walk to the local market, purposefully park at the far end of the parking garage, and get off the subway or bus a few stops early to walk the rest of the way. While you're at work, take a walk during business calls or do squats at your desk while strategizing your sales pitch. You'll be surprised at the difference these extra measures can make, and how the increased activity will help you feel more motivated to move at other times, too.
Want more tips on motivation and finding time to workout? Download our free e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Staying Motivated.