Here’s the thing about “not having time” to exercise: 95% of the time it’s not what we mean. Because 95% of the time it’s likely a time management issue.
Or a values issue.
Or there’s a strong emotion in the way of us exercising.
And sometimes we just don’t know WHY we don’t “have time” to exercise.
And maybe the industry has made this “not having time” thing too black and white.
So let me dive into the 50 shades of gray of the “I don’t have time” issue.
This isn’t going to be your typical, run-of-the-mill “How to make time to exercise” post because that would take about 10 sentences and would likely not address some of the deeper stuff that might be going on.
Let’s first talk about all the sorts of things we MIGHT mean when we say we “don’t have time”:
Next, let’s address the fact that we easily make the time for things we truly value and love, things like: Having dinner with family and friends; watching Olympic figure skating; getting a manicure; checking Facebook 100 times in an hour.
So NOW, let’s start troubleshooting some of the above “reasons” we “don’t have time" for exercise:
1. The actual time-management piece. I've totally been there (and am sometimes still there) with clients and back-to-back meetings and appointments and commute time. There are days that getting anything else in seems impossible. But there may be was to reschedule your schedule.
Let me first ask: How long do you believe you need to train? Can you take that amount of time and shift your schedule by that much either at the front end or the back end to make it work?
Sometimes it’s as “easy” as deciding, you know what, I’m going to need to go to bed 45 minutes earlier and get up 45 minutes earlier so I can work out before work! Or, I’m going to work 45 minutes earlier and will leave 45 minutes early to get to a class. OR, I’ll work out during my lunch break and eat lunch at my desk (OMG, yes, I’m a nutrition coach who IS suggesting that, sometimes, it’s OK to do this trade!).
Now, I totally understand that the above examples can be a luxury if you don’t have complete control of your work schedule. But, with more and more companies providing their employees with more fitness benefits and initiatives, it might be worth asking your boss if you can do this every once in a while.
What it comes down to is, if we say we need to get [fill in the blank] done, something else in the schedule may need to get shifted around to make it happen. And we CAN make it happen, we just need to choose to do it and that might mean sacrificing checking Facebook 100 times in an hour.
2. This is a good time to address the “but I don’t have 60 minutes” excuse: Who said you need 60 minutes? Unless you are training for something specific like a strength competition or a specific race/marathon, I’ll argue that a good workout does not need to be any specific period of time. I WILL argue that any amount of exercise is better than none. There are a BUNCH of fast, non-time-consuming workouts that people rave about: The New York Times 7 Minute Workout; Pavel’s Simple and Sinister; Jen Sinkler’s Lift Weights Faster come to mind. The keys for results will always be consistency and adjusting intensity (either by sets or reps or weight) over time.
3. Ok. So what if by saying, “I don’t have time,” you’re actually saying, “I don’t like to”?
It’s pretty safe to say if one doesn't like doing the task at hand (laundry, going to the dentist, working on your budget), one will want to say, “I didn’t have time to do it.” Right? So could it be that you “don’t have time” to exercise because you’d rather be doing anything else at all BUT exercise? (And there is ZERO shame in this! And it's worth talking about in the open!)
I come across this a lot with potential clients looking for a trainer at TruFit. And, holy cow, sometimes I can’t blame them for hating exercise after listening to some horror stories of past experiences. But, and this is the super cool thing: What exercise is to one person does not have to be exercise to another. There are a TON of different ways to get sweaty and burn calories out there. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding a fun class to do (from martial arts to Zumba to kettlebells to pole dancing). Sometimes it’s a matter of training with a friend or in a community of like-minded people who can help keep you accountable! And sometimes it’s a matter of finding a trainer who is kind and funny and caring who will listen to your fears and concerns and goals.
If you’re someone who doesn’t have time because you don’t like what you’ve experienced in the past, check this out for some more ideas for exercise. And if you’re looking for a good, kind, caring trainer who may help you discover your future love of exercise (y’all, this happened to ME), please contact me! I know some people ;)
So, listen: It’s a fact that the body needs to move, that we need some form of exercise to stay healthy. Once we connect that fact to what we truly value (things like playing with our kids or keeping medical bills down or feeling good in a dress) and recognize that by doing X we'll get to Y, it will be easier to find the time — any amount of time — to make exercise happen. And it might feel foreign and weird at first and making exercise a habit might not happen overnight and that is OK! I just think we need to look at WHY we don’t make time for it by asking deeper questions than making it a black and white issue.
I really, really, really hope this was helpful.
By the way, dear reader, have YOU found a way to get exercise into your schedule that's worked for you? Leave a comment below!