What to Do if You Don’t Have Time to Exercise

It’s funny how often people forth excuses when explaining why they haven’t reached their fitness goals. I know plenty of people like this, who will sit there and describe their ideal body or vent about their unhappiness with their current physique but not take the action required to change it. One of the most common excuses is “I just don’t have the time to work out.” Really? In the 168 hours available to you in a week you cannot squeeze out any time in that span to exercise? Most of the time when I hear things like this, it will be at a party, bar, restaurant, or other public setting and it always fails to click for the person that if they have time to socialize then that means they also have time to exercise. Getting six pack abs requires time, effort, and discipline but if you can’t get your life in order you will never get the type of body you want. In this post, I want to riff a little bit on what you should do if you ‘don’t have time to exercise’.

Problem #1: You are Excusing Yourself from Working Out

Let’s be honest, you do have time to exercise. It might take some schedule reorganization or lifestyle change but it is definitely doable. I have met plenty of insanely busy people with families, friends, and 60+ hour work weeks who all find the time to exercise on a regular basis. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the hit the gym 5-6 times per week (though some do) rather, it means that they consistently schedule at least a few days per week to run, weightlift, ride the exercise bike, or whatever. The excuse of I don’t have the time is a popular one because it makes you and the others around you believe that you totally would exercise if you could squeeze it into your busy schedule. Maybe you love to unwind and watch a bit of TV before you go to sleep, cool, but could you do without watching your favorite shows? Maybe you could record them and sit down one night and have a TV marathon while the rest of the week you devote to your fitness goals. Maybe you buy an exercise bike or other cardio equipment and simply pump out an hour while watching your TV shows. A decent exercise bike can be had for $150 and considering the amount of time per week you could use it makes it a great investment.

Problem #2 The Gym is Far Away (Gas, Travel Time)

I know this problem. One of my old gyms was 15 minutes away from my home and a pain to get to traffic wise if I tried to head there after work. I liked the gym but the gas money was piling up each week when I already worked 20+ minutes away from the house. It can quickly add up to over an hour each day spent in the car. My solution was to get out of my gym contract, which was completely annoying, and to start working out at home. Using dumbbells and other bodyweight exercises or fitness programs such as Insanity, helped me to manage my time so that I could get in a great workout but also have time after work to do the other things I love. If you have a similar problem with the time it takes to get to the gym, either find one that is closer or simply explore you options with a home gym.

Problem #3 Work Leaves You Drained

How many times have you felt motivated to exercise while at work but by the time you got off you no longer wanted to do very much of anything? Happens to me a lot and I love to workout. The obvious solution to this is to work out in the morning before the stresses of the day weigh your mind and body down. This will probably mean shifting your schedule a bit and going to sleep and waking up early but it needs to be done. If you can start out with 20-30 minutes of exercise in the morning, fantastic. Then later you can bump it up to an hour but for the first few weeks just try and make it stick as a routine. I usually split up workouts but in the morning I definitely like to go for a long walk and listen to some motivational podcasts to help me fire on all cylinders.

Problem #4 You Don’t Care Enough

If you know anything about the life of Arnold Schwarzenegger you know that when he was a young man in Austria he had to enlist in the army. The problem for Arnold was that his dream was to be a champion bodybuilder and the army gave him little time to work out and would be exhausted from all of the maneuvers and responsibilities that lifting weights was impractical. Impractical but not impossible. Arnold got creative and did things like bring weights and stash them inside his tank during maneuvers. He would get up earlier than he needed to in order to get more sets in. He even snuck off the base and left the country to compete in a bodybuilding contest (which he won) and accepted any punishment that would be doled out for going AWOL. The point is that Schwarzenegger cared. He had a burning desire to be the best that he could be and despite the limitations of his circumstances he made it work to his advantage.

Do you honestly care about your health? I know deep down that you probably do but why isn’t that spark showing itself on a regular basis? You won’t always feel like working out but the key is being consistent enough with your exercise and building up from there. Point blank, if you truly care about getting into shape then you will make the time. If not, you will make excuses. It’s not a thing of me trying to be mean but it is a realization that needs to occur that you need to take control of your life or you won’t ever truly accomplish anything.

If you often find yourself making the excuse that you don’t have the time to exercise. Catch this negative thought in the act and banish it from existence. Take stock of your life and schedule and see what you can cut out or what you can move around in order to make time to exercise. It will improve every aspect of your life if you let it, so please no more excuses, just get to it.

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