How do I make time for exercise?

Five suggestions for busy people who want to get fit.

Finding the Time

With 27 years of an experience as a fitness professional, I have had encountered many people who want to exercise consistently.

However, most of the people confess that they are not sure how they  can consistently fit exercise into their already busy schedule.  With jobs, significant others, family responsibilities, hobbies, and life in general, it is hard to find any “free” time to fit one more thing.

But, we all know that many busy people actually do consistently fit exercise into their life.   So how can you do it too?


1-Decide that Exercise is a Priority

I am going to be brutally honest, even though you may not like it.  It is unlikely that you will be successful in reaching your goal to consistently exercise if you don’t feel it is a top priority in your life.

That is, if it isn’t extremely important to you, you are unlikely to follow through long-term.  (BTW, I feel like this is true for most facets of our life.  If it isn’t a priority, it is unlikely it will remain habitual; whether it will be spending time with your friends, family members, etc. or saving money for the future.)

In my opinion, the single most important step in establishing a consistent exercise routine is deciding that this is important to you.

So before you buy a treadmill, sign up for a gym membership, buy an exercise DVD on Amazon, or start any other physical aspect of exercise, you must work on the mental component first.  You need to me in the right mental place before you can get in a good physical place.


2-Choose Something that you Enjoy.

Choosing something that you enjoy may seem obvious but it is something that is commonly overlooked.

Many people try an exercise that is popular, rather than an exercise that they will truly embrace.

For instance, while I wish that everyone loved taking classes at a fitness studio like mine (Auburn Yoga & Pilates Center), I recognize that our method of exercising is not for everyone.   Some people would prefer something else; dancing, swimming, running, bodybuilding, walking, etc.

It is important to do an exercise that you truly enjoy because, most often, people who stop exercising report that either they didn’t enjoy doing what they were doing for exercise.

While different types of exercise have different benefits, ; some have more cardio benefits, some have more strength training benefits, and some have flexibility benefits.  Of course, some types of exercise have multiple benefits.

But, all forms of exercise can be beneficial.  And although you may not choose the optimal exercise, choosing to do some form of exercise is undoubtedly better than choosing not to exercise.    The key is that you find a form of physical activity that you can embrace, that better suits you personal tastes and/or schedule; this way, you are more likely to stick with it.


3-Make the Time

If you are going to maintain a consistent exercise regiment, you will need to make the time for it.   For many of you, this means that you may need to take a critical look at how you spend your time.

If you haven’t ever done an analysis of your time, you definitely should.  Try writing down what you do for two days.   Try selecting a weekend and a weekday so that you can see the differences in a work and non-work day, if there are any.

I did an analysis of my time, and it was definitely revealing.   Personally, I found that I was spending a lot of time on activities that really weren’t a priority for me.

For instance, in my personal situation, my time analysis revealed that I was spending too much time on social media.   Those “quick checkins” were adding up to a half hour or more of time.

For me, social media was not a priority.  It isn’t that I don’t enjoy reading posts from friends and acquaintances;  it is just that I would rather spend time with my kids or working on my business.   Plus I figure that if it is important, someone will tell me.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I never go on Facebook.  During the academic year, I limit myself to no more than 10 minutes a day.  During the summer when I work a slightly less demanding schedule, I am more liberal.

Of course, I am not here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t spend your time doing.  How you spend your time is ultimately your decision because your time is just that, YOUR TIME.

But, I am telling you that you should take a critical look at how you spend your time so that you can align your activities with your priorities.

Doing this will inevitably cause you to rank your priorities; and if exercise is really a priority for you, you will find some time.


4-Exercise when it Works for You

Over the years, people have asked me when they should exercise.  Should they exercise in the morning?  at night?  during their lunch hour?

I emphatically tell all of them that they should exercise when it makes the most sense for them to exercise.   In other words, if exercising before work is the best time, do it then.  If you have time for a walk during your lunch hour, exercise then.  If you are too exhausted to even think about exercise when you come home from work, don’t plan to exercise at that time.

In other words, exercise when it works for you; you are more likely to stick with it if it works with your life.

But aren’t there some studies that found the optimal time to workout?  Probably.  But, if the time that you exercise doesn’t make sense for you, then you are unlikely to stick with it.


5-Exercise how it works for you

How you exercise is just as important as exercising when it works for you.   You have to decide how you prefer to exercise.

That is, maybe you would like to take classes at a studio like mine (Auburn Yoga & Pilates).  After all, having an instructor to plan and guide a safe and effective workout for you takes planning off of your plate.   You simply have to show up and follow along.

Or, maybe you like going for a walk or run with your partner.   If you are both enthusiastic about the exercise, it might be a nice togetherness activity for you.

Maybe you want to join a gym.   If you are someone who likes a variety of equipment, or simply enjoy people watching while you exercise, a gym membership might work for you.  Or, maybe the fact that you are obligated to pay a monthly fee will motivate you to stay consistent.

Or, maybe you want to exercise at home.   If you like exercising alone in your own space, this is a logical choice for you.  However, exercising at home sometimes leaves the planning and equipment to you, unless you want to participate in an online challenge similar to the one that I describe below…

30 Day Pilates Challenge for Beginners

30 day pilates challenge for beginners

I have met so many people that are hesitant to attend a class at a studio or set foot in a gym.  For some reason, they are afraid that they will feel out of place because they are a beginner.

In my opinion, the fear of feeling out of place is unwarranted.   I hope that the staff at any quality facility would do their best to welcome and assist any new client who visit their facility.

However, my many years as a fitness professional have taught me that the fear is real for many people.   For this reason, I am starting my first ever, online challenge for beginners who want to learn pilates.

I chose pilates because I have found that many new clients want to try pilates but don’t know where to start.  They have heard or read that pilates strengthens their core, but they don’t feel that they are strong enough to start.

So, to help conquer fear and hopefully help people to embrace pilates, I am offering a FREE 30 day pilates challenge for beginners.

In the challenge, I introduce you to 30 common pilates mat exercises through 30 short video clips.  I break down how to do the pose, and I give you modifications for beginners.

The goal is get you familiar with the movements.   Watching some of the videos more than once, and practicing them consistently will make you  more confident and stronger.

At the end of the challenge, you can choose how and when to practice pilates mat, providing that you enjoy doing it as much as I do.

If you are interested, sign up at





Get Jennifer's FREE List of Apps


Subscribe to get our latest content by email and receive a list of ten FREE and easy to use smartphone apps that can save you time and help you get organized.

Powered by ConvertKit