As a Pilates Instructor here in Northern Virginia, the number one excuse I hear for why someone doesn’t exercise or make their health and fitness a priority is TIME. “I want to_______ (exercise, eat better, etc) but I just don’t have the time.”  I am going to share some tried and true strategies for finding time to exercise so you can create a fitness habit and stick to it!

I know in many ways this pandemic has opened up time in our day that was once taken up with a long commute, kids’ activities, travel, or maybe hours just roaming the aisles at Target. So that is time that has now been added into our day.  It has also taken time away from us in a big way. Instead of dropping the kids off at school, daycare, or camp and heading off to work or the freedom of Target, you now have the responsibility of not only educating and entertaining them but often doing those things while working from home at the same time.

If this pandemic has taught me anything, it is that more free time doesn’t necessarily mean you will get any more done.  Conversely, when time is scarce, the importance of prioritizing what is truly important and serves me and my family is paramount. Your health and fitness are the number one why you can not only serve yourself but also your family. Having a fitness habit makes it easier to prioritize your fitness and find the time!

When we have big blocks of unscheduled time we tend to waste it. Either by mindlessly scrolling through social media, putting stuff in multiple shopping carts, or watching TV. Some of that in our lives is fine, maybe even good for us, but it will not bring you any closer to reaching your goals.

The easiest way to combat that is by scheduling everything in your calendar that you need/want to get done on a specific day. I use my phone’s calendar and block off time for specific activities: working out, teaching, kids activities, admin time, filming for my members, trips to the store, meals, phone calls, dog walks…its all in the calendar.

I am giving you a challenge: For one week, I want you to keep a diary/schedule of everything in your day down to 15 or 30-minute blocks. This will show you how much time you typically have each week. This will allow you to accurately plan your week and find time for things you might have previously believed you didn’t have time. It might seem a little OCD but it works and it is absolutely freeing.

What this exercise showed me is that I have more time than I thought I did and empowered me to manage it better. It might show you something similar, but it also might show you the opposite. If you truly have no time for the things that you want to be doing (i.e. taking your health and fitness more seriously) maybe this exercise will give you pause and help you to justify eliminating some things from your life that aren’t serving you.

As your accountability partner, I am here to help you make and reach your goals! This is not a passive activity, you have to do the work. I am here to support, guide, and challenge but your success and failure are totally up to you so be honest. Trust me when I say this will be a very eyeopening exercise and I can’t wait to hear how it goes.

 More Personal Takeaways:

  • I realized that I have a tendency to vastly over or underestimate how long something actually takes me. For instance, I usually only run for about 45 minutes. However, it takes me a good 15 minutes to wake-up in the morning and be ready to run and then 15 minutes to cool down after my run. So my 45-minute run actually takes more like 1 hour and 15 minutes. This is why it always seems like I am rushing around in the morning trying to get the kids organized and myself into the studio. I either need to get up a little earlier or cut down my warm-up/cool-down time.
  • I can get a fantastic Pilates session in only 20-30 minutes. So I actually do have time to workout. Taking the dog for a mile walk seems like it takes a long time but really its only 20 minutes roundtrip and we are both happier for it.
  • I have also realized that my afternoons are usually pretty open. I am done teaching most days by noon and my kids are usually done with school work around the same time. The afternoon had been wasted on screens but now I realized that we have big blocks of time for bike rides, phone calls to catch up with friends/family, movement sessions for mom or yes even TV and mindless internet scrolling if I am so inclined.