No Time to Workout? Try This

a person exercising at home because they have no time to workout

I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty easy for me to slip into the mindset of feeling like I have no time to workout. On days when my to-do list is a mile long and I have tons to get through, it feels like my workout is the first thing to go.

This week, in particular, I’ve had a lot of days like this. I wake up, I look at my to-do list, I start plugging away at it, and before I know it, it’s the middle of the afternoon, I still have a bunch of stuff left, and I’ve barely had a chance to think about working out.

It’s not so much the workout that’s the problem for me, honestly, it’s everything around it — putting on my workout clothes, getting warmed up, showering and eating afterward, etc. I get overwhelmed at all these steps and just don’t do my workout, or I do it and it feels like a subpar session because I’m distracted thinking about everything I still have to do.

Does this sound familiar to you? If so, I’ve got a “hack” might be helpful.

Working Out in Chunks

On days when I’m extra busy, I do my workout in chunks throughout the day instead of trying to tackle it all at once. After I’ve done a bit of writing, for example, I’ll get up and either do part of the workout that I have programmed for the day, or I might just do a few sets of a particular exercise, like a couple of sets of pull-ups or push-ups, and then get back to work.

When I take this approach on a busy day, my workout feels more manageable than it would if I was trying to do the whole thing all at once. I feel accomplished, too, because I’m still chipping away at it while I’m also getting other things on my to-do list taken care of.

If you feel like you have no time to workout, breaking your workout up into chunks might help. At this point, though, you might be wondering how to make this approach work for you.

Here are some additional tips that you can try to make the process of breaking up your workouts more effective. They’ll help you ensure this method of working out fits easily into your routine without adding too much extra stress.

Wear Clothes You Can Move In

I recognize that this is not an option for everyone. If you are working from home right now, though, try putting on your workout clothes as soon as you wake up. This helps to eliminate one of the roadblocks to exercising and saves you from having to do a million outfit changes during the day.

If you are still leaving the house for work, wear clothes that you can move fairly easily in, if possible. I get that some people have a uniform that’s non-negotiable, but if you have some flexibility with what you wear to work, pick some clothing that you can move around in. I have heard good things about these clothes, but I haven’t tried them myself.

Pick Some Go-To Exercises

Like I said earlier, when I’m working out this way, I like to pick one part of my workout and tackle it during one exercise chunk, then take on another section during the next chunk. For example, if my workout includes 3 sets of 3 pull-ups, I might do those during my first break. Then, if the second part includes 3 sets of a push-up/shoulder press superset, I’ll do that during the next break.

Another option, if you just want to move a bit, is to have a list of go-to exercises readily available. That way, you can just pick an exercise or two from the list, bust that out, and get back to work. Here are some options you might want to add to your list:

  • Squats
  • Push-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Kettlebell deadlifts
  • Plank holds
  • Walking lunges

I generally like to stick to compound exercises, as they give me more bang for my buck. If you want to do something like tricep extensions or bicep curls, though, more power to you. Customize your list to your goals and preferences.

Set an Alarm

If you find yourself getting so sucked into your work that the day gets away from you, try setting some movement alarms. Every hour or so, have an alarm that goes off so you remember to get up and do a few exercises.

This can actually help you be more focused, too. Remember, regular work breaks can increase productivity for a lot of people.

Get Your Kids Involved

If you have a hard time fitting in a full workout because your kids get in the way, try including them in these short workout bursts.

Most kids probably don’t have the attention span to stick it out through a 30-minute workout, but they might be able to stay invested in 3 minutes of squats or push-ups. The more they see you doing this, too, the more interested they’ll likely be in trying it themselves.

What About Warming Up?

I know, I talk about the importance of warming up all the time. I’ll be honest, though. When I’m breaking my workout up like this, I usually don’t do a full warm-up.

I might do a couple of warm-up exercises or mobility drills during the first workout chunk to get my blood flowing. For the most part, though, I just jump right into it.

I figure that since I’m not working out at a super high intensity, I don’t need to worry as much about warming up. Is this the most ideal setup? Probably not. Is it working for me right now? Yes, so I’m going to keep doing it (just call me a rebel, lol).

No Time to Workout? Not Anymore!

Are you tired of feeling like you have no time to workout? Breaking your workout up into chunks might be a good solution to this problem!

I get that this isn’t feasible for everybody. If you’re interested in trying this approach, though, keep the tips listed above in mind, and feel free to reach out to me if you have questions or are looking for any additional tips.

Comment down below, too, and let me know if you’ve ever tried working out like this! Feel free to share any tips you’ve picked up along the way as well!

2 thoughts on “No Time to Workout? Try This

  1. David Earley says:

    Good point about working out in chunks. It may not always work for heavy lifting, but body weight exercises are clutch for most of the population anyway. Those can be done almost anywhere. In fact, I did a video years ago showing people they can workout anywhere. I did exercises in front of fast food places, out on the trails, and at the museum downtown! Of course, it never got a ton of views because it lacked cute animals, mainstream topics, or a clickbait title, but was fun nonetheless.

    Personally, I prefer to get in the zone and finish all in one go. I think the main motivating factor to getting it all done at once is how I feel post workout. If I skip a workout, I tend to feel kind of crappy. However, I feel pretty good after completing one. It’s probably the endorphins mostly, but there’s also the luxury of knowing I just did something to benefit my health and my body from the inside out. I’d be interested to know if any studies have been done regarding the effect of one workout versus multiple. I imagine it evens out at the end of the day, but I could be wrong. Do you feel like you benefit more from a split workout?

    I don’t do too many isolated exercises either. They do have their benefits, but take about as long as the compound exercises you mentioned which work many muscles at one time. However, the average person loves their isolated exercises for perceived benefits in appearance. I’m still trying to convince people they cannot “spot reduce”, and/or turn fat into muscle, but people believe what they want. At the end of the day, some exercise is better than no exercise (apart from injuries and overuse). Which reminds me, it’s time to squat…

    1. Natalie Thongrit, CPT says:

      I’m not sure if I notice any significant benefits from splitting my workouts up instead of doing it all at once. Honestly, lately, as long as I get something done one way or another, I’m happy, lol.

      I’m totally with you on isolated exercises. I like throwing them in every once in a while, but I like getting the most bang for my buck. I also just think they’re kind of boring. To each their own, though ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Happy squatting!

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