Finding Time for Exercise #NoMoreExcuses

deadlift
I really feel like my fitness has been progressing recently. I also get tired of spending two hours in the gym every day. Is there a happy medium?

Recently, I’ve been having these conversations with myself (and sometimes Erik) about how I could get so much more done in both life and with the business if I exercised less. Don’t for a second get me wrong…fitness is one of my favorite hobbies. And I don’t think that for the rest of my life, there will ever come a time where I’m not “going to the gym.” Fitness is a lifestyle habit that I hope my kids pick up, continue, and help others get involved with as well. I love lifting–bodybuilding and powerlifting. I love crossfitting. I love being strong and feeling fit.

Erik
I would love to hang out with this guy even more than I already do. A perfect weekend would start with hot coffee, transition to a long hike with the pups, eating some great foods, and binge watching something on TV at night. This, has not happened in over three years.

But I also love being home with Erik and the puppies, cooking dinners, working on bettering our business, writing blog posts, reading a good book, visiting family, focusing on our upcoming wedding, and thinking about …maybe some time in the future… even starting a family.

I want to be the mom that makes the fun healthy lunches for her kids and wholesome dinners every night…the strong mom who can hold a kid in one arm and swing a kettlebell in the other…the one who inspires her own family as well as others…

But how do you find the time to balance family, work, dinners, play time, alone time, and much less–gym time?

Does anyone else struggle with balancing time for all the important things in life? And what do you sacrifice when you don’t have enough time? 

I typically spend anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours at the gym. There have been days where I’ve logged more than three hours. Why?

fitness
Can’t stay away from all things fitness and fun.

I’m not a competitive athlete. I just like to train hard I suppose. I like to follow routines. I like to have a plan and I really like seeing progress. I like lifting weights. I like doing CrossFit too. I like to do it all. It makes me feel fit, strong, athletic, powerful…it even drives my business. It motivates me. Makes me feel accomplished. Even on my worst days, it at least lets me enjoy the chocolate a little bit more than if I didn’t workout. ;) And the more I train the more I learn, the more I am capable of, and the more I can pass down and teach others. I guess I’ve made exercising my life, my business, my career, and at most, my passion. And I love it.

But how do I figure out the when, where, and why of scaling back? How do I take back just enough time needed to find a better balance in life all while continuing to train, maintaining strength, and running a full time business on partime hours?

chicken1
I really want to start cooking more. Here are Mexican chicken tortas. One of the next big projects I’m working on is a strongfigure sister-site: one that is strictly food, recipes, and food prep! I’m just trying to find the time to work on it…

I think about this a lot.

And even though at some point in my future I may have to scale down my training from two hours to one hour, I will still train–I know this. I will still workout. I will still exercise. Even if I have to simply “go to class” and be a member of my gym, spend my hour and go home…I will still do it. I can’t imagine not exercising. I can’t imagine not being fit. I really cannot imagine NOT squatting every week!!!

I do now and I always will find time in my life to exercise. I have to. It’s a priority.

People who only know the fitness side of me get really surprised when I tell them …

Exercise wasn’t always a priority in my life. In fact, it was a nusciance. I didn’t grow up “going to the gym.” I didn’t even utilize two FREE gym memberships that I had during my early 20s. Hell, my University (go Dukes!) has a STELLAR fitness center and I only went there once for a class that met there one day. Exercising was NOT my life, much less a priority. I didn’t do it until I “had to” do it. When I was unhealthy and overweight and needed to lose a lot of fat.

Let me tell you how I actually started my fitness journey. 

  • I started with trips to the local YMCA once a week (Saturdays, and I went out to lunch after).
  • Later, I joined a Gold’s Gym with a friend who BEGGED me to go, and I started taking Pilates once a week. Again on Saturdays.
  • Eventually I started adding 30 minutes on an elliptical 3-5 times a week.
  • I decided to take some more group fitness classes–maybe 3 or 4 per week.
  • I tried treadmill running.
  • I started lifting, and taking a lot more group fitness classes.
  • I started lifting a lot more.
  • I got strong, fit, lost weight, and was asked to teach group fitness.
  • I transitioned to instructor and “that strong girl who lifts a lot.”
  • I started blogging, crossfitting, powerlifting, and still is that girl who lifts a lot. I love it.

So now when I hear people say that they don’t have time to go to the gym, it irritates me a little bit.

I have made all the following excuses:

  • I work too much.
  • I’m too tired.
  • I don’t have time.
  • I’m not motivated.
  • I don’t know what to do.
  • People will laugh at me.

The thing is, excuses are abundant. No matter what, you have them. I have them. I could tell you right now, while typing this, that I only got six hours of sleep last night and I’m too tired. I could tell you that I have a beach trip coming up and that I need to go home and pack. I can tell you that I’m behind on my to-do list (I really am) and I need to catch up. I have excuses. But sacrificing my strength, my health, my fitness, doesn’t have to be one. This is a lesson I again, learned the hard way and I am not going to repeat.

