We all lead hectic and busy lifestyles; working long hours, family commitments, chores (or what I like to refer to as ‘adulting’), as well as  the need to maintain a social life. Sound familiar? You’re not alone… these are all common barriers to exercise that lead us to convince ourselves that we are “too busy” for exercise, something which I have also been guilty of. The reality is, however, that we are not too busy, we just don’t prioritise it as highly as other events in our diary. We all make time for things that we really want to do, right? So here are some tips to help overcome these barriers:

  1. Schedule your exercise session into your diary and calendar to give it equal status to work commitments and social engagements. Make appointments for exercise sessions and write them in your diary just like you would do with important meetings, to encourage yourself to stick to them. If you’re struggling to motivate yourself to do this, a personal trainer can help here as you will be making an appointment with someone else, meaning you’re less likely to cancel as you wouldn’t want to let them down!


  1. Bike, run, walk (go crazy and skip if you want) to and from work when possible and you’ll squeeze in an essential cardio session that delivers you to work with your senses sharpened and ready to perform. This is one of the best ways to train by swapping a tedious commute for a great workout.


  1. Adopt the ‘early bird’ technique: go to sleep an hour earlier, and get up an hour earlier so you can train, which will also leave you fresh and energised for the day ahead. Early morning training is good time management, it’s done and out of the way, and it’s great for weight loss. It also promotes a positive mind-set, so you are ready for the day. As well as being a personal trainer, I run early morning fitness Bootcamps at Centre Vale Park. The class timetable is on my website mftcalderdale.co.uk. Remember though, a good eight hours sleep helps recovery so make sure that you don’t skimp on this.


  1. Have your kit laid out and ready for every session as this makes it easier to head out the door and train. This is especially true for those early morning sessions (and you can even get a few extra minutes in bed rather than scrambling through the wardrobes for your clothes).


  1. To boost motivation and get more from each session get a training partner. The element of competition means you’ll both work much harder and benefit from having someone to encourage you to train. You’re also less likely to skip a session if it has already been planned, as doing so will let your training partner down. I offer partner and group personal training sessions, so you can split the cost between you.


  1. Squeeze fitness into the most unlikely of time slots. Waiting for the toaster to pop or the microwave to ping? How many press-ups can you do in that time? Watching the TV? Then do some core exercises during the breaks. Brushing your teeth? Do three sets of calf raises and squats. Desk bound at work? Be sure to stretch your legs every 20 minutes (this is also great for productivity, as we tend to procrastinate after a while).


  1. Make fitness part of your social life. Get your mates signed up for an event so you can all train together, arrange to meet on one morning for a bike ride or make one night a week your five-a-side night.


  1. Don’t let the weather put you off. Invest in some good wet/cold weather kit and enjoy the sense of achievement that comes with taking a run in the rain.


  1. Make family time count: take the kids cycling while you run alongside, head to the park to play some sports, or dare I say, catch some Pokémon! You may even find that you enjoy it more than the kids!


  1. Your body will get used to a regular workout so vary between aerobic, resistance and interval sessions. This also keeps things interesting which boosts your motivation and encourages you to be creative with the time available.

Siobhan Doherty

MFT Calderdale

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