7 Ways to Find Time for Fitness

Stop making excuses for why you don't workout
May 5, 2008

The reason it's so hard to get, and stay, in great shape is because we are all just so incredibly busy. We've got work, friends, family, etc.. Every single day there is so much to do -- so much going on! Obviously, those who are successful at transforming their health and maintaining good physical fitness have a lot less going on in their lives than we do, right?

Well, as much as we might like to believe a lack of time is what's preventing us from building a lean, strong, healthy, body, the truth is, that isn't the case. Believe it or not, people who are successful (and I mean remarkably successful in this endeavor) have exactly 24 hours in every day, just like you and I do.

So why does it so often feel like we don't have time to eat right and exercise? I've been forced to ponder that query often because it is by far and away the most popular excuse given for why so many people "can't" make a commitment to building a better body.

Some say "not having enough time to exercise" is simply a cop out for people who are lazy and don't really want to look or feel better. But, after having the opportunity to work with thousands of people over the years who really want to get in great shape and are some of the hardest working people I've ever met; I don't think "laziness" is the primary culprit here. I've discovered most people simply don't understand how to "create time," and, therefore, they've bought into the "perception" that they are too busy. (Remember, perception can become reality) Most people just don't understand how possible it is to find the time to invest in building a healthy, energized body.

The great news is, we all have time to make regular exercise and good nutrition part of our lifestyles. Here's seven surefire techniques you can use (starting today) to find time to get in, and stay in, great shape. These relatively simple (but so overlooked) tips for finding loads of time you didn't even know you had will allow you to fit in workouts on a regular basis, follow a precise nutrition program, and even free up time for active rest and more fun, which is good for the body and mind!

Before we get to the list, I want to remind you that to build a healthy body, you really don't need more than four hours of exercise a week. Think about it -- that's only 2.3% of the time you have to work with each week. That's not a huge investment of time by any stretch of the imagination! And, those who think following a proper nutrition program is time consuming have got it all wrong -- the fact is, "Eating right" doesn't cost you time, it saves you time.

Tip #1: Watch Less TV

 Although watching television can be a great way to unwind after a hectic day, laugh out loud, or even learn something new, it is, generally, the biggest time vampire in modern society. The average American spends 30 hours a week watching TV (and people say they can't even find 4 hours a week to exercise!). For the most part, most people are completely "indifferent" about what they watch on the boob tube. Most sitcoms don't present interesting situations nor good comedy, and the vast majority of news broadcasts are comprised of reports that are absolutely irrelevant to the majority of us.

What TV actually does is hypnotize you -- think about what you look like when you're sitting there on the couch watching TV: you're literally staring off into space, thinking about nothing, accomplishing nothing, and being nothing. Now, you don't have to give up television altogether to find extra time you can use to accomplish much more productive things, like building a fantastic physique. Just use discretion! Every time you turn on the TV, ask yourself, "Could this time be better spent doing something else?" Most of the time, the answer will be, "Yes!"

Tip #2: Plan Ahead

One of the best (and simplest) time-saving techniques I've discovered is to plan your day ahead of time. For example, make a "Major Outcome Activity" list each night. Write down the things you know you need to accomplish the next day which matter -- things that produce a "major outcome." Include working out, taking your supplements, and eating when you're supposed to on this list. Then, keep your list with you throughout the day and "check off" items as you complete them. If you have no idea what you're going to do tomorrow until tomorrow comes, you waste a lot of time reacting, adjusting, and trying to figure out what to do, when to do it, or how to do it. But, when you plan ahead, you can eliminate a lot of unnecessary problems, and you'll be amazed at how smoothly things go. Of course, you can't plan everything, but by scheduling your day, which takes only a few minutes, you can easily pick up an hour a day (if not more!).

Tip #3: Exercise Regularly

This is a great example of the "perceived problem" being the "ultimate solution." You see, those who believe they don't have time to exercise because they are so darn busy actually don't have time to not exercise! Let me explain…

It's a scientifically proven fact that the right amount of exercise gives you more energy! (Now remember, if you exercise too much, you can actually end up run down and burned out! A good, brief, intense weight-training workout should stimulate your muscles, not annihilate them!) When you have more energy, you get more things done, faster!

If you're anything like me, you've experienced days when you just can't seem to get anything done. Projects that should be taking you an hour to complete end up taking all day! Low energy is an epidemic in our society, but the good news is, exercise is part of the cure! Not only does exercise help give you more energy, it has also been scientifically proven to improve the quality of sleep, which means when you hit the sack, you'll have less difficulty arriving at destination dreamland, and you'll wake up with a renewed sense of power.