But finding a little time to take back your health, should become a priority for you if it isn’t already.

No one has to go to the gym every single day, and even if you do go, you don’t have to spend two and three hours exercising. You don’t have to be like the people you see on social media. But it should absolutely be a priority to better your health. Finding one hour to do a little bit of lifting three times a week is surely doable for any person. Wake up one hour earlier or give up one hour of TV every other day. Try a 30 minute class on your lunch break or take a walk around a local track with a buddy. Get our 12-week lifting guide with links to YouTube vidoes for instructions (subscribe at the bottom of this post to receive; it is free), or complete our three Strongfigure Conditioning Workouts (see below!) that I publish each week. These, by the way, are totally doable for those on the go and can only afford 20 minutes or less to workout, or those who need to workout at home–even without equipment.

You see, exercise is important and once it changed my life, I knew I had to use it to help others change their own. And if you hit up my Instagram account or Facebook page, seeing me or our awesome team of strongfigure ambassadors lifting, pulling, pushing, swinging, climbing…..

You might feel inspired. You may be in awe. You may feel like “hey, if they can do this, so can I!”

Unfortunately, you could also feel intimidated, weak, scared, or even terrified that if you go to the gym, these are things you would be required to do. 

This actually happens to a lot of people. People think that because they see a person deadlifting 350 pounds, they think they’ll have to do the same things. “I can’t do a pull-up, why would I try CrossFit?” It’s because no one can do a pull-up when they walk into a CrossFit gym for the first time. But no one posts their “I can’t do a pull-up” video. You see the video after the person has trained for six months on pull-ups and their variations.

There’s no reason to walk into a gym terrified of what may happen, or of who may say something. Everyone is there for the same reason: to get fitter. Everyone wants to help you. Everyone wants to see you succeed. No matter what kind of gym–a YMCA, Gold’s Gym, or CrossFit box–everyone wants you to be a better you.

Do you have to spend HOURS in a gym? Do you have to become Insta-famous and post a selfie with 30 hashtags so that everyone knows what you’re doing every second of your insta-gym life? 

Of course not. I have to explain to people constantly that I do it for the business. I do it to motivate someone. I do it to show that I love feeling strong and that strength makes women beautiful. I do it so that people know it’s ok to embrace a body built for power, and that it’s fun to push limits. I do it because it helps the person who is terrified, unmotivated, and scared of failure. Strongfigure is more than a blog–it’s a social media platform that embraces strength in all shapes and sizes. And going to the gym is a big part of that. Finding something that each person enjoys to do in order to make him or herself healthier is all we’re trying to promote.

So let’s stop with the excuses, ok?

Don’t say that you don’t have time to go to the gym. Take your kids to the park and play with them. Run with them. Swing with them. Climb with them. Take a lunch break at work and spend 20 minutes of it working out. Wake up a few minutes earlier or swing by the gym on your way home from work instead of going to Target. There’s always a few extra minutes to spare. You’ll find time when it’s important, so make your health important.

Don’t tell me you’re too tired to go to the gym or try a class. Exercise gives you energy. You just have to walk through the door! Why do you need a nap at 3 pm? Are you eating too much sugar? Did you carb-load for breakfast and now your brain is foggy? Maybe you just flat out worked hard all day and now you’re exhausted? Think about your lifestyle for a moment. What are you doing that’s so tiresome that you’re willing to put your own health at risk? If your job is so tiring that you don’t want to workout at the end of your day, become a morning exerciser. Get it done early. Of course for a while this may stink, but once you get used to it, trust me, you’ll miss it. Maybe your lunchtime or afternoon snacks are making your drowsy. Try upping your protein and good fats. Skip the sodas and vending machines. Sweet and starchy foods will slow you down. Are you simply not getting enough sleep at night? Work on going to bed earlier and at the same time every night. You’ve got to prioritize your health. Being tired, craving sweets, and crashing when you get home every day is NOT healthy!

Don’t say that you work too much. People who work two and three jobs find an extra 30 minutes to swing a kettlebell. If you want to do it, you will. If you want to watch TV, you’ll find time won’t you? If you want to get lost in your favorite book, you’ll sit down and do it, right? If it’s important to you–as your health should be–you’ll always find time. Wake up 10 minutes earlier and perform 25 squats and push-ups before you get in the shower. Wake up an hour earlier and go take a kickboxing class at the gym. Even if you can’t get to a gym, but you can wear a pedometer, walk around as much as you can and rack up your daily steps. Take stairs instead of elevators, park further away in parking lots. There’s always something you can do to increase your fitness–whether you can get to the gym or not.

