Who Has Time to Be Healthy??

by Kim on December 6, 2012

I’ve always thought finding time to work out would be so much easier if I were a guy.

Here’s why: for a long time, back when I was a working girl, one of the biggest obstacles blocking me from daily sweat sessions was not a lack of motivation, the distance from the gym, or anything like that-it was SHOWERING.

I figured I had three options:

–Work out in the morning before showering (tried it-HATED it).

–Shower after an evening workout, then figure out some way to salvage my bedhead for work the next day (usually a disaster-my hair’s really fine and naturally deviant).

–Resort to taking 2 showers a day (=excessive, time consuming, and not great for the old skin).

I usually ended up with option #3, and it was SUCH a hassle. Showering is one thing, being a girl and showering is another, but being a girl with long hair that requires blow-drying and straightening to look halfway decent-it’s a commitment. And to do it twice a day?

Meanwhile, I’d watch my husband pour sweat for an hour, hop in the shower for 3 minutes, throw on a shirt and jeans and some hair gel, and be right back in business.

Inevitably, this kind of thing would happen:

It took me awhile to recognize that the real problem wasn’t the showering itself-it was the blow-drying and straightening that usually went along with it. I discovered that if I just used the blow dryer in the front and top of my hair, so it didn’t look too flat, and then embraced my natural semi-kinky/waviness, even enhancing it a little with some gel, it was actually passable. I also experimented with just taking body showers and using a little dry shampoo on my hairline, or skipping the shower after lighter workouts.

My goal in all of this was to “reduce task friction.” I had to dig into what was really blocking me from making the action of working out daily into a habit, and find ways to get rid of, or at least trim down, that blocker. I’ve found that if I really want something to happen, I have to make it as easy as possible for me to do it.

I know I’m not alone in feeling that the #1 thing preventing a lot of us from being as healthy as we can be is time. If we had all the time in the world, this stuff would be cake. But it takes tons of time to work out, plan and cook healthy meals, get full nights of sleep, and de-stress with relaxation and personal time. And these things are so easily trumped by our other responsibilities.

That said, I’ve always had a personal little vendetta against the phrase “I don’t have time.” Am I the only one? I mean, I’ve definitely used it, but every time I said it, I’d always have a little voice in the back of my head arguing, “yeah, you do-you just don’t want to do that.”

We all have time for the things that we prioritize. If we have zero free time, and something big pops into our lives, we somehow make time for it. We reprioritize.

A better phrase is something like “I don’t want to prioritize that over everything else in my day right now.”

So, how do we reduce task friction so that healthy living doesn’t look like this big, daunting thing, and so it won’t seem quite as monumental to prioritize it into our days?

I’ve had great luck with short, effective HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts (although it took me awhile to get my brain to accept that 20-30 minutes was enough). I also think weekly meal planning and prep is critical (lots of people chop veggies and cook grains on Sundays, for example, or cook and freeze meals).

To get some other ideas, I asked my Sweat Pink sisters what their favorite ways to save time while staying healthy are. Here’s what they told me:

Sarah said: “I love Tabatas! They are quick (4 min per round) do-anywhere workouts!”

Alexandra said: “I try to walk during lunch, run home from work & plan all my meals on Sunday for the week!”

Maria said: “When short on time, use compound exercises! You can still get a full workout when making two moves into one!”

Darlena said: “I pre-measure things like healthy snacks (I love almonds) so I don’t overdo in between meals and while running around to all the kids activities. Just grab and go.”

Marielle said: “Schedule exercise into your day, that was you have no excuse to miss it. Short on time? You can still get your heart pumping with a 15 minute workout…better than nothing! Give yourself lots of options: buy a yoga mat, resistance bands or light weights so you can do stuff at home!”

Kayla said: “I have been scheduling my fun times with friends as activities like running, hiking, walking etc instead of a happy hour. The other day we wanted to go to a great ice cream place so we walked! That way I don’t have to sacrifice time with my friends for working out!”

Larissa said: “I think it’s important to realize that fitting in a few minutes at a time throughout the day can make a big difference. So, go for a 10 min walk at lunch, get up from your desk and do a wall sit or plank ever 60-90 minutes, etc. (Plus, I’m a BIG believer in making sure we’re not sitting for long periods of time!), the obvious things like parking farther away and taking the stairs…. little things like that can be more easily built into daily routines than planning a full workout, but can still have great results.”

Chantell said: “I love Tabata. You can get a full body strength, and cardio workout in 20-30 minutes. For individuals who work out at a gym, I recommend having a few basic pieces of equipment at home, that way if you know you’re going to have a super crazy day and probably won’t make it to the gym, you can get a quick workout in at home. On days like this, I wake up about 45 minutes earlier than usual, pull out my TRX Suspension Trainer, and get in a quick full body workout. Even though it may not be the type of workout you’re use to, something is better than nothing!”


Thanks for the tips, ladies!!

What’s made it easier for you to make room for healthy living in your day?


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome December 7, 2012 at 11:06 am

I love this and shared it today on my Fitness Friday post!


Kim December 7, 2012 at 11:23 am

Thanks Giselle! :)


Katie @ Livehalffull December 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Having a buddy helps so much! My hubby and I signed up for a swim league together so that helps a lot. Also, using walks and runs or yoga class as a social activity on the weekends with my girlfriends helps as well!


Kim December 7, 2012 at 11:24 am

So true, Katie!


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: