You Have to Make Fitness a Priority: 6 Ways to Find Time and Stay Motivated for Fitness

So this morning was day 1 of my new commitment to working out.  I am doing this to lose weight and to get in better shape.  I am doing this so that I can look and feel better.  For myself mostly, but also a little for the people in my life.  The people I really care about.  I am trying to be healthier so that I can extend my time on this planet and be here for the people in my life more than for my own concern for wanting to be here on earth.  That is my motivation.

I will not lie, when the alarm went off this morning at 4:30 am, my first reaction was “whew”, this is really early.  It brought back memories of winter conditioning for football and getting up before the world does to go do these tough beyond belief workouts with my teammates.  It sucked, but what a sense of satisfaction when we would complete those workouts.  It was a high that was hard to describe.  This morning, I thought back to those days.  I told myself that if I could do that then, I can do that now.  That was my motivation to get up and so I was out of bed and on my way.  Across town to Surefire Fitness, a workout place in Ames.  I walked in and realized that it had been too long since I had been there, but saw some familiar faces and knew it would be ok.  I signed up for a special where I paid for a full years worth of workouts for just a fraction of the regular price.  A great financial deal and motivation to make working out a steady thing over the course of 2012.  Workouts are Mon. – Fri. each week from 5 am – 6 am.  The time makes it a bigger challenge, but I know that I can do it. 

I found out that over the course of the next 3 days we are getting all kinds of cool testing that is available to us.  Today was weight, measurements of bicep, thigh, chest, and waist, body fat %, and BMI.  Tomorrow a chiropractor will be there to see if our upper and lower backs are in alignment.  On Friday a dietician will be there to evaluate our current diets and modifications we should consider making to our current diets.  Also, on Friday, a Mary Greely Hospital technician will be at the workout to take a blood sample to test our triglycerides and cholesterol.  Really cool stuff and it is all free.  What a great deal!

Well, I got through the workout just fine.  It was challenging and I really felt the burn, but when it was over, I began to feel that old high and it felt really good.  I miss that feeling.  I definitely want to make that a part of my life again.  The nice thing about our lives is that as long as we are breathing, we have a chance for a new beginning.  Another chance to do the things we always meant to do, but didn’t.  Another chance to start over.  Today was my day 1 when it comes to my fitness.

So, while I am not going to share with you what my current weight is or what my other testing results were, I will share with you some of the goals I have set for myself for 2012.

Body Weight

Lose 50 lbs. by July 4th 2012

Lose 100 lbs. by Dec. 31st 2012

Body Fat %

Down 5% by July 4th 2012

Down 10% by Dec. 31st 2012

Taking care of our bodies is a key to both our physical and emotional health.  We tend to feel better after we work out.  Life makes more sense, our jobs seem more bearable, and all the good feelings working out makes us feel really stack up.  We tend to have a restored, more positive outlook on how we face our days.

I understand that sounds good, but it is a whole other consideration sticking to it and doing it over the long-term.  Anyone can do it for a short while, then burn out and stop.  Trust me, I have done it plenty of times.  So how do I keep this from being another one of those times?  How can I keep this going?  I know that it is going to take more than words to make this time different.

With that in mind, I would like to share with you 6 ways to find time and stay motivated for fitness.  I realize that for me my two biggest obstacles for maintaining my fitness are time and motivation so I thought we should take these head on.  Trust me, I am talking to myself just as much as I am talking to you about this.  I know that If I can find ways to overcome both time and motivation, that I have won most of the battle to making fitness a bigger priority in my life.

Make workouts fit into your current lifestyle and schedule.

It is a fact that people tend to hate change in their lives.  We can change things in our lives for a season of our life, but if it is a radical change from the lifestyle that we currently live, it will be really hard to maintain that change over long periods of time.  With this in mind, try to incorporate your fitness into your current lifestyle and schedule as much as possible. 

For me, I know that it works best for me to work out early in the morning.  If I wait until the end of the day, I lose a lot of motivation and my life tends to fill up with things I need to get done that day.  I know that a 5 am workout sounds insane, but to be honest, the only other thing I would be doing at that time would be sleeping so I am not really taking away from getting my other tasks done that day.

