How To Find Time To Workout With A Busy Schedule
“I really would love to workout more, but I just can’t find the time!”
“That person works out so much, they must have so much time on their hands!”
“I want to workout more, but I’m just so busy!”
Do any of these sound familiar to you? Do you find yourself constantly making a new plan to ‘workout more’, then when it comes to implementing it, you find yourself falling flat? Don’t worry - you are not alone. When it comes to finding time within our busy schedules, it’s usually our workouts that end up being pushed to the side. And I completely get it. Daily workouts require planning, organization, time management – and that’s on-top of the physical requirements that come with a good workout. I’m exhausted just thinking about.
However, here’s the thing. There are some tricks to making daily activity more attainable, no matter how busy your schedule is:
Finding time really means making time
It hurts because you know it’s true. If there is something that we really want to do, we always make the time to do it. Brunch with the girls? Sure – I’ll make it work. Drinks after work with colleagues? Yep, I’ll be there. Lunchtime spin class? Oh, I’m not sure I can swing it. Sound familiar? If you are someone who has a jam-packed schedule, then do what needs to be done to incorporate your workouts into your day. Maybe that means switching some meetings around to make time for a lunch time sweat, pushing drinks a little later so you’re able to workout after work, or even saying ‘no’ to some social gatherings.
Prioritize your workouts like you would anything else that is important to you and do what needs to be done in order to fit them in. It may not be easy at first, and you might even find some friends start questioning where you are, or why you’re not coming out so much, but trust me, it will all be worth it in the end. (And maybe you’ll even become an inspiration to your friends in the process!)
Schedule your workout like an appointment
This is great for people who live by their Outlook, Gmail or i-Cal. If you are someone who has everything in your day planned to the second, then let’s add another ‘meeting’ or ‘appointment’ where you’ve got some free time. To stay consistent, and if your schedule allows it, carve out that time in your routine every day. That doesn’t mean that your workout must be the same every day, but it does mean that timeslot from 6-7am, for example, is available for you to get your sweat on. Keeping that consistency, and sticking to it, allows you to create that habit and know that timeslot is always open, no matter what the day brings.
Find a studio that has a cancellation fee
When I first started working out at more ‘boutique’ studios a few years ago, and I would explain that I couldn’t cancel my workout within a certain window otherwise I would get charged, people would look at me like I was a crazy person. At to be honest, at first, I also thought it was a little absurd. But I can promise you, after missing my workout once and getting charged a lovely $15, I quickly swore I would never do that again. So, as crazy as it may seem, it truly does help to keep you accountable and makes you second guess before skipping your workouts.
Minimize how much time you spend not working out
This is an important one and something that we tend to overlook. One of the main reasons that we always end up skipping or moving our workouts is likely because of the total time it takes to workout – everything from travel time, to workout time, to shower time, and everything in between. It can definitely seem like a big ordeal for only a 45-60 minute workout.
My suggestion is to do a little pre-planning in order to minimize the amount of time you spend not actually working out. The goal here is to make your workouts more efficient. Some small ways to do that are:
- Choose studios/gyms close to where you live, or on your way home from work. This will decrease the amount of time you are travelling to your workout.
- Have a pre-packed toiletries bag with all your necessities that permanently lives in your gym bag. That way all you need to think about are your workout clothes and shoes, and you know everything else is already good to go.
- Change into your active wear before you head to the gym, or plan to workout after work so you can just head straight home in your sweaty workout wear. Don’t worry, I do it all the time.
- Dry shampoo. Enough said.
Wake up earlier or work out at lunch
This one might be a bit obvious, but sometimes we just need to hear it from someone else. Use those precious hours before your day begins or during your lunch time to get your daily sweat in. If you know that your day is jam-packed right up until 9pm at night, chances are you won’t want to lace up your runners after a long 12-hour day. So, get the workout done before you have any other distractions, or, if you’re able to, use that lunch slot wisely and head to the gym. There are lots of studios now that offer shorter lunch time classes, allowing you to workout, shower, and be back at the office in just over an hour. Don’t think about it, just do it!
Schedule fitness socials
This is one of my absolute favourite things to do. If you have a friend or some friends who you haven’t seen in a while, then instead of the usual dinner and drinks, why don’t you suggest a Saturday morning spin class followed by a catch-up over coffee. It’s fun, a great way to have some quality time with your friends and squeeze in your workout. Plus, you will all end up feeling amazing after! You may have some friends who moan and groan at first, but I promise you, they’ll be hooked after one weekend sweat-session.
Turn your commute into a workout
This one isn’t possible for everyone, but I wanted to throw it in here anyway. If you’re someone who lives fairly close to your place of work, consider switching your usual subway or streetcar commute for a more active one. Think about investing in a bike, roller blades or a good commuting backpack and run to work.
Run-commuting is very popular and such an incredible way to make sure you are achieving your daily activity goal. There are lots of blogs and forums with information, advice and tips if run-commuting is something you’d like to incorporate. (Seriously, some people are run-commute ninjas and have the absolute best advice – everything from the best running equipment, things to keep at work, how to do it if you don’t have access to a shower and so on.)
Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
Probably the easiest way to ensure you are making time for your workouts when you have a busy schedule is to plan ahead. It’s as simple as that. Take a few extra minutes either on the weekend or before bed every night to plan out the next day or few days. Pre-pack your gym bag, make your breakfast for the next day so you can grab it from the fridge on your way to a 6am class, prepare your protein-shake for after your workout – whatever that may look like for you. With a few minutes of planning, you will find that squeezing in your workouts, whether they be a quick 20 minute HIIT or a full 60 minute workout – much more achievable, and you will be left feeling accomplished, proud and motivated to keep going.
Do you have any other tips or tricks that work for you, and help you to squeeze in your workouts with a busy schedule? Comment below, I’d love to hear them.