You Aren't Too Busy to Work Out

During my undergrad years we would all say, "Oh I can't work out. I don't have time. I need to study." We always needed to study and the study sessions had to be about 7 hours long. There was ABSOLUTELY no time to study in that 7 hour stint. We were studying to get into GRAD SCHOOL. Therefore working out was a waste of time. There were more important things to worry about it. We all thought we would have the time once we were done with undergrad...or maybe we just thought our high school metabolic rate would stay with us forever....or maybe we just thought it just wasn't important full stop.

Then I went to grad school and the excuses changed a little bit, but at the core it was the same story. "I'm too busy to work out I have to write my thesis." Of course, this time to write my thesis came in the form of at least 4 hours of sitting at a desk. I always told myself and others that I didn't have time for exercising my body because I was exercising my mind. My mind was way more important than my body. They were two mutually exclusive things and you had to choose one.

Then one day I realized I didn't like the way I felt. Grad school was incredibly stressful no matter how many hours I spent staring at my computer screen. The long hours at the lab and the lack of exercise left me lethargic and scattered. The stress and the constant feeling of being overwhelmed pushed me to add in some exercise.

I made the time to exercise by taking a walk around the neighborhood. Slowly this walk turned into a walk/run and then into a full run. I started going to kickboxing once a week. Then I added in a yoga class a few weeks later. Over the course of the next two months I started noticing the differences in my body AND my mind.

Even now that I am out of school I will be at XYZ social gathering and someone asks what I do. I tell them I teach Pilates classes and one of the most common responses I get is "Oh, I would work out, but I'm too busy." Work is too busy, life is too busy.

"I'll get to it in the fall when work settles down."

"I'll get to it once I finish the home renovations."

It doesn't have to be like that.

At the root of "I'm too busy" are a few other feelings.

There can be pressure to do a huge awesome incredible and painful work out right out of the gates.


There can be a feeling of fear. Fear to start something new and unfamiliar. A fear of failure.


There can be a total distaste for exercise. "I only run if someone is chasing me."


There can be a total lack of motivation. The thought that there is just nothing in it for you if your exercise.


You can make time for exercise. You can enjoy exercise. You don't have to submit to the "No Pain. No Gain." mantra. Here are a few ideas to help you integrate exercise into a regular day.

Start Small

I rebooted my work out routine by taking a walk around the neighborhood. Then as I felt comfortable I added in running, yoga classes, and some kickboxing. This was over the course of 2 months. It took time to get myself into a workout routine. Stand up at your desk and do a few stretches. Take a walk around the house while you wait for the microwave to heat up dinner. It may sound silly, but who cares? Your work out. Your needs.

Be a Morning Person

Set your alarm a little earlier and get in an early morning work out. There are so many benefits to working out before the sun's up and the rest of your day starts. A big benefit is that you'll have more energy throughout the day. Try getting up early once or twice a week and then start to increase to 3-4 times per week. Try these early work outs for a two weeks before deciding you aren't a morning person. There are people who really aren't morning people and cannot wake up that early, but maybe you ARE a morning person. Give it a shot.

Be an Active Observer

Watching TV? Sit on the floor and do some stretches, push-ups, crunches, or boat poses. Between commercials hold a plank, do some high knees, squats, lunges, or more stretches. In a long meeting? Don't be afraid to stand up in the back (of course where appropriate). Waiting for your child to get out of a music/dance/soccer/tutoring? Take a little walk around the parking lot, around the block, down the street, or anywhere else that works. All these little moments add up.

Take a Lunch Break

There are many benefits to taking a lunch break. It breaks up your work day and gets you physically away from your desk. You will come back to your work refreshed and more productive than if you didn't take a lunch break. Why not get in a work out during your lunch break? If you live close to a gym hit the treadmill or a group exercise class. If you have stairs in your building climb the stairs during lunch. Go for a long walk. Go do any of these things with a friend or co-worker. My mom and I used to call each other during our lunch break and walk the stairs together over the phone. It was a fun way to keep each other accountable and catch up even though we were not physically in the same building.

Do What You Like

Find something that you like to do. If you like to go for a run then do it. If you like yoga then do it. If you don't like bootcamps then don't do it. You will only stick to a type of exercise that you like to do. You should enjoy the work out. Try a few different things and see what makes you feel good. Give your body time to acclimate to the work out. If you feel silly in a barre class the first time around give it another chance. The first time is always about learning the form, technique, and flow of any class.

Don't Be Hard on Yourself

If you try to fit in some exercise and you fall off the wagon a few times don't worry about it. Be easy on yourself. You're moving in the right direction. You're making time for yourself. Remember that this is for you. Working out is all for you and no one else. Acknowledge that things didn't go as planned, pick yourself back up, and start again.