In my fitness consulting business, I get to talk with people from all walks of life about their health, fitness, and weight loss goals. Whether their goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, stick to a diet plan or program, improve their cardiovascular health, or simply maintain their current fitness level, they all have one common enemy---TIME.
For most of us, the #1 challenge in the quest to stay in shape and/or lose weight is not exercising but being able to fit an exercise program into our busy schedules.
So how do you do it?
How do you balance the demands of family, career, important errands, relationships, organizational responsibilities, and working out?
I have found that five keys will help you to be able to fit a consistent workout plan into your already hectic life.<ol>
To set yourself up for success, you will need to take the time to literally write your workouts into your weekly schedule. You will want to follow your exercise program at least three days weekly to be effective. Anything less would be kidding yourself. Therefore, right in the midst of your appointments, "to-do" lists, etc., should be a written plan for your weekly workout routine so that you will never be in the dark about when you committed to going.
2. Utilize the weekend
Take advantage of the fact that it only takes 3-5 days per week to create an effective, results-producing workout. Working out on the weekends is one trick to help you pull it off. One of the benefits of this course of action is that your schedule is more flexible and under your control during this time. It also means that when the hectic weekdays roll back around, you will only be responsible for working out 1-3 days during the work week.
3. Keep your workouts a high priority.
One of the biggest mistakes even many people who have scheduled a workout program into their schedule is allowing it to be bumped off their schedule too easily. Although things will occasionally come up that will cause you to have to reschedule the workout you had planned, you must be vigilant in making sure that only the most important emergencies are allowed to temporarily take you off your plan. If one of those important emergencies does happen and you can't make it to your workout, reschedule with yourself to make it up on the next possible day that you are available to do so. If your health, fitness, and efforts to lose weight are not a priority to you, they certainly won't be so to anyone else.
4. Enroll others in your goals
Don't go at this alone. Let the important people in your life know what you are up to. Your spouse or love interest, parents, children, co-workers, and close friends will often pitch in and help you to meet your fitness or weight loss commitment to yourself if you make them aware and ask for their support. Leverage these relationships to delegate some of your normal responsibilities or even allow you to shift appointments with them as you restructure your schedule for your workout. If any of them are into exercise or trying to lose weight themselves, don't hesitate to form a buddy system with them as you move forward with your program.
5. Don't beat yourself up
No matter who you are, there will be times in your workout program when you just aren't able to keep it up as you would like due to outside demands. Don't be too tough on yourself when that happens. Remember that what you do <i>consistently</i> over a long period, not what you do in spurts, truly counts. Make sure you get back on the horse as soon as possible and continue to press forward, doing your best to avoid slacking off again.
No matter what goals you have for health, fitness, or weight loss, you CAN fit an effective exercise program into your hectic schedule and be amazingly successful at getting the exact results you want!