No Time for Exercise?

We’re all busy.

It’s kind of a fact of life these days. Between kids, jobs, spouses, parents (in some cases), houses, bills, kid activities, church, community activities—the list could go on and on—it’s really hard to find time to exercise. But just because we’re all busy, our workouts don’t have to become non-existent. And since we get such great physical and mental returns on any time invested in exercising, it’s so important that we make it a priority amongst all our other priorities.

Here are some ideas to help you cross “Exercise” off your daily to-do list:

Prepare the night before. Set out your clothes, shoes, water bottle, or anything else you’ll need. If you’re going to the gym, make sure there’s gas in the car. Preparation alleviates a lot of potential “reasons” for not working out.
Wear your workout clothes (except to work, of course). I put on my workout clothes first thing in the morning because it not only reminds me to exercise, but on those crazy busy days I’m ready to take advantage of every free minute to do a little something. Even a few minutes here and there throughout the day can add up to some great workout time: run up and down the stairs, do walking lunges, walk instead of drive, throw in a few pushups or burpees, do squats while you’re on the phone, do crunches while you tickle your baby’s toes…get creative!
• Don’t get stuck in a rut by doing the same thing over and over again—try something new. Variety results in not only stronger muscles (and more calories burned), but a more enjoyable workout too!
Plan. Have a plan A. And a plan B. And some days you might even need a plan Z. Make a list of workouts so when you’re in a time crunch, you don’t have to think about what to do.
Be flexible. Constant change is the name of the game at our house. In fact, often the only constant in our life is change. Do the best you can, when you can, and give yourself a pat on the back for doing so.
Reward yourself. Hey, it works for kids, so why not for us too? Instead of a chore chart, make an exercise chart. You can even use some cute stickers. ☺ And make the reward so fabulous you’ll want to exercise regularly to earn it!
Trade with a spouse or friend. Not only will you get your workout in, but you’ll be helping someone else do the same.
Include the kids. Jump rope, play ball, run around the block, play hopscotch, teach them your favorite exercises, and have them do the same for you. For infants and toddlers, put them in the stroller and let them become part of your workout, or even extra weight to lift! Be an example of the importance of exercise.

When you make the time to exercise regularly, you’ll be happier—and more productive—in all the areas of your life.

I promise! ☺


90 Comments

  1. Jennifer Leach - March 28, 2014

    Thanks Heidi! I go to my box twice a week which has a no host room for kiddos so mine can play away and watch me from a safe distance. I run a few times a week and have a few circuit training dvds, but if I did the last and added lunges to the back of the house a few times a day and all those extras I could get some add in burn. I need reminders every day!

  2. Stephanie - March 28, 2014

    This came out at the perfect time for me. I have been struggling with myself ALL week. I have a 5K tomorrow and worked out in the early part of the week. I kept putting it off, putting it off…UNTIL last night I made a plan for TODAY!

    The plan: put on my workout clothes first thing, get everyone ready and out the door, do 10 min. on our treadmill 1 min. walk/ 1 min. run, put laundry away, and repeat workout.

    Now I feel GREAT!!! Heidi, you are such a wonderful and incredible role model of a woman! Thanks for sharing your tips, tricks and life with us!

  3. Roxanne Tomkinson - September 10, 2013

    Love the idea of putting workout clothes on in the morning so it reminds you to get the workout done:)

  4. Candice Paumier - September 9, 2013

    I usually go to an all women’s bootcamp class but a few days during the week I can’t go because my husband leaves for work super early. On those days I pop into a stroller class so I can bring my kid. I love that my daughter gets a chance to interact with other kids, I get some mom sanity and my daughter gets to see good healthy exercise habits.

  5. Shanon Taylor - September 4, 2013

    I get strange looks from my husband but I do squats while drying my hair. I change up from regular squats to sumo squats on alternating days. My trainer gave me a high five for creativity. It works and it adds up!

  6. Annette - August 26, 2013

    I’m raising my 19 month old grandaughter and finding time to exercise has been challenging but I have put my mind to it and I know I can do this, I need to make time for me even if that means exercising at 5am before she wakes for the day! Just started Chris’ Bootcamp workout DVD this morning! Man, I feel great already! Sore, but great! I took a pic before starting so I can track my progress (ugh!) Now I need to read the book Choose More Lose More ! Thank you guys for the inspiration! Now… off for my morning walk (now that its finally cooled off here a bit in Vegas and we can walk in the mornings again) :)

  7. Carla - August 9, 2013

    Most days I have plenty of time. My problem is back and hip pain that keeps me from moving most days.

