Finding time to exercise when you have no time (warning – you won’t like it)
March 2, 2016
In my 12 week online Coaching Group, I asked my fellow mamas what their biggest struggle was when it came to health and fitness. Every single participant responded that finding the time to exercise was by far the biggest struggle. Let’s face it – moms are busy. No surprise there. They work outside the home. They work from home. They take care of kids. They take care of the house. They volunteer. They go to school at night. They take care of an entire family every single day, 24 hours a day. They don’t sleep. Moms are doing a thousand things a day, starting early in the morning, going past dinner time and into the evening. Fitting in exercise sometimes seems impossible short of adding that proverbial 25th hour to the day.
And, this topic of how to find time to workout has been exhausted by every fitness blog known to man. Sadly, I don’t have a magic new solution to add. Because there are no magic solutions to adding time to your day. So, I’m going to shoot straight and tell you how to get it done. It won’t be easy and it’s certainly not comfortable. But, its the only way.
Despite our super-busy schedules, there are those moms that are able to fit in exercise every single day and still work full time, take care of kids and get food into everybody’s mouths. I’m one of them. What’s the secret? It’s not a secret. It’s prioritizing. I know, I know, it’s a totally boring solution to this problem, and you were hoping for some magic secret formula to creating extra time for exercise without sacrificing sleep, couch-sitting, tv-watching or social media zone-out time. Sorry, not possible.
The fact of the matter is, you get done in the day what’s most important to you. You make sure your kids are clothed, fed, and happy. You make sure everyone eats. You make sure you brush your teeth and leave the house with clothes on (hopefully). The secret to getting in a workout is to make it more important than sitting on the couch watching Dancing with the Stars at night after the kids go to sleep. “But”, you tell me, you’re tired at night. You’ve already worked a million hours that day and you only have the energy to sit on the couch and stare at the bedazzled celebrities dancing across the floor while you down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Ok then. Fine. Do that. I think that’s great and probably very therapeutic. And, I actually do that sometimes too! But just know, you are CHOOSING how you spend that hour. You are choosing to sit on the couch instead of doing a 20-minute workout. And, more power to you if that’s what you want to do!! I love Dancing with the Stars and Ben & Jerry’s too, and I’ve been known to indulge in both quite frequently.
The point is – there IS time to exercise.
It will come at the expense of another activity or even an extra hour of sleep. But, if it’s important to you, you’ll do it. End of Story. It’s important to me, and i get it done almost every day. Even with an 8-week old newborn baby and a 3-year-old at home. I get it done. What do I sacrifice for that hour of exercise? Usually, sleep. I feed the newborn at 4 am and then put her back to bed. And instead of going back to bed myself (which I would LOVE to do), I use that hour to workout. It’s simply a choice and I’m so glad I choose it every day. My early morning workout sets the mood for the day. I drink my Plexus Slim, mix up a protein shake with Your Super Foods, and my energy increases. After a workout and a great smoothie, my endorphins rise sky-high, my metabolism starts churning, and I am a happier mom. It’s totally worth trading the hour of sleep. And that’s what works for me.
Now, if you’d rather have sleep, that’s perfectly fine (and often super necessary). If you’d rather watch The Office re-runs in the evening instead of pounding out a 10-minute core workout, then do it! Just know that it’s a choice, and don’t keep wondering why, as you’re sleeping extra or vegging out on the couch at night, there’s no time to exercise. A better question is, how are you spending your time?
For the first 5 weeks of my newborn’s life, I chose sleep over exercise. I NEEDED all the extra sleep I could get, and so my workouts were on the chopping block. It’s not that i didn’t have time, it’s that I wanted to use my time to sleep. See the difference?
So, if you want to make a change, if you want to prioritize your workouts, make a plan. Be prepared ahead of time or it’ll never work. Commit to the workout time and get it done. Move it to the top of the priority list, right up there with eating, peeing and sleeping. You’ll be amazed at how consistent you can be when exercise becomes a higher priority than sitting on the couch at night. And, if you just don’t want to make exercise that important, or you have too many other things that are more important to you, that’s perfectly fine too. Everyone is different. Do it if you want, don’t do if don’t want too. Just know that there IS time.
If you DO want to make your workouts a priority, here are a few quick tips on how to squeeze short workout in with very little time and by changing very little in your day:
Quick Workout Hacks:
1. Set your alarm 8 minutes earlier in the morning. Just 8 minutes. Get up, drink some water, and then get down on the floor in your bedroom right then and there and bust out a quick MUTU System core workout. You can literally do MUTUCore in 6-8 minutes. It’s a great start to your day!
2. At night while you brush your teeth, do squats, do some lunges, do a calf stretch. Multi-task.
MXLLS(Calf Stretch! It will change your life. Seriously)
3. While you’re watching your favorite TV show at night, instead of sitting on the couch, do squats, lunges, or MUTU core. You still get to watch TV this way!!! (Here I am watching tv while squatting and then stretching)
4. If you are really serious about carving out real time for a good solid workout, I’ve found in my 17 years of fitness practice that the early morning is just the best time to do it. Get up before the kids, start your day doing something for you. No distractions, no people to take care of. Get up at least 60 minutes before the rest of your house. You’ll be amazed how productive you can be in those 60 minutes, even if only 30 of it is for exercise! I LOVE a 5am workout / Bible reading / quiet time. Then, at the end of the day, when you’re tired and everyone is cranky and needy, you’ve got the exercise thing off your plate (and there may be time for that couch sitting and tv watch with zero guilt!).
Hope this helps, I know this wasn’t a flowery, encouraging, “you-can-do-it!” type blog. Just plain truth. There is no way to increase your hours during the day. There is only enough time to do the things that are important to you. Decide what those things are each day and let the rest go. Then give yourself grace and be proud that you accomplished the most important things. 🙂
(Wondering where to buy MUTU? Right here: MUTU System.)