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How to Make Time for Working Out

Finding Time To Workout

When you are preparing yourself for military service and have a full time job, high school, sports, or college, you may find that you have a difficult time carving out the necessary time to properly prepare yourself for your future training. When the days are long with work, school, and other activities, it takes a large amount of motivation and discipline to make these quick workouts happen. One thing is certain, you will get tougher, both physically and mentally, if you can push yourself during these busy times to stay focused and on task. Eventually, the times will change for you as you graduate, have summers off, or a semester break, until then, here are some ideas to help you squeeze fitness into your day.

My experience as a college student preparing for a future of SEAL training required breaking up workouts into two or even three shorter workouts through the day. However, I did get my best workouts done during Christmas, Spring Break, and Summers. ut these work great when busy and help you work off some of the typical stress that life throws at you each day.

Before School / Work – If you can get a good night of sleep and wake up early enough to get 30-60 minutes of some type of training, you will find that early morning workouts rarely compete with anything in your day. Unless you have a commute to work or school or miss your alarm clock, you will find that this time block is helpful to fitting fitness into your day. Usually some form of steady cardio works great in the morning – running, rucking, swimming are great ways to wake up after a long night of studying or working late combined with 5-6 hours of sleep. 

Easy to Over Do It - However, if you feel you are over-doing your training, stay in bed and make your harder workouts on the days off from school or work.  Instead of taking weekends off, make those your long workouts, get sleep, eat well, and rest during the busiest day of your work week.

During the Day – Doing calisthenics, walking with a weight vest or back pack, and stretching can all be done throughout the day as you work or go to school.  IF you are trying to burn more calories to lose weight, standing up in class or work provides twice as much calorie burn as sitting.

During Lunch – If you are given a good amount of time to eat lunch (maybe an hour), get 20-30 minutes of something in before or after eating.  If you are going to eat then train, consider something where you are not bouncing like running or rucking fast or tough core workouts.  Doing some lifting, calisthenics, non-impact cardio and even swimming 1000-1500m can be done in a 20-30 minute session.

Before or After Dinner – Usually this time in the day gets bombarded with other activities and it is difficult to add in a quick workout after dinner.  However, consider doing an evening workout after dinner in the weight room for 20-30 minutes or longer if possible especially if you do not need to go back to work, have family commitments, or have to study several hours in the evening.

This method of time management is critical to your success in future military training programs and it will enable you to take your performance to the next level.  As the demands get higher and higher day after day and the sleep gets less and less, trying to find the happy medium and doing all your daily requirements and training without over-stressing your mind and body is a fine balancing act.

Your success is all about time management and the quicker you figure it out the better. You may need to pull back on the number of workout sessions and progress logically while you get used to the new daily schedule. You can actually use workouts to wake yourself up, remain awake in the evening, as well as work off stress.  

Believe it or not, BUD/S was much easier on time management compared to working, attending school, and workout out for a few hours a day. You get to go to work all day and work out at the same time. Then at the end of the day, you get your gear ready for the following day and go to sleep. No homework… It was awesome.

Whether you are a student, full time worker, stay at home mom, active duty military, adding a fitness period of time to your busy day is always challenging. Who says you need to do it all at once?  Break up the workouts as desired and get something in.  If highly stressed, a good 15-20 minute walk outside while you focus on deep inhales and exhales will help you work off the effects of stress and allow you to be more productive in work or school. When in doubt – do something even for a period of time you do not consider a full workout. Do enough of them in a day, and you will have burned the same amount of calories as your regular hour long workout.

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Stew Smith General Fitness

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Contributor

Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on Military.com's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

Latest Fitness Books: Navy SEAL Weight Training and Tactical Fitness