Pain Free Working

How to Make Time for Fitness

Between work, family commitments, and a never-ending to-do list, it can feel nearly impossible to squeeze in a workout.  

In fact, a staggering 80% of Americans fall short of the recommended physical activity by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

But, there’s a silver lining in this cloud of busyness. With a bit of time management and creative thinking, you can make exercise an integral part of your daily routine and achieve your fitness goals!

We’ll share with you some strategies that personal trainers swear by to help you get fit, no matter how packed your schedule may be. So, put on your workout clothes, lace up your running shoes, and let’s get started!

How to Exercise With a 9-5 Job

Create a Workout Plan

How to Make Time for Fitness - Workout Plan

A structured workout routine can help you make the most of your available time. Design and schedule an exercise routine for the week or month that you can stick to and gradually increase the intensity as you go.

Then, keep a visual reminder to help you stay on track. Use your phone’s calendar or post it on your fridge. The key is to be committed and avoid distractions once your workout time arrives. Treat exercise with the same importance as any other task.

And don’t forget to only set realistic goals. Whether it’s weight loss, muscle gain, or increased endurance, having clear and achievable objectives will keep you motivated.

Do a Morning Workout Boost

How to Make Time for Fitness - Morning Workout

One of the best ways to ensure you make time for exercise when you have a busy day ahead is to tackle it first thing in the morning. Corey Calliet, a celebrity trainer and body transformation specialist, suggests setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier to fit exercise into your schedule.

This early morning effort not only helps you stick to your fitness routine but also gives your metabolism a kickstart. Also, working out on a nearly empty stomach in the morning can help break down stored fats, according to Amoila Cesar, Beachbody super trainer and NBA private strength coach. 

If you’re not a morning person, though, find a time that works best for you. If lunch hour or nighttime gives you more leeway to do some moderate physical activity, go for it and be consistent with it.

Turn Work or Chores Into a Fitness Session

How to Make Time for Fitness - Throughout the Day

No time for the gym? No problem! Make every movement count by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away to encourage walking, or even running or biking to work if you live nearby.

Embrace the “move more, sit less” mantra, so instead of idly sitting through your lunch break, taking a conference call, or waiting at the post office, make it an active one. Do some standing triceps kickbacks or calf raises to get extra resistance training in.

If you have kids, involve them in your fitness journey. Get some fresh air and walk with your baby in tow in a jogging stroller, run circles around the hockey rink as they play, or participate in activities while they’re at the ballet studio for practice.

For those evenings in front of the TV, engage in some light exercises like jumping jacks, squats, or lunges. Every small effort adds up, so get creative in making time for exercise within your busy daily routine.

Optimize Shorter, More Effective Workouts

How to Make Time for Fitness - Optimize Workout

Don’t believe that you need hours in the gym to see results. Short, intense workouts, like HIIT exercises, can provide more fat-loss benefits than other workouts. Research shows that HIIT workouts can burn an average of 15 calories per minute. For the best results, make every set count by pushing yourself a little further without sacrificing form.

Celebrity fitness guru Michael George suggests hopping on a treadmill holding a three- to five-pound dumbbell in each hand and setting the speed to a brisk walk. Then do some triceps extensions or shoulder presses for heart-pumping cardio and weight training.

Also, variety keeps things exciting and your body challenged so try different forms of exercise like jump rope, body-transforming push-ups, sit-ups, ab crunches, dumbbell curls, and more.

Equip Yourself for Success

How to Make Time for Fitness - Equip

Have your gym bag packed and ready with workout clothes and sneakers. This way, you’re always prepared to seize any opportunity for a workout that arises during the day. Invest in some basic fitness equipment like dumbbells, exercise tubing, or a stability ball. Having these tools at your disposal means you can get a great workout in the comfort of your home, saving travel time to the gym. 

And if you want to take it up a notch, consider enrolling in a fitness program led by a personal trainer. Their expertise can guide you in achieving your fitness goals efficiently whether it’s an amazing upper-body challenge or a full-body transformation.

