A much as all those fitness gurus on you see plastered all over social media like to push their agenda of “NO EXCUSES!!” and “IF YOU WANTED TO WORK OUT YOU WOULD!!”, the truth is many of us do want to work out and get fit – we simply don’t have the time.
So we should cut ourselves some slack because it’s not just about time management it’s about energy as well. Whether you’re a full time student, work long hours or are a busy parent juggling the duties of parenthood to raise your children (or maybe even all 3!) you deserve some sympathy.
Any long term goal requires consistency and commitment and when we have so many other responsibilities to attend to in our day to day lives – it can be tough to squeeze in yet another!
So here are 15 ways to trick yourself to be more active and lose weight when you’re super busy
1. Walk to work
If your workplace or your school institution isn’t too far and you could probably get there under an hour by walking there – then do just that. Ditch the car keys in the morning and put on your trainers and hit the sidewalk! Walking briskly for 30 minutes can burn up to 100 – 300 calories! (depending on your bmi etc.)
Not only that but you really get to engage all the muscles in your legs and your calves. So next time you have to go somewhere that isn’t too far (even if it’s to the stores), trade the wheels for some good sneakers and get walking!
2. Cycle to work
If your workplace or school institution is a little too far for you to walk there everyday – a great alternative would be cycling. Invest in a good sturdy bike and even get a basket or storage compartment to help you carry your things and hop on.
Cycling for just 20 minutes burns between 160-500 calories! (depending on your bmi) In one session! So you can burn anywhere from 320 to 1000 calories in a day! Just from going to and coming back from work!
3. Just 10 minutes a day
The truth is, everything in life is about priorities. And no one is blaming you for not choosing to prioritize working out when you have a bucket of other responsibilities. But life is also about perspective.
Instead of “prioritizing working out”, think of it as “prioritizing 10 minutes.”
Dedicating just a measly 10 minutes of your day that you might have otherwise spent idily browsing through tv shows trying to decide what to watch. The secret to success (especially for busy people with packed schedules) isn’t working out for hours every week. The difference between night and day lies in just 10 minutes.
Pick a 10 minute home workout youtube video to do. Get on that treadmill for 10 minutes. Even just grab a jump rope for 10 minutes.
You might not be able to commit hours of your week to working out, but you can definitely commit to just 10 minutes a day to feed your goals of getting fit. By the end of the week you’ve managed to work out for an hour and 10 minutes! And that is still an hour and 10 minutes more than nothing.
4. Wear workout clothes on your way home
Make sure to pack in your workout clothes in the morning when you leave for work/school and by the time your day is over, pop in the bathroom real quick to change into your workout clothes before heading home. By being in your workout clothes, you’re already preparing yourself to be in the mindset of working out.
This way, by the time you get home, you’re already in your workout clothes so you can’t talk yourself out of exercising as quickly. Trust me, you’ll feel pretty bad changing out of those clothes if you don’t at least break a little sweat.
By wearing your workout clothes home, you’ve already prepped yourself up to work out! And there is nothing better you can do for yourself than set yourself up for success.
5. Think of your exercise as part of your job/school
A lot of the time, our fitness gets so much negligence because it is something we feel we “want” to do rather than something we “have” to do. So we prioritize work and school and every other duty until we have no energy left to give to our fitness goals by the end of the day.
So a way to trick yourself into getting fit more, is to think of it as your job. Imagine that your boss or your professor gave you the task of working out at the end of the day. When you get off work, don’t let yourself mentally clock out. Pretend that your boss has asked you to stay behind for an extra 10 minutes to do one last thing (I doubt you’d say no to that). The only twist is – that “thing” is working out.
When you enter through your door after a long day, tell yourself “I still have one more thing to do for work/school.” And that “task” can be the 10 minutes a day in tip 3!
6. Give yourself a “deadline” for the day
By now, all of us know that getting fit is a long term goal and we reap the benefits of what we sowed much later into the journey. That can be really off putting for a lot of people! It’s hard to do something tiring and exhausting after a long and busy day when you’re not even going to get rewards from it right away.
So forget that long term goal completely.
That’s right just pretend it doesn’t exist. You’re no longer concerned with the long term benefits in fact you’re not concerned with the benefits at all. Your only focus now is to get your 10 minutes done daily and get it done by the end of the day.
A lot of people work better with deadlines because you can’t procrastinate and put it off until it’s never done. So if you’re one of those people – work with that. Forget the long term deadline of “seeing results in a few months” because all procrastinators know how that goes.
So instead of big goals, set small and immediate deadlines that you just have to meet.
Read our article on how to set goals that you will ALWAYS achieve!