  8. Cindy Underwood - August 9, 2013

    I appreciate the motivation. I work a full and part time job and am exhausted all the time. Here’s hoping, that despite buring the candle at both ends, if I can get moving it won’t all wear me down so bad.

  9. Eve devost bachand - August 9, 2013

    Super truc! Est-ce qu’on peut en evoir d’ autres svp? Je le fait maintenant tous les jours!

  10. Amy Leary - August 9, 2013

    These are great tips. When I started working for at my current job. My boss was an angel and encouraged me to take time out of my day to work out. I could barley do the eliptical for 5 minutes as I was about 256 lbs. After that she encouraged me to take classes and being the biggest person in the class I didn’t care, I had my boss right besides me chearing me on. I love fitness now! :)

  11. Casey - August 9, 2013

    You guys make me wantto make myself a better version of myself, when I first saw you was on the show and I immediately felt a connection, I felt that you really cared for peoples healths, and I only wanted better for myself after that!

  12. Laura Stidham - August 9, 2013

    Hi Heidi I was just wondering if you could help me try different exercises. I am new and never really exercised much. So having a hard time figuring out what to do.

  13. Isabelle - August 9, 2013

    Heidi, what do you think of the PACE workout for busy Moms?

  14. Isabelle - August 9, 2013

    Yes it is so hard! I have 4 kids, a husband gone 20 days a month, little one is not in school yet and I always feel exhausted! But I like it, can’t wait for me time and get back to an exercise routine. Exercise makes me feel soo good, why don’t I go?

  15. Megan - August 9, 2013

    I am so glad you shared this! I work full-time so when I get home and only have a couple hours to see my baby I feel guilty leaving her to work-out. It is great that you talked about including the kids. I love to go on runs and take my daughter in the jogging stroller.

  16. Tammy Pinkard - August 9, 2013

    I am lucky that the hospital that I work at offers its employee a free gym to use, but after working 12 hours the last thing on my mind was often working out. I knew I needed to, but would make excuses day in and day out, finally I started I told myself 10 minutes and then I could go home, well what do you know I got on the treadmill and next thing you know I did 30 minutes. I am feeling better and better, somedays it is still hard, but I just keep going.

  17. LisaW68 - August 9, 2013

    I try to do put on workout clothes when I’m not going to work. If I can’t workout per say then I try to at least walk a lot or dance on the Wii with my daughter

  18. Amy - August 9, 2013

    Thank you for all the great ideas..you are the best

  19. Naomi Blue - August 8, 2013

    Wow I totally admire you for that! ;) But I just can’t imagine me with small kid in our gym, everybody would look at me that I’m just a freak, you know. Maybe I should start a whole new trend for mothers! I just have to try it once at least, and I’ll see :)

  20. sandra - August 8, 2013

    For me it’s no option, to say I don’t have the time to exercise! If people have time to read a book, go shopping and time to stay lazy on the couch then in my opinion they have all the time in the world to do some exercise. I just did mine early in the morning, what is. Better way to start your day with a fresh start! Let’s go for it

  21. Alison McDowell - August 8, 2013

    Had to come up with alot of “inventive” ways to workout where i am. i have a small room that i have made enough space to have a quick workout. have an extension cord for working on “pull ups”, and of course duct tape around a rock with duct tape handle for a kettlebell (dont laugh…works great ;)) I wanted to stop making excuses and had to find ways to get around all of them and this was the start. loving it. thanks for all the motivation.

  22. holly allen - August 8, 2013

    Thank you for this I have 2 kids I can def do this

  23. Patti - August 8, 2013

    When I made my health a priority I seemed to magically find the time! It’s all about priorities!

  24. Deana - August 8, 2013

    As a mother of a 2 year old, it took me a while to realize that when I take care of myself, I can’t take better care of my baby. Love your advice and your recipes.

  25. MICHELLE GRIETZER - August 8, 2013

    love u heidi! your fitness and nutrition tips are so helpful to me and my staying healthy and acheiving my goals!

  26. sharon mcnamee - August 8, 2013

    I always do much better when I have a plan – then Im always looking for the opportunity to implement it. Lots of good tips!