Believe me on this one, folks -- I've learned the hard way if you're trying to save time by skipping workouts, hoping you'll get more work done, you're making a colossal mistake! Do not, under any circumstances, skip workouts in an effort to save time. This "quasi solution" will backfire; I guarantee it! When you work out regularly, you'll not only have more energy but also greater self-confidence, a higher level of "certainty," and you'll just, quite simply, be more effective at everything you do! Investing three or four hours a week in rigorous exercise will yield "double dividends" -- you'll get "paid back" with an extra six to eight hours a week!

Tip #4: Consume a Nutritious Diet

Another excuse I hear frequently from people who can't get in shape is they don't have time to "eat right." The fact is, today, "eating right" is a lot easier than it used to be. Thanks to modern advances in nutritional science, a healthy, high-protein, nutrient-rich, low-fat meal can be consumed in the form of a meal-replacement shake (the better ones taste like milk shakes) or convenient nutrition bars (that taste almost as good as candy bars).

When you provide your body with a constant supply of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and strong, you have consistent energy throughout the day. (You can avoid those midafternoon slumps and "premature fatigue.") Once again, as is the case with regular exercise, adhering to a proper nutrition program saves time -- it doesn't rob you of time!

It really doesn't take a lot of time to follow a proper bodybuilding nutrition program; in fact, I probably spend less time each day preparing and consuming my five or six healthy, nutrient-rich meals than millions of people do sitting around in restaurants waiting to be served just one high-calorie, low-nutrient meal. (By the way, if you eat out at restaurants more than a couple times a week, there's a great place to eliminate some "mega empty time" and convert it to "power time," which you can put to good use!)

Tip #5: Eliminate Mindless Chat

Pressed for time? Well, get off the phone! In any given day, most people blow at least an hour on irrelevant phone chitchat. This is especially true in the business world. I will do almost anything to avoid phone conversations -- I do the vast majority of my business communication with faxes and memos. Through this strategy, I'm able to get right to the point. You just put it down on paper and ink, and it's done.

Personal phone conversations (like most business calls) are almost as bad as TV -- they're just something most people do to stay comfortable -- to stay occupied or feel busy.

If you insist on spending time on the phone, do so only while you walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike -- at least you'll be accomplishing something productive. Alternatively, keep a timer by your phone and set it for five minutes. When the timer goes off, your call time is over. It's simple but remarkably effective. Try it.

Oh… and for those of you who think your relatives and friends "need" you to call them every day to "stay in touch," remember this -- nothing has more impact than sincere, appreciative, written words. One card or letter a week and one phone call will be significantly more appreciated and have more impact than "daily calls." (Caution: Mothers excluded -- you talk to your mom whenever she wants.)

Tip #6: Have a Sense of Urgency

Some people do things so slowly it drives me crazy. If they just picked up the pace a bit (or a lot) and pushed themselves -- if they approached each task with a sense of urgency, they would be remarkably more efficient at everything and could free up at least an hour a day.

An analogy you might be able to relate to is the way football teams perform the last two minutes of the first half (after the two-minute warning) or at the end of a game. All of a sudden, everything becomes "ultra urgent," and the next thing you know, they're moving up and down the field -- piling up yardage and points at a rate significantly greater than what they did the rest of the game. (That's the "pace" you should keep all day!)

Try approaching your tasks in the business world (or in school or at home) with a sense of urgency -- with an "I must get it done as fast and efficiently as possible" attitude -- and you'll storm through projects with greater expediency than you thought possible! Heck… if you apply this principle, you might just get a promotion at work, or if you own your own business, it's a surefire formula for increasing profits.

Tip #7: Don't Get Sick

Okay, now I'm just being completely unrealistic, right? Not hardly. The fact is, if you won't make the time to be well, you'll be forced to make the time to be sick.

By incorporating exercise, proper nutrition, and the regular use of supplements into your lifestyle, you can significantly improve your health. Applying this "tip" has allowed me to not miss a day of work for an illness-related reason (knock on wood) in eight years, which is good because I don't have time to get sick.

If you try to "cut corners" in any of these areas, in hopes of freeing up time, your efforts will backfire, and you'll find yourself down for the count. Nothing is more counterproductive than spending two days in bed, sick with the flu or some avoidable, sub-clinical virus that's making its way around the office or gym.

Conclusion

As you can clearly see, the all-too-common excuse, "I don't have time to get in shape right now…" is simply a misperception, not a reality. What thousands of people have discovered is that by being very conscious about how they spend their time, they're able to get more done, faster; look and feel better; and even enjoy life more! And, as an added bonus, they don't have to waste time feeling guilty or making excuses for why they don't work out and eat right -- that, in and of itself, could free up a few hours a week for some folks.

All right, now you know what to do to find time -- apply these tips, and you'll be amazed how much they can change your life for the better.

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