Whether you’re a single or married working woman, a stay-at-home mom, or a working mom, finding time to workout is not always easy. It’s so easy to put yourself on the back-burner. There are a million things to do every day. So, how do you find time to workout? This blog post will give you practical tips to find time to workout.
Set Your Priorities Straight
Frankly, we make time for things we want to do in life. If we want to watch Netflix, we will do it. Hungry? We find time to eat. And, if we are dirty, we will make time to shower. There’s really no other way to put it. We all have the same 24 hours in a day so how do some of us find time to workout while others “don’t have time?”
Simple: They make it a priority. Easy? No.
How do you make yourself a priority?
First, make a mental or physical list of the things that would be “nice to do” today and things you “must do” today. Is working out on the “nice to do” list or the “must do” list? If it’s on the “would be nice to do” list, move it to the “must-do” list! Why not? What have you got to lose?
Next, take an inventory of what else is on the “must-do” list. Work? Check. Feed the kids and/or animals? Okay, yes, we need to do that. Help kids with homework? Yes, also very important. Pay bills? Maybe today but definitely before the due date(s). Clean? Maybe today, maybe not. Make sure you are prioritizing the right things. Keep in mind that some things can wait even if it’s inconvenient. If you don’t make your workouts a priority, there are bound to be things that get in the way of them.
Taking care of yourself should always be on the list whether it’s a 30-minute workout, meditation, walk, or bath. You should do something for yourself every day that will relieve stress or improve your health in some way. You deserve to be important in your life just like your family, friends, work, coworkers, etc. No one is really more important than you because if you aren’t healthy, you can’t help all of those other people, right? While you might feel selfish, it’s also a selfless thing to do. I know I’m a much better mom myself when I’m feeling good!
Spread Out the Chores
There’s no shortage of chores that need to be done around the house whether you’re single or married, have kids, or are kid-less. Some chores you can make into exercise. Pump up the dance music while you vacuum and keep moving! You’ll burn over 100 calories by vacuuming for 30 minutes!
However, not all chores burn very many calories. And, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with finding time to work out when you have laundry to fold, toilets to clean, or dishes to wash.
Therefore, I highly recommend spreading out your chores by doing one or two every day rather than cleaning everything one or two days a week. Check out this Printable Cleaning Schedule for Working Moms to see what I mean. Take 30 minutes daily to do one chore so you have time for other things including working out. Not only will you have more time for what you want to do but your house will stay cleaner throughout the week…usually.
Make an Appointment
Until working out is a part of your daily lifestyle, it can be hard to see how you can fit it in every day. It is recommended to get 150 minutes of activity a week (~30 minutes five days a week). I aim for at least 30-45 minutes at least six days a week so if I miss a day here or there, it won’t derail me.
But, when you’re already so busy every day, squeezing 30 minutes of activity sounds like a lot. After all, it isn’t *just* 30 minutes. You have to change your clothes (5-10 minutes), you might have to travel to a destination (0-10 minutes), do the activity (30 minutes), travel back (0-10 minutes), shower, and get dressed (10-20 minutes). That’s easily more like 60 minutes and more if you actually have to figure out what workout you’re going to do (which is an entirely separate post.)
Therefore, to make working out a priority, make an appointment with yourself. Just as you would make a doctor’s appointment or plan a dinner out with friends, physically put your workout on your calendar for an hour 5 times a week. Don’t FIND time, MAKE time! If it’s on your calendar or in your planner, you’re less likely to make other plans with that day and time. If someone wants you to do something, simply tell them you have a “previous engagement.” Don’t worry if you mess it up a few times. Just give it a try and see if you can build a workout and “me” time into your daily routine. After a while, it will feel just as natural a part of your day as taking a shower.
What Time of Day Should You Workout?
The time of day you work out will obviously be dependent on your lifestyle. Depending on if you work nights, 8a-5p, or don’t work at all, the best time for you to work out will be different. Another factor might be if you’re a morning go-getter type of person or a night owl. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- If you work out too late at night, it can make it harder to fall asleep. You might be full of energy and your body temperature will be higher. Our body temperature should be lower when we sleep.
- If you work out earlier in the day, you will benefit from the “after burn” where you’re burning more calories for several hours later.
- However, if you work out too early, you might not be awake yet and you might not get as good of a work out in depending on your mood.
- If you are a coffee or tea drinker, it has been said that caffeine can help you burn more calories during exercise so you might want to keep that in mind.
The bottom line is the best time to work out is when you will actually DO it! If you tend to want to go straight home after work, that could be an argument to work out in the morning. Or, it might be a good reason to make sure you bring your gym clothes with you and work out before you get home. If you’re just going to sit on the couch, it’s better to get your metabolism moving, first!
Not an early bird? 5:00 or 6:00 AM workouts might scare you. Will you be tired all day? While it’s possible, especially if you haven’t gotten enough sleep, it’s not likely. First, our internal clocks are wired to “wake up” during the day. We might have an afternoon slump but that’s with or without a morning workout. Second, exercise gives you a boost of energy so you will more likely feel GOOD during the day! Hear from one of our readers:
“I was scared of the lack of sleep to get up early to workout. But, now I get up around 5 AM most days and finish my workout by 6:00 or 6:30 AM. I’m energized by my workouts and love my early mornings! I feel alive and ready to conquer my day!” -Diane
How to Find Time To Workout: Stop Being Tired (and Other Excuses)
It is very hard to do but we can find a million zillion reasons not to take care of ourselves. Our family needs us. We have to go here or there. And, yes, “I’m tired.” is a big one! By far, it’s the one that almost gets me every time. The only other one is “I don’t feel like it.”
One of my favorite workout tank tops says “Be Stronger Than Your Excuses.”
I challenge you to throw away all of those excuses because that’s all they are. If you’re tired, working out will actually give you energy! If you don’t feel like it, you’ll still feel like you accomplished something even if you do a half-hearted workout. It’s better than nothing!
Here’s how to find time to workout: if you have an excuse, try to think of the opposite reason as to why it isn’t true or you can make it not true. You can even workout with a baby at home.
First, try to prioritize sleep as much as possible because not only will you feel better but more sleep has been connected to losing weight. When we are tired, we seek out foods that might give us a temporary bump in energy (read: sugary foods). When I’m tired, I’m much more likely to eat junk food so I relate! And, when we aren’t tired, we also simply make better choices. Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night so you will eat less food and lose weight.
Second, find a workout where it’s hard to find an excuse. I, personally, go to a kickboxing gym called 9Round. They make it super hard to find an excuse by design:
- I’m late – There are no class times so I can drop in anytime the gym is open.
- I don’t have much time – Classes are 35 minutes and you can cut it short if you need to.
- I don’t know what workout to do – They make up a different workout every day.
- I’m shy or I don’t like a lot of people – It’s a small, boutique gym. The most people who work out at the same time is 9 but there have been plenty of times it’s just me or a few of us there at the same time.
- I don’t know how or if I’m doing it right – There is a trainer to help you.
- I don’t know if I can do it – Anybody can do it because you make it as easy or hard as you want to.
Believe me, sometimes I really try hard to find an excuse and I can’t besides not feeling like it. It makes it easier to push past just one or two excuses! But, this isn’t a commercial for 9Round. Find a workout you like doing whether it’s something at home like Beachbody.com or 30-minute videos on YouTube. If nothing else, lace up your shoes and simply go for a walk. Stuck at work? Take a brisk walk around the parking lot or up and down stairs. It does not have to be fancy to give your heart a little pump and you will likely be more productive!