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Finding Time to Exercise

I don’t have time to exercise!!

This statement is the No 1 reason people give for not going for their workout. For some people it’s just that an excuse, finding 30 – 60 minutes a few times a week is not that hard if you really want something.

But what about the rest of the world, where time really is an issue? One friend Dunc who I’m working with goes to work 7am to 7pm comes home to two children and (for obvious reasons) a very tired wife.

Just reading about Duncs day is exhausting and makes me want to nap immediately! So it’s all very well for me setting out an exercise regime but if you don’t have the time what can you do?

Well one of the big misconceptions is what’s required for you to get a great workout, surely if 30 minutes is good then an hour is better and two hours must be amazing right?

Luckily no, in fact a study by the National Institute of Health found 4 sessions of exercises 10 minutes a day was just as beneficial as one 40 minute session once a day.

I’m assuming you’re now thinking “great thanks Jake but we’re not all personal trainers able to hang about in sports wear and jump up and down like idiots 4 times a day, some of us have Jobs that require suits and ties, or skirts and silk blouse’s so not much help”

This is true, but the point I’m trying make is you will see far better results spending 20 minutes, 5 days a week exercising than 100 minutes exercising once a week. Also if you think you have to find an hour to exercise with so much going on in your life it’s easier to use the statement “I haven’t the time” but if you can say to yourself “I just need to find 20 minutes today” suddenly this is a much more reasonable amount of time to find.

The fittest people I know are consistent in their training, it’s not that they run a marathon once a month rather they run 1 mile a day.

Again as I’ve said before about Fitness or sports magazines. They are not all bad some are great, I really enjoy reading up on fighters and triathlons and sportsmen and women who push themselves to the edges. The trouble is we all then believe this is what’s NEEDED to be done to be in good shape, it’s not, what you’re reading is what it takes to be one of the best athletes in the world!!

If that’s what you want I have some bad news for you, you might need more than 20 minutes a day.

Lets look at the new American Sniper movie (don’t worry no spoiler alerts), I’m sure many of you have seen front cover fitness magazines about Bradley Cooper putting on 37 pounds of lean mass in 10 weeks for the movie?

Don’t get me wrong I drooled over the articles myself thinking what can I learn. But luckily I live in LA and know a few people in the industry and they will help us understand what we’re doing wrong, the answer? Nothing

Just like athletes and the now very muscular Bradley, these are people who are paid millions of dollars, are provided with the very best facility’s money can buy with chefs and trainers, massage and chiropractors. They have the best in the world breaking their body down so that the best in the world can feed them, rest them and fix them back up day after day to produce maximum results in incredible time.

I want to be clear in case Bradley ever reads this (because he clicked on the wrong website probably) this does not mean it’s easy, these people from athletes to sports stars, wolverine to GI Jane worked their fingers to the bone to transform themselves or to reach the top of their field and hats off to them and their immense efforts it must of taken, but if you’re paid millions and helped by the best support team AND most important can dedicate you’re every waking moment to a goal then yes even us mere mortals can achieve what seems like the impossible.

It’s true (I hear this a lot as a reason) when people talk about genes playing a part in what’s possible but only if you’re talking about the 1% top athletes in the world. So just for fun lets get back to reality shall we?

Most people are either wanting to look good naked, feel healthy or have their clothes fit well without lumps and bumps popping from different places, usually all three right?

So now we’ve got a much more reasonable checklist of what we want from ourselves we can start to take a more reasonable approach to the time we need to put into the exercise department.

If you check out my other articles sadly you can’t exercise away a terrible diet. From talking to countless people usually a pattern emerges. What comes along with no time to exercise, loads of work, stress and children is a terrible diet. Lots of snacking on three-day-old office donuts, triple espresso coffee latte with vanilla ice cream cherry pie crumble…….. LARGE PLEASE!! That crazy ass coffee milkshake you just downed was 600 calories and you’ve had 3 of them today to get through the morning.

Very few nutrients, lots of stress and lack of good rest it’s no wonder you can’t find the will to then do an hours workout.


So here are some small things you can do that will make huge differences, I promise:


  1. Be honest with yourself, if you don’t do your 20-minute workout in the morning there’s a good chance it’s not going to happen. Body weight circuit routines are a great way to combine strength and cardio for those with no time. I’ll add a couple of routines to the end of this article for you to try. Wake up drink some water or black coffee and just do it, if you collapse after 6 minutes who cares. The fact is you’ve started and you’ll only get better, hell 1 minute is always better than no minutes. I promise watch how fast it becomes part of your morning.
  2. Yes, cycle hard 4 hours a day you can go wild with food, but if you only have 20 minutes 2 to 5 times a week some changes to your food are going to need to come into play.
  1. a) Take a good look at how many calories you’re drinking. It really adds up, from the large glass of concentrated juice in the morning to the cream the sugar the smoothies, it can literally be more calories than your body needs for the whole day and you haven’t even eaten yet. Even the “diet sodas” with no calories play a factor you might not realize. It’s becoming more and more understood to be a factor in the cause of obesity. I know I’ll get some objection from soda drinkers so let me add this insert:

The trouble is with all the articles you read online saying something’s bad for you, you’ll find lots more saying its not as bad as you think. That’s why it can be so hard for people trying their best and ending up totally confused jumping from one crazy diet to the next.


