Blog Header Image

Matt Wilmoth


August 26, 2023

Tips to Get fit when you don't have time

"I don’t have time to work out." I can't tell you how many people tell me that unprompted when they find out what I do. That is probably sign number one it's an excuse. And it is definitely an excuse. What you are really saying is you aren't making your health a priority. Working out shouldn’t be a luxury but for a lot of people it may seem like it.

Our health is in crisis and helping people get moving is crucial. So while its and excuse it's also a sign people need help to overcome time limitations.  Luckily there some stuff you can do to make fitting exercise into a busy life easier.

Fit it in where you can

A lot of parents I know have kids in sports so they spend a lot of time at practice fields or outside of gyms. This believe it or not is a chance to move.

I used to spend 10 weekends a year at volleyball tournaments. It wasn't easy but I would always find time to workout. Usually there was an hour here or there where I had a minute. Over the 8 years of tournaments I saw maybe four moms or dads in the gym. I saw a lot more in the hotel bar after the kids went to sleep. Most of them if you asked would tell you they didn't have time in large part because of volleyball.

We have several parents who drop the kids off and head right to our class. The timing works out so they can get in, get out and get back to scoop their kids up. Find a class that works and you are set.

That isn’t always possible though. Timing might not work, there might not be a gym close by. Luckily there is an second option.  Instead of sitting in the car for 30 minutes get out and move. You can do a quick high intensity circuit or even just walk. Depending on the age of your kids you might embarrass them when you do this but that’s inevitable.

Pair exercise with other activities

Everyone needs downtime and maybe yours includes audiobooks, podcasts or Netflix. If that’s you simply pair those with exercise. Watch your shows while riding a spin bike or throw a podcast on for a walk. Pairing exercise with something you enjoy will not only make exercise time neutral because you were going to watch that show anyway but it might make exercise more enjoyable.

One of the keys to this for some people is not just pairing the activity but making it the only time you watch that show or listen to that podcast. When Game of Thrones was a thing I was training to climb Mount Rainier so I spent a lot of time on a stair stepper. The only place I would watch GoT was on a stair stepper. It not only cleared time in my life but made the mind numbing activity of walking up an endless set of stairs more enjoyable.

Friends and family

We as humans are social. We need interaction with our friends and family on a regular basis. A lot of people see exercise as choosing time spent alone instead of time spent with the people we care about. That isn't a real choice. You don't have to exercise alone. If you make exercise a part of your relationship with those closest to you then you don't have to make that choice.

Instead of meeting friends for drinks meet them for an exercise class. Instead of hitting the couch for family time grab the kids and take a walk. Exercising with friends and family will clear time for you to get fitter along with improving the quality of the time you spend with the important people in your life.

If you don't have friends that will exercise with you join a class based gym. The research shows you are who you spend time with so if you want to be fit and healthy find friends who do the same.

You only need 10 minutes a day a few days a week to get started.

That is doable for literally everyone on the planet.

You might be asking yourself is if 10 minutes is enough to do anything. The answer is yes. Going from nothing to something will definitely improve health. That on its own is important but there is something even better that will happen.

It’s a lesson we learned during the early days of the shut down in 2020. A lot of people struggled with exercising on their own. So I asked them to commit to doing the warm up. That was all. And they did but even the people who had no motivation who committed to the warm up almost always did more.

Starting with 10 minutes won’t get you the body of your dreams or to ultimate health but it will build momentum and that’s the key. When we work on nutrition and lifestyle we call it the habit snowball. Get the ball rolling and building that habit becomes easier.

So if you have been telling yourself you are just too busy to exercise start with 10 minutes a day. Maybe you slowly find more time to hit the gym maybe you don’t. Some exercise, even 10 minutes a few days a week, can make you a healthier human.

Continue reading