7. Don’t let yourself go home until a stop at the gym
The first thing we want to do after a long day is get home! But here’s the trick. If you’ve followed step 4, you should be wearing your workout clothes by now. Tell yourself that you’re going to make a quick stop at the gym just to walk around. This is especially helpful if you have a gym in your apartment complex or nearby.
By the time you get inside the gum you’re gonna feel pretty forced to have a go at some of the equipment. Especially since you’re already in your workout clothes and there is no other preparation needed.
Now remember you don’t have to work out for an hour for it to count. Decide for yourself according to your schedule. Can you do 20 minutes? Maybe 30?
Remember, even if it’s just 10 minutes, that’s still 10 more minutes than nothing.
8. Set up your equipment in the morning
If you’re someone who would rather work out at home rather than at the gym, do yourself a favour and set up the equipment for your workout in the morning. Even if it’s just laying out your yoga mat and taking out your weights and resistance equipment.
If you’ve followed step 4, by the time you get home, you’re all ready to get those 10 minutes over with. The equipment is all there and you’re already all geared up!
The trick to well, tricking yourself, is leave absolutely no room for excuses and hence – failure. Trust me, you’ll feel a lot better about working out if you’re not slugging around trying to get your equipment ready.
9. Don’t let yourself shower until after working out
This is a great one for all the night showerers out there. When you get home, tell yourself you absolutely cannot step into the shower until you exercise for your 10 minutes first.
You’re gonna try to be clever with yourself and try and convince yourself you’ll exercise after showering. But ask yourself, do you really wanna start sweating all over again right after your shower? I’d hope not!
10. Workout while your favourite show is on
Nothing feels better than lounging on the couch or in our beds with our favourite show switched on after a long day. But your day isn’t quite over just yet!
One way to help your workout go by a little more easily is to workout while your favourite show is on! You can play the show on your TV and then have a smaller screen on the side with a home workout playing on mute for you to follow along to. If a smaller screen isn’t your thing, list down the different exercise you need to do and the reps (how many times you need to repeat them) and just go through that list while watching your show.
You’ll be too distracted by the show to be complaining about the exercises and you can probably fit in much more than just 10 minutes!
11. Cycling in front of the TV
If you have the money to invest in an indoor cycling machine (as well as the space to fit that into your house) it is a really easy way to burn loads and loads of calories all while being in front of your TV!
All you have to do is put on whatever you want to watch, climb onto your bike and get going! It is usually easier to do for longer periods of time compared to running since you’re sitting down and there is less stress on your lungs. WHo would have thought? Getting fit while watching TV!
12. Take the stairs
Stairs are great. Truly they are! You can burn up to an extra 100 calories everyday just by walking up and down stairs for 10 minutes. By simply ditching the elevator or even just opting for routes on your walks that have more stairs, you’re giving yourself the room to burn those extra calories.
Plus walking up the stairs is a fantastic way to really strengthen those hamstrings, quads, calves and gluts.
13. Turn your rest days into active days
This one is gonna be hard to do, especially in the beginning. But through some self discipline you can really teach yourself to enjoy fitness activities! If you have a day off, as much as you want to just lie in the entire day, try and dedicate 30-60 minutes of that day off to doing something active.
It can be as simple as going on a hike with your friends and family, or even something more fun like having a visit to a trampoline park. Not only do you get to spend that time with your loved ones but you’re getting fit as you do it! It’s a win win!
A leisurely hike will burn between 300 – 600 calories in an hour. Plus you get to enjoy the amazing scenery and if you have dogs I guarantee they will enjoy it just as much.
14. Put images of your goals around the house
One way to trick yourself into getting fit, is to constantly motivate yourself. Most of us probably have body goals that we want to achieve, or weight related goals. One way to exploit these goals (for the better) is to print pictures of our “dream body” or “dream weight” and stick pictures of it around the house.
If you’re someone more impressed by the health benefits you can write down workout benefits on a sticky pad and stick them around your house. By being forced to look at everything we’ve wanted from our bodies, it will be harder to say no to that quick workout.
15. Fit in your workout with something that you love
Is rugby your passion? Do you have an affinity for cycling? Maybe you’re a hiking type of person or you like mountain climbing? Find something that you love and fit your workout in with that.
You can just do it for an hour on the weekends and make it a fun group activity. Not only will you have fun and enjoy yourself, but you’ll also always be looking forward to the next time you can do your favourite activity.
And that’s it! Look the truth is, it is hard. I understand and I sympathize with everyone with packed schedules and a desire to better their fitness. But with a little self discipline and small goals, you don’t have to pick between fitness and your other responsibilities – you can have them both!
Check out or article on 29 clever ways to motivate yourself to work out! Or if you’re trying to shape up in time for the summer while being at home, have a read of our article on 7 ways to get fit for the summer!