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How To Exercise When You Have No Time

Updated: May 13, 2022

Whether you're a mother of 3, a student, lawyer, or entrepreneur, you all share the same thing in common: a busy schedule.

One of the most common phrases most personal trainers have heard is the infamous "I want to exercise, but I have no time."

The Hard Truth

Before we get into the list, Ask yourself: "Is my health and fitness worth prioritizing?"

If your answer is no, you may want to think again.

The truth is, all humans need at least 150 minutes of exercise to live a long, healthy life.

This is according to sources such as: the WHO (World Health Organization), CSEP (Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology), Canada's food guide, ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) the list goes on and on.

So what's the secret? How to busy people stay fit? Here are some tips that may help you out in the busiest times of year.

Tip #1 - The Right Mindset

Whether you believe it or not, beginning exercise or adding it to your routine starts with the right mindset. Repeat after me:

I am worth it. I have the right to prioritize my health and fitness and my life depends on it.

Now say it as many times until you believe it.

I'm not one to tell anyone what to do, but if you don't believe this step, there's no need going down the list. The right mindset is the best foundation to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Tip #2 - Look at Your Day in Hours

Break down your daily schedule into hours. Let's say you work 8 hours a day, you sleep 8 hours, you get ready for work for 1 hour, your commute is 2 hours, dinner takes 1 hour, and your other duties such as dropping your child off to soccer practice and walking your dog is 1 hour.

That's a busy day, but you're still left with 3 hours. But how do you spend those 3 hours?

You can spend them watching Netflix or scrolling on your phone, OR you can delegate at least 30 minutes of that time to exercise.

Remember, you don't have to exercise every day, just make sure you are getting it!

So try it, Write down the time you go to bed the night before until bedtime the next day. Map out your hours and find the best time that works for you.

Tip #4 - Schedule. It. In.

Now that you've found a time, let's plan which days to exercise in the week. Start on the Sunday night before your week starts.

Treat this timeslot like a client call or an important meeting you can't miss.

Tip #3 - Start Early

This is one most people don't like, but it's pretty darn effective. Exercise as early as possible. Get it done as soon as you wake up. If you get it done before all of your other tasks, there is no way to skip it.

Pro tip: The night before, fold your workout gear and leave it on your bedside table. By doing this you are mentally prepping yourself for the next day. Since the first thing you see in the morning will be your workout wear ready for you, you'll be less likely to skip out on the gym.

Tip #5 - Get it in, In-Between

So if tips #2 through #4 absolutely are not possible for you, look for "in-between" times like these:

  • Have an hour for lunch? Spend half an hour exercising and then the other half eating.

  • Take client calls on your phone? Answer them on a walk.

  • Consider biking, jogging or walking to work if you live nearby.

  • Get off the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way home.

  • Instead of doing an hour of quiet play with your kids, take them out on a walk or do a family workout.

  • Need to walk your dog? Consider running with them!

Tip #6 - Any is Better Than None

Any type of exercise is better than no exercise, and when possible, try doing workouts that have moments or intervals that increase the heart rate.

There are so many ways to exercise, but the best one is the one that you're most likely to do. Walking to see a friend, hiking, jump rope, HIIT workouts, follow-along Youtube videos, yoga, resistance training, rollerblading, possibilities are endless. All you have to do is move!

Tip #7 - Home Workouts

Home workouts have probably become the most popular during the 2020 pandemic, so you probably own a pair of dumbbells in your house.

Even if you don't, you can 100% get an effective workout in 30 minutes with makeshift equipment (waterbottles, chairs, laundry detergent bottles etc.) or without any equipment at all!

This saves you so much time you would spend on travel time to the gym, waiting for equipment, checking yourself (and others) out. No distractions!

Tip #8 - Sign Up for Personal Training or a Fitness Class

If you sign up for a personal trainer, you technically have someone who keeps you 100% accountable to exercise at the most ideal time in your schedule. If you sign up at 5am, you need to be there at 5am because they will be there waiting for you.

Same goes for a fitness class. Sign up, and actually go, because the instructor will be expecting you. That's their job!

Tip #9 - Mini Tasks

Okay, so if you've come to the end of this list and say "I actually don't have time for any of these" try these mini tasks:

  • Do tricep dips off the bathtub edge while waiting for the shower to warm up

  • Do jumping jacks for the entire duration when you microwave something or heat something on the stove

  • Do 25 air squats before you go to bed

  • Stretch for 5 minutes in bed before or after you wake up

  • Do calf raises while brushing your teeth

  • Hold your core muscles while sitting or standing by sitting up tall and bringing your belly button in towards your back

Final Thoughts

Busy schedules are tough. They make us stressed, tired, and all around chaotic. But fortunately, exercise helps reduce stress, gives you energy, and helps you balance your lifestyle.

Let me know if any of these tips help you. Leave a comment below to let me know!

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