Today, many people face challenges that impede their progress in the world of fitness. Call it what you want, but the thing that gets in the way the most:
"I don't have time."
Regardless of your motivation, goals, or personal relationship with exercise, this is something we all struggle with. I'm here to tell you that it's okay, and that you shouldn't feel bad about the fact that you can't get a workout in every day. Especially when you may be managing a high stress job, figuring out how to feed the kids and do your grad school homework, or moving into a new home. Life isn't suppose to be easy that way. If it was, it wouldn't be any fun.
Where things get tricky, though, is your mindset. Sure, the constraints of time exist, but what if you took a step back and refocused on your approach? Could you prioritize your tasks better? Could you squeeze in a 20 minute kettlebell session on your lunch break? What about logging the amount of time you spend on social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram (Specifically Bearcoat Tonkey), Pinterest, CandyCrush, etc., and then asking yourself again if you have time to workout?
Maybe a bit harsh, but it's the reality we live in. Our time is valuable and it should be treated accordingly. Use these strategies to start winning the battle of time and changing your mindset today:
1. Prioritize your health.
The moment you stop letting other events and activities get in the way of exercising, is the moment that things begin to change. The question isn't whether you should or shouldn't workout today, it is now a question of when. Finding this for yourself can be hard at first, but it takes scaling and it takes consistent progression.
When you first adopt this mindset, don't expect to start training every day. Start with a couple days and cut yourself some slack. This is a big change, and it's going to take some time for your brain to get used to the habit. Win the small battles by scheduling things that you are nearly 100% certain you can get done. If you are unsure and uneasy about whether you can fit it in or not, your brain has already made up an excuse to not exercise based on previous habits.
2. Use a schedule and keep it like Julie "The Cat" Gaffney
This has been some of the best advice I've been given. Your time is valuable. To you, to your health, to your friends and family. When you are sitting down to look at the schedule for the week, stick to it. Treat your training days or workouts like you would any other business appointment. Know when you are working out each day and how much time you will need. As I mentioned above, don't leave it up to someone else. It's on you to plan, make it work, and get it done.
3. Utilize shorter workouts when pressed for time
Have some go-to workouts you can get done in a snap. These aren't the ones you'll do on a consistent basis, but they'll get the job done in a pinch. You can get a great workout in like 20 minutes. Don't settle for not having the time, think about being flexible in certain situations that you may not be able to control.
When life hands you lemons, just ditch the lemons and do something else.
Here's how I would break it down, if I were a straight up gangsta:
Lower Body Bilateral Movement: Ex. Goblet Squat
Upper Body Bilateral Movement: Ex. TRX Row
Lower body Unilateral Movement: Ex. Single Leg Hop
Upper body Unilateral Movement: Ex. 1 Arm Floor Press
Choose one core Exercise: Anti-Extension (Plank), Rotational or Anti-Rotational (Pallof Press), or Dynamic (MedBall Slam)
From there, set your reps and a time limit and just have a freakin' blast. Rest as needed between sets, 1 minute is a good start. Obviously, there are a bunch ways to do it, but sometimes it's pretty fun to race the clock.
4. Build accountability and own your shortcomings
How can you be more effective at getting exercise? What will flip the switch for your brain?
Start with a goal. Make it specific. How many sessions are you going to get in this week? What amount of time?
Did you get it done?
If not, simply accept responsibility, recognize where you can be better, and move on. Stressing about it and thinking negatively about yourself is not the answer. Keep on trying and embrace where you have fallen short. You will get there if you keep making the effort, and may even start saying, "I can't wait to workout today." Crazy sauce.
5. Minimize poor usage of time
Creating time for yourself can be difficult, but it becomes a lot easier when you recognize where you may be wasting it. Priorities, homeslice.
What needs to get done today?
1) Essentials: Food and Water (survival) - Work and all that comes with it - Taking care of kids/puppies/kittens/all - Exercise? Home tasks? Source of enjoyment?
2) Non-Essentials: As I briefly mentioned waayyy at the top- Anything that doesn't revolve around the above. Examples include TV, internet, social media, making fun of my buddy Lee, origami, Teen Mom (which is like a double waste of time, a recent study done by the University of Me stated you actually lose brain cells watching stuff like that)... You get the idea. It's all about making sure you get the important stuff done first... So unless you have done all your high priority things today, you shouldn't even be reading this blog!
Focus your efforts at limiting the stuff that doesn't really matter and you'll find a lot more time to play around with.
6. Use other resources for help
Don't be afraid of humility. It's okay to say you need help. There are people out there who are dying to help you become the best version of yourself. That might mean asking a friend to work out with you, reading a new book on exercise, buying some equipment for the house or joining a new gym, or even hiring somebody to help keep you accountable.
Take a long look at what you need to know more about and take some steps to do it. Your body will thank you. This is where I'm supposed to plug all of the awesome benefits of exercising and living a healthy lifestyle. The bottom line is though, is that you probably know them.
Raise your hand if you want to be strong, fit, and move like a ninja.
P.S. Yes, I'm a 90's kid.