Making the Time to Exercise - Our Top 10 Tips
Tom Forrest Senior Trainer
Out of the list of reasons people give for not training, I have probably heard the statement “Tom, I just have no time” more than any other. And in people’s modern, hectic lives, this can of course seem to be the case. But, it doesn’t have to be. Having no time can simply be regarded as a choice. But people don’t realise it, and many don’t actually see how they could possibly make the time. So how do we change this?
Time is one of the most important things people have in life. And we all have exactly the same amount of it each day – 24 hours. That’s not necessarily a lot! I’m spending some of mine right now, in fact, writing this article. And why I am choosing to do so?
That question itself is one of the keys to making time to exercise. It’s the key to most things we do. It is the “why” we are doing it, and how we prioritise things. So why I am writing this article? I don’t need to spend time doing it. I don’t necessarily enjoy doing it. The world cup is on - I could be at home watching that with my dog! But instead I will sit here and write this (ok, the football's on in the background), with the reason being to try to help anybody who reads it, and to help our Exclusive clients who may struggle finding the time to train. Hopefully, they can find a way they can change their mindset/schedule/priorities to fit in some more exercise. If I can help just one person - that’s something I would always make time for. That “why” is a big enough reason for me to sit down and do this article.
There are plenty of reasons to exercise, a huge list of benefits both mentally and physically. But people put this to the back of their mind when deciding on how to spend their valuable 24 hours. The simple fact is, though, if you want something badly enough, and if you are motivated to do it, you can always find time if it’s truly a priority. For people who don’t prioritise exercise, there is a ready-made, easy to use reason – “I don’t have time”. A simple way out.
Don’t get me wrong here. Every individual is different and I’m not saying this is purely an excuse. People have commitments and responsibilities that they will always put before exercise, and may genuinely struggle to see where exercise can fit into a daily schedule. There is one major tip I would give to these people: Turn exercise from something you feel would benefit you, from a leisure activity or a luxury, into a RESPONSIBILITY.
Hear me out with this. We all have responsibilities. Work, eat, sleep, looking after the kids – I could go on. The key point is, all of these things get done. Every day. However busy you are, you prioritise and take care of responsibilities before all else. Then comes the other stuff. Watching Netflix, hanging out with friends, playing computer games, and – for some - exercise. If you can upgrade exercise from leisure/luxury activity to a “responsibility” however, that’s the first step taken care of.
And there’s a good reason it justifies the title of “responsibility” as well. Look at those other responsibilities. Work, for example – exercise has proven to improve performance in the work place. Take another. Looking after the kids – exercise sets a good example, and will make you fitter and healthier to do physical activities with them. It will help you sleep better, it will make you need the nutrients you get through eating (so you are less likely to skip out on meals). Don’t forget that it also helps fight off illness, improves your general mood, improves your confidence/self-esteem. A huge knock on effect to important other aspects of life. That doesn’t just benefit you. It benefits everyone around you! So if exercise is not already a responsibility of yours, why not?!
So if it is now a responsibility, it will be easier to find the time to do it (trust me on that). But where can we specifically find those extra hours to train? Here are my 10 top tips:
1. Short workouts - You don’t need to get into the gym and do a 1 hour work out every time. If you are really struggling for time, try some HIIT. You can get a good workout done in 10-30 mins.
2. Prioritise – Make sure you get your workout done first! Don’t even think about turning on the tv until you’ve done some exercise. Making it a responsibility, as was said, will help.
3. Schedule – Schedule your workout into your daily routine. You manage to schedule other things, why not set a daily/weekly time for some exercise as well.
4. Get up earlier – Why not get up 30-60 mins earlier in the morning and blast a quick work out? It will get your energy levels and mood up for the rest of the day.
5. Join a 24/7 gym – Some people have blamed gym opening hours. These days, however, there are 24 hour gyms all over the place. Why not join one of these so you aren't limited by set times?
6. Get a personal trainer – Of course I would say this. However, a trainer will efficiently schedule and time your workout so no time is wasted. Your workout will become effective for the time you have.
7. Exercise rather than wait – What I mean by this is do bursts of exercise when you would otherwise be waiting around. Eg when dinner is cooking, or when the kettle is boiling, try moving around a bit. Burpees or press ups are a great one here...
8. Walking meetings – Meeting up with friends? Or have a meeting at work? Why not go for a walk! You can have meetings for work/pleasure in the fresh air whilst getting some exercise in!
9. Use day to day activities – Have a lift at work? Take the stairs. Watching tv? Do some press ups/burpees/planks while you watch!
10. Change the way you travel – This one is simple. As simple as parking in the furthest possible away space when going shopping. Or if you catch the bus to work, get off two stops early and walk the rest. Or even sitting on a train, practice bracing and squeezing your core and abs. These little things will add up and take next to no extra time!
Ultimately, if you want to exercise badly enough, you will. If you aren’t that fussed, then go ahead and say you don’t have the time – it’s a nice, ready-made reason. Ultimately, what you do with your time is up to you. You can choose what you do, where to go, who to spend it with. Exercise is a choice available to everyone. You want to do it – then just choose to!