So, you want to work out but you can't find the time?
This was one of my biggest complaints just a few months ago, when I was literally putting everything ahead of eating right and working out.
"I'm working full time and trying to blog and be a wife and a friend and All the Things," I would say. "I just can't find the time to work out."
Then I caught myself.
Rewind to the Year 2012, when I was working 8.30 to 5 as a court assistant, with a 2.5 hour daily commute, coaching three clients a week, AND studying full time.
I was also in pre-prep for a bikini competition, training for a half marathon, and still finding time to socialise.
I was doing WAY MORE with my time back then, yet I was still finding time to train 2.5 hours a day.
And here I was unable to find 30 minutes?
That couldn't be it!
But that was it, and here's why:
You will never be able to "FIND" the time.
The truth is, you'll always have a million things screaming for your attention at any given moment.
Those things will never stop. A spare 30 minutes in your day will never just appear.
If you want something to happen, you have to MAKE the time for it. And if you want it to happen badly enough, you will.
Back then, I didn't "find" time in my day to workout. I made the time.
It was simply non-negotiable.
I had to make sacrifices, like extra sleep and lunch breaks.
I had to choose different habits. I had to work smarter, not harder.
I had to make each minute count.
I had to schedule in my workouts like appointments. They became just as important as work, study, or my business.
And so as I've been going through this fitness journey, more and more I realise that I need that same mentality again.
So, as I go through this fitness journey, I'm delving back into my past for clues and that's what I'm sharing here today. Here are some tips for making time for exercise in your day - no matter how busy.
#1: Break workout sessions into smaller chunks
If squeezing an hour chunk into your day isn't doable right now - no worries. Look for 15 minute bursts!
3 x 15-20 minute bursts of activity throughout your day = 60 minutes of daily activity. Yay!
Every little bit helps. It doesn't have to be one long session to count.
For example, 9-years-ago me would often break up 1 hour and 15 minutes of training like this:
Morning: 30 minutes of weight training
Lunchtime: 30 minute run/an express 30 minute gym class
Late evening: 15 minutes of stretching/yoga
#2: Find ways to increase your activity throughout the day
There are so many ways to be more active throughout the day without needing to allocate giant chunks of extra time. We talked about this in more depth on Day 16.
There are a bunch of different ways that you can stay active and fit even if you can't make it to the gym - most are free, and don't take up a lot of extra time.
This is called "incidental exercise" - ways to be more active while going about your regular daily activities.
For example you could:
Get off a stop early on your commute (only if safe to do so) and walk an extra block or two to work
Walk over to a colleague for a chat rather than sending an email
Taking the stairs rather than the elevator
Pacing around while taking a phone call, rather than sitting
Pausing throughout your work day to do some desk stretches
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#3: Schedule it in your calendar
Block out your workouts like an important appointment - as if your boss expected you to show up. Physically mark them out in your calendar - like a date with yourself you can't break.
Think about it: you don't hit the snooze button ad nauseum until you literally miss work, because you know your boss and co-workers would be mad. Treat yourself and your workouts with the same level of non-negotiable commitment.
Work out a time of day that usually works best for you and block it out at a regular time every day. That way, it builds the habit in your own mind and it will become normal for others around you too. It's win win.
#4: Try working out with a friend
Not only does working out with a friend help to keep you motivated and accountable, because there's another person counting on you to show up, but going to the gym ticks two boxes at once - getting fit and socialising at the same time.
Doing a class with a friend is super fun, great for bonding, and has even been shown to be more effective. Plus, classes typically run at similar times each week, so it's easy to make it a consistent staple in your calendar.
#5: Choose a sacrifice
Okay I'm going to lovingly hit you with a bit of real talk.
If you're really busy, but you have some big fitness goals you want to hit?
You're more than likely going to have to sacrifice something to make it happen.
Whether that's an extra 30 minutes of sleep in the morning, a hefty chunk of your lunch break, or a nightly Bridgerton binge fest: something's gotta go.
For example, if you have littles, and the only time you can work out is early in the morning, it might mean adjusting your schedule so you go to bed earlier and can wake up earlier to work out.
If you spend your lunch break - I don't know - chatting to your colleagues in the lunch room, pack a lunch you can easily shovel down at your desk later, and go for a walk or run around the block, or hit a gym close to work.
And most of us can find at least 20 minutes a day in the amount of time spent scrolling social media.
Look realistically at your schedule - you'll be amazed at how easily 30 minutes a day turns up with a little creative thought.
#6: Don't do nothing just because you can't do something
So you snoozed your alarm and now you only have 15 minutes to workout? Great! You can still get a good workout in 15 minutes.
It doesn't matter if you only have 15 minutes to work out today: you'll still get better results by doing a 15 minute workout than you would not bothering to exercise because you only had 15 minutes.
