When it comes to finding motivation to get up off the couch and improve your fitness level, sometimes it takes more than willpower alone to make it happen.
‘I’m too busy and I can’t find the time.‘
This is the number one excuse I hear for not exercising and, you may find it hard to believe, but this was also my go-to excuse after having triplets. It was an excuse that really worked because who would ever disagree? My four young kids sure do take up a lot of time.
And this ‘I’m too busy…‘ excuse sounds so much better and less embarrassing than the truth: ‘I’m just too tired and I don’t have the motivation’.
The reality is that we can all make time to add activity into our life. All we need to do is realize that excuses will only hurt us in the long term. Sometimes it takes a health scare or an embarrassing moment to force us to address the issue but why wait for that to happen before improving your life?
My changing moment was being asked to leave a steam room at the spa and being lectured in front of a full crowd on how heat could harm my unborn child. Sounds awful, right? The real problem was that my babies were five months old already. Talk about a cringe worthy moment! This was all the motivation I needed to get my body and fitness back on track.
3 ways to squeeze in a workout into your day:
1. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier
This may seem like an obvious tip but it definitely takes motivation not to hit the snooze button and lie back down!
- My next piece of advice may seem crazy but it worked for me: for the first few weeks wear a loose fitting workout kit to bed or place your workout outfit with your tennis shoes right next to your bed. When the alarm starts buzzing, put on your socks and shoes and get to it.
- Working out at home or close to home is the best way to start out because it removes any excuses about joining a gym or having to travel anywhere. Sure, jogging along a beach at dawn may sound nice but, in reality, you probably need to get your workout done and dusted as quickly as possible.
- As your body gets used to the time adjustment, add an extra 10 minutes so that you can actually comb your hair and brush your teeth before you go!
2. Pack your workout clothes and take them to work.
If you are not a morning person then it’s time for Plan B: the lunchtime power-walk. Schedule it in like you would a dentist or your hair salon appointment. It’s funny that we wouldn’t dream of not getting our hair cut but taking care of our health often gets overlooked or sidelined.
- Asking a co-worker to join you will give you the extra motivation not to skip a session.
3. Split your workout into smaller segments.
If finding a full 30 minutes is too difficult, then try to do three or more mini workouts. It’s fine to accumulate your workout throughout your day.
- This tip works especially well for stay-at-home-moms with young children because occupying a child for 10 minutes while you jump around and squeeze in a workout is a realistic goal.
- If you work in an office and sit down all day, try taking a brief 10 minutes to stretch out or walk around the office, it may improve your energy level and boost your concentration.
Making an activity part of your lifestyle instead of a chore makes results easier to achieve. You might be amazed at how quickly small changes really do add up. Trust me, I’ve tried these and they worked for me. When I first got back into exercise, I sometimes went with tip one and other days I chose tip two or three, but I made sure to aim for at least 30 minutes every day and I began feeling more active, and consequently happier, in no time.
Once I decided to ditch my excuses and made time in my day to exercise, I was able to quickly progress to a regular spinning class and being active became just something I did rather than something I had to think about. People even started complementing me on all the extra energy I seemed to have.
So, no excuses - everybody can find time to exercise.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.