Is it possible to fit a fitness routine into a busy schedule? We think so. Click for our top 10 tips on how you can make time for exercise.
When you’re juggling kids, urgent work deadlines, or a never-ending to-do list it’s normal to let your workout routine fall to the wayside. But skipping on fitness can leave you feeling sluggish while impacting your mental and physical health. Not to mention furthering the distance between you and your weight loss goals!
So when it feels like you can’t possibly fit another thing into your schedule, how do you make fitness a priority? Read on for our top 10 tips on how to get creative in fitting fitness into your busy routine:
1) Make Your Commute Your Workout
Let’s start with a crazy idea (but one that could work)! If at all possible, throw on your running or biking shoes, pack a backpack with a change of clothes, and make your commute your workout! Though it may take a bit longer than your normal commute, you’ll be getting in your exercise at the same time – and you may come to find that you really enjoy the physical activity before spending much of the day stationery, working. Try running, biking, walking, or rollerblading to or from work!
If you’re short on time or too far from the office, get off public transit a few stops earlier and start from there instead. This way, you can still build in some walking or running time, without being late to work or picking up the kids. It might take a bit of coordination but it may be worth it to fit in your exercise!
2) Keep a Workout Bag Handy
With a busy schedule, you never know when you’re going to have an opening for a workout. So you don’t want a lack of clothes or sneakers to be the reason why you miss out on the perfect opportunity to get in a quick sweat sesh.
Keep a bag handy in your office, car, or wherever you spend the majority of your time. Pack workout clothes, your sneakers, a water bottle, and anything else you might need in the bag and replace these items whenever you use them.
This ensures you’re ready to sneak in a workout during those moments when you’re stuck at your daughter’s soccer practice, a meeting cancels, or you get out early from work. The bag also serves as a mental cue, reminding you to make time for a workout.
3) Pack a Snack
Don’t let a grumbling stomach at the end of your day be the reason you skip out on a workout. A meal replacement shake is a great snack for both before and after your workout. It keeps you feeling full, provides extra protein, and is easy to enjoy on the go.
Pack your meal replacement shake powder, some water, and a shaker cup with you in your handy workout bag. Then, when your schedule opens up for a workout you won’t let your stomach be the reason you turn into Taco Bell instead.
4) Schedule Your Workouts
Put a hold on your work calendar for when you plan on working out. Then, do your best to hold this time sacred. When the reminder pops up, don’t ignore it. Put on your workout clothes and make it happen. If something comes up, reschedule the time instead of canceling.
This gets you into the habit of scheduling around and prioritizing your workouts like you would any other meeting or event. Keep in mind though that this tip isn’t successful unless you actually stick to those calendar holds that you set for yourself. So start slow with one calendar hold a week and be intentional about scheduling other aspects of your day around your workout.
5) Make Efficient Use of the Time You Do Have (And Make Sure You Enjoy It!)
You don’t need to have 60 to 90 minutes set aside every day for a workout. If you’re strapped for time choose a workout you can do in 20 minutes or less while still breaking a significant sweat. A 20-minute workout is always better than no workout. Plus you don’t need a long workout to reap the benefits of physical fitness or to help you lose weight.
Here are some ideas to try:
- A quick run, walk, or bike ride
- Tabata or other forms of high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Yoga, pilates, or barre class
- Boxing or shadow boxing workout
- Bodyweight or weightlifting exercises
- A dance class or dancing in your living room
And most importantly, make sure the workout you’re choosing is one that you enjoy doing! If you dread the workout, you’re less likely to prioritize it.
6) Set a Goal at the Start of the Month (And Keep Track of Your Progress)
Prioritizing your workouts is a lot easier when you have a fitness goal or challenge that you’re working towards. At the start of the next upcoming week or month give yourself a realistic but still challenging fitness goal that you want to accomplish in the next month.
This could be to run a 5K, to workout twice a week, or to perfect a yoga pose you’ve been working on. Determine a deadline for this goal and decide upfront how you’re going to track your progress (such as an activity tracker or journal).
Consider bringing a friend or family member in on your goal or challenge and make it a competition. Chances are you’re going to be much more likely to schedule your workouts when you light the competitive fire within you.
7) Do Double Duty With Your Calendar
Stuck at your son’s dentist appointment? Go for a run while he’s in with the dentist. Making dinner? Get in an ab routine while you wait for the chicken to finish in the oven. On a conference call? Walk around the neighborhood as you listen. At the office all day? Get a standing (or treadmill!) desk or try out a stability ball instead.
When you’re low on time, it’s all about getting creative with your schedule and making the most of those unmovable calendar holds. This might mean you only sneak in five minutes here and ten minutes there, but when you’re focused on building physical activity into your day that time adds up.
8) Embrace the Morning Workout
If you’re struggling to fit in a workout it might be time to embrace the early morning wake-up. Waking up an hour earlier than you usually do to squeeze in a 30-minute workout (or even just 10 minutes!) sounds painful, but if you get to bed a little earlier the night before we promise it’s not as bad as it sounds. It might feel tough at first but the more you do it, the easier it gets to fall into a routine.
Plus, the early morning workout lets you check off fitness before your day even begins. It also kickstarts your morning on a productive note, giving you more energy to power through the rest of your day. Struggling to make the morning workout work for you? Wear your workout clothes to bed and prepare everything you need the night before. Then the only thing you need to do is get up.
9) Be Strategic With Your Gym Budget
Find a gym or studio that works with your busy schedule instead of against it. If the long commute to your gym or your barre studio’s inconvenient schedule is messing up any plans for a workout routine, cancel and find a better alternative instead. You don’t have time to waste on inconvenience.
If you have the budget, it could be worth spending that extra money on a gym membership closer to home or a yoga studio that has a 5:30 p.m. class that fits perfectly with your work schedule. It might cost more but it’s important to weigh the cost with convenience, especially if you’re on a time crunch.
And if you find that traveling to work out doesn’t work out, cancel your membership and focus on finding an at-home routine, fitness app, or gym equipment instead.
10) Make It Social
Turn date nights into partner workouts or meet up with friends for a hike or a pilates class. Not every social occasion needs to turn into a workout but it could be a fun way to fit fitness into your routine without sacrificing time with family or friends.
You might discover that some of your family members or friends are also struggling to find time to work out. Scheduling recurring time to sweat it out together could be a great way for both of you to catch up while holding each other accountable. After all, it’s a lot harder to cancel a workout when someone is waiting for you to show up.
The Takeaway: You Have to Want It
There are always going to be urgent deadlines, busy schedules, screaming children, and never-ending tasks to worry about. You’ll always have an excuse not to work out. But if you want it, you have to find a way to prioritize it.
Try out one or a few of the above tactics to find what works for you and your schedule. You might discover that you’re not a morning person or a treadmill desk walker but with the right determination and creativity, you can find a strategy that makes working out work for your busy schedule.
And to help support your fitness and weight loss goals, make sure you’re set up with a high-quality and high-protein meal replacement shake. A delicious meal replacement shake smoothie could be the power you need to make it to your workout or the replenishment you crave after you finish.