How You Can Make Time to Workout Anywhere, Anytime

by Robert Cheeke, author of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness – The Complete Guide to Building Your Body on a Plant-Based Diet – plant-based nutrition certified- Cornell University

All photos are of Ed Bauer 

By far the most common question I get asked as a vegan athlete is, “where do you get your protein?” Almost as frequently, when I ask people about their training progress, the most common excuse I hear for not exercising is, “I don’t have time.” This answer is a form of willful self-delusion and a poor excuse. Every person has the same 1440 minutes each day. It is up to us to determine what we’ll do with our time. Saying you don’t have time to exercise (or eat properly) is to wipe your hands clean of responsibility, to put the blame on external factors and delude yourself into thinking that 1440 minutes (or 24 hours) in a single day just isn’t sufficient time to fit exercise into your schedule.

Cleary there are aspects of our lives we have more control over than others. Many of us believe we require eight hours of sleep each night, yet many people get by with seven or even six hours or less per night. Others may get more. There are various factors at play determining how much sleep we really need, including stress, work schedule, our children’s sleep or school schedule, our nutrition programs that make us either more or less energized or tired, and so on. Sleep is necessary but is not an excuse not to set aside time to exercise.

The amount of sleep we get, and our ability to adjust it to create more time for exercise, is only one area of life we have to manipulate to create more time. Our daily lives are broken up into three eight-hour categories: sleep, work, and leisure time. As discussed, sleep can only
be adjusted by an hour or two for most people to maintain health and to feel properly rested. Work may not be able to be adjusted without changing vocations or working for yourself. With that in mind, let’s focus on what we tend to have a whole lot of control over, our leisure time. Leisure time is usually spent commuting, preparing food, eating, socializing, running errands, relaxing, spending time with friends and family, exercising, watching TV and wasting time.

Unless our work is physical labor, leisure time is when 90% of us exercise. Since our leisure time is probably adjustable, let’s examine what we’re doing with it and create ways to improve our time management. Consider preparing food that will last for days, making larger portions rather than making something new each day. Keep fruit, nuts and prepared foods on hand at all times

so you always have quick, accessible, healthy snacks available at home, in the car, at work and at the gym. Plan ahead so you can spend time focusing on what is important and spend less time on the activities that are less important – those that keep us from achieving our health and fitness goals. Realize that exercise can be performed anywhere, anytime. Consider the following suggestions for improved use of time based on your desire to include exercise in your daily life.

A few tips to create more time for yourself are the following:

Watch less TV

Spend less time surfing the web including (but not limited to) Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other time consuming sites

Find ways to incorporate physical activity at work

If you work at a computer, get up and move around every 15-30 minutes, or when appropriate

Plan your day with exercise as a priority so it doesn’t get put on the back burner or missed

Don’t waste time

Some general tips to include exercise into your daily routine are to:

Recognize that exercise is not just in the form of weight training or sports, but physical activity (moving, lifting, pulling, pressing, carrying, etc.) – Many random chores and activities we do around the house are forms of exercise

Take the stairs rather than elevator or escalator

Park farther away than usual and walk greater distances

Play games and sports with your children or pets

Join a sports team

Go for a walk first thing in the morning

Go for a walk after dinner, before winding down for the evening

Gather with friends for a weekly visit to a park or hike

Train for a local 5k run

Care about your health and fitness and act accordingly

Now that we’ve determined why many of us don’t make time for exercise and have some ideas how to manage time and create fitness opportunities, let’s look at some exercises that can be performed almost anywhere, anytime. You certainly don’t have to be a member of a gym or club to achieve high levels of fitness and be happy with your results. The following exercises can be done nearly anywhere, anytime:

(If you are unfamiliar with one or more of these exercises by name, search them on the Internet to get a description of what they are.)

Endurance and Lower Body Exercises:

Body-weight Squats
Wall sits
Stair climbing
Box jumps
Jumping rope
Lateral side-steps

Martial arts

Upper Body Exercises


Static holds
Hand stands
Wall push-ups
Incline and decline push-ups
Lifting heavy objects
Bouldering and rock climbing
Pushing or pulling movements
Shadow boxing

Core Exercises

Leg lifts and leg raises
Bridge static holds
Yoga poses
Pilates exercises

Total Body Exercises

Jumping jacks
Star Jumps
Mountain climbing
Sequence of a squat to a push-up to a jump, repeated
Cross-Fit exercises using body mechanics only

Any kind of martial art

Examples of various workouts

Total body workout without any gym equipment

Warm-up with 10 minutes of aerobic activity (running, jumping jacks, box jumps on a bench,
stair running, etc.)

Three sets of push-ups of 10-20 reps to warm up the upper body

Run for 3 miles at a moderate pace

Push-ups 1×20, 1×20, 1×20, 1×20, 1xfailure

Sit-ups 1×30, 1×30, 1×30, 1×30, 1xfailure

Squats 1×30, 1×30, 1×30, 1×30, 1xfailure

Yoga poses or static holds for upper body for 10 minutes, with rest between sets

Stretch after workout

Upper body workout without any gym equipment

Warm-up with 10 minutes of aerobic activity (running, jumping jacks, box jumps on a bench,
stair running, etc.)

Three sets of forward arm circles to warm up the shoulders

Three sets of backward arms circles to warm up the shoulders

Three sets of push-ups of 10-20 reps to warm up the upper body

Decline push-ups (feet up on a bench) 1×20, 1×20, 1×20, 1xfailure

Narrow hand position push-ups 1×20, 1×20, 1×20, 1xfailure

Chin-ups 1xfailure, 1xfailure, 1xfailure, 1xfailure

Dips 1xfailure, 1xfailure, 1xfailure, 1xfailure

Stretch after workout

Lower body workout without any gym equipment

Warm-up with 10 minutes of aerobic activity (running, jumping jacks, box jumps on a bench,
stair running, etc.)

Bodyweight squats 1×30, 1×30, 1×30, 1xfailure

Lunges 1×30, 1×30, 1×30, 1xfailure

Box jumps on a bench or stairs 1×20, 1×20, 1×20, 1xfailure

Find a hill and run 200 meter hill repeats – Sprint up the hill, walk down, sprint back up. Repeat
3-5 sets

Wall sits – 3 sets to failure

Stretch after workout

The “I don’t have time” excuse looks a little silly now, doesn’t it? Given all the tools provided above, you have a list of exercises, some sample workouts and tips to manage time and fit exercise into your daily schedule. Aim to exercise for 30-60 minute sessions 3-5 times a week, and include some form of exercise in your life every day. I wish you all the very best with your health and fitness.

Source: How You Can Make Time to Workout Anywhere, Anytime

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