People won’t laugh at you at the gym. I know those popular YouTube videos you see circulating on Facebook but honestly most of those are fake and the ones that aren’t…well, come on. If you don’t know what to do with a piece of equipment–don’t assume–just ask! People at the gym are SO friendly. They WANT to show off, I mean, show you what to do. ;) If you ask an employee to show you around the weight room or ask for a tour, no one is going to laugh. If you take the time to read instructions on the machine, no one will laugh. And you certainly won’t get laughed at if you Google “how to (name the exercise) correctly.” Honestly, you probably wouldn’t get laughed at no matter what. But if you take the time to figure out what you need to do and ask someone (or Google/YouTube) how to do it, you’ll probably be better off than the rest of the people who are already there.

What do you say? Do you have some extra time? Can you sacrifice a few spare moments? Are you willing to take control of your health and motivate your family to live a longer, healthier, and happier life? Isn’t that what life is all about, anyway? Being happy? Living longer? Staying stronger?!

Don’t forget, I once made these same excuses. Now I’m looking at my life and thinking, “Man, I sure do spend a lot of time exercising.” I had no clue I would end up finding my passion, my favorite hobby, even a new career. I had no idea that one day I might have to eventually convince myself to ease off the gym! It’s so crazy to me when I think about this. How do you know you won’t love it just as much? (Ok, maybe not that much, but a lot!)

So let’s start NOW! Here are your weekly Strongfigure Conditioning Workouts. Start small and do what you can. Nobody said you had be perfect! (Don’t forget to Instagram yourself though. ;) Just kidding.) But, seriously, if you do…hashtag strongfigure. Use @strongfigure for a chance to be re-grammed!! :D

Workout One: For time:

  • 400 meter run
  • 21 kettlebell swings
  • 21 burpees
  • 400 meter run
  • 15 kettlebell swings
  • 15 burpees
  • 400 meter run
  • 9 kettlebell swings
  • 9 burpees

Workout Two: For Time:

  • 50 Lunges
  • 40 Sit-Ups
  • 30 Squats
  • 20 Push-ups
  • 10 Supermans
  • 1:00 Plank hold

Workout Three: 5 Rounds for time:

  • 200 meter sprints
  • 20 kettlebell, dumbbell, or barbell thrusters

If you’re just starting off, substitute air squats for the kettlebell swings and the thrusters. You can scale back any of the workouts. Complete half the reps or run half the distance. The important thing is that you start something and you work hard. Finish what you set out to do. If you can only do two workouts this week, do two. Next week, commit to three. You can do it–you just have to start!

Comment below! I would love to hear from you–how do you balance life, raising a family, your work or business, and still find time to workout and enjoy some time to yourself?

Comments

  1. says

    THIS is literally the story of my life…like, I love lOVE going to the gym, working out, exercising, bUT it takes up time – not even just the being at the gym part, but the post gym part, needed to foam roll/stretch after and maybe ice, then shower, and re get ready and eat…it’s time consuming and i AM SO GLAD YOU WROTE THIS POST cause I wondered if I was the only one who felt this way – when I have verbalized this, someone said “so don’t work out” but that’s not what I want either, I have goals/things to do, and I am way better at letting the gym take a back burner now than I was, but it’s tough, NOT ENOUGH HOURS IN A DAY FOR ME TO GET SWOLE, TEACH, BLOG, MEALPREP, BE A GIRLFRIEND AND DAUGHTER and etc. sometimes TEACH ME YOUR SEVRETS SOMEONE <3

    • Stephanie Walker says

      Glad to know I’m not the only one but sad to know you have to feel the same way!! I have a feeling there will be a point in my life where I may transition to a more “simple gym life” and focus on growing my career and maybe family too….and then I think that about all the studies that show muscle building for women peaks in the late 30s to 40s and I’m like, “ah hell, might as well see where this goes…” IT’S HARD TO FIND A BALANCE!!! But it is what it is I suppose…one day at a time and we’ll see where we all end up. I’ll share my secrets when I figure them out! ;)

  2. Robyn Tanner says

    I love this article and I had to think a bit before responding. Ladies, I suspect that at 43 I may be a bit older than the rest of you but find Steph no less inspiring. I was the young woman in the gym of men in college who gave up other things because I love to lift.

    20 years later (and married, live in Switzerland, two boys, own business, etc.,) and I realize I do take those hikes with my family and I do watch those movies and that 30 extra lbs is my trade off. This article just put it into perspective for me- my trade off is this.

    Now, because I love to learn and think you ladies younger than me are damn smart in the way you approach life, I felt inspired to do something. I gave myself two hours today to work out and it felt like heaven. I had been craving it, maybe the same way you seem to crave a little something outside the gym. Maybe give yourself the opportunity every two months or so for those needs to keep that motivation going. I know that my son just came home with a raging cold and my work/exercise schedule tomorrow is shot so my two hours today was like bringing home a gold medal!

    Thanks for the inspiration! And btw, there is no balance, just calm moments amidst chaos.

    • Stephanie Walker says

      I love this response Robyn!! Thanks so much for commenting…and I think I needed to hear “calm moments amidst chaos.” I will have to keep that in the back of my mind!