The Lack of Time Excuse

Priorities

I have been an athlete my entire life. I don’t have a transformation story to tell about how I was once sedentary and overweight. I have always been active. That’s the only life I have ever known. I have always trained. I have always participated in sports. And I have loved every minute of it. That is who I am and what I do.

With that said, I do not think any less of anyone who does not exercise. My quality of life won’t change whether you exercise or not. I don’t run around the street trying to get everyone to drop down and perform pushups. I will never force someone to do something that they don’t want to do. All that I can do is share what I consider to be the benefits of a healthy and active life. You can either take my advice or ignore it. It’s up to you. You need to live your life the way you want to live it.

No More Excuses

If you want to sit on the couch all day, go sit on the couch. Do what you want. All I ask is that you don’t go around telling everyone that you do not have time to exercise. The lack of time is excuse is nothing but an excuse. Lazy people and productive people have at least one thing in common. They both operate within the confines of a 24 hour day. Unfortunately, more and more people seem to be shifting towards a life of inactivity. Just yesterday I received an email that included the following statistic:

I cannot imagine wasting 4 hours of leisure time staring at a screen. Is that really what the world has come to? What happened to going outside and enjoying the great outdoors? What happened to just getting off your ass to accomplish something worthwhile? Have we really evolved into sedentary creatures who stare at screens all day?

Perhaps I am veering off on a tangent so let’s get back to the point at hand. If you can find 4 hours to play with your phone, you have more than enough time to exercise. If you don’t believe me, drop down right now and perform 20 pushups. I’m guessing it will take you 30 seconds or less. Imagine if you did that five times each day. That would be 100 pushups in less than 3 minutes of your 1440 minute day.

Imagine if you did the same with an exercise such as squats or lunges. And if you really want to get wild, you could knock off a few sets of pull-ups from a door-way pull-up bar. What if everyone in the world did 100 pushups, 100 squats or lunges, and a few sets of pull-ups a few days per week? Call it a hunch, but I’m guessing we would have a lot more healthy and active people.

But Ross…

Let me guess, you are busy. You have kids. You work long hours. Blah, blah, blah…

Guess what? I do too. I work six or seven days a week. I work long hours. I have kids. I have a dog. I volunteer in the community. Leisure time is virtually non-existent.

Pushups with the kids

I can never find time for exercise. I gave up on that notion a long time ago. Instead, I make time. I prioritize it. I plan for it in advance. If it means I need to wake up earlier, I wake up earlier. If it means I need to go to bed later, I will go to bed later. If I need to drop down and perform pushups at random times, I’ll drop down and perform pushups. I find a way to exercise no matter how busy I am.

As mentioned above, there are 1440 minutes in a day. That’s a lot of time. Plenty can be accomplished if you manage your time wisely. Don’t assume that you cannot exercise just because you don’t have an hour of uninterrupted time. Training does not need to be viewed with an all or nothing attitude. Something is almost always better than nothing.

Using myself as an example, there are days when I wake up at the crack of dawn and push myself to the extreme. I love the hard, uninterrupted work. There are other mornings though when it is not a possibility. Perhaps I was up in the middle of the night with a sick child. As a parent, you never know what the next day will bring. Therefore, you need to be flexible with your planning and scheduling. If I do not have a dedicated block of time to train, I will perform random sets of exercise throughout the day. A few minutes here and there will accumulate as long as you are consistent.

Final Thoughts

In summary, rather than complaining about a lack of time, start to manage your time more wisely. Make health and fitness a priority instead of watching television and mindlessly browsing through social media sites. The busiest people in the world can make time for exercise. It all begins with a conscious effort that is made regularly.

Unfortunately, no one can prioritize your health for you. It is a decision that must be made on your own and then repeated day after day.

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“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn

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34 comments:

  1. I agree totally I am 15 go to school all day have practice and home work but I still workout I’m very busy but.the only way u will succed at exersice is.if u make it somethin u live for like Ross said make it a priority

  2. Hey Ross, I’m 56 and starting to workout again. You just took the “no time excuse” and threw it out the window for me. Great motivational site !! Thank You

  3. Ross,

    many people don’t want to hear the truth. i was just talking to my wife about this idea of being productive. Each day I practice Banjo, Read part of a book, Stretch for 30 min, HIIT Cardio 1 hour ( Just walk/run), but consistent, write in my journal, floss/brush etc. In other words, I try to incorporate as many habits as I can into my life. You should read. ” The Power of Habit” Fantastic book. That’s if you have time to read 🙂 I only have this free time, because I don’t watch television. If I’m on the net, it’s researching something valuable to me, that assists me in being more productive. You’re beast, thanks for the constant motivation. I’m grateful.

