Whenever I do one of my 30-day health and fitness challenges I always ask my participants what their biggest challenges and struggles have been so far on their journey. That way I know what we both need to focus on most to help them reach their goals.
Today I received the following message from one of my challengers:
One of my biggest challenges is time management. Any advice on how to fit workouts into your day would be great.
Since the number-one excuse for skipping exercise is “I don’t have enough time!” (yep, been there done that!) I thought I would write up a post with some time management workout tips to not only help myself and my challengers, but to help everyone else out there who may be dealing with the same struggles.
A great source of information and inspiration on the topic of time management as it relates to working out is fitness celebrity Chalene Johnson and her book PUSH. It’s good stuff, so if you really want to dig into this topic further I suggest you take a look at her book.
But, before you do that, here’s a few things to consider:
Seriously, WHY are you doing this?
If you go into a new workout routine thinking, “I need to lose 20 pounds” that’s probably not going to keep you motivated for very long. Sure, you may be excited for the first week or two, but when the scale doesn’t move as much as you’d like it to, your motivation will surely go down the tubes. Before you know it, you’re sleeping through the alarm clock and making every excuse throughout the rest of the day why you don’t have time to workout.
Telling yourself “I need to lose 20 pounds” is self-defeating. How does saying that make you feel? Instead, try to set a goal for yourself that’s a little more motivating. In exchange for those 20 pounds, what is it that you want to GAIN? This may take some thought but it’s definitely worth it. Figure out exactly WHY you need to do this and remind yourself daily or even hourly if you need to. Write it down and make sure it’s within eyesight wherever your go. On the frig, the mirror, the wallpaper on your computer, the wallpaper on your phone, and even next to your alarm clock. Do this, and you will never run out of motivation!
NOTE: If you skip this first step, you might as well not even bother reading the rest of this article!!
Wake up early!
I know, waking up early SUCKS!! But I tell ya, if you can find a way to power yourself through that first week, it gets a lot easier. There’s quite a few benefits to getting your workout done first thing in the morning.
First, you get it over with! I find that if I don’t workout first thing in the morning I get distracted doing other things during the day and am constantly putting my workout on the backburner. I’m constantly looking at the clock and telling myself, “Oh there’s still plenty of time, I’ll just finish this first…” and then before I know it the day is almost over and the guilt starts to set in. I don’t know how many times I’ve felt the pressure of an impending workout hanging on my shoulders all day, and then when the time comes to press play I’m truly feeling exhausted. Not only physically, but mentally! If there’s anything I can do to avoid that feeling, I will!! This is exactly what I think about when that alarming is blaring first thing in morning.
When I workout in the morning I start the day on a positive note and feel totally energized during the rest of the day. Exercise enhances your productivity and energy level during the rest of the day. I’m also more inclined to eat better, because I don’t want to “ruin” my efforts. If my plan is to workout in the evening I tend to make poor choices because I tell myself, “I’ll just burn it off later.”
Also, there are a lot less people depending on you in the wee hours of the morning than during the day and evening. When you exercise early, the people you care about most are still sleeping, so you’re not missing anything!
Here’s a big tip: when you set your alarm DON’T HIT SNOOZE!! Instead, put your alarm on the other side of the room and so far away from your bed that you are forced to GET UP and turn it off. As soon as it goes off, start repeating to yourself, “I’M UP! I’M UP! I’M UP!” I know there’s going to be a few other things you’d rather say, but as the days go by it will get easier!!
Treat exercise like a reward, not a chore.
This is one that really helps me a lot. When you tell yourself “I have to workout today” it sounds more like a chore, and less like a blessing. On the other hand, if you say, “I get to workout today!” it sounds more like a reward. I mean, if you think about it, being able to exercise and take care of your body and treat it like the temple that it really is….IS both a blessing and a reward! There are so many people out there who, for whatever reason, can’t workout. This can be either by choice, or because of physical limitations.
Make exercise a priority and non-negotiable.
There are certains tasks we do during the day without even thinking about them. Things like brushing our teeth, eating, showering, etc. The most basic step in planning your day is to set your priorities. Your priorities determine what MUST be done today and which activities have the greatest impact on your health and your goals. If you make exercise as non-negotiable as eating and brushing your teeth you will find a way to get it done. Exercise should not be a task you “hope” to get to.
