Eliminating Time Sucks So You Can Work Out

by Nicole Pajer
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Eliminating Time Sucks So You Can Work Out

Getting to the gym sometimes can be easier said than done. But if lack of time is the main justification for skipping your workout, it’s time to reconsider how you spend your day. We surveyed personal trainers, life coaches and athletes to get their advice on how to eliminate time sucks so that you can easily spend an hour at the gym.

Once you master the art of maximizing your time, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to find that spare moment to hit the gym — and ultimately adhere to your fitness goals.


“Many hours per week can be wasted on cooking meals or dining out,” says Ron Silvis, CEO of lifestyle fitness company No Apologies LLC. “By selecting one day to prepare your meals for the entire week (preferably on an off-day from the gym), it cuts the time spent on daily meal planning and cooking and gives you more free time to spend in the gym.”

Kyle Jones, a New York City-based personal trainer, suggests taking advantage of grocery and meal delivery services. “It’s almost 2017! You can have virtually anything delivered to you,” he says. “Blue Apron is a solid company that sends you all the ingredients you need, all you have to do is cook. FreshDirect delivers groceries to your house if you can’t make it to the store or hate long lines.”

Brooke Taylor, of Taylored Fitness, adds that the slow cooker has been a blessing in her busy life. “Throw some veggies, protein and broth into a crock pot,” she explains. “When you arrive home after a full day of work, everything is done.”


The more commitments we agree to, the less time we have for ourselves and to do things like our favorite yoga class or a run through the park. “Remember that ‘just say no!’ campaign, which was centered around drugs?” says certified life coach Marybeth Cale. “Well, another toxic behavior is ‘yessing’ people to death at the expense of your own sanity and free time!” Before you agree to chair the next local event or host a huge party, ask yourself these two questions: 1. Will this activity drain me or energize me? and 2. Will this activity move me closer to my goals?

“If it doesn’t energize you in some way or help you move forward in your life, just say no,” adds Cale. “Move on to something that will make better use of your time, talent and resources.”


All of those minutes spent retweeting funny cat videos and liking Facebook photos can really add up. “I think social media is one of the biggest time wasters, especially if you are not regimented with your schedule,” says Carol Hinchcliffe, co-founder of Thrive Fitness & Nutrition. To prioritize working out over perusing Instagram, the trainer tells her clients to work out first and then allot time to social media. “Another way to stay connected to your friends and simultaneously sneak in your fitness goals is to invite someone that you need to catch up with to accompany you to the gym,” Hinchcliffe adds. “That way you can kill two birds with one stone.”


According to a recent Nielsen study, Americans are watching an average of five hours of television a day. Just imagine what you could do with all that extra time. Try limiting your TV time to one show per day or only allowing yourself to curl up on the couch and watch TV after your workout. “Make TV a reward, not a habit,” says Bishop. 

On the flip side of eliminating time sucks, here are three ways to improve your efficiency and ultimately squeeze in that workout.



To make sure that your fitness is a priority, Silvis suggests putting your workouts on your daily to-do list. “We are more likely to follow through if we actually schedule gym time and put it on the calendar,” he explains. “By writing it and seeing it, we are less likely to skip it.” When it comes to making fitness a part of your day, consistency is key. Start small. Commit to a Tuesday night yoga class, make it a recurring appointment into your calendar and challenge yourself to go weekly.


If you can choose a time to hit the gym other than after work, and to a lesser extent, before work, do it. Try to find a less popular time, like during your lunch break or consider gym alternatives. “Driving in traffic, parking, changing and checking into the gym or class can all be very time-consuming,” says Stefanee Alcantar, an instructor at Speir Pilates. “You can eliminate all of that by streaming your workout online and doing it from your home or the office.”


Sleep plays a crucial role in your health, and if you aren’t getting enough of it, you simply won’t function as well the next day. Beth Bishop, owner and head coach at the Phoenix Effect, tells her clients that it’s essential to quit screen time at least an hour before going to bed if they expect to wake up well-rested and ready to hit the gym. “Chances are, you have already spent enough time on Facebook anyway,” she says. “This will allow you to fall asleep easier and get more time in the sack to ensure your workouts rock.”


  • Ben

    Eliminating comma sucks so you can grammar. 😉

  • davedave12

    TV = Satan

    • Captain Jeff


  • georgesgirl65

    This is what I struggle with!
    – Yes, TV is bad and sucks you in so does social media. I am trying to limit my time with both of these. It helps if you have a cable company that allows you to record the shows you want to watch so you can watch when it is convenient and not gym time.
    – Picking a day to fix food needs a little context. Great idea but by the end of the week you might get food poisoning. If this is what you are planning on doing you might want to cook a meal or two and put them in the freezer, or package them in portion sizes to take to work for lunch. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables while they are still at their freshest. A crock pot is the best! But don’t prep your food too far ahead, it might be bad before you get to it. I love making large crock pot meals so that I have left overs to freeze for another meal or lunches.
    – I not only have to say no to certain offers from friends and family (not living with me). But NO to my husband who will have me running all over town doing errands after work instead of going to the gym. I told him this, and if he needs something done either do it yourself or hopefully it can wait until the weekend when I have more time.
    – Hit the gym at another time than after work??? If I don’t go then, then it’s not going to happen! If you make it a habit, it’s not a big deal. I remember when I was working out regularly (not now), I told myself one day I wasn’t going that night, well I just automatically drove to the gym without thinking about it. Then I decided to workout anyway. I think it’s helpful if your gym is close to home or work, or on the way, that way you are more likely to go. Streaming your workout at work! This would only work for some people who have a workspace that would accommodate this 🙁 don’t like this idea.
    – Getting enough sleep is a hard one too! It would work great if I lived alone and didn’t have other people who want my time or for me to do something for them or with them. I have thought about what would help me personally = being organized with meals, cleaning up as you go, scheduling my free time with chores and cleaning as well as my workout times or TV time. Plus finding ways to limit my time getting ready in the morning, like growing my hair out so that I can just put it in a pony tail (which also helps with working out), laying my clothes out the night before, iron clothes on the weekend if needed, set the coffee on a timer, put my shoes by my bed so they are ready to put on to take my dog for a quick walk (in my PJ’s).
    – It sucks having to be so scheduled, I would like to be more spontaneous. But that doesn’t really work if you want to focus on your health and get to the gym. I put alarms in my phone to go off everyday or weekdays telling me to drink more water, go to the gym (after work), then a follow up 5 minutes later saying you don’t want to be fat go to the gym, an alarm to tell me to meditate, a reminder to weigh myself, a reminder to take “whatever out of the freezer for dinner” or to start the crock pot. I use cute little emoji’s to make it a little more fun, and instead of a plain old wake up alarm I put a note on it that says “It’s going to be a great day!” with a sun emoji.
    Sounds like I have it all together but I don’t! I know how to do it, I just need to follow through!