#7: Work smarter, not harder
Listen, I love a good drawn out cardio session just as much as the next gal, but sometimes I don't have that kind of time.
This is where I just need to get in, get out, and get it done in under 30 minutes - and, like the point above, you can still get in a GREAT workout in a short amount of time.
On days when you're short on time, the trick is to work smarter, not harder. This means:
Working out on the upper end of challenging - not just doing a slow walk on a treadmill while reading a magazine for 45 minutes. You should be able to talk to the person next to you, but not able to sing or shout.
Shortening those rest periods! Don't be taking 2 minute rest breaks between sets - keep it to 30-45 seconds.
Be real about how you're spending time in the gym: No scrolling social media, pausing to take workout selfies, or socialising. Headphones in, world out, get in, get out, get it done.
Don't choose equipment that needs a great deal of set up: For a Speedy Gonzalez workout, stick to dumbbells, bodyweight and resistance bands.
If someone's on your equipment, move on: Don't stand around and wait - skip to the next exercise in your program.
Always, always, always prioritise quality over quantity: One thing you don't want to rush is the execution of your movement. This should still be done with mind muscle connection and proper form so you get an injury-free, effective workout. It doesn't matter if the whole workout doesn't get done, do the best you can with the time you have.
It can be challenging to find time to work out when you're busy! However, no matter how busy you are, with a little creativity you can still maximise the time you DO have to get in a killer workout.
So which of these tips will you try to schedule in your workouts this week? Let me know in the comments!
Now, onto the Captain's Log for yesterday! P.S. if you're just joining us, I'm on a 90 day journey to transform my health and fitness and I'm bringing you with me!
You can catch up on Days 1 through 25 by scrolling to the "Related Articles" section at the bottom of this post. And to stay up to date with how the journey's going (and get an amazing free bundle of resources to get you started on your fitness journey), click the banner below to get started. Let's do this together!
I want to put the workout down first because it was amazing. Yesterday was Sunday (and Valentine's Day), so it was technically a rest day.
My favourite way to spend a rest day is still by getting in some "active rest" - light activity outdoors while enjoying life, and my favourite outdoor activity is by far swimming at the beach.
On Sunday morning, Greg and I drove down to The Spit, a beautiful beach just minutes from where we live on the Gold Coast.
I mean ... how lucky am I?
We the whole time swimming hard against the tide. It felt easy - until I realised I had to stop for air because my heart was pounding!
I would quickly catch my breath and keep swimming. We did laps up and down the shore for at least about 45 minutes.
Swimming is a silent burner! Like, I was having SO much fun I didn't even notice I was working so hard until a few hours afterward, when my back and arms were on fire!
I would have kept going too, except I got stung by a jellyfish, which was kind of a buzzkill. Owie!
But also, kind of cool because I've never been stung by a jellyfish before, so now I know what that's like.
Side note: I don't recommend it. Like, Jesus.
If you're swimming at an Aussie beach in summer, wear a rashie.
It was still a great swim, and I can't wait to go again next weekend!
So by the time we got out of the water, lined up for the shower, dealt with the whole jellyfish situation, and towelled off it was brunch o'clock.
We made our way to our favourite cafe overlooking the Broadwater where I ordered ... you guessed it ... French toast. It's literally my favourite post-cardio meal.
To make it a little healthier I asked for maple syrup on the side and just dipped - you end up consuming way less sugar but still get the full taste!
Because I ate breakfast at lunchtime I didn't eat again until dinner. We were shopping for meat at our local butcher when we noticed these delicious looking beef parcel things.
They're like a slice of beef Wellington, I guess? They're a scroll with pastry, beef mince, cheese and spinach.
Greg baked them in the oven, we served them with a side salad and .... OMG.
Just ... heaven.
Also, they were massive. I couldn't eat all of mine, so Greg happily took half off my hands. Even then, I was still too full for dessert.
Well, that's a wrap on yesterday, folks. Let's huddle in for today's quick motivation message.
I'm going to share a piece of real talk that I heard from Mel Robbins. It stung at first, honestly, but then it changed my whole world (as truth bombs are wont to do).
Nobody is coming.
Nobody is coming to give you permission to turn your whole life upside down and change it so you can become the person you were born to be.
Nobody is coming to tell you when you're ready to change.
And even if they did: there would be little they could do.
Because the truth is? This is up to you.
Nobody can do the push ups for you.
YOU are the hero of your story.
All you have to do is choose yourself.
It is up to you to commit to this and be willing to show up for yourself, even on the days when it's hard.
It's up to you to forgive yourself and know when to rest, retreat, and self nurture.
It's up to you to love yourself and see yourself for the masterpiece you are.
This journey is up to you.
But the beautiful part of that is - you get to choose how it looks.
You're not just the hero of your own story - you're also the author.
How will you write the next chapter?
Until tomorrow, glam babies, keep shining bright.
- xo Rhi