Exercise out is pretty simple. Whittled down to basics, it’s just any activity that burns calories and builds muscle. And sure, you can make it harder if you want, by giving it more structure, creating a schedule, setting goals and competing with others, but ultimately, all exercise really is, is movement. Simple. Similarly, finding time for exercise is as uncomplicated as making the time. But again, you can always over-complicate it by trying to determine where it will fit best in your schedule, when you’ll have the most energy for it or what the ideal future start date will be, and so on, but the main idea is still this: Just stop what you’re doing and start working out.
Making Time for Working Out
I’m 29 years old. I’ve gone through plenty of periods in my life in which I struggled to find the time for working out, and I’ve gone through others in which it was no problem at all. Currently, I’m on a good streak. I find that in times when I’ve succeeded at this, including right now, it’s because I’m using my silver bullet to situations that are of the “but I don’t have time/don’t feel like it/can’t do that” variety.
My silver bullet is a mantra I repeat to myself when my mind starts to fill with all the reasons why I should skip a workout. It goes like this: “Make it a priority. Have a plan. It’s simple.”
For me, that three-part reminder tears down all my excuses and puts me in motion. I am in charge of making my own priorities; I don’t want to let the universe decide those for me. And just like with anything and everything else in life, if being healthy is important to you, you’ll find a way to do it; if it’s not, you’ll stick to your excuses.
I try to always have a plan — even if my plan is that there is no plan. Some experts recommend working out at the same time, no matter what, to make a habit out of, well, making the time. Others suggest scheduling workouts, not necessarily at the same time, so you leave enough time for them in your day. Personally, neither philosophy works for me. Or rather, I should say neither works for me 100 percent of the time.
Some days I miss my scheduled window of opportunity for my morning run, but I don’t allow myself to say, “Well, I missed my chance. Better luck tomorrow.” Instead, I develop a new plan. Maybe it means moving my morning run to the evening, doing HIIT training instead, or just taking the longest possible route as I walk around the grocery store. But I have a plan.
Most importantly, I remind myself: It’s simple. When I get hung up on the fact that the day’s schedule, or work, or exhaustion, is making my plans for circuit training or an hour long run look like less of a reality, I simply redefine working out.
If I can’t do 30 minutes, I can still do 10. If I don’t have the time to go for a six-mile run, I still have time for a six-minute walk around the block. And even if I can’t crank out 24 reps of a certain maneuver, I can still do 12. Or five. Or one.
I have the time. It’s simple.
Image via Lululemon Athletica on Flickr