Too Busy to Exercise

One of the biggest complaints I hear from people trying to lose weight is “I have no time.” It’s easy to make excuses. Everyone is busy. It takes planning, forethought and dedication to establish and keep a consistent workout schedule. When people ask me how I make time for exercise my response is: “How much does being fit mean to you? If it means a lot, you’ll make time.”

When I decided it was time to lose the weight I made the time.

One of the tools that has helped me is Google Calender. I have a workout schedule on my Google Calenders and each week I plan out my activities. There are certain things I don’t change: my swim days are usually Fridays and Sundays. All the other days can be switched around depending on my mood or what I’m training for.

How do I fit in exercise? I do the bulk of my workouts on the weekends because I have the time. Saturdays are perfect for long bike rides, intense gym sessions or fun hikes. On the weekends I get my workout done in the morning so I have the rest of the day to run errands, see friends, watch TV, hang out with Michael, do house chores, etc.

My weekday workouts are a little different. Now that I commute to work by bike it helps a LOT. Commuting to work on bike frees up my evenings. Back when I was training for the Hood to Coast Relay I was running during my lunch break. I loved doing that. I got my workout done in the middle of the day, had evenings free to do whatever I wanted and I got out of the office.

I take two rest days a week and almost always schedule them for a week day. Taking a Monday or Thursday off is a nice mental break and it’s two less days I have to hurry to the gym right after work.

Another suggestion I have is to go straight to the gym after work. If you aren’t a morning person (like me)  after work is the only option but going home first means I’m less likely to go back out once I’m home. If you somehow can’t find time to go to the gym, try working out at home. I suggest getting the Nike Training Club App. It’s free and has hundreds of workouts you can do in your living room.

Too busy to exercise? Try these:

1. Lunges. You can do walking lunges if you have space, or just alternate legs and stay in the same spot. You can totally do this in your living room while watching TV!

2. Squats.  Another one you can do while watching TV. It doesn’t require a lot of space to perform squats and it’s such an amazing workout.  Or if you are feeling brave, try:

3. Jump squats. Same as above, but explode into a jump as high as you can from the squat position.  Obviously not the best option if you have knee issues.

4. Pushups.  Pushups are challenging no matter how fit you are. If you’re already in decent shape, try doing a certain number of pushups in 60 seconds and then incorporate some of the above exercises in between sets of pushups. (Pushups are hard for me because I have wrist pain but I try to do as much as I can handle pain-free.)

5. Stairs. If you have stairs in your house that’s a free workout! Just run up and down the stairs. You’d be amazed at how hard it is. I’m lucky to live next to a track. I can run around the track and then incorporate running stairs too.

6. Burpees. These will kill you. They are so hard! But such a good workout for breaking a sweat. If you can do 3 sets of 10 you’re a rockstar.

You don’t have to be a gym rat, either, to get fit. All of the above suggestions are things you can do at home for FREE. Still not convinced that you have time to get fit? What about taking Michael’s suggestion of getting a bike trainer? It’s an excellent way to getting fit without buying a gym membership.

If you’ve discovered a way to simplify your life and fit exercise into your busy life, what tips can you share?

QUESTION: What excuses do you make to avoid getting healthy? How can you change it?


Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

6 thoughts on “Too Busy to Exercise”

  1. I don’t get the time thing either. Yes, there are some days where we just have so much going on that you can’t fit in exercise (or something else even). But every single day? A lot of people with the no time excuse do watch TV. That is the perfect time to do something. You can multitask with exercise and TV, which is a good thing!
    Lori recently posted..Running week 3

    1. I don’t get that either, Lori. A friend of mine used the “no time” excuse all the time and I would point out all the ways she could fit it in…walking at lunch time, getting up 30 minutes earlier before the kids get up and run on the treadmill or take the kids to a park and run around. In the end it’s each person’s decision whether they want to make the changes in their life, or just make excuses.

  2. I love this. It’s so easy to make excuses not to exercise after all these years! There’s always different reasons, but lately, cold & rainy weather has been getting me down pretty bad. “It’s raining out, it’s cold out. If I run outside, I might get cold or something, it’s not worth it.” I don’t know how many times I said that in my head during this month. But, I got this half marathon ahead so the training must go on! I basically just dress for wet & cold weather, and I tell myself “just do it! you know it will make you feel good!!” and off I go. Of course, I have a great support from my husband and we push each other.

    1. It is easy to make excuses. I made excuses when I was running a lot — it’s cold. It’s raining. It’s this and that. And I made excuses when I got injured. “I don’t like weight lifting” (actually tried it and loved it) or “I’m injured so why bother?” But I had to snap out of it.

      Glad you have your husband as a good support system!

  3. Ha, as I tell people that ask me how I’ve been, what have I been up to, I answer, work, sleep, workout. Pretty much that’s it. The time commitment for enough gym activity to equal weight loss is just that – a major commitment. I’ve chosen to give up a lot of my social activities. I work out 5 days a week, at least 3 weekdays and a weekend at the gym. Then I focus 1 full day on the weekend to a hike (which can be a 12 hour endeavor including driving time), or a long bike ride. Yes it gets tiring, but I feel so energized and happy with the changes I’m going through. You just have to make it a priority!

    1. You are SO RIGHT. It does take a huge commitment to lose weight and an even bigger one to maintain it. Some things suffer because of that–like lots of social things. I still find ways to fit in my friends and family but it takes planning. And I know some friends are annoyed by that. I rarely can do last minute functions…

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