HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WORKOUT WHEN I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME?! When the topic of finding time to workout comes up, there are certain phrases repeated so often that it’s like a script is being read. One of these scripts includes, “I don’t have enough time to workout.” I get it. When I wrote this post over a year ago, I thought I was busy. Now I have a baby, an awful commute, am studying for a monster test, & am still trying to eat right & workout....basically I'm drowning. If I squeeze in 3-4 workouts a week, I'm ecstatic.
I have enough experience with this particular obstacle to staying fit to share a possible solution with you. For the majority of the last 11 years, I’ve lived a hectic daily schedule. I live in a large city with horrendous traffic, drive 2 hours a day in that traffic, & work a 10-hour day. Keeping healthy has always been a priority of mine, so I have found ways to make time to be active despite circumstance.
There are little bits of time throughout the day that could be found to squeeze in activity:
- After work/school, do a workout instead of going online or watching TV.
- Workout while you watch TV.
- Wake up early & go for a walk, run, or do a workout.
- Workout on your lunch break, or at least go for a walk.
- Compress your workout. Switch from long cardio/weight training routines to HIIT/interval training.
The best solution I have found is to exercise on my lunch break. This may not be ideal for you, but consider that your lunch break might be the only part of the day that you are not accountable to anyone but yourself.
Before doing HIIT workouts, I used to do the standard workout routine of long cardio workouts & long strength training sessions. I would spend a minimum of 60 minutes (usually 90 min) at the gym. Between my commute & long work day, it was difficult to get motivated to spend so much time working out, but I did it. Then, I changed jobs. I went from an active, on-my-feet-all-day job, to a sedentary one with the same schedule, same commute, but now had to study. I knew that if I didn't find a way to 1) make sure I exercise consistently each day & 2) suppress my appetite a bit, I would probably gain weight.
Years ago, when I was a broke student with no time, I walked or went up & down stairs on my lunch break. I fell back into that habit. A park near my office provided the perfect location to workout during my 1 hour lunch break. When the weather is bad, I use an empty room. Initially, I used the Nike Training Camp app, but with about 6 routines to choose from, I became bored. Around the same time, my friend Tara told me about Bodyrock.tv. I was hooked from the first workout; pre-baby I did them 6-7 times a week and got into the best shape of my life. 2-3 of those days were done at work on my lunch break. Post-baby, I struggle to balance motherhood duties, work, working out, & eating during my lunch break, but still take advantage of that time whenever possible. Some people ask me about working out at lunch & are turned off to it for many reasons. 1) Preparation time 2) Getting sweaty at work is icky 3) How can you have a good workout & eat in an hour? Like most things, once you have a set routine, it's easy. 1) PREP TIME At night I pack my workout clothes in a bag. In that bag are toiletries. I keep this at work: shoes, 2 sets of dumbbells, a yoga mat (in a bag), & a jump rope. Since I don't have time to buy lunch, I must pack it. I always have done this, & usually pack breakfast/snacks/lunch as I make dinner. I pick my workouts ahead of time. 2) THE ICKY FACTOR I carry toiletries, workout clothes, & a change of some clothes with me in a bag. Post-workout clean up takes 7 min. No one has said to me, "You stink." (I have asked) Also, I feel more alert & energized for the rest of the day!
3) TIME I pick a few workouts at a time for work. I choose ones that have minimal equipment, or that can be modified with what I keep at work. A 5 min warm up + 12 min workout + 6 min cool down = 23 min total. I have extra time to add in jump rope or a longer workout. If I add 20 min skipping rope, that’s 43 min total. I can still clean up & eat fast. The key is to prepare everything ahead of time. Sometime coworkers who join me, & it's nice to have someone to workout with. How do you make time for your workout when you don't have time? Source Credit: This is an update of a post I wrote for moveeatlivewell.com in March 2012. Here is the original article: http://www.moveeatlivewell.com/2012/03/lunchtime-workouts-solution-to-hectic.html