I don’t have time to go to the gym. What can I do?
Can’t find time for the gym? Scrambling to fit a workout in your already slammed schedule? This post is for you.
Today, I’m going to share one of my favorite time management strategies to get you back on track.
But before we dive in, this is NOT your typical workout advice. You’re going to get a strategy that cuts to the core of time management.
Are you ready? Let’s get started.
But first, do this — open a browser, go to Google, and search:
“I don’t have time to go to the gym.”
What you see are answers that fall into one of two categories:
1. Fitness hacks for people that don’t have time.
This is where we put all the tips and tricks to squeeze more exercise into your day.
- Get up 20 minutes early and go for a walk.
- Do 60 seconds of pushups when you hop out of bed.
- It takes 30 minutes to bake chicken and roast broccoli. What a perfect time to master the art of kettlebell swings.
Now, I should say, there’s nothing wrong with micro-workouts. I do them. We all should. If there are stairs around, guess who’s taking them? That’s right, this guy. In fact, stairs are what I like to call “glute improvement zones.”
Tips, tricks, and hacks all assume one thing. That a lack of time is the “real” problem.
I’ve been a weight loss coach for over 12 years, and if I’ve learned anything — time is only the problem we see on the surface.
(But more on that soon.)
And the second group of answers fall into this category…
2. You HAVE time, just stop wasting it.
This is where we put advice like:
- Not having time is a lie. We all have the same 24 hours in a day.
- The “If I can do it, so can you.” approach.
You’ve read something like this before.
“I put in 70 hours a week. Rack up 90 billion sky miles a year. I have 3 kids, 4 dogs, and flip houses in my spare time. If I can make it to the gym, so can you.”
(Oh, come on. Really? I’m married, have two boys, and run a company focused entirely on helping others get fit. I’m busy too, but telling someone to “try harder” isn’t the answer.)
And this is also where we’ll put the advice…
– Stop wasting so much time on social media.
How much time do you spend binging YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu? How about scrolling through Instagram and Twitter? Well, there’s your time. Cut THAT out and you found 4 extra hours a day.
Now, this isn’t a terrible argument, especially when you look at the numbers.
For example, here’s a sneak peek at how much time I spend on my phone.
“Screen Time” shows I spend an average of 3h and 38 minutes a day. And just to make the math easy, let’s call it a flat 3 hours.
That means I spend 21 hours a week, 84 hours a month, 1,008 hours a year on my phone. What could I do with an extra 1,000 hours? Or better yet, what could you do?
To be fair, a lot of my phone time is talking with our coaches and clients. Or watching videos while I’m folding clothes and putting the dishes away. (It’s the only way to get me through those chores.) But, like everyone, I’m not immune to social media.
But let’s say we cut screen time in half.
Does putting your phone down equal more calories burned? It can, but it usually doesn’t.
Why? Because, again, time isn’t the problem.
Okay, so what is?
The best way to explain what you’re really facing is with a story about…
Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand
(Or what I call — the key to finding balance in your life.)
Here’s how it goes:
A philosophy professor stands in front of his class with a large empty jar and says…
“Class. This jar represents all the time you have in life, and you can fill it any way you choose.”
He begins filling the jar with sand.
“The sand I’m pouring in the jar are the things in your life that are low value. It’s filling your day with videos, scrolling mindlessly on your phone, whatever you’re spending time on that doesn’t bring you value.”
The jar is half full when the professor starts pouring in pebbles.
“The pebbles are tasks that have value, but only slightly more than sand.”
You’re answering email, researching a new idea or project, listening to podcasts, watching a useful video.
Sure, doing these are important. And doing these tasks will give you a feeling of progress, but what they lack is meaning. Simply put, they’re not bringing long-term value to your life.”
Sand and pebbles nearly fill the jar.
The professor places four big rocks on the table and explains…
“These rocks are what’s important in your life. Your family, your friends, work, health, anything that has lasting value and brings you happiness.”
The professor fits one rock into the jar, but now it’s full — and the other three rocks remain on the table.
“See. If you fill your life with meaningless, low-value activities, there’s no room for the things in life that are most important.”
The professor places a new jar on the table. And this time, he fills the jar in reverse order.
“But, if you start filling the jar with rocks, then with pebbles, and finally with sand, you give priority to the most important activities in your life. AND there is room for them all.”
Time isn’t the problem; the problem is in priority. It’s where you choose to spend the most precious resource you have.
So, here are my questions for you:
- What are your rocks?
- What are your pebbles?
- What is your sand?
Everyone’s answers are different, but the point remains — when you can’t find time to focus on your health, the question I ask is…
“How are you filling your jar?”
Make progress on what matters.
Now, I have to say — knowing what to do is one thing, but actually doing it is entirely different.
If we were on Instagram, we’d probably find a quote that says.
Live by this philosophy: Do what you say you’re going to do.
And that’s great for likes and shares, but here in the real world, we need to turn philosophy into something concrete.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Make a decision, a commitment to change how you fill your jar, and
2. Use accountability to keep the promises you make to yourself.
How will you fill your jar today?