  27. Lisa L. - August 8, 2013

    I think this is one of my top blog posts. Always great to get tips.

  28. Bekkiwagner - August 8, 2013

    I am printing this out and posting to my fridge, bathroom mirror and tv….

  29. Jenny Schauer - August 8, 2013

    Thank you Heidi! I’m a young mother of two . I find it so hard to get a workout in juggling life and staying busy being a stay at home mom to our Ireland rose who is 11/2 years old . I watched you’re video on exercises us moms can do at home and it has helped me lose extra. Pounds and the best thing yet ? Ireland loves to try and workout with me. Haha . Thank you for helping so many people in this crazy world .

  30. Kristen - August 8, 2013

    Loves these tips. Can’t wait to try some of these out!!!!

  31. Stephanie Rodriguez - August 8, 2013

    Great! Need to prepare.

  32. Sally Husk - August 8, 2013

    Thank you for posting this, I have 4 kids and so I need help with this post big time! trying to figure it all out! You one time mentioned The Cell and I asked you about it and you were so kind as to respond to me, so thank you! I have been following them ever since and right now my husband and I are saving up so we can start doing crossfit there since we are so lucky enough to live here close by! I have spoken with them and they have daycare perfect for my kids ages making it possible for me to go there! I’m excited to go try out my first free class and see what it is all about and how to do it! I’m so happy they offer that! I hope soon after we will be hooked and be able to afford to go! Wish us luck! :)

  33. Brianna Godfrey - August 8, 2013

    Needed this. Getting burned out with the gym.

  34. holli w - August 8, 2013

    Great ideas. Thank you for sharing.

  35. Karlisa - August 8, 2013

    This is a great post for my mom & I & our one year transformation! Thanks Heidi!!

  36. Savannah - August 8, 2013

    I like the idea of an exercise chart. I use Gym Pact and also work out with my two year old by jumping, running in place or around, doing high knees, and a variety of other workouts. It has been the most successful way for me to keep off weight.

  37. Helen - August 8, 2013

    I think enough excuses… I’m going to start my workout beginning on Sunday. Need to plan my workout for a week and also shop for groceries for a week as well. Can’t fail when I have everything planned. Thanks for the tip, Heidi!

  38. Hope Musgrove - August 8, 2013

    This is great advice! I’m a full time student, newlywed and full time worker and I find it hard to balance that and exercising while taking care of the home. Preparing things ahead of time has been a huge help!

  39. Deer Antler Spray Online - August 8, 2013

    There’s certainly a lot to learn about this subject. I love all the points you have made.

  40. betsy - August 8, 2013

    Great tips Heidi! As someone who works two jobs it can be tricky finding time to squeeze a workout in…but at the end of the day I feel better after an hour at the gym then I do after an hour on the couch!

  41. Shawnda H. - August 8, 2013

    These are some great ideas. I will be using some of these when I go back to work in September.

  42. Emma Gibson - August 8, 2013

    Love these ideas especially about having gas in the car. Sounds simple but easy to forget :)

  43. Erica - August 8, 2013

    Love this! Exercise seemed so overwhelming in the beginning for me since I have a 2 year old. Once I got in the routine of exercising daily it has become something I now enjoy doing. Now I cant even imagine a day without doing some form of exercise!

  44. Jen burk - August 8, 2013

    I am a busy mom, thank,s for the tips!

  45. Joanie - August 8, 2013

    I wish I could make more time for exercise. I’m not sure if its always excuses or what but lac if motivation is a big factor too. I’ve list 30lbs recently and been stuck for some time

  46. Sarah Abraham - August 8, 2013

    Great advice. Heidi, you are so inspiring. I love reading your blog!! :)

  47. Bari - August 8, 2013

    I love the idea of preparing the night before and laying everything out! That gives me no excuses! Thanks for all the tips!

  48. Christine - August 8, 2013

    These are some creative ways to fit in working out with a busy schedule. It gives me motivation to exercise no matter how tired I may be feeling.

  49. Rochelle - August 8, 2013

    These are excellent tips for moms or anyone that has a busy schedule! I am definitely going to utilize these tips! Thank you! :)

  50. Jamie Cotterell - August 8, 2013

    I love all of these ideas. Thanks for the post!

  51. Lana Shirey - August 8, 2013

    exercise is the best gift you can give yourself! destressing, motivating, mood lifting and countless other beneftis!!