  4. Thank you for the reminder, Ross. For the past year i have been using “i have no time” as an excuse, when for the past 6 years i have been making time for my workout.

    This is my wake up call. I cannot keep saying i miss lifting when i never do anything about it.

  5. This was very personal for me. I waste so much time with the internet. I also make it a huge deal that I have to have all my stars align so I can get in shape again. Thank you for this.

  6. I love the concept of micro-workouts within a day, if you can’t make the time (due to work, family demands) for a full, uninterrupted hour. Makes those uninterrupted times feel so decadent when they can happen, but some of the best workouts I’ve had have been incredibly short and intense. The nice thing about quick anaerobic stuff is that you don’t have to change clothes and make a big production of it. And exactly as you said, if people would just drop down and do a set of pushups to failure, even three times a day, we would have a lot fewer sick, unhealthy people around. Or what about a few quick 60 yard sprints? Takes no time at all…

  7. Smart and to the point as usual by Ross.
    These smartphones… It’s a fucking epidemic man. At this rate everyone will be obese and nearly blind by the time they are 30. It’s mad how many distractions there are in this world today. And coupled with a lack of self discipline, people will miss out on real life and their health and their families who get neglected.

  8. HI ROSS, LIKE YOU I HAVE ALWAYS TRAINED AND BEEN ACTIVE.NOW 63 AND NOT SLOWING UP. I BELIEVE THE FITTER YOU ARE THE MORE YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH IN OTHER ACTIVITIES AND AT WORK. DURING MY SUPER BUSY TIMES I FIND WAYS TO EXERCISE THROUGHOUT THE DAY SUCH AS TAKING STAIRS TWO AT A TIME INSTEAD OF ELEVATOR, PARKING THE CAR AS FAR FROM THE STORE AS POSSIBLE, A FEW SQUATS HERE, A FEW PUSHUPS THERE AS YOU SUGGEST, GETS THE JOB DONE AND KEEPS YOU AWAKE AND VITAL THROUGH THE DAY. BUT AS YOU SO RIGHTLY SAID IT HAS GOT TO BE WHAT YOU WANT TO DO. MOTIVATION HAS TO COME FROM WITHIN.
    REGARDS, PETER.

  9. I’m probably the last person on the planet with a flip up phone. Those idiots always looking at their phones is pathetic. It is everywhere, the breakroom, the doctors office, the store, some idiot is looking at his or her phone. I’m actually suprised the 4.4 hour average isn’t higher. Sad.

  10. I had to continue my rant about “the machines.” The worse is some 40 year old male spending hours a day on Facebook. I work with several “males” who do that kind of thing for enjoyment. Pathetic isn’t a strong enough word for that type of behavior.

  11. Ross this is one of the best blog posts you have composed. Spot on brother. I might add that when we find time or make the time the time we spent kicking back and relaxing is much better and productive.

  12. Great post Ross. We all have enough time to do whatever we want, like you mention, it just comes down to time management.

    I dont expect everyone i know to workout, just because i do. However it annoys me when people act as though they want to workout and use “i just don’t have time” as their excuse.

    If something is important to you, working out, spending time with the family, having a social life, whatever it is, you’ll make time to make sure you can fit it into your day.

    Thanks for the article

  13. Hi Ross
    Thanks for inspiration ive adapted some of your training 1 thing I have been doing is watching tv but every add break 20 pushups situps and the abb wheel
    its amazing how many adds there are you soon get through a few hundred a night
    Regards Steve

  14. Roger that flight leader. I’m an habitual excuse maker because of the life I created. Rethink,
    prioritise, and move forward.

