Billy Stickland/INPHO Jonny Holland: "We all have different things we feel we NEED to spend time on."
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Ain't nobody got time for that? How to make space in your week for exercise
Jonny Holland helps tackle the number one excuse that keeps us from exercising: lack of time.

TOO OFTEN YOU hear people say that work got in the way of someone’s exercise. Some of the time this is a genuine reason, most of the time it’s an excuse.

I’m a firm believer that if you’re interested in getting your exercise done, you’ll make time for it. What do you prioritise more: watching Love Island or going to the gym three times a week? If it’s Love Island, then that’s fair enough – just don’t complain about not being in shape or how your energy is low, or when someone else eats a pizza they don’t put on weight but you looked at a biscuit and the scales went up.

Whether it is Love Island or a Netflix binge, people can spend 1-2 hours a night watching TV. They end up having a commitment to a show that is on six out of seven nights a week or one that is endless at the touch of a Netflix button on your remote. Ask yourself before you get stuck into these shows if you have the time to watch it. It can take up six hours a week minimum that you could be spending somewhere else.

But I know, you have to have time to relax as well. I’m not against this either but there are ways to relax and get your exercise done. Bobby Maximus from Men’s Health speaks about his time audit when clients say that they don’t have time. You do have the time; you just don’t prioritise it that way.

He breaks down the 168 hours in a week. This allows 70 hours for work (that’s 14 hours a day, most people don’t do this) and 56 hours for sleep (that’s eight hours each night). After this we all have another 42 waking hours to spend. He allows for 20 hours of family time, 10 hours of commuting to and from work, and three hours for errands like grocery shopping. It feels pretty generous. You still have nine hours left, and people say they don’t have time for exercising. That’s if you do really have a busy work diary. Most people don’t work those long hours but we all have different things we feel we NEED to spend time on.

That may come across as a military style of breaking it down. That’s his style, not mine, but there is something to be taken from it.

The most important thing for me is that you enjoy the exercise that you take part in. Maybe we are a bit more regimented during the week and that’s when we can go into a gym and feel like it’s part of our routine. That can be before work, on your lunch or after work.

Personally, I feel that once you start to exercise in the mornings, there’s no going back. Control your sleep cycles so you no longer feel like it’s the middle of the night and it can add value to your life in more ways than one. Most other people aren’t awake at the time, businesses aren’t open and most people aren’t sitting in an office adding to your pile of emails. Nothing will get in your way besides yourself.

If you let the day go on, work can definitely get in the way. Your to-do list grows longer and you definitely can use it as an excuse as to why you couldn’t make the evening gym class. If that is a once-off, then I wouldn’t stress, you’ll make it the next time. If that’s the way your life runs on a weekly basis then it might be time to think about when you exercise.

Plan your week. If your aim is to exercise three times a week then I would suggest picking 4-5 time slots throughout the week when you could potentially get an exercise session done. That way if you do genuinely miss one you can relax knowing that you have another four opportunities to get your three days of exercise done. Less pressure, more sustainable approach, less feelings of guilt and under-achievement.

The last thing I would say is that you can still use the weekend to exercise, and a lot of people do. If that’s you, then well done. If it’s not you, then I would suggest not blocking out the weekend as two days of entire rest. They’re two days off work (for most people). Especially during these summer months I feel that we can get better at getting some fresh air and using this time to do more of the cardio-style exercises. Maybe you go on a long walk, visit one of the tourist spots in Ireland (I recently went to Mizen Head with Chloe and stopped off at Gougane Barra on the way home, plenty of steps done), or just get out and about. Just because you’re not inside a gym doesn’t mean it’s not considered activity or exercise.

Find what works for you. If what you’re currently doing doesn’t work for you, then think about why you’re still trying to take that route.

You can follow Jonny’s fitness journey here:

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