  52. Beth - August 8, 2013

    I work two jobs Monday through Friday, I leave my house at 5:30 and by the time I walk back in it’s 7 and I am exhausted. Tips for that?????

  53. Melanie - August 8, 2013

    Good advice! Thanks!

  54. Dawn Thomas - August 8, 2013

    These are some great ideas. Thank you for sharing!

  55. Kim K. - August 8, 2013

    I used to never have time, or so it seemed. Something always came up and prevented me. Now no matter what I make time. Every morning. Laundry and dishes can wait. I make appt.’s for afterwards. I have to shower every day, eat every day … my body needs me to exercise every day. So I schedule it in. And I’ve stuck to this routine now for 3 months and have lost 10 lbs! It’s become so natural now that I don’t even have to pep myself up for it.

  56. Sophie Park - August 8, 2013

    I wake up at 5:30am in the morning 5x a week to go to the gym and exercise because that’s the only time I can exercise because there’s so many people at the gym in the evenings and most of them are using the equipments I need.

    In my opinion almost everyone has time for exercise. It’s usually only 30-45 minutes of your day and for the majority of the people who say they don’t have time probably just have poor time management skills. Preparing the night before and making plans like Heidi says will help you! A lot!

  57. emilie p - August 8, 2013

    great ideas!

  58. Erika Morse - August 8, 2013

    This was an awesome blog. I try to wear my workout clothes on the weekend to remind me to workout but I’ve never included my baby. That is the 1st thing on my list for our new home and new workout schedule. Thank You So Much!!!!

  59. Michelle Bergeron - August 8, 2013

    Unexpected exercise…don’t look for the closest parking spot! Park and walk!!

  60. April Bauer - August 8, 2013

    Very motivational~you’ve just made wearing yoga pants all day expectable;0) Love it!

  61. Delaney - August 8, 2013

    My husband’s in the military and we’re moving to Hawaii in October. We have to sen one car over a month ahead so he’ll be using mine to go to work. I go to the gym three to four days a week and I won’t be able to for a whole month. I work out at home with my weights every other day but they have to be packed up too. I guess I’ll stick to sit ups and squats

  62. Jennifer Needham - August 8, 2013

    Love this post. I had an revelation last night when I was telling someone about my struggles with working out and the stresses of my job which is disaster related. We tell everyone to make a kit and have a plan I need to take that mantra into my own health and fitness goals and have a plan for when a kink get thrown into my plans.

  63. Dawn - August 8, 2013

    If I don’t have the time during the day, I go for a walk with my dogs and kids! I try to walk at least 1 hour per night. It helped me shed pounds over the last year.

  64. Tara - August 8, 2013

    Great way to get more time in if you can get on a schedule like this. I have two kids and the gym isn’t always open for care for my kids…that’s the hard part for me. I need the gym setting otherwise the distractions of the home get in the way of working out and I lose my battle with fitting exercise in. So now it is based solely on willpower and dedication and it takes a while to get there buy reading your posts and watching your husband on Extreme makeover: weight loss edition motivates and keeps me on track! Thanks!

  65. Mary Ann - August 8, 2013

    As someone who is always trying to find time for herself, this was very helpful. I now manage to squeeze exercise in even if it is only for 5 minutes at a time. I find that I have time to exercise as long as it is for short periods. Soon I will be able to find a longer stretch of time to exercise.

  66. Lisa - August 8, 2013

    I was excited when I found out about your blog! Excited to read up on it.

  67. Anni Thaysen - August 8, 2013

    Love this post! As a new mom with a 8 month old baby, it is really inspiring. One of my biggest challenges is finding time for exercise in between taking care of baby/hubby/house/myself with all it entails. I am in the process of turning my life around and become a healthier, better me, and this post really helps.

  68. Kimberly Zainfeld - August 8, 2013

    I love this blog. It took me a long time to learn to be prepared but I now have a HUGE gym bag and I make sure everything I might possibly need is in there. I also put on my workout clothes first thing on weekends. These things really help. I do find other “excuses” for not getting in my exercise but I think if I make a Plan B and Z, that will really help. The idea about a reward chart – a visual reward – sounds great!

  69. Erick Pichler - August 8, 2013

    Well… Days got 24hrs for everyone!! so get up early and find some 15 minutes ’cause it could be the difference between a short and a long good quality life!!

