How to Make Time for the Gym

Strength & Conditioning

Most of us struggle with making time for exercise from time to time. In today’s crazy busy life it is easy to come up with an excuse to avoid the gym. So how do you make time for exercise when life feels crazy?

In this article, John gives us some of the best tips for finding the time to exercise. If you are looking for tips on finding time to train, ways to maximize your time in the gym, or a workout routine that will fit your busy schedule, you’ve come to the right place.

John Christian Singleton

John Christian Singleton

Holding a Masters degree in Osteopathy and having helped over 30 athletes achieve their goal of competing at The CrossFit Games. John has been coaching athletes for over 15 years and a large part of his life has been dedicated to finding the most efficient way of making their athletic goals a reality.

Luckily through The Progrm he has a very talented group of coaches around him. This team has helped to expand the limits of what is possible for their athletes alongside researching and developing future procedures that push the possibilities of the Sport.”

// Finding the Time To train Can Be Hard, but it’s always possible

Balancing a busy family life, keeping up with the chores, going for that promotion at work, and staying on top of your assignments can make you feel like there just isn’t enough time in a day.

Commitments that we make with others as well as pressure that we feel to meet deadlines sometimes leave us with little time to indulge in the things that we enjoy. As we begin to feel more of this pressure, it becomes increasingly difficult to find time to train.

Moreover, when you’re already burning the candle at both ends the thought of doing anything other than curling up on the couch can seem daunting.

Does that mean you should give up your job so that you can spend all day in the box training to your heart’s content? Of course not (a girl can dream though!).

You’ll have to compromise and this is one of the biggest reasons we brought out The Progrm 60. To find a way to help people who lead busy lives look after their health and improve their strength and fitness.

The stars won’t always align so that you can have a long training session but don’t let that cause you to believe that you don’t have any time at all to get things done. Being able to workout even just a little is worth it and is absolutely attainable.

Despite even the busiest of days, by examining your schedule and priorities with a critical eye and by making a few changes, you might see that you have considerably more time than you think. It’s just a matter of learning how to use it better.

Establishing your time allowance

Step 1:

This first step might be the most challenging. Are you ready? Here it is: Be honest with yourself.

Take a good, hard look at your schedule and take notice of how you dedicate most of your day. I don’t mean that you should look at your agenda of what you have planned for later. I want you to accurately log every activity as you do it.

Log the time and the duration of every action from eating breakfast to checking notifications on your phone. An accurate account of how you spend your day.

Step 2:

Once you have the data, analyze it.

When you take note of what you’ve done rather than what you intend to do, you’ll often find ineffective uses of time.

Are you sure that you don’t have time to workout or is it that you don’t have time to workout and watch two hours of your favorite show every night?

Step 3:

Dissecting your daily schedule and identifying weak uses of time is what brings us to our first time-finding strategy: figuring out what parts of your day can you take advantage of and how you can free up some more time to train. Your best option is to eliminate (or at least severely reduce) the repetitive, redundant, or unnecessary activities that occupy your time.

Ask yourself: which tasks do I have to prioritize for right now?

Do you absolutely have to do the laundry and then cook dinner, or can you do them at the same time? Is there anything that you can put one off till tomorrow or take care of later at the same time that you had planned to watch TV? Your day is already loaded with events ranging from non-negotiable to completely spontaneous. If you want to be able to fit in your training on top of it all, something’s got to give.

Okay, so you’re not willing to give up the 20 minutes you spend on social media before bedtime in favor of a 20-minute bodyweight workout. That’s totally fine, however keep in mind that time is a finite resource. You owe it to yourself to seek out the most advantageous way to use it.

Making Priorities

Working out is a high-quality investment of your time because it is beneficial for your physical health, and can help you to reduce stress, feel more confident, and improve your quality of life.

Meanwhile, what has Instagram done for you lately?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to find pleasure in activities other than training, but not having enough time and not making time are two different issues.

If the activities that are taking time away from your training are more valuable to you, you’ll just have to accept working out less. On the other hand, if your training is more important to you, you’ll either have to make a sacrifice or a compromise.