    Cheers mate. Much love from Australia 🙂

  15. while you’re probably right on the whole, i’d like to point out two things. 1) when unfit, your body doesn’t feel like it can simply knock down and do push ups on your office floor in the middle of a work day or find the energy to workout after a hard day’s work. the cns feels stressed for this foreign activity, the muscles don’t activate right and will be especially sore after. you really need a warm up and a cool down, and you need progressive exercises which means more reps, so you need an extended session. when you’re fit, the body can handle sudden training load. 2) in big cities, we may work 9am-10pm, maybe midnight. even middle management do not have their own office room. under such work schedules, it’s quite difficult to find time or energy or space to exercise. you can join a gym, but you will be very rushed: i am very fast, and it still takes me 15mins to get me from door to door (gym clothes in changing room), then i can knock out a 30mins workout before another 15mins to shower and get out. that’s my 1hr lunch. For a lady, with make up to do, and if unfit, the post-workout perspiration making things all sweaty and sticky, and fancy clothes to get on after, the lunchtime workout can be too much a chore. Further, if you don’t know what how to workout, you’re in trouble. many women like to take classes, which are close to an hour long. many do not know what a push up is, and the investigation process to find a workout themselves and learn to do it right, is somewhat mind boggling for them.

  16. @Mike – I’ve had people email in regards to this entry who often are stuck working 16 hour shifts. They still MAKE time for exercise. Even an extra 5 or 10 minutes in the morning or night is better than nothing. There is ALWAYS a way to make time.

    We can either continue to coddle those who don’t, or encourage them to change.

    Furthermore, to suggest that adults do not know what pushups are is quite the stretch. I’ve had completely out of shape individuals who changed their lives entirely with nothing more than calisthenics. Some started with pushups against the wall, as that was all they could handle. They eventually progressed to reps from the knees, then full reps, etc.

    Taking the first step in the right direction is often the most important step.

  17. Great article ..

    I was working out this morning at my gym. Dude next to me was complaining about “getting back into it” after being too “busy” for a few weeks. I said “the gym is open 5a – 10p everyday” …he just looked at me and repeated how busy he was … I just looked at him with a blank stare and repeated “5a-10p” ….

    I have a wife, kids, stressful job (that often requires last minute travel) and I make time because its important. People that think these big chunks of time to exercise (or do anything meaningful) are just gonna fall out of the sky and into their lap are delusional.

  18. I agree Ross. I hate the “no time” excuse too. There are many times I feel I “should” be working instead of working out, but work is infinite and could fill every minute of every day if you let it. You simply have to make time for exercise and realize that it pays itself back in increased endurance, energy and productivity, not to mention health, wellness, mental toughness, etc.

    Funny how the people that say they have “no time” to exercise wouldn’t say they have “no time” to eat. Or “no time” to take a shower and brush their teeth. Somehow they do it because it is a non-negotiable habit; put exercise in the same category!!!

    As I like to remind people, even prisoners are allowed to exercise an hour a day. So don’t let any job, relationship or family commitments take away something that even prisoners are allowed to do.

  19. all i hear at work is that i must not have anything to do after work,but workout! all these folks are just too busy with kids , job , life, school ,grass cutting( grass cutting??) to do some sort of training… i remind them that 100 continuous kettlebell swings take only about 2 and a half to 3 minutes to do, a deck of cards can be used to get a great 30 minute or less bodyweight workout,dynamic tension exercises can be done anytime ,anyplace etc. etc. i have handed out countless exercise programs to people that would take less than 30 minutes a day and be very effective,but excuses keep them from starting! my training partner began 3 years ago to better herself and has not missed a training in or out of the gym!! at 62 years old folks think i am some sort of anomaly because i workout!! and my ex student /training partner is in her mid 50’s and shames most men and women at work and at the gym!! wake up folks, you got more than enough time in a day and then some!

  20. Part of the problem is people look at exercise as a chore they have to do. And that’s hard for them. There are already too many chores—no more time to throw in even a half hour’s workout in there. If people only decided to see exercise not as a chore, but as a positive thing that contributes to their well-being, it’d be easier for them to “find time” for it. I’m no athlete, but the day I started seeing exercise as a “cure” for the blues I was feeling since my father died three years ago, I’ve always made time for exercise every day, no matter what.

  21. Dude you are awesome, I agree and if I’m honest I sometimes fall into the no-time trap as well.

    My bigget problem is working out the hard tasks that give me near to nothing in return but feel good because they’re hard, and the smart tasks that are not always as hard but don’t give me as much of a boost of dopamine, which makes me feel like I’m not working hard enough.

    Is there anything you do to stop seaking hard tasks just for the sake of that feeling of hard work?

    Thanks so much for your time Ross,
    Oli.

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