I recently had a conversation with some friends about making time to exercise. Many of them are moms who work outside of the home either full or part time. We talked about how it can be really challenging to carve out time for a workout during the day. Mornings can be very rushed as we all hurry to get out the door and then the day fills up quickly. Before we know it, it’s time for school pickups, after school activities, and dinner prep.
It often seems like if we add something to our schedule then we must take something away. For a lot of us, when our workload increases the first thing to be let go is our workout. Sometimes it feels like exercise may not be as important as the other tasks on our to-do list. Shouldn’t we spend our energy on something that will have an immediate outcome (finish the laundry, complete that project, make dinner)?
I definitely understand. My schedule has changed so much since the girls were born and I know how hard it is to break away for exercise when there are a million other things left to do. There are a few things that have helped me stay consistent with my workouts and I wanted to share those with you.
Put it on the calendar. Every Sunday I take a look at the upcoming week’s schedule and decide what days I am going to the gym, what days I will be going to a group class, and if I am going to take a rest day. And then I add it to my calendar as I would any other appointment or meeting and I commit to it as best as I can. Yes, there are times when I just can’t make it to the gym for whatever reason, but I almost always stick to my schedule. For example, I typically go to the Y during lunch 3-4 days per week. It’s on my calendar. I take a class on Wednesday evening. It’s on my calendar.
Commit and pay in advance. Knowing that I have already paid for my class and would essentially be wasting money if I didn’t go really motivates me to show up. The same holds true if you have a personal trainer. You’ve paid for that session and someone is expecting you. That definitely keeps me accountable. A lot of places also charge a fee for late cancellations/no shows, which also encourages me to stick to my schedule.
Recruit a buddy. If I make plans with a friend to take a class then I don’t want to disappoint them by skipping out. Find someone who would go to that 7 am yoga class with you or plan on meeting at lunch for a workout. A friend and I occasionally text each other our workouts and share fitness ideas. Even though we aren’t physically together, it inspires me to try the workout so I can report back to her.
Have a detailed goal. A consistent message in my personal training coursework is to have detailed and measurable goals. I cannot stress this more. It’s not enough to say, “I want to lose weight.” Be specific. Think about what you want in as much detail as possible. When do you want to achieve this goal (be realistic!)? Take into account how many days per week you can workout and what your level of commitment is. By having a clear picture of WHAT you want you want you have a real goal to keep you focused and motivated. If you aren’t sure how to get there, you may want to enlist professional help from a personal trainer, health coach, nutritionist, or counselor.
Your workout is YOUR workout. Do your thing. I don’t believe we should ever judge others by their choice of exercise or how they want to spend their time. We all have different needs, goals, and preferences. There’s nothing wrong with someone who wants to use the elliptical or walk on the treadmill for an hour everyday. Or someone who wants to do crossfit five days a week. Or 20 minutes of yoga in the morning. Let’s applaud one another for carving out that time and showing up. The best workout for YOU is one that you enjoy doing and will stick to consistently.
How do you make time to exercise? Do you prefer to exercise with others or by yourself?
P.S. My Stitch Fix items have arrived! Tune in tomorrow to see what I received. You can get a sneak peek on Instagram.