I'd like to train, but I don't have time.

January 15,2018 | Victoria Carter

I’d like to train but I don’t have time… Does that sound familiar? One of the most common barriers to exercising is a perceived lack of time. I use the word perceived as the barrier is often our mind rather than a lack of actual time.  

I mostly run or cycle to work (I have two jobs). I often get stopped on the way to my office, still in my kit. People say to me ‘I wish I could run to work’, to which I reply, ‘Why don’t you then?’. The most common response is 'I can't as I don't have time'. I would certainly challenge that. 

This isn’t an article about how fantastic I am to fit it all in but I want to get across that if you really want to do something, then you will make it happen and ‘fit it in’. Often people who are very successful with their training are those that are juggling many aspects in their life. The difference lies in the value they place on training. They see it as most important for their health and wellbeing and have carved time out for it or are creative in managing their time.  

But I do really value my health and fitness and want to create some time, how do I do it? 

These are some of the strategies I use and some that I know others use: 

  • Set your alarm earlier and exercise before others get up. No-one can take that time away from you. If you leave it until later in the day, you will be less inclined to go and time could be taken away from you for other activities 

  • Run/brisk walk or cycle to work – use the commute wisely, it’s dead time or if you have a longer journey then get off at an earlier stop. Plan your wardrobe and leave clothes/shoes at work 

  • Use your lunchtime or take some time out. Much can be achieved in 30 mins and it’s certainly better than nothing. If possible, find like-minded colleagues and use time for networking/ meetings at the same time – you’ll be more productive for the rest of the day. A running friend once told me that she run with some of her direct reports whilst having catch-up meetings. This gave me the idea to try it myself and I found that not only do you both benefit from the exercise but also from solving issues as you go. 

  • Identify unused portions of time or time that could be better spent exercising (for instance instead of watching or on social media). Plan how the time could be used in a different way 

  • Exercise with children (running buggy or whilst kids are playing in playground/ garden or involve all the family) 

  • Dropping children at a party or a class? Plan ahead and use the time for a run (I do this on a regular basis). 

This all makes sense to me, how do I make this happen? 

  • Try to be consistent and stick to a routine 

  • Agree a routine with partner/family in advance 

  • Seek out like-minded people to exercise with 

  • Set aside time and block it out 

  • Organise kit, work clothes in advance 

  • Be flexible 

Most of all, find something that you enjoy and make it social if that helps you. Once you get into a rhythm and routine you are more likely to stick with it. I have many days when I don't feel like doing my exercise, however once I'm through that door then I know I've made the right decision. The short and long-term benefits make it so worthwhile.