Stop Making Excuses! 9 Ways to Make Time for Fitness

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By Karan Nijhawan

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If you are looking to get in better shape, I’m willing to bet in the last 12 months you have said or have heard the phrase “I just don’t have the time”. Between work and running a full house, it can be difficult to find the time to exercise. Whenever I hear the phrase “I don’t have time to exercise”, there is normally two things that I do right away: 1) Smile and nod to show my empathy and 2) I politely call bullsh*t!

If you don’t have even 10 minutes a day to take care of your body, I think you are kidding yourself. “I just don’t have the time” is the biggest excuse I hear both online and offline when I meet with potential clients. I truly believe that everyone can find the time to exercise, but often fail to start for a number of reasons.

One of the biggest reasons for failing to start a fitness regimen is lack of a plan. Like anything, if you don’t have a plan in place, you will fail to take action. Another big reason that accounts for lack of inactivity is the fear of failure. Fitness can be a very scary journey if you are doing it alone – which is why I always recommend joining a group of like-minded individuals. Richard Simmons, a famous American fitness guru has said that “most people are in denial about their health”! He continues to say that “we all have reasons for not exercising, but it all comes down to time management and fear. Fear you’ll get hurt. Fear of embarrassment. Fear of failure.”

I completely agree with Richard’s comments above and want to help spark the motivation you need to get off your butt and start moving. You have 10-60 minutes/day that are probably spent wasted on mindless activities, where you could be taking care of your health instead. Remember, fitness is not about strenuous physical activity; it’s about moving more, taking care of your body and feeling better. If you “just can’t find the time to exercise”, here are nine ways to make time for your fitness.

1. Have a Plan
Starting with the most important factor of your fitness, you need to have a plan if you want to succeed. Take a good look at your calendar and look for a 10-15 minute window which is free. Book this time out in your calendar right now and label it “Taking Care of My Health”. If you don’t actually do this, you will not reap the same rewards as someone that takes action. If you see it in your calendar and get a reminder, your chances of actually exercising will increase 80-90%. Once this window is secured, you need to create a plan. In your first couple days/weeks, stick to the basics. Do 5-10 reps of each of the following exercises: push-ups, bodyweight squats, high-knees and jumping jacks. Complete as many rounds as you can in your allotted 10-15 minute window and I promise you will feel like a million bucks.

2. Audit Your Time
Want to know a little known secret? I think that ‘to-do lists’ are the biggest waste of your time. These lists are often filled with meaningless tasks that you can do without. Generally, people make a ‘to-do list’ because they falsify what they feel is important at that given time, but fail to see what really matters the most (your health). These lists make you feel good because you get to cross or check off an item when you complete it, giving you the sense of productivity. I’m willing to bet that if you ‘audit’ your list, there are 2-3 things on that list that you could do without and exercise instead. Remember, starting slow will be the key to your success. Start with a daily 5 minute ritual, whereby you promise yourself to go for a walk or do a quick workout.

Within a week, this 5 minute routine will turn into a 15-20 minute routine because of how it makes you feel. Successful people don’t try and find the time for exercise, they make the time. Tip: keep a log/journal for 2-3 days and account for your time. I bet in the run of a week, there are hours of unaccounted time and time wasted on activities that make you feel productive.

3. Limit TV Time
The average North American spends 21-30 hours/week behind a television. That is absolutely insane! To put that in perspective, think about it this way – the average work-week is around 35-40 hours for most people. This means that some of you are watching TV for close to the same amount of time as a week’s worth of work! Holy cr*p! If you have ever watched Netflix and received the “are you still watching?” message, you are guilty of this (you know who you are). Think about the value that 20-30 hours of TV/week brings to your life; chances are it’s not much. Now, think about how this time could be better spent on countless other activities, including physical fitness. I’m not asking or recommending that you devote 20 hours a week to your fitness. I’m asking you to take a good look at your TV screen time and start reducing it day by day.

