In my health coaching world, I get to talk with people from all walks of life about their health, fitness, and weight loss goals. Whether their goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, stick to a diet plan or program, improve their cardiovascular health, or simply to maintain their current fitness level they all have one common enemy---TIME.
For most of us, the #1 challenge in the quest to stay in shape and/or lose weight is not exercising itself but being able to actually fit an exercise program into our busy schedules.
So how do you do it? How do you balance the demands of family, career, important errands, relationships, organizational responsibilities, and working out? Here are five keys that will help you fit a consistent workout plan into your already hectic life.
Commit to a specific schedule When you fail to plan you plan to fail. Don’t try to haphazardly fit your workouts into your schedule without any rhyme or reason. Don’t think you’re guilty? If you’ve ever told yourself “I’ll workout as soon as I get some time”,you were in direct violation of this key principle.
To set yourself up for success, you will need to take the time to literally write your workouts into your weekly schedule. To be effective, you will want to be following your exercise program at least 3 days per week. Anything less is kidding yourself.
Therefore, right during all your appointments, “to-do” lists, etc., should be a written plan for your weekly workout routine, so you will never be in the dark as to when you committed to yourself to go.
Utilize the weekend Take advantage of the fact that it only takes 3-5 days per week to put together an effective, results- producing workout regime. One trick to help you pull it all off is to exercise on the weekends. The benefit to this action is your schedule is more flexible and totally under your control during this time.
What it also means is that when the hectic weekdays roll back around, you will only be responsible for working out 1-3 days during the work week.
Keep your workouts as a high priority One of the biggest mistakes that even many people who have scheduled a workout program into their schedule make is allowing it to be bumped off their schedule too easily.
Although things will occasionally come up that will cause you to have to reschedule the workout you had planned, you must be vigilant in making sure that only the most important emergencies are allowed to temporarily take you off your plan.
If one of those important emergencies does happen and you can’t make it to your workout, reschedule with yourself to make it up on the next possible day you are available. If your own health, fitness, and efforts to lose weight are not a priority to you, they certainly won’t be so to anyone else.
Enroll others in your goals Don’t go at this alone. Let the important people in your life know what you are up to. Your spouse or love interest, parents, children, co-workers, and close friends will often pitch in and help you to meet your fitness or weight loss commitment to yourself if you make them aware and ask for their support.
Leverage these relationships to delegate some of your normal responsibilities or even allow you to shift appointments that you have with them as you restructure your schedule for your workout. If any of them are into exercise or trying to lose weight themselves, don’t hesitate to form a buddy system with them as you move forward with your program.
Don’t beat yourself up No matter who you are, there will be times in your workout program you just aren’t able to keep it up as you would like due to outside demands. Don’t be too tough on yourself when that happens.
Remember, it is what you do consistently over a long period of time, not what you do in spurts, that truly counts. Just make sure that you get back on the horse full force as soon as you can and continue to press forward, doing your best to avoid slacking off again.
No matter what goals you have for health, fitness, or weight loss, you CAN fit an effective exercise program into that hectic schedule of yours and be amazingly successful at getting the exact results that you want!
Mike Thompson is a health coach and writes about nutrition and amazing aging. He lives in Richmond Hill, is certified in exercise nutrition and founder of SelfCare Sustained. Reach him at MikeThompson@SelfCareSustained. com.