If it is one excuse that is being used by the majority of us several times a week, and not only in relation to exercise, it is time. We simply do not have the time to do anything anymore. The hours we have to spare after work tend to fly by so fast they feel more like minutes, and there is a never-ending to-do list that seems to grow as the days go by. Time, or rather lack of time, seems to affect the population like a fast-spreading disease.
Especially when it comes to exercise, lack of time tends to be one of the greatest excuses for not training or committing to joining a gym. The thing with exercise is that it is so easy to prioritise it when you have already established good habits; finding time to exercise when you are hooked is rarely a problem. In contrast, it can be truly difficult to setting time aside for exercise when you have not even started.
As to the big question: Do you have time? I dare say you do!
Let us look at the big picture. There are 168 hours in one week. If you are working full-time, your work commitment would average at approximately 45 hours per week, including some travelling to and from the workplace. Assuming that you sleep the recommended 8 hours every night, that would take away further 56 hours every week. And finally, let us estimate that family, chores and other commitments take up 35 hours per week, about 5 hours every day. All of the above sums up to 136 hours. That leaves you with 32 hours left every week. So, whether you schedule 3 training sessions a week at 45min-1 hour (equals 3.5-4 hours including some travelling), or follow the general recommendation from NHS of 30 min physical activity every day, you will still have 28 hours left each week to do whatever you wish even after dedicating time to being physically active. If this sounds like your typical week, then you should be able to do at least two 1 hour-long training sessions a week or 3-4 shorter sessions every week without having a real issue with time.
Now that we have established the fact that most of you can find the time every week to exercise, the big question is how to get started. There are three key words to establishing good habits and finding time to exercise; planning, prioritising and motivation. You need to make a plan and prioritise it, and you need to find out why it is important to you! Changing your behavioural pattern might seem like a bit of work in the beginning, but stick with it and you will see that it gets easier along the way. If you need help changing a pattern, have a look at our January blog post on goal setting to help you get started. Consider both short term and long term goals which are achievable and realistic, otherwise it is easy to lose momentum.
Do not let time be the reason that you are not exercising and being healthy.
You do have time if you only learn to prioritise. If you truly do struggle to set time aside each week for training due to a busy schedule but wish to make a change and do not know how, sit down this afternoon, look at your schedule and see if and how you might be able to make some changes. When it is about your health it is O.K. to prioritise yourself and be somewhat egoistic. But, if you do have the hours to spare every week, do not use time as an excuse to justify the fact that you are simply not bothered to go to the gym or committing to making a change. If you have time but are not bothered to commit, the least you can do is to be honest about it and admit that to yourself.
Specific tips from the trainers on how to get yourself out the door and get started:
– Instead of saying “I do not have time to exercise today”, say “I do not prioritise exercise today…” and add a cause “…because there are other things more important to me than my health”. By stating the reason why you do not prioritise training, it will be harder to justify not going if you have a “bad” excuse.
– Plan ahead:
. – Make time and write it down in your diary.
. – Pack the gym bag the night before and leave it in front of your door as a reminder that you are going
. to the gym.
. – Prepare your session before you are in the gym so you know exactly what you are going to do when
. you get there.
. – Make sure you eat enough food during the day so that you feel like you can handle a gym session –
. walking into the gym feeling like you lack energy is the worst way to start a session!
– Work with the amount of time you have to spend: Think quality over quantity. If you only have 30 minutes, increase the intensity of your workout by doing more repetitions and resting less, or by doing interval based training. If you do not have time to get to the gym, there is a lot you can do in the comfort of your own home!
. – For example, cook chicken breasts in the oven and spend the 30-40 minutes it takes for them to
. finish to do an at-home cardio or body weight session – if the intensity is high enough you will
. get a good workout done and make dinner at the same time.
– Trick yourself into getting out the door! Tell yourself you are only going to go to the gym and do 20 minutes of exercise. Walking out the door and getting started is usually the hardest part, once you have started it tends not to be as bad as you make it in your head and you might stay an hour. On the other hand, if you do not stay after the 20 minutes have passed, you have still done 20 minutes of exercise which is better than nothing!
The Result Fitness Team