This will free up a lot of unaccounted for time and help you make the time for exercise. Tip: if you are going to watch TV/Netflix, challenge yourself to do 5 push-ups or sit-ups between every commercial/episode. Depending on your TV habits, this could turn into a very successful workout!

4. Earn Your Shower
Confused? Keep reading.

I challenge you to earn your shower every morning going forward. This simply means that you need to complete some sort of physical activity (get sweaty) before you are allowed to shower. It’s amazing how a simple challenge like this has helped change the lives of many entrepreneurs and business owners and has helped increase their fitness levels. Starting tomorrow, I challenge you to wake up 10 minutes earlier and complete your favorite physical activity. Whether that’s going for a quick walk, doing some jumping jacks/push-ups, yoga – the options are endless. Use your creativity and every morning try a new physical activity that you’ve been meaning to do. Google and YouTube are your biggest friends here; simply search phrases like “10 minute beginner workout” or “10 minute yoga” – once again, the options are endless!

Over the course of a week, waking up 10 minutes earlier every week day will give you a bonus of 50 minutes/week that you can devote to living a healthier life. Tip: once your workout is complete in the morning, you can enjoy the rest of your day knowing that the ‘hard part’ is over!

5. Break Up Your Day
Many entrepreneurs and business owners have the convenience of setting/working their own hours. If you work like the typical North American, chances are your work week starts at either 8 or 9am and goes through 5 or 6pm. If you don’t have the luxury of setting your own hours, you need to become creative and look for opportunities to sneak in a workout during the work day. Generally, most people are given a 60 minute lunch break throughout the day. If you’re like me, you know that it only takes about 10-15 minutes to actually eat your lunch.

Bring your workout clothes with you to work and spend the first 20-25 minutes of your lunch break exercising. You don’t need any gym equipment and you don’t even need a gym membership. Go for a walk around a nearby trail, run around the block 2-3 times, create a mini bootcamp with your colleagues, sign up for a walking challenge – the sky is the limit. If you are really looking to step it up a notch, find a set of steep stairs nearby that you can go up and down on!

Here is what I’m talking about These are the stairs that I run 1-2 times a week on my lunch break!

7. Workout @ Work

Here are 8 exercises
you can do while sitting down in your chair. Now, you literally have no excuse!

8. Make it a Challenge
Do you ever notice around your office when someone is taking part in a health/fitness challenge? Chances are, this person wants to share the details of the challenge and by the end of it, leaves you more motivated than ever before. Challenges seem to always work, especially in a team-oriented environment. When you are part of a team, not only do you want to contribute to the success of the team, but you also want to the team to feel that they can keep you accountable.

Whether it’s your fitness or work life, accountability is a major key to success. Round up 2-5 of your closest work colleagues (or your spouse/partner), and create a fitness/wellness challenge. Here are some ideas for quick and simple challenges that can help kick-start your fitness:

  • Walk 15 minutes/day or STEPS challenge
  • Drink eight cups of water/day
  • Take the stairs at work
  • Make your own lunches/snacks instead of store bought for a week, etc.

To add to the excitement, feel free to include an incentive for the participants, such as taking them out for coffee/treat to celebrate their (and your own) win!

9. Have Fun

The other eight ideas above will mean absolutely nothing to you if you’re not having fun. Fitness can and should be made fun, simple and exciting. The days of ‘killing’ yourself in a gym or hunched over gym equipment are OVER for you. Get outside and act like a kid again, go to the park and swing on the jungle-jims – whatever it takes, just make sure you are having the time of your life.

Like anything in life, your heart is not into it, you’re just wasting time. Find an activity or hobby that motivates and drives you to become more physically fit. Being outside and moving around will help you feel so much better. You will become happier, more physically active and start enjoying your life like you never have before!

Fitness can be a scary journey if you are in it alone. As a thank you for reading this article, I invite you to join the Fit Opportunity Community – a group of entrepreneurs and business professionals that are looking to live a healthier lifestyle!

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