Find your soul-mate workout.
If you think working out is a total drag, I doubt you’ll find a way to make it a priority in your schedule. At some point you may look at one particular workout as “tolerable”. That may keep you interested for a while, but eventually you might start to fall off the workout wagon. It’s important to find a workout routine that you love, and actually look forward to!
In her book PUSH, Chalene Johnson talks about finding your “soul-mate” workout. She says, “If you don’t love exercise, it just means you haven’t yet met your soul-mate workout. Finding your soul mate is invaluable to your lifelong fitness success. When you find your soul-mate workout, you’ll have the key ingredient to creating a bangin’ body and the life you deserve.”
Here’s the criteria for knowing whether or not you’ve found “the one”:
- Your soul-mate workout makes you feel you can do anything.
- Your soul-mate workout challenges you never to be complacent.
- Your soul-mate workout makes you feel alive, sexy, and young.
- Your soul-mate workout feels like a treat, even when it’s brutal.
- When you’re doing your soul-mate workout, you are surprised by how fast time passes.
- Your soul-mate workout clears your mind and calms your emotions.
- You can’t help but endlessly talk about your your soul-mate workout.
- Your soul-mate workout awakens your spirit.
- Your soul-mate workout gives you energy, creativity, and drive.
- You look forward to your next workout.
Your soul-mate workout is out there, just waiting for you to find it! Anyone who says there’s only ONE perfect exercise is only thinking about himself or herself. When it comes to LOVE, you’re unique! If you need some help, I would be happy to play “matchmaker”! Just contact me and I will walk you through a special worksheet that was designed by Chalene herself to help you find the “the one”!
EVERYONE has the potential to fall in love with exercise. For me that didn’t happen until I found P90X, but it could be a complete different workout for you. And seriously, I don’t expect you to be completely monogamous with your soul-mate workout! But once you find the “the one” you will find that it opens up the doors to so many other possibilities!!
The bottom line is, to fit exercise in your schedule you need to get your personal time management in order. These consists of three steps:
1. Ask yourself the Golden Question
Is this the most important thing I can be doing right now and the most valuable use of my time?
The answer is ALWAYS clear! But, PLEASE don’t pretend to be perfectly productive! Sometimes the best use of time is to just let your brain CHILL for a while. We need to live a well-balanced life but the only way to do that is with exceptional planning.
2. Reverse Engineer Your Day
According to time management experts, people who spend 10 minutes a day planning save themselves 1.5 to 3 hours for each of those 10 minutem blocks of time. That’s pretty significant! Leaving your day and the hours you have available “to chance” guarantees you will lose track of your time and totally sabotage your own productivity.
For more detailed information on how to tackle the time management beast, I recommend you checkout one of the following resources:
PUSH by Chalene Johnson –> more detailed analysis and includes lots of fitness advice
TELL YOUR TIME by Amy Lynn Andrews –> short and sweet and gets right to the point
3. Wake Up Early!
Just suck it up and DO IT! 🙂 None of this “I’ll try it out and see what happens…”
But SERIOUSLY Amanda, I’m REALLY strapped for time! What can I do???
You might want to check out Tony Horton’s 10-Minute Trainer. This program may or may not be your soulmate workout, but seriously…if you can’t find TEN MINUTES during the day to workout, there’s definitely some deeper issue going on that’s preventing you from pressing play! 😉 I mean seriously…how long did it take you to read this post? Was it longer than 10 Minutes??
Even though these workouts are only 10 minutes a pop, they really work you HARD! And the nice thing is that if you have a little extra time you can stack different DVDs on top of each other for 20, 30, 40 minutes, etc.
There’s a couple different options:
1. 10-Minute Trainer workout program $79.90 –> CLICK HERE FOR PURCHASE INFORMATION
2. 10-Minute Trainer Challenge pack $180 (includes workout program, Shakeology, 30-days customized meal plans, free shipping) –> CLICK HERE FOR PURCHASE INFORMATION
If you purchase either kit from my website you’ll also receive a FREE bonus workout DVD. 🙂
So, those are my best time managmement tips when it comes to working out. If you found the advice helpful please share with your friends and followers on Facebook or Twitter!
Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links.