Help! I Have no Time for the Gym!

“I want to be healthier and have more energy, but I just don’t have the time to go to the gym!” Does this sound familiar?  I can’t tell you how often I hear this, and it is very understandable in this fast-paced life we lead. Too often we run from one meeting to the next and are determined to finish the overwhelming to-do list. How can we possibly think about adding one more item to our plate such as spending an hour at the gym?

I have been there and can relate. There was a time in my previous career in the hospitality field where I had a hard time balancing my job and well-being. I had a demanding schedule with long, odd hours in a fast-paced environment. There were days when I’d sit for hours and realize that I hadn’t gotten up or forgotten to take a lunch break. I was exhausted and realized that something had to change.

It wasn’t about finding the time, but rather about making the time and adjusting my schedule to put myself on the to-do list. And guess what? I didn’t always need a gym to exercise. If I could get there, that was great, but I focused on where I could add movement throughout the day. I made notes to stop what I was doing, to get up, stretch, and take breaks. I looked at my calendar and made it a priority to fit in physical activity either first thing in the morning, a quick mid-afternoon walk, or after work—whichever fit my schedule on that day.

It IS possible to be successful AND take care of you if you set your mind to it! Rather than do nothing because you don’t have a full hour to go to the gym or exercise class, see where you can add more movement into your life. Every bit counts.

If you want to feel better and gain more energy but are short on time, check out some of my helpful tips below and add more movement to your life! Gradually incorporate 1-2 of these new habits and build onto them.

  • Take the stairs – Rather than taking the elevator or escalator, wake up your glutes, calves, and thighs, and walk up the stairs.

  • Park further away and avoid drive thrus – Take an extra minute and park a few rows away. I guarantee that you will find more available spots and reduce the stress of searching!

  • Get up and take breaks –Set alarm reminders throughout the day to get up every 30-40 minutes for a stretch, or for a quick walk around the office or your house. Use this time to take some deep breaths and clear your mind. 

  • Incorporate desk exercises while you work - Do calf raises, squats, leg lifts, or push-ups at your desk. If you are in a public space and feel uncomfortable, I guarantee you can get your co-workers to join in and make it an activity. Support is always helpful and fun!

  • Go for a “Twalk” – Talk while you walk either indoors or outdoors whether you are speaking with someone in person or on the phone.

  • Do non-eating activities – Rather than meet someone for coffee or at a restaurant, go for a bike ride, enjoy a local hike, play some tennis, basketball, volleyball, or whatever activity you enjoy!

  • Walk after meals – Have 10 more minutes left on your lunch hour? Use that time to walk and get your digestion flowing. Finished dinner with your significant other, family, or friends? Take a walk around the block.

  • Exercise while watching TV – Do some cardio, abs, stretches, or dance around while watching your favorite show or get up during commercials.

  • Stretch before bed – Incorporating nighttime stretching or simple yoga before bed will help you unwind and sleep better too. My favorite bedtime yoga is Yoga with Adriene.

  • Fit in a quick workout– Yes, you may not have the time to do an hour-long workout, so go to the gym for 30 minutes or schedule shorter at-home exercises. Take advantage of all the available free YouTube videos (my personal favorite is Popsugar Fitness which offers a wide variety of exercise styles and caters to every level!) Either do a full-length 30-minute video or split it up into 15-minute segments.

Congratulations! You’ve already taken the first step by acknowledging that physical activity would greatly impact your life. Now release the idea that exercise has to be an all-or-nothing scenario. Create the time to fit it into your schedule, and reevaluate what you can shift. What small empty pockets do you have? What items can be moved around to another day or time, delegated, or removed from your schedule all together?

So rather than choose between your health and your other obligations, feel confident that you CAN do both! Take it one step at a time, one day at a time, and you will get there!


Talya Kosstrin