  70. Angel Thompson - August 8, 2013

    Great Advice! We have the time issue in our house and sometimes I don’t get my workout in till later in the evening when my children are in bed but I try my hardest to make sure that I get it done.

  71. Kathleen - August 8, 2013

    I’d like to add my own tip. Pick something with a high Fun Factor. I find I am much more likely to make time for a workout if it’s something I really enjoy. A workout dvd with great music or walk/run intervals when I take my dogs out – something that is more like play than work. Chris’ 9 Minute Intervals are great for this because you get to compete against the clock and hey – it’s only 9 minutes!

  72. Amber Krisher - August 8, 2013

    Great Tips! Time is of the essence in my house! Waking up at 4am to be to work by 6. To get off at 330 then after I get home with the little one, exercise is the last thing on my mind. I NEED to change that!

  73. Tina - August 8, 2013

    Great tips! Thanks :)

  74. Amber - August 8, 2013

    I need to read this everyday!!

  75. Leann Miller - August 8, 2013

    Awesome tips! I’m going to set up multiple reminders on my calendar to help keep me thinking about exercising. That pop up on my phone will be a good excuse to stop what I’m doing and excercise. Thanks!

  76. Erin Mele - August 8, 2013

    Great tips! I often forget to reward myself. Feeling better after a workout usually is reward enough, but who doesn’t love a little extra something just for me. Non food rewards are fantastic!

  77. Kristi Harrison - August 8, 2013

    Love all these ideas. No more excuses!

  78. Tammy Nelson - August 8, 2013

    Great tips, I have used a lot of them and they usually work. Ü

  79. Kelli Shafer - August 8, 2013

    This is so helpful. I don’t always schedule myself very well, which is another thing I need to work on.

  80. Jenn Birchfield - August 8, 2013

    I put my fitness in my schedule so it’s just like anything else I have to get done for the day. I wouldn’t skip a dr’s appt because I was tired or busy.

  81. sandy - August 8, 2013

    hmmmm…was hoping for more exercises.

  82. Heather Tschopp - August 8, 2013

    Great tips! You guys are so inspirational!

  83. Anna Stocker - August 8, 2013

    Such a great, easy, idea that came be done to get some extra fitness in throughout the day! :) Plus, the kids have fun. Win-win!

  84. Marissa Johnson - July 31, 2013

    Hello,

    I’m a 19 year old diabetic with high cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, triglycerides and my doctor says I’m on my way towards a heart attack – at my age! I’m tired of getting winded up the stairs and not being able to window shop with my friends. I’m like every human being. I love food – pizza, pasta, sweets. I need help! I can’t get my motivation on track. please.. someone help..

  85. Avalon Wisner - July 27, 2013

    This really helps, but my question is.. For those people who are REALLY overweight and their children are playing with their fat, until we lose a little bit of weight, it’s really hard to get the kids involved with it, or do things at random times because of the fear of people judging or getting too red faced and then walk into work or something along those lines. I know I’m probly sounding like I’m making excuses, but I’m wondering for the people who are super busy with everday life, and who are really big, what are some things we can do to help? Thank you!

  86. SG - July 23, 2013

    Any suggestions for exercises to burn calories for someone recovering from spinal fusion surgery? No benign, twisting or lifting permitted. Walking is okay but can only pull off once around the block.

  87. Laura - July 23, 2013

    Hi Heidi,
    These are great tips thanks! I find that I struggle to get up out of bed for a morning run but once I’m up and pounding the pavement, I have no regrets, in fact I feel better all day! Just that is motivation enough to carry on :) Thanks for taking the time to post your ideas! Take care, Laura

  88. Tina P. - July 22, 2013

    Such great tips. You, Heidi, and Chris are such great examples for everyone out there trying to better themselves. Thank you for being you!!

    -T

  89. Erin Elder - July 22, 2013

    Great post Heidi! I agree we have to make fitness a priority so I love your ideas to sneak it in. Even at the end of a day when I haven’t fit anything in, some days I just do something – anything, even if it’s only 15 mins. Going to bed, I feel so good about myself!

  90. shelly - July 22, 2013

    Love your inspiration! As a mom(4, 2, 7mon, & newly pregnant) it can be so easy to put everyone and everything before exercise. Making a commitment to do my part and put in at least 5mins everyday! Thanks pretty mama

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