It’s the number one reason I hear for not working out and, trust me, I get it. I have three boys, a dog, work, and an endless to-do list like everyone else. Yes, there will be days when you really don’t have time to work out, but I still say that we need to MAKE time to do something every day. Does it mean that you have to run 5 miles every day or hit the gym to make it count? Absolutely not. It does mean that you need to make time for movement and there are times I get super creative doing that. I’ve made a list of ways to make time to get exercise in when you don’t actually have time. While they all work for me, you have to first decide you want it and then remind yourself it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, this is for you. I know I look like a dork at times and, fortunately, my family loves me regardless. I’m sure I’ve given people a good laugh and something to talk about, but who cares? It’s how I make time to fit it in.
Workout during practice or at games.
When I was training for Boston, I did a lot of miles on the track, not because I love the track, in fact it’s quite the opposite, but I was at the field already for a soccer game and opted to run AND watch the game. I know it’s not the most social thing and I never was up to date with the soccer gossip, but I loved those miles. Being completely honest, it was hard for me to get out there and run because I worried so much about what the other parents might think. To my surprise, I had several moms comment that I inspired them to walk the track. Win/Win.
Limit Screen Time.
Whenever someone starts the sentence, ‘Did you see last night….” I rudely interrupt and just say no. I don’t watch a lot of television and see very few movies. I catch up on ‘The Daily Show” and “Big Bang Theory” when I can fit it in, but besides that I have things I’d rather do. My biggest time suck is social media and I need to work on that screen. I love the meme that says “If you have time to Facebook, then you have time to work out.” That one sentence has helped me log out and lace up quite a few times. Social media will be there when I have time.
Use Screen Time.
I know there are certain shows that are popular and discussed around the water cooler. If you really have to catch up on “The Batchelor” then consider adding some fun to the show. Make yourself a little circuit to do during it, time will fly by. If you’re watching it live and just want to enjoy the show, give yourself permission to watch it, but plank or bang out some push ups during the commercials. You’ll get some movement in and are less likely to mindlessly eat while watching your favorite show.
Get Up Early.
This one usually gets a lot of resistance and I’m not like the Ironman athletes who set an alarm at 3:30am to get a brick workout in, but consider setting your alarm just 20 minutes earlier. Get up and do a quick HIIT workout and see just how much energy it gives you for the rest of the day. People who exercise first thing in the morning are more likely to stick with it and it is truly the best way to start the day.
Use Every 5 Minutes.
We don’t all have a one hour block of time to work out, but most of us have some smaller chunks of time during the day. Use those. If you can walk the stairs for 5 minutes, that’s still better than sitting at your desk. When you set your mind to it, it’s amazing how much you can get done in little bursts. They’ll wake you up and every little bit adds up at the end of the day.
This hasn’t always been the most popular thing with my family and I have heard my share of grumbling with it, but it’s created some of my favorite memories. Plan a challenging hike, a family bike ride or some frisbee golf. I’ve even gotten a workout dodging paintballs with the boys. Your workout doesn’t have to be in the gym or by yourself.
Be Actively Social.
I will meet for happy hour on occasion. The traditional happy hour, with appetizers and cocktails isn’t really my thing. I love to catch up with friends, but invite me for a happy hour walk or run cause that’s more my style. You don’t feel guilty about unnecessary calories consumed and you feel good catching up and breaking a sweat together. With the right buddy, you can get creative and really challenge each other with different workouts or try new classes together. This works for date nights and some types of business meetings too.
Simplify Your Life.
This is the one I need the most and can’t ever quite seem to get there. More stuff on the calendar and in our lives just means more stress. Clear out the clutter in your life and you’ll spend less time cleaning up the stuff, opening up more time to take care of you instead of your possessions. With your calendar, you don’t have to accept every invitation, prioritize and try to clean that up too. It’s absolutely alright to say ‘no’ sometimes and can actually be a good thing.
I’ve probably embarrassed my family and friends when I can’t go by a picnic table without doing a few tricep dips, whether it’s at the beach or a park. Strangers likely think I’m a little odd using the swings on the playground for some modified pull-ups. If I give people a laugh, I guess that’s just an added bonus. At least I’m getting it done and proof that you squeeze in a workout just about anywhere with a little motivation and a bit of creativity.