How to make time to exercise
I’m going to start this off with something controversial. You are not a special unique snowflake. Of all the amazing individual characteristics that make you who you are, the one constant thing that links the lowest of the poor and needy, to the pinnacle of human achievement and success is this – we all have 24 hours in a day.
It may seem like everything is a constant battle to fit it all in – making breakfast, getting the kids ready for school, rushing for public transport or sitting in peak hour traffic, to constant meetings at work, and emails with subject lines marked *URGENT*, or fuckups at the worksite that need resolving, then you’ve got to meet up with your friend that you’ve put off for two weeks already, maybe you have back to back client meetings across town that you’re rushing around for, only to find a backlog of emails that you have to follow up on, not to mention the actual day to day work that you have to churn through! It doesn’t slow up after work either – who actually gets out the door at 5pm anymore? Then you fight the commute home, mentally check if you’ve got enough food for dinner, and stop off at the grocery store or takeaway joint if you don’t, then you remember that you’re meant to have dinner with the folks so you dump it all in the fridge and rush over for the monthly interrogation about your life. When you finally get home there’s hardly any time to catch up on the latest episode of your favourite show, before you hit the hay and try to do it all again tomorrow!
You start to resent your mate or colleague that seems to have it all under control. How do they balance it all? What are they doing that is different?
Well, anyone’s who has been to a course about time management, there are two main things to do. Learn how to prioritise, and learn to say no. As a personal trainer, I want to focus mostly on your priorities, as that naturally leads you to say no to more things.
Health and fitness is a selfish pursuit; it is about making you the best version of yourself. You need to spend the time, energy, and yes money, to make this happen. What people forget though, is that when you are the best version of yourself, you are a better colleague/employee/manager/owner, you are a better partner/mother/father/brother/sister, you are a better whatever it is you need to be because you have less stress, more energy, mental balance, and belief in yourself.
Some things you can do to “have more time”
- Wake up earlier – an unpopular one especially in winter, but if the reason you’re not exercising if because your kids are too demanding when they wake up, then wake up before them and exercise. When I was in corporate, I loved hitting the gym before work – it was less crowded and I was guaranteed a workout, rather than work issues stopping a lunch or evening session.
- Help from your partner, family and friends – it’s always easier with support. Hopefully your partner supports your fitness goals and helps out more around the house (I’m looking at you fellas), or set mutual goals with your circle so you can exercise together and keep each other accountable. Rather than a lunch or dinner catch up with friends or family, you could do an activity together.
- Incidental Exercise – As we get older, we end up caring less about what we look like on the way to the office. Get those runners on and leave your work shoes at the office, walk to work or get off a station or stop earlier. Get up and speak to your boss or colleagues instead of calling or sending an email. Take the stairs instead of lift or escalator, save money by walking to meetings instead of cabs or Ubers. Keep your eyes open and learn to recognise opportunities to get a bit of movement in your day.
- Get support from your workplace – a lot of people will work through their lunch break, or eat at their desk, or stay late at the office because that seems to be the office culture. As mentioned earlier, a healthy employee is a happy and productive employee. Speak to your manager or HR team about encouraging staff to exercise at lunchtimes, or getting out the door at a reasonable hour. And if you’re a manager or business owner reading this, then you need to understand that a wellness culture goes a long way in attracting good staff, improving productivity, motivation, and retention.
- Choose an activity that you enjoy – if I was planning on running at lunchtime today, then if anything like a quick coffee catch up with a friend came up, then I would easily blow off the run because I hate running! However, the weekly basketball comp had me changed and ready well before the match because I love the sport and playing with colleagues. I instruct Taekwondo during the week, and a combination of discipline, enjoyment and fulfilment keep bringing my students back to regular training twice a week. Try a few different things and get friends and family involved too.
- High Intensity workouts – for example there is research that a short series of sprint exercises is more effective than steady state cardio workouts. You can make the most of a 10-20 min window, rather than trying to find 45-60 mins free. Make sure that you progress safely as the higher intensity your workout, the higher risk of injuries if exercises are not performed correctly. Sometimes this might conflict with “Choose an activity that you enjoy”, as higher intensity workouts can be hard! Smash out a series of 20 metre sprints, burpees, push-ups, and jump squats and see how much you enjoy it! However, that short burst of exercise is perfect for time-poor people.
These are just a few simple ideas that “make more time” in your day or week to exercise. What are some things that work for you?
Velocity Fitness offers Corporate Fitness, 1 on 1 Personal Training, and Group Circuit classes. Book in a consult now to see if it fits with your fitness goals, or a FREE first trial group session. https://velocityfitness.com.au/classes/timetable/