Here’s a very simple and better way to look at it.


Drinking soda or diet soda (no intelligent person in the world will say) is better and healthier for you than drinking water, feel free to comment if you think I’m wrong on this?

So replacing sodas and other such drinks for water will help your weight loss it’s that simple. Water is essential for the body to function in every possible way and most people do not come close to being properly hydrated. I’m not saying never drink anything else but if you drink 4 cans of soda a day try drinking 1 or 2 and replace the others with glasses of water.

Just this 1st step alone in dealing with “calories you drink through the week” for a lot of people can make a dramatic difference to how they look and feel.

  1. If you don’t feel good and you’re horribly tired you won’t work out. Your body needs some quality ingredients. Once again don’t think all the fun has to stop, but wouldn’t it be better to enjoy a giant pizza or burger washed down with beer and chips and dip on Saturday night knowing your week has earned you that big blow out?

The foods you want to look at are the ones you eat not for enjoyments sake but for convenience or boredom. This is something simple you can change that not only won’t destroy your Saturday fun or Sunday lunch but will also change your health, mood, weight, skin, sleep and countless other benefits with minimal effort. So unless you’re French and lunch must be a 3 hour affair of wine bread and cheese, start taking those must needed work snacks with you. Instead of the donut eat some almonds or yogurt or fruit. Instead of sugar coated choc chip cereal with chocolate milk and maple syrup for breakfast how about some turkey bacon, eggs and blueberries?


If you’ve noticed without even once going into an hour of exercise you’ve got multiple ways to reach your goals and change your life. None of this is extreme and if you get it wrong on a day or two at the start don’t think you’ve failed. The biggest barrier for anyone is not willpower but changing habits. We are creatures of habit by nature; from the way you shower to the way you brush your teeth to who has the remote control (that’s often a man problem). We feel comfort and safety in routine and when we try to break it we feel very very uncomfortable. So we think it’s the eating healthy or the exercise which is so hard, IT’S NOT, it’s breaking the habits that got us to the place where we’re so unhappy with ourselves.

Habits where food is concerned are often about feelings, stress, work, weight, kids there’s too much to cope with and very often we turn to food to numb are feelings…….. Drugs and alcohol work as well but then you’ve fired from work, hey at least now you have more time to exercise!

What I like clients to achieve or anyone reading this, is lets find better ways to deal with all the stresses. Small amounts of exercise and eating whole foods like fruit, vegetables, rice, chicken, fish or lean beef will help not only with weight but also with the release of endorphins, a feeling of control, happier and clearer minds. Not bad for 20 minutes and a few thoughts into what snacks to take to work.


Habit is exactly the same for health nuts. Try telling a paleo, triathlon athlete to eat rice at every meal and not exercise for a week and watch a psycho serial killer emerge by day three! Any super fit, paleo, yoga nut could eat unhealthy for a week without dying but what’s sent him or her to the edge of madness is taking away their comfortable habit. Funny enough it’s the fitness nuts that are often more obsessed about routine than anyone else. Ask my wife and she’ll tell you some stories of when I’m forced to take a rest day and god forbid drink a soda, the next day I think I’m dying and require multiple blood test to prove otherwise! This, by the way, is coming from a guy who once believed vodka and cranberry covered my fruit and vegetable requirements.

  1. Stick a simple calendar to your bathroom wall and mark the days you exercise. Start with 2 days and go from there. Try adding one extra day every week or every two weeks even, just get moving. I can understand the argument “I don’t have 5 hours a week to exercise” but try telling me you don’t have 10 minutes a day to exercise, or you can’t take some nuts and an apple to work and I’m going to be more suspicious of your real desire to change.

Sadly there is no magic pill, but nothing feels better than reaching a goal and breaking habits that are holding you back, you can’t fail at this if you keep trying.


Here’s a link to a 20-minute routine



Please remember if you are new to this I highly suggest going through new exercises with a friend who has trained before, better yet find a friend in the same boat put your money together and get a trainer. If you steam ahead and rush into this without any thought you will get injured, I repeat you will get injured!!! Your body is very complex and thinking you know everything because it’s your body is the same as thinking you can work on your car just because you own it, the results will be bad.


Be safe and hope this helps!

author: jakedavis