Get Enough Nutrients and Sleep

How to Make Time for Fitness - Nutrients and Sleep

Don’t forget that what you eat plays a significant role in your fitness journey. When eating lunch or breakfast, fuel your body with the right nutrients such as whole foods, seasonal fruits, and vegetables. Stock up on healthy snacks, too, like a protein-packed trail mix with almonds. And remember to stay hydrated.

And of course, aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Adequate rest allows your body to recover and your muscles to regenerate, ultimately boosting your performance during exercise.

Keep Your Mindest in Check

How to Make Time for Fitness - Mindset

Staying motivated can be challenging, so it’s essential to foster discipline and consistency. Instead of thinking of exercise as a chore, reframe it as something enjoyable. Curate an upbeat playlist that gets you pumped up, invest in new gym clothes or tennis shoes you wouldn’t want to waste, or find a workout buddy or exercise with a friend or family member to keep things fun and hold you accountable to your fitness goals

In the end, discipline sets the biggest difference, helping you stick to your workout routine through thick and thin. Remind yourself of your main objective to stay focused, even when faced with unexpected commitments.

How Can I Exercise When I Work 12 Hours a Day?

It might feel like the only exercise you get during a 12-hour grind is running late for meetings. But getting exercise in this hectic schedule is definitely doable. 

One secret—embrace the power of micro-workouts. Sneak in some squats during a bathroom quick break, do a simple stretching routine at your desk, or use your lunch break for a brisk walk.

Choose workouts that pack a punch in a short time. Think high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or quick bodyweight exercises. You don’t need a gym here, your living room or even your office space will do.

Got a social time or planning a meet-up? Instead of meeting friends for coffee, meet for a hike or a yoga class. This way, you get quality time and your workout fix simultaneously.

Take full advantage of your weekends, too. Schedule longer workouts on Saturday and Sunday and make it fun. Go hiking, join a sports league, or dance like nobody’s watching.

With the right strategies, you can make time for exercise and experience the many physical and mental benefits it offers.

How Do You Make Time for Fitness When You Don’t Have Any Time?

So, you’re worried about finding time? As fitness guru Richard Simmons points out, we often let excuses like “no time” or fear hold us back. 

But have you considered what happens when you don’t exercise? Studies upon studies have shown what a sedentary lifestyle leads to—high blood pressure, obesity, certain types of cancer, increased feelings of depression and anxiety, and the risk of premature death, among others.

Think about it—time spent on exercise now might save you oodles of time (and money!) on doctor visits and medications down the road. Imagine all the hikes, beach days, and energetic moments with loved ones you’d be missing if you were not in good health. That’s a real cost of not exercising.

So, here’s the trick: reframe your thinking. Exercise isn’t a chore but an investment in your future self. Make the time for it.

Determined now to squeeze in more exercise in your busy schedule? You can make it happen. Start to schedule your workouts like important appointments, even if it’s just a quick 15-minute dance party in your living room. 

How Do I Make Time at the Gym After Work?

We know—post-work gym is a real struggle. Luckily, there are methods to make time for exercise at the gym. This includes choosing a gym close to your workplace or home. The less time you spend commuting, the less likely you’ll bail out and the more you have to actually work out.

Pack your gym bag in the morning and put on your workout clothes before stepping out of the office. When you’re ready to roll, you’re less likely to be tempted by the siren call of your cozy couch or Netflix.

Also, consider a gym buddy. When someone else is waiting for you, it’s harder to flake out. Plus, a workout partner can make exercising more fun and motivate you.

And if all else fails, try a bit of self-bribery. Promise yourself a treat, maybe your favorite post-workout smoothie or a Netflix binge, as a reward for hitting the gym this week.

Final Note

No matter how busy your life gets, remember that your health and well-being are worth it. Don’t let your busy schedule hold you back. Make fitness a priority, just like any other commitment in your life.

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.