A reader recently wrote me asking how and where I decide to fit in workouts on busy days. She works a job that keeps her occupied for most of the day and struggles with motivation to get it in early before work AND finds it difficult to get to the gym after a long hard day. I mean, I’m sure most of us can relate right?! This is the most relatable thing- we have all been there and it can often be difficult to find the motivation to get in a workout on a busy day. But I will say, when I do make the time to get in a workout, I feel SO much better!
So, as you know….I don’t have a typical job by any means. When I am working on a film or tv show I am working such long hours and when I am in between jobs my schedule changes by the day! I mean, really changes…like one second I’ll have nothing to do and I’ll make plans with friends and then I get an audition thrown into the mix and I’ll have to cancel plans to focus, wash my hair and get my ass in gear. (Washing the hair being the main annoying part lol!)
That being said, I’m so used to the unpredictability and also so used to the GO GO GO lifestyle I live when I am working on a project. I love both equally and honestly, I need both. One or the other would either become too boring or too stressful.
When I do have more time, I fit in a workout whenever I can. I usually work out about 6 days a week. It’s my goal to move 7-6 days a week and usually I get about 5-6. I plan for the most and I’m OK if things come up…and I just go with the flow as my schedule changes. But in a perfect world, I do some type of physical activity daily. I think it is important to be a little flexible and just schedule for more days and be OK if you have to cut a couple out.
With that type of schedule, I’m usually working out at different times of the day, whether that’s a class, a workout in my bedroom on the sweat app or a long hike or walk outside. I find a chunk of time that works and commit to working out then, and sometimes that means waking up an hour earlier and I am 100% ok with that. I plan it out and commit! I time block my schedule and make sure to stick with it once I commit! Nighttime is usually my relax time. If a class starts at 7 or later, you probably won’t see me there. I like to have my evenings as a time to unwind.
Now, when I’m working on a movie, things get a little dicier. I will often have a call time at the crack of dawn and there is ZERO chance of working out before. I’m talking like 5:30 am pickup to go to set. If my call time is somewhere around 7, then I can work with that! I will set my alarm for 5:45 and get in a 45 minute run or 30-45 minute workout at the hotel gym or at home. Then I shower quickly and have just enough time to get myself ready to leave. I time it out perfectly, which is crucial.
When you are squeezing in a workout on a busy morning, you really have to be very aware of your time management. It also helps to prepare ahead of time- ie: the night before! The night before, I will set out my workout clothes I’m planning to wear, have my headphones untangled and laid out, and an energy drink and water bottle ready to go. Doing all of this makes life super easy and effortless in the morning so I can just get up and get going as quickly as possible. Wasting less time is key!
Another great option is to just be active through the day and skip a classic workout. This means walking whenever you can, taking the stairs, squeezing in a few sets of squats here and there. Sounds a little weird, but you will be surprised how many steps this all adds to your day and like I explained in this post, the more you move each day, the better! Moving more is actually better sometimes than getting in a workout!
If you have a job that allows you to leave for lunch for a full hour, then totally squeeze in a workout then! OR, take a 30-60 minute power walk and then eat lunch at your desk after. If you tend to sweat a lot, this may not be the best option for you. But if your work is near your gym, you could totally get in a workout and a quick rinse off.
The next option is to work out at night…after a long day , which is the HARDEST option in my opinion. But when I decide to do it, I have a game plan! I pack my workout clothes OR set them out at home before leaving for the day. This means that I can either change on set and go straight to the gym from work OR changed easily the second I step into the door of my place. And, this is key: DON’T SIT DOWN! I never relax or take a load off if I opt to change at home. I simply get in, put down my stuff, change and go. Nothing else, no distractions! Because, honestly, if you sit and relax for a sec it is going to be that much more difficult to get back up and out- I promise, trust me on this…don’t you dare sit down!
I also love to schedule workouts with friends in the evening- this will hold you accountable because someone is literally relying on you to be there! Plus, its a social situation too and can be such a nice way to end the day. For evening workouts, I love making it a friend date! ALSO- find a workout you love and can easily do! I really encourage this because not every workout will be everyones favorite. We are all unique snowflakes and you will want to show up for the workouts you enjoy and feel good about!
So to bullet point all of this in a very simple way:
- Schedule your workouts for the week- write it into your calendar and commit to it.
- Add an extra workout day into your schedule in case something comes up and you can’t make it to one…meaning, if you want to workout 4 times a week, schedule it in for 5…and be OK if you have to skip the number 5!
- Don’t stress! Stressing raises cortisol levels and that’s a no-no. If you miss a workout or two, just get back on the wagon the following week.
- Lay your workout clothes out the night before for a quick, easy transition in the morning.
- Time management and time blocking- when time is crunched, plan out your morning workout to a T and follow it so you have enough time to workout AND get where you need to go in time. This means no playing around on your phone for 15 minutes in bed before getting up!
- Forgo the coffee to save time and have an energy drink and tons of lemon water instead for an energy boost!
- Add more activity into your everyday life- more walking, take the stairs, get in some squats whenever possible. Be sneaky about it!
- Get moving during your lunch break.
- For evening workouts, pack a bag for the day and go straight to the gym!
- Going home first lowers your chances of getting your ass to that gym or out on that run! So go right from work!
- Workout with a friend- hold yourself accountable this way!
- Find the workouts you LOVE- I promise you will find one, and when you do…you will be so happy to make it a priority.
And most importantly, you will always have time for what you make time for. We all have the same hours in a day as Beyonce, and do you think Beyonce is making excuses as to why she can’t get to the gym? Probably not.
If you want to make fitness and health a priority, you have to start by putting yourself first and thinking about workouts as a therapeutic “you time”. Change the way you view workouts, make it a priority and I promise it will be so much easier to fit it into your schedule.