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November 20, 2015

Put Yourself First: Making Time For Fitness!

Sara Morin

I don't have time. It must be one of the most commonly employed excuses used by those who don't make exercise a regular part of their daily schedule. Ironically, it is exercise and a healthy diet that enables increased health benefits, an overall sense of confidence and well being and a decrease in obesity related diseases.

People manage to schedule car repairs, vacations, business meetings and other commitments, yet they don't make time for their most important priority: themselves. As a mother of two boys, ages 2 and 6, part time fitness instructor, full time office manager, fitness model and national figure competitor, I often hear, "I don't know how you do it". Well, I am here to tell you how.

When you schedule your day, it is often overwhelming and filled with countless commitments and stress. You find that you've spread yourself so thin, that you come home at night and land in a heap.

Throw children into the mix and you've got a recipe for complete exhaustion. By making time for fitness each day, you can produce a much-needed lift to your energy level, attitude and overall sense of wellness, thus enabling you to become a better parent, spouse and happier person.

Finding The Time

You do not need to become a full time athlete. Most individuals new to fitness believe they must spend hours on end in the gym to get results. Not so. Spending just thirty minutes a day can reap a multitude of benefits.

Take a good look at your daily schedule. Are there chores that can wait until the weekend? Do you find that you are sitting in front of the television for over an hour each night? Try recording your favorite program and watching it at a later time. Go to bed earlier and feel refreshed in the morning. Start getting out of bed forty-five minutes earlier and get your cardio in before the rat race starts. By using your time more efficiently, slots will begin to open in your schedule.

If childcare is an issue, when is your partner available to help or is there childcare offered at your gym? Can you trade babysitting with another neighborhood parent? Take advantage of these resources.

you find that you just do not have time to make it to the gym, workout at home. Dust off that treadmill, put in your old Tae Bo tape, jump rope, go outside and play Frisbee or tag with your kids. Walk up and down the stairs or do butt squeezes while talking on the phone.

Utilize any season by shoveling the driveway or mowing the lawn with a push mower. You can also take the stairs, park far away from the mall or grocery store, or take a walk during your lunch break. The options are endless, just try to be creative. Every effort you make will continue to help and support your fitness resolve.

The better organized you are, the easier it will be to commit to your plan. Try to schedule your workouts for the same time each session and make them a priority. Soon, you will see that this "commitment" has become a refreshing escape.

Finding The Motivation

Time and motivation go hand in hand. We all have priorities and what ever is most important to us often makes it to the top of the list. Start placing your workouts higher on your to-do list by using some of these motivation techniques.

Do you have more energy in the morning, mid day or evening for workouts? Play around with your schedule until you find the right fit. Do your cardio in the early morning before work and your weight training in the evening to break it up. This offers two shorter segments that can more easily fit into your day.

Many people find that going to the gym directly from work is easier to follow through with than going home first. By packing your gym bag in the morning, you have made that commitment to yourself.

You do not need to stick with the traditional walk on the treadmill and weight training. Find activities that are interesting and exciting to you. This will keep your program fresh, retain your interest and keep your muscles continuously guessing. Join your club's basketball or racquetball leagues or go walking on the beach. Our bodies quickly adapt to activities so it is always recommended to keep variety in your fitness program. Employ a certified personal trainer for a few sessions if you are new to fitness or just need a new perspective to add some excitement to your workouts.

You could also find an exercise partner with similar fitness goals. This is another way to ensure dedication to your fitness program because you made an obligation to meet that person each time at the gym. Make sure you are not there just to socialize and end up losing the effectiveness of your workouts.

Get a workout logbook to track your progress. Many people could not live without their planners or palm pilots. Treat your workouts no differently. Workout logbooks are a fantastic way of planning your time in the gym most efficiently. By writing out your training plan before getting to the gym, you will be more focused, use your time most effectively and begin to see where you want to make improvements or change your strategy in approaching your program.

A logbook is a great source of motivation as well. I often use mine as a baseline and try to beat my goals for that day's workout. As you look back through, you will be proud of all that you have accomplished.

Ultimately, your fitness goals are up to you. With a little creativity, organization and an open mind, you can manage to fit fitness in your life. The benefits are staggering and the overall physical and mental results will be positive for you and your loved ones. Aren't you worth it?

Sara Morin