How to Exercise and Lose Weight on a Busy Schedule

Busy mother
Getty Images/Marc Romanelli

Have you ever felt like you were in an 'I'm busier than you' contest?  Like, one person says "I'm so busy, I don't even have time to get my nails done!" And then the other says, "Oh, you think you're busy?  I can't even get my roots done, I'm so busy."

And what's the number one thing we're all too busy to do?  Exercise.

It's true that we are busy, I don't dispute that.  So, the question is, how do we do it?

  How do we balance the demands of family, career, important errands, relationships, organizational responsibilities, and working out? I've got 5 important elements of any successful workout program.

1. Commit to a specific schedule

Do you ever tell yourself you'll workout when you have time?  Guess what?  You'll probably never have time to exercise because there are always more chores, more errands, more Netflix to watch.

What you need to do is put your workouts into your weekly schedule. Start with at least 3 days a week, if you're coming back from a break and plan out exactly what you'll do.  Treat it like it's an appointment with your doctor or something equally important.  Remind yourself that not exercising could lead to that doctor's appointment.

2.  Use your weekends

Take advantage of the fact that it only takes 3-5 days per week to put together an effective, results-producing workout.

One trick to help you pull it all off is to workout on the weekends. Often our schedules are more flexible and we have more time to take care of ourselves.

What is also means is that when the hectic weekdays roll back around, you will only be responsible for working out 1-3 days during the work week.

3.  Keep your workouts as a high priority

Do you put exercise on your to do list only to skip it when other things come up?  I had a client once who canceled almost every week as soon as anything came up.  Once, she even canceled because it was raining.  Um, she did have a roof on her house.

The thing is, things will come up but, unless it's an emergency, don't let it stop you from exercising.

In the event that one of those important emergencies does happen and you can't make it to your workout, reschedule with yourself to make it up on the next possible day that you are available to do so. If your own health, fitness, and efforts to lose weight are not a priority to you, they certainly won't be so to anyone else.

4.  Get support from others

Don't go at this alone. Let the important people in your life know what you are up to. People want to help and it helps to have some accountability.  It's especially important at home where some unintentional sabotage may happen.

Leverage these relationships to delegate some of your normal responsibilities or even allow you to shift appointments that you have with them as you restructure your schedule for your workout. If any of them are into exercise or trying to lose weight themselves, don't hesitate to form a buddy system with them as you move forward with your program.

5. Don't beat yourself up

No matter who you are, there will be times in your workout program that you just aren't able to keep it up as you would like due to outside demands. Don't be too tough on yourself on this.

Remember that it is what you do consistently over a long period of time, not what you do in spurts, that truly counts. Just make sure that you get back on the horse full force as soon as you can and continue to press forward, doing your best to avoid slacking off again.