Working in a functional medicine clinic, as a Clinical Nutritionist & Health Coach, I get the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life about their health, fitness, and weight loss goals. Whether their goal is to lose weight, get off meds, improve their cardiovascular health, or simply to maintain their current fitness level they all have one common issue – TIME.
For most of us, the #1 challenge in the quest to get healthy, or lose weight is not exercising itself but being able to actually fit an exercise and nutrition program into our busy schedules.
So how do you do it? How do you balance the demands of family, career, important errands, relationships, life responsibilities, and working out? I have found that there are five keys that will help you to be able to fit a consistent eating and workout plan into your already hectic life.
Commit To a Schedule
When you fail to plan you plan to fail (we’ve heard that one before). Don’t try to haphazardly fit your exercise into your schedule without any rhyme or reason. Don’t think you’re guilty? If you’ve ever told yourself “I’ll workout at some point today”, you were in direct violation of this key principle.
In order to set yourself up for success, you need to take the time to literally write your workouts into your weekly schedule. In order to be effective, you want to be following your exercise program at least 3 days per week. Anything less would be kidding yourself.
Therefore, right in the midst of all of your appointments, “to-do” lists, etc., should be a written plan for your weekly workout routine, so that you will never be in the dark as to when you committed to yourself to exercise.
Utilize Your Weekends
Take advantage of the fact that it only takes 3-5 days per week to put together an effective, results-producing workout. One trick to help you pull it all off is to workout on the weekends. One of the benefits here is that your schedule is more likely flexible and under your control during this time.
What it also means is that when the hectic weekdays roll back around, you will only be responsible for working out 1-3 days during the work week, depending on your exercise program.
Keep Your Exercise Priority
One of the biggest mistakes that even many people who have scheduled a workout program into their schedule make is allowing it to be bumped off of their schedule too easily. I can’t stress this one enough – Prioritize YOU!
Although things will occasionally come up that will cause you to have to reschedule the workout you had planned, you must be vigilant in making sure that only the most important emergencies are allowed to temporarily take you off of your plan (kids, family etc.,).
In the event that one of those important emergencies does happen and you can’t make it to your workout, reschedule with yourself to make it up on the next possible day that you are available to do so. If your own health, well-being, and efforts to lose weight are not a priority to you, they certainly won’t be so to anyone else.
Don’t go at this alone. Let the important people in your life know what you are up to. Your spouse or love interest, parents, children, co-workers, and close friends will often pitch in and help you to meet your fitness or weight loss commitment to yourself if you make them aware and ask for their support. If they are not supportive, then try your best to separate yourself until you’ve reached some milestones in your health and fitness goals.
Leverage these relationships to delegate some of your normal responsibilities or even allow you to shift appointments that you have with them as you restructure your schedule for your workout. If any of them are into exercise or trying to lose weight themselves, don’t hesitate to form a buddy system with them as you move forward with your program.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
No matter who you are, there will be times in your exercise and health program that you just aren’t able to keep it up as you would like due to outside demands. Don’t be too tough on yourself when that happens. Be Consistent, not Perfect.
Remember that it is what you do consistently over a long period of time, not what you do in spurts, that truly counts. Just make sure that you get back on track as soon as you can and continue to press forward, doing your best to avoid falling off again.
No matter what goals you have for health, fitness, or weight loss, you CAN fit an effective exercise and eating program into that hectic schedule of yours and be amazingly successful at getting the exact results that you want.