I would encourage you to figure out what time of the day will work the best for you to work out and stay consistent with working out during that time.  When are your peak performance hours?  What time is your schedule going to best allow you to work out?  These are all considerations when figuring out when will be the best time for you to work out.  Ideally, you want to create a situation where staying fit feels fun and easy.  That will be a key to staying consistent.

Master multitasking.

 A common theme that most of us have is that we lead very busy lives.  Time seems to always be at a premium.  Even when we have a regularly scheduled workout time, there is time when life simply happens.  Circumstances and things come up in our daily lives that we had not planned for.  If working out is not a priority, it can be pushed back and if something has to give meaning that workouts might get skipped.  One skipped workout can lead to another which can lead to another which can lead to ceasing to work out. 

We have to guard against this from happening.  A good way to do this is to try multitasking.  This is doing more than one thing at the same time so you can essentially give yourself more time during the day.  You can get very creative with this.  If you have a family and your work outs are taking time away from you spending time with them, consider incorporating them into your workouts.  Take a walk or take a bike ride with a family member.  You might even talk someone in your family into doing your regular workout with you.  If you have to go get groceries, consider riding your bike to and from the grocery store.  Take along a backpack to put your groceries in.  Make phone calls in your car on your way to and from your workout.  The possibilities of ways to multitask are endless.  Any way you can come up with to gain valuable time in your day will only help ensure that you have the time you need each day to get your workout in.

Listen to what your body needs.

When I was in my 20’s, I continued to work out like I was still a football player.  I lifted with free weights.  I ran sprints.  I ran the stairs in Jack Trice Stadium.  When I was in vet school, I did a lot of sitting around in class and hours upon hors of studying.  When I worked out, I used it as a release.  I wanted something that was high impact so I could release my pent-up frustration from the difficulties of school.  I wanted to move vigorously after sitting all day.  My body knew what I needed at that time in my life and I listened to its guidance.

Now that I am in my 30’s, I have had a lot more life come my way.  I am older now and my joints and back hurt more than they used to.  I can’t go as hard and as long as I used to.  I have finally accepted that I am no longer a college and NFL football player so I don’t need to train like I am one.  So once again, I am listening to my body.  I do workouts that use my own body weight as resistance instead of free weights.  I go for jogs and walks instead of doing sprints and running stairs.

The point is that your moods will change minute by minute, day-to-day, and throughout the seasons of your life, depending on what you’re going through, your job, and your schedule.  In terms of movement, pay attention to what feels good to you and your body will not steer you wrong.

Make fitness a “must,” not a “should.”

If making fitness a regular part of your life is a priority to you the key is to make it a must.  When we make something a must, we cut off any possibility for excuses for not doing it.  Having too many kids, being tired, living in a small town without a gym are just not going to cut it.  We have to make a decision to choose our health over the other things in our lives that can compete for it.  Remember, there will always be other things you could do, the deciding factor is whether it is a priority to you or not.  If it is, you will find a way to get it done.  If it is not, well you will find a way not to do it.  I encourage all of you to make your health a must and not a should in your life.

Think about how you feel after you work out BEFORE you work out.

Think about how you look and feel after you exercise and keep that as one of your motivations for going back for more.  The key is to do this before your workout and it’ll help you follow through.  If you find yourself getting too caught up in work or other parts of your life, picture yourself post-exercise laughing and feeling good.  Picture yourself peaceful, clear-minded, and full of energy.  Use this visual to get you into your workout gear.

Switch from “I have to do this” to “I get to do this.”

Sometimes in spite of all of the previous tips, you just don’t feel like exercising.  It feels like a chore, something you have to do, and you let work be the excuse not to do it.  I know that I can’t even begin to remember how many times I have let this happen myself.  At times like this, I want you to think about someone you know who can’t do the exercise that you choose not to do.  Think of a grandparent who sits in a nursing home somewhere and can’t walk so well anymore, so they spend most of their days in bed.  Think of someone you know who is disabled and not able to use their legs or their arms anyomore.  How much that person would give to just be able to stand up on their own and stretch their body.

When you think about this person, it should make you grateful for your own body and what it’s able to do.  You get to do this exercise thing.  You get to fit it into your schedule.  Exercise is a gift, not a burden in your life.  When you look at it this way, it’s easier to turn off your computer or TV and get cracking.

