It’s the most common fitness excuse and it might be something you’ve heard yourself say a time or two: “I just don’t have time to workout.” It’s always led with some caveat like, “I really want to, but…” Look, we’re all busy, every one of us. That’s a given. So, when I hear this excuse, what I take it to mean is, “working out is just not a priority for me.” Because you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you really do want to get in shape, become more active, lead a healthier life, etc, but you don’t know where to begin. With that in mind, I’ve put together a tried-and-true list of ways to make fitness a priority and to help you overcome this obstacle of “not having time.”
1. Learn some quick routines you can do anywhere.
If you’re used to spending an hour in the gym, having an arsenal of quick workouts handy that you can do at home will transform your approach to fitness. No more waiting for a treadmill to open up. You’ll have all the tools needed to stay on track. If you need some ideas for routines you can do quickly, check this, this and this.
There aren’t many cons. Increasing your exercise vocabulary is never a bad thing. Quick 15 min workouts won’t make you a world champion power lifter. But, if medaling in power lifting is your goal and you don’t have time to workout, you should probably re-evaluate your goal.
2. Keep workout clothes in your car.
You'll be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Had a meeting cancel and now you’ve got time for a trip to the gym after work? Want to squeeze in a quick run during lunch? Now you’re always ready when the time is available.
Cons: uhhhh… it takes up space in your trunk? I dunno. Just do it.
3. Pay for a membership to a gym, personal training, or fitness DVD.
Admittedly, this one won’t work for everyone, but financial accountability can be a huge motivator. If you’re like me, you don’t want to pay for something and then not use it.
If you’re ballin’, financial accountability may not be enough to get you moving.
4. Try an at-home workout program.
P90x and the like haven’t sold millions of copies by accident. If you’re just getting started, nothing beats the convenience of being able to workout in your living room any time you have a spare hour. They’re go-at-your-own-pace, require little equipment and you can take them when you travel.
No one is there to check your form. If you aren’t familiar with the movements, that’s a recipe for being ineffective or even dangerous. Also, once you’ve gone through them, staying motivated for round 2 is a challenge.
5. Hire an in-home personal trainer.
Full disclosure, I primarily do in-home personal training, but I do it because it’s effective. My no-show rate is zero. There’s something highly motivating about a trainer banging on your door at 6am for a workout. The programs are tailored to your goals and fit around your schedule. It just works.
Hiring a trainer to come to your house can be cost prohibitive. If that’s the case, try:
6. Sign up for a group class.
Working out with a group, especially if it’s the same group of people every time, provides unparalleled accountability and motivation. Even doing scheduled group runs will give you a huge boost.
If your schedule varies from day to day or you can’t commit to a full hour, plus driving to the gym, plus cleaning up after, this may not be an option for you. And, if you’re just getting started, you may feel uncomfortable working out in a group. This feeling fades quickly as you realize people in these groups are overwhelmingly supportive. But, it's still understandable to feel that way.
7. Sign up for a race
Signing up for a 5k, 10k or an adventure race will give you a tangible goal to shoot for and will give you the boost needed to start your training program. Couch to 5k’s are a nice structured program to guide you through your first race. Signing up with a buddy will also give you extra accountability to stick with the training leading up to the race.
Running may not be the ideal workout to keep you motivated.
In the end, whichever method works best for you, remember that doing something is always better than nothing.
NASM - CPT, CES