Working Out When You Just Don’t Have Time

Sherri_kids_Moulton FallsThe number one reason people say they don’t exercise is because they just don’t have the time. It’s true that more and more people are expressing that they are overwhelmed and just don’t seem to have the time to get it all done. It was reported that many of us receive on average 150 emails per day and have 3 meetings scheduled per day. Between work, family and social commitments, time is definitely tight.

Fortunately, there are a lot of really busy people that do find the time to exercise so how do they make it happen? First, they make it a priority. They realize that their life is better, they feel great and are more productive when they do exercise. Secondly, they have learned to be efficient and effective in their life to know how to fit workouts in that don’t necessarily require more time.

Here’s some tips to make it all happen when you’re too busy to figure it out:

Walk and Talk:

Many people are bogged down with meetings. How about instead of another meeting in your office or conference room, you suggest a walking meeting. The fresh air and extra blood flow can really enhance creative thinking too!


If any of you are using online dating as your method to find your special someone, you’ll probably agree it can be extremely time consuming. So instead of the typical awkward date at the local coffee shop or happy hour, suggest an activity that you enjoy and participate in regularly. If you love cycling, suggest a bike ride. If you love Yoga, take them to your favorite class. If you love to run, suggest a run followed by coffee afterwards. This way your dating life won’t interfere with your workouts and you’ll find out quickly how you interact and whether you have similar interests.

Family Time:

Most people say that what’s most important to them is their family and yet, they just aren’t spending enough time with them so there’s a disconnect. If you love your family, you should prioritize and carve out time for them. But how do you fit it all in? Be creative and schedule active time with your family while you are all getting healthy together. Sign each other up for a race, train together and then cross the finish line together. It can be a fabulous bonding experience. Go indoor rock-climbing together. Go trampolining together. Go for weekly family walks, hikes or bike rides. The family that sweats together, stays together!

Early Morning Workouts:

Really busy people have a much better time adhering to a workout program if they do it first thing in the morning – before other responsibilities get in the way!  So get to bed earlier and wake up an hour earlier to allow you the time to focus on YOU before you start the rest of your day!

Avoid Time-Wasters:

Take a day to analyze how you spend your time. If you’ve decided that your health and fitness are extremely important to you, where can you cut back in other areas? Perhaps you spend 2 hours on social media or watching TV per day and could easily set some limits to allow you some extra time. Perhaps, you take an hour lunch but only really need 30 minutes to eat and could reserve the other 30 minutes to go for a walk. Perhaps you could be more efficient in your meetings to shorten them from 60 minutes to 30 minutes and let your team know you’re focusing on getting right down to work so you all have extra time to get other things done.  Sometimes workouts don’t need to add more time to your day but rather, just replace time wasters with something that is really important to your overall quality of time!

Be More Efficient:

Organize your workouts so that you are getting more done in less time! Here’s some tips to be efficient and yet still effective and focused on results:

  • Go Hard:  When you don’t have a ton of time, replace long duration and easy intensity cardio with short and hard interval training.  You can accomplish the same workload in a shorter period of time.
  • Multi-task your workouts:  When you’re strapped for time, start combining muscle conditioning movements.  For example, instead of doing one set of squats and then one set of overhead shoulder presses, try doing a squat with an overhead shoulder press at the same time.  Or instead of a separate set of lunges and bicep curls, do them at the same time.  You’ll save a ton of time.
  • Get rid of the rest periods:  Sequence your exercises so you don’t need any rest periods.  So for example, instead of doing 3 sets of bench press with a minute rest in between, try doing your core training in between your Bench Press sets.  Or perform lower body and upper body exercises back to back with no rest in between.
  • Less Reps:  Instead of doing high-endurance muscle conditioning, which takes longer, increase your weight load and keep your repetitions between 8 and 12.
  • Hire a trainer: One of the biggest time-wasters is not really knowing exactly what you’re going to do so you find yourself just wandering aimlessly through the gym.  If you want to be efficient and effective, know exactly what you’re going to do and stay focused.  That’s why personal training is so popular – you don’t have to worry about anything.  Just show up and the workouts are ready to go. Even if you only see a trainer once or twice per month to show you what you should be doing on your own that will save you a ton of time.
  • Stop Talking & Start Walking:  It’s good to have friends to workout with because it helps with adherence.  But if you notice half of your time is spent gossiping, you’ll get a lot more done in a shorter period of time if you keep the conversations short.
  • Non-Exercise Activity: Just move your body more throughout the day. If we all just took the stairs more than the elevator, parked further from our destination and walked to do errands, we wouldn’t have to spend hours in the gym!
  • Focus on what you’re doing:  We can’t tell you how many times we see gym-goers zoning out while watching TV or reading a magazine.  If you want to maximize your workouts, put away the books, magazines and distractions while working out so you can focus on what you’re doing and get in and out of the gym more quickly.

Too busy is not a valid excuse!  Instead of exercise taking up too much time, it will actually give you more time, energy and increased productivity. So no more excuses, just get it done. You deserve to look good, feel great, be at your best and live life to the fullest!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

12400710_910105169085414_4404323122584050401_nJoin us for the….
COUVE CLOVER RUN – 3, 7 & 10 MILES – March, 26th 2017 RUN, GIVE BACK & PARTY AT MAIN EVENT AND OTHER DOWNTOWN PUBS! We will make you earn your post-event party by running or walking 3, 7 or 10 miles, but it will be off the charts hosted by Main Event and other downtown Vancouver Pubs & Breweries.

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

Scroll to top