I hope that these suggestions will be useful.  I hope that you and I will be able to look back on these whenever you and I feel unmotivated or don’t seem to have enough time and you and I will get a burst of inspiration.  I will make the decision to do it and not let it slip like I have in the past.  This will be my new beginning and I will make the most of it.  Today is day 1 of the rest of my life.  May the journey be long and winding.


Based upon the responses and feedback from my loyal readers, there were two topics that emerged that you wanted me to discuss more on my blogs.  The first was more fitness/health related blogs.  I hope that today’s blog was along the lines of what you were wanting.  I will continue to try to incorporate more of these type of blogs in the future.  I will also keep you updated on how my own personal fitness journey is going.  It is my hope that by doing this, it will give me extra motivation that will help lead me to success.  Hopefully, you can gain from this as well.  I would like to encourage any of you who would like to take a fitness focus journey with me to do so.  Take some time to make some fitness goals for yourself and determine what you will do to try to achieve those goals.  Make a plan and then stick to it and be consistent.  I would love for you to share with me any goals or plans you have and update me on how your progress is going.

The other area that you wanted more blogs about was the topic of relationships.  I definately have some plans to incoroporate more blogs that deal with the topic of relationships in 2012.  Thanks so much for your feedback.  I want this blog to continue to develop into something that can be very meaningful and helpful to you.  Here’s to a great 2012!

About wmarsau

Most of the people who visit this blog already know me so it is kind of pointless to try to describe my life in this short little blurb. What is the purpose of this blog is the question. Over the course of this last year I have been exposed to some amazing people and have made personal development an important focus of my life. Being successful, not by the world's standards, but by God's has become my main focus. Mainly, I want to work to develop myself as a person who is kinder, reaches out to help those in need, and truly makes a difference in this world. To this end I am constantly reading and am exposed to so many differnet things along the way. These have been amazing and it is helping me grow so much. Then I started to think, "Why am I being so selfish?" You need to share with others these amazing things you are learning and being exposed to. That is where this blog comes into play. As I am reading and experiencing things that are truly amazing and life changing, I will be posting them on this blog. Obviously, I will not be able to post everything in it's entirity, but I will be summarizing them and letting you know the source of the article or book they come from so you can check them out later if you wish. I want this blog to be a place where you can go to often and be inspired and leave here with a smile on your face. I will be covering all kinds of different topics dealing with success and personal development. Topics like taking action, relationships, living to your potential, reinventing yourself, finances, leadership, presenting, goal setting, time management, etc. I will also be occasionally including topics on cooking, music, and gardening because they are special interests of mine. As a little disclaimer, I have given my life to the Lord and he is #1 in my life. I am his servant and everything I do in life is for his glory. With that being said, religion influences all areas of my life. There will be references to God in this blog because I can't seperate God from this or any other area of my life. I want you to know that if you do not believe in God, that is fine. That is your choice. This blog is open to anyone who wants to better their life. I will not be trying to influence or pressure anyone into having a relationship with the Lord from this site. Please don't feel uncomfortable. You can just read the portions of the blog that you wish to. I am inviting you to go on a journey with me. We will learn together to be the kind of people we were designed to be. Anyone can make a difference in this world, but it starts%
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3 Responses to You Have to Make Fitness a Priority: 6 Ways to Find Time and Stay Motivated for Fitness

  1. Joe Foss says:

    Billy mar-
    Good luck with your new challenge. Getting old definately makes it harder than it was in the “old days”. If anyone can do it I know you can, I had your mindset two years ago, I am still at it running every other day, thinking about a half or maybe full marathon later in the year. Just keep going and you will meet all your goals. Give a call if you need a pep talk. Take care. Joe Foss

  2. wmarsau says:

    Thanks brother. That means a lot coming from you. Especially since you have already done it. I would love to be able to look as good as you do man. lol. Take care my old friend!

  3. Stephanie says:

    Such good tips in here. I especially like the “Think about how you feel after you work out BEFORE you work out.” Getting geared up to GO work out IS the battle…but you feel SO much better about yourself after you do!

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