When you identify the unnecessary or redundant activities in your day-to-day routine, think about how you can redirect that time and dedicate it towards your training.

Could you compromise by doing shorter sessions more often?

Perhaps you can make some time during your lunch break.

Would it be possible to train at home a few times each week?

With a little honesty and compromise you’ll find that there’s more time in your day than meets the eye.

Once you’ve made space in your busy schedule, remember to be pragmatic about your time. “I only need five minutes to get ready”. “It’s only two minutes away”. These are both day-to-day examples of how we often underestimate the time we need to complete tasks. Maybe it is only two minutes away, but you also have to factor in getting into the car, driving, and finding a parking spot.

In the same way, you must factor in the preparation and the clean-up that goes before and after your training session.

Getting to the gym, greeting your peers, clearing up your training space, and taking a shower are instances where time can get away from us. This brings us to the next important point..

// You’ve found the time to train/ How do you make the most of it?

We’ve found the time we needed, we’ve anticipated everything we want to get done and now we’re finally in the gym.

Seize the opportunity, but keep it simple. Most training sessions consist of a warm up, strength or skill work, a WOD and cool down. This will all be done comfortably within an hour provided that you stay on task.

Even though the clock is ticking, think about the quality of your work over quantity.

Skipping the warm up or cool down can be rather tempting but they are essential! You will be able to move much better during your workout if you take just a few minutes to prepare your body specifically for the task at hand. Get your body temperature up with a few minutes rowing, biking, jumping rope or doing body weight movements.

Next, devote some time to practicing a skill but don’t let perfectionism get the best of you. In The Progrm 60 we will be taking you through specific skill progressions; however, allow yourself time for a few attempts and call it quits before you lose too much time.

For your strength part, aim for three to five sets resting as necessary according to your goals.

It can be helpful to set a timer to make sure you’re getting enough rest without being too inactive.

It also helps to know what comes next in the session so you can get ready for it.

About to start your last set of back squats before 2K row? Go prepare the rower! A lot of gymnastics in the next section? Try an easy set of face pulls or scap pull ups to prime your back shoulders. The idea is to make use of your idle time.

For your WOD, take advantage of EMOM’s and AMRAPs which have fixed time limits. If you’re working out “for time”, set a time cap and stay true to it.

Save a few minutes at the end of your session to stretch or do some easy monostructural work. A proper cool down will facilitate your return to homeostasis, assuring you won’t be too tight or sore for the days and hours following your session.

Yes, our time is limited, it’s not worth frantically rushing through the motions trying to get as much as possible done. True gains come from persistent, intentional practice.

Plan Ahead

The best way to make the most of your time is to go in having a plan. The more detailed, the better.

Know the exercises you’ll be doing, if or how you’ll scale them, and what percentages you’ll work up to. Have an idea of the warm up that will be most effective and time-efficient for the tasks at hand. Perhaps it’s not worth spending 10 minutes on shoulder mobility if you know that you have a tough deadlift session ahead.

Luckily we cover all of this via The Progrm 60.

You will also have access to the entire week of your training, which means you can plan your week in advance and if you need help on deciding what to prioritize in the training sessions you can just reach out to one of our coaches.

// Don’t forget to take it easy. After all, training is supposed to be fun.

At the end of the day, you probably train to blow off some steam, get fit, or maybe to have more confidence in your appearance. Training should not be a source of stress especially if it’s not how you earn your living.

Sometimes it can be challenging to “get into it” when you’re starting your session.

Sometimes it’s difficult to be consistent on a weekly or monthly basis.

Ironically, it can be just as frustrating when you have to miss a day or deviate from your plan. If you can’t fit in the entire session, don’t sweat it (excuse the pun)!

Focus on what you are able to accomplish and be grateful for it.


We program with one goal in mind – to get you as fit as possible with 60 minutes to spare! With a busy life, full-time work/studies, family and friends it can be hard to find time for training.

We truly believe that staying fit and healthy will help increase the quality of life and with this program we want to help you get it done as efficient as possible.


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