How many times have you found yourself really motivated to get into shape only to find that you couldn’t find a time to drive out to the gym and dedicate an hour to exercising?
Work, education, taking care of our families, and spending time with friends or hobbies quickly eats up our day. Limited time decreases the chance that you will make exercise a regular habit. If something gets in the way during the hour or two-hour window that you give yourself during the day, you might have to skip your time at the gym entirely and unravel the progress you have done to build this habit.
All it takes to find time for exercise is extra preparation. This post explains how to find time to exercise, as well as how to find a time that will propel you closer to your fitness goals.
Is There a Best Time to Exercise?
Before you start to rearrange your time to workout, think about when you want to fit your gym time in. Some people prefer to run first thing in the morning, while others opt for a session at the gym in the final hours of the day. There is a common fitness myth that says morning is the best time to exercise. But is there a better or worse time to head to the gym?
The answer lies in your goals for exercising. If you want to lose weight, experts say that you should opt for morning exercises. Our body burns more calories when we exercise in the morning than when we do in the evening. Research also suggests that if you want to form a habit, you will increase your chances of habit formation with morning routines. All workouts release endorphins and boost your mood for the next few hours; if you want to be a little more cheery during your morning commute, it’s best to workout before you leave for work.
Morning workouts, however, require more stretching to warm the body up. Our bodies need time to get back into motion after we slept. If you are easing back into workouts after an injury, it may be best to hold off your workout until the afternoon. Even a few hours of walking or moving can naturally warm the body up more and prepare the muscles for a workout. Studies suggest that afternoon workouts are more enjoyable, partially due to the fact that our bodies are more prepared for physical activity. There is less effort required to do the same amount of work that you would achieve with a morning workout. If you are really resisting the idea of getting back to the gym, it might be a good idea to start with afternoon workouts.
You unfortunately cannot have more than 24 hours in a day, but you can rearrange your time and use these tips to make some more room in your schedule for consistent exercise.
Assess Your Schedule
Not having enough time to exercise is a valid excuse until you see how much time is spent procrastinating or commuting. If you want to rearrange your schedule, do a thorough assessment and documentation of how you are spending your days. Once you physically see how you’re spending your day, you will have a better idea of how you can adjust your schedule to add in time at the gym.
Once you’ve assessed your schedule, find a time where you can replace downtime with exercising, or multitask. If you normally sit at your desk for your lunch break, head to a fitness class and enjoy a snack afterward. (Many gyms offer quick 45-minute classes specifically for people on their lunch break.) Short commutes can turn into cardio exercises by replacing your car with a bike or running. Catch up with friends at the gym rather than at the bar. Find ways where you can sneak a workout into your everyday routine, and soon enough it will be a habit.
Find a Workout You Love
We naturally make time for things that we enjoy and procrastinate things that could cause pain or anxiety. Find a workout that you love and soon enough you’ll be making excuses to go to the workout rather than making excuses to get out of it. If a local gym has a variety of different fitness classes, make an appointment at each one, even if it’s out of your comfort zone. At some point during this week, you’ll find yourself wishing you were at a specific class or with a specific instruction. Stick to that class and start to go regularly.
Want a workout that will keep your body burning extra calories for the rest of the day? Try HIIT. High intensity interval training doesn’t have to last more than 30-45 minutes (some HIIT routines are designed for a four-minute workout,) but this workout can be just as effective as 60 minutes of cardio. Learn more about HIIT on our recent blog post.
Choose a Convenient Gym
Before you sign up with a gym, do a test drive and take a tour of the facilities. Even if a gym has a great deal, if it’s out of the way, you will need more time in the day to head to the gym. A gym on the way to work, or in the neighborhood where you work, is worth the extra investment. If you have children, consider a gym that has child care facilities as well. Trying to find a last-minute sitter is just one more excuse to keep you from heading to the gym.
Get in The Habit with a Regular Class or Trainer
You are more likely to go somewhere on time if you have an appointment or involve another person in your workout. Cancelling last minute is less appealing when you’ve made an appointment with a personal trainer and could potentially be throwing money out the window by not showing up. Schedule a class and create regular appointments for extra motivation to get to the gym or studio.