Making Time to Exercise

How to make sure you get your exercise when life's just too busy.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #50

Today's topic is how to make time to work out. The quick and dirty tip is to make your workouts top priority. It's scarier than it sounds.

Mark from Los Angeles writes in:

Do you have any suggestions for how to get in shape? It's a time management issue. Work-life balance is a juggling act. Exercising has gone out the window. It's almost a choice between sleeping or exercising.

Oh,  friend, I feel your pain. I too once would ooze into my chair when I sat down, content and fluffy, with an ever expanding waistline.  And why change? I grew rounder and rounder.  After all, isn't a circle the most divine of all shapes? Eventually, whether seen from above, in front, behind, or the side, I would have the perfect shape. A beautiful unbroken circle.

Then I outgrew my suit. My zipper wouldn’t zip. Now I was faced with a choice: do I own up to my age and buy bigger polyester pants, with a waistline that comes up to my nipples? Or do I lose weight, tone up, and returned to the spectacular body of my geeky youth. Well, duh. I worship superficial appearances as much as the next person.

Off to the gym. And golly workouts are hard. I went once and still didn't fit into my suit. This was not promising. I put on my Get-it-Done hat and came to a horrifying realization: you can’t streamline exercise.

You can’t delegate it. Since using momentum means less muscle effort, you can’t just go pump pump pump pump pump and double-time your way through. And then, to add insult to injury, you need recovery time between sets. So there’s no getting around it taking time.

Here’s what worked. Make the gym top priority. Really, top priority. It goes on your schedule before any other commitments, even above work, family, and sleep. Only for the gravest emergencies do you cancel. I even shortened vacations so they wouldn’t interfere with my routine.

If this is hard, imagine yourself as a perfect sphere. Then imagine yourself bulging with manly-man muscles (or manly-girl muscles). Take your choice. Am I shallow to emphasize the external? No, I’m efficient. I’ve been trained by society to judge a person’s worth by superficial beauty. Thirty-five years of therapy to appreciate my inner beauty, or a year in the gym grunting to get the superficial beauty? The choice makes itself clear. Besides, studies show beautiful people get paid more, promoted, smiled at, and aren't kicked off game shows. And insurance companies still consider plastic surgery optional. Harumph!


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.