Here's a Foolproof Way to Make Time for Workouts

Laura Bennett stretches in the grass after a game of soccer at Pine Plains fields. Bennett uses fitness as an outlet to relieve stress and to maintain strength and energy. (Photo Credit: Mrs. Michelle Kennedy (Drum)).

When you look at many of the reasons people share about not training regularly, you will see that most typically “do not have enough time in their day” especially when working long hours, commuting an additional hour or more, and other family commitments in the evening.

It is true, none of us have time to train, but as with anything worth doing, we have to make time.  

Here are some ways to fit fitness into your day as well as better ways to get specifics versus too general in your fitness training:

1 – Make Time - Make an appointment for yourself, because if it is not on the schedule it does not exist. This is #1 and most important if you are going to make fitness a part of your life.  It does not matter when and how long you make time, just make time in the day for YOU. Though, statistically speaking, you are less likely to skip a morning (pre-work) training session than an early evening session of training.  Other than sleep (which is tough to battle), the late afternoon / early evening time is too riddled with things that pop up / get delayed and you lose that spot to some fire you have to put out.

2 – Get Specific – Focus on what you want to do first.  Do not get overly distracted by starting a workout routine, eating healthy (other good habits), stop drinking, stop smoking, (stop other vices / bad habits). If you put too much on the table, not doing well with one can derail the other things you were actually succeeding with when you started.  If you want to get healthy – yes you have to do all of the above, but get there in baby steps. Start off ONLY adding the habit of daily activity. Add a walk at lunch. Do pushups and plank poses spread through the day. Try to get better at something like pullups. Set a goal to do something specific and often you will see the other good habits and bad habits will follow in the right direction.  You will evolve into actual gym workouts, or hour-long cardio sessions, and feel the need to eat better, drink more water and drop the sodas, even get on a cessation program for other habits. But one step at a time – don’t do it all at once.  See related article – Twelve Months of Fitness.

3 – Quick Workouts Through the Day – Fitness and calorie burning is cumulative. At the end of the day your daily fitness tracker does not care if you get 60 minutes of walking or 6 sessions of 10 minutes of walking spread throughout the day. The same goes for pushups and crunches for your upper body and squats, stair climbing, and lunges for your lower body on your “leg days”. Many people who are first starting out by adding some activity to their day do it by walking 10 minutes after every meal of the day.  Some spend break time at work walking around the building or the office area or stairs when the weather does not cooperate. A great way to accumulate activity is wear a pedometer and keep track of your steps. Set a goal of 10,000 steps. Believe it or not that is almost 5 miles of walking which sounds like a lot, but you will burn 300+ calories depending on your weight (burn more calories the heavier you are). You can get 10,000 steps by putting in a few minutes before work, during work, at lunch, during break times, after work, and just daily normal walking activity.  The goal is to just keep moving.

4 – Stand Up Vs. Sit Down – You can burn up to 50 calories MORE an hour standing up versus sitting down.  This adds up significantly when you think that 10 hours of standing up can burn the same amount of calories and 45 minutes fast walking on a treadmill.  It really depends what you have more time for. Getting a stand up desk OR even cooler a treadmill desk is a killer option for those who are needing to find more time to fit more “calories burned” into their day.

5 – Don’t Beat Yourself Up – Adding new habits of fitness is an every day challenge. If you are tired, get sick, or skip a day, do not get discouraged.  Start fresh the next day. Every day you wake up is a new day to challenge yourself with a new activity no matter how you slice it up through the day. The ultimate goal in this process is to MOVE MORE – EAT LESS if you are seeking to lose weight and get healthier. If you add any type of activity along with smaller portions of food during meals / snacks, you will see huge results.

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