Why do some people always seem to have time to work out while others can’t find even 30 minutes? In our fast-paced world, it’s no secret that we’re all more time-poor than ever. And with the clocks going back and darkness descending earlier, it’s even more difficult to find time to train.

To make time to exercise regularly, there are some key strategies to get you started and keep you motivated.

Interestingly, it’s not actually about how busy you are. It’s about changing your bad habits, so over time you start to self-regulate. Exercise then becomes one of those things you do every day and don’t even think about, like putting pants on or brushing your teeth.


Firstly, scrutinise your schedule:

  • Can you fit in a morning workout so it’s out of the way?
  • Are you happier swapping your lunch-break for a run in the park or a weights session at a city gym?
  • Is exercise best for you during that early evening limbo between work and home?
  • Do you prefer to make weekends super-active to make up for your sedentary Monday to Friday?

If you’re the type who can slot exercise in without too much bother, great. The rest of us may need toreverse engineer our time.

There are 168 hours in every week and if you’re training at a higher intensity, you only need to exercise for three hours. People often say they haven’t got three hours, so the reverse engineering part is looking at where you can save or shave three hours a week from your schedule.

Doing that might mean simply spending less time on email, social media, watching TV or reading trashy magazines.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that stuff every now and then, but if it’s for hours and hours every week, you can claw back that time and put it to use in your exercise programme.


  1. Diarise it Treat exercise like a non-negotiable appointment by putting it in your diary, otherwise sleep or TV or coffee takes over. If it’s not in your diary, there’s a big likelihood it won’t happen.
  2. Make yourself accountable Either to a friend or family member, or by signing up to play a sport. A personal trainer is another great option – you’re literally paying for that accountability.
  3. Trick yourself Put yourself in situations where you’re forced to move, so it becomes a habit. Make it a rule not to waste time searching for a car park close to the shopping centre. Park further away and walk. Whenever you travel by bus, get off two stops early and walk the rest of the way.
  4. Plan, plan, plan This could be as simple as laying out your exercise gear the night before. It’s only a little thing, but even former athletes and personal trainers would find it harder to get moving in the morning if their gear wasn’t ready to go the night before!


We all know the best laid plans can be thwarted by our inner saboteurs. Who hasn’t made excuses like ‘It’s raining’, ‘It’s too cold’, ‘I’m too tired’ to avoid exercising? Beating these thoughts is about recognising the importance of behaviour over mindset.

Many people get stuck thinking about exercising and coming up with reasons why they can’t do it. But in the latest study of behaviour, we now know that it’s much easier to behave your way to a different way of thinking, rather than thinking your way to a different way of behaving. Once you get that, you can get over that internal dialogue which throws up all the reasons under the sun. You just go do it, and your thinking catches up.

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