9 Easy Ways to Overcome the Excuse “I Don’t Have Enough Time to Workout”

Let me tell you something you probably already know:

Lack of time is the #1 most common excuse given for not working out.

With the hustle and bustle of today’s world, this should come as no surprise.

Most people work full time and some have families to take care of in addition to that.

So it’s ok if you don’t have enough time to workout…

Wait did I really just say that?


It’s not my job to baby you, show you pictures of rainbows and unicorns, and tell you everything’s going to be ok when I know it’s not.

It’s my job to get you lifelong results.

That’s why I’m going to share with you today 9 easy ways to defeat the most common excuse in the fitness book.

Let’s get started.

#1: Watch less T.V.

i don't have enough time to workout

This is perhaps the easiest way to find more time to workout. Don’t believe me?

Well you should considering the fact that the average American spends roughly 34 hours each week watching T.V.

This equates to nearly 5 hours a day—plenty of time to workout.

Of course you don’t have to completely give up television to get your dream body.

In fact T.V. can be a good thing when you use it as a reward for working out.

For example, you could tell yourself that you won’t watch any T.V. until you’ve worked out for at least 15 minutes.

Using something as a reward (television in this case) is a good way to help form new habits.


You can also exercise during the commercial breaks. Since the average T.V. break is about 2-3 minutes, you’ll have plenty of time to do this short (but effective) workout:

Do each exercise for 20 seconds:

  • Mountain Climbers
  • Reverse Lunges
  • Push-Ups
  • Squat Jumps
  • Plank

It’ll only take you 1 minute 40 seconds, which still leaves you plenty of time to get comfy before the show comes back on.

#2: Stop Fishing for Excuses “Outside of Your Control”

most common fitness excuses

Excuses make you feel better.

They take the blame off of yourself and place it on something else that’s “completely out of your control.”

For instance, if you don’t feel like working out, just say the magic words—I don’t have enough time to workout—and bam you’ll no longer feel guilty for skipping.

However, if you want results, then you know better than to say things like this.

Here’s the deal:

There are two kinds of locus of control: internal and external.

Internal: Person accepts blame or success of an outcome.

            Ex: I made an A on the test because I studied hard.

            Ex: I failed the test because I waited until the night before to study.

External: Person puts blame or success on outside factors.

            Ex: I passed the test because I had some lucky guesses.

            Ex: I failed the test because my teacher grades too hard.

Research shows the power of having an internal locus of control.

In one study, participants with an internal control were more likely to stick with their diabetes regimen than external control participants.

In another study, researchers found that students engaged in healthier behaviors if they had an internal locus of control towards their health.

On the flip side, students with an external locus of control were more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and less physical activity.

Start taking notice of what you tell yourself when things go wrong.

Do you tend to have more of an internal or external locus of control?

After shifting your mindset, you’ll begin to look for solutions to your problems instead of being a helpless victim.

#3: Trade Nights With Your Significant Other

what if i don't have enough time to workout

One common barrier to working out is taking care of your kids.

Their constant wants and needs make it hard to get away long enough to workout.

A good solution to this problem is to trade nights watching the kids with your spouse.

Then the other person can workout without having to worry about the house burning down—well hopefully anyway.

It’s an easy setup if both of you want to workout 3 times each per week:

Monday: You workout

Tuesday: You watch kids

Wednesday: You workout

Thursday: You watch kids

Friday: You workout

Saturday: You watch kids

Sunday: Family Night

Here’s the deal:

That sounds nice and all but what if you’re a single parent? Well even if you’re by yourself you’ve still got some options:

  • Leave them with your parents (who doesn’t love more time with their grandchildren?)
  • Hire a babysitter (this is an investment in your health not a waste of money)
  • Workout with your kids (this’ll help build positive exercise habits at a young age)

Whatever your status is, remember that your children are a big reason why you’re doing this in the first place.

You want to have more energy so you can keep up with them at all times.

You want to improve your health so you can stick around long enough to watch them grow up.

You owe it to yourself and your kids to be in good physical shape.

#4: Use a Time Log

how to overcome not having enough time to workout

Lack of time isn’t the issue—a perceived lack of time is.

One way to overcome this is by tracking what you do throughout the day.

Once you start recording your activities, you’ll be amazed at where your time is really going:

  • Surfing the web
  • Watching YouTube videos
  • Checking email
  • T.V.
  • Video games
  • Chatting
  • Long showers
  • Driving
  • Eating

Obviously there are tasks you can’t avoid doing.

The idea is to get you aware of how much time you’re spending on certain tasks.

Then you can eliminate the things that aren’t providing any value back.

Are you taking your time getting ready in the morning?

Do you procrastinate way more than you should?

Are you spending hours a day in front of electronic devices?

All of these things (big or small) add up to make the difference between having time and “not having time.”


Using a time log is very simple. All you need to do is set a reminder to go off every hour.

If you want to get even more precise then do 30 minutes. Every time the reminder goes off write down what it is you’re doing.

For example, when the timer goes off you would write down: daydreaming instead of writing the report.

Or: watching an episode of Game of Thrones.

It doesn’t need to be anything more complicated than that.

Do this for at least a week and see where the majority of your time is really being spent.

Note: If you want to take things a step further, write down how much energy you have on a scale of 1-10 in addition to what you’re doing. This way you’ll be able to notice patterns and pinpoint when the best time for you to workout is.

#5: Ask Yourself, “How Important Is This to Me?”

how bad do you want to be fit

If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way. There’s a lot of truth to that phrase.

You have to take a step back, be honest, and ask yourself, “How much do I care about my overall health and fitness?”

If your answer is less than a 9 or 10 then there you go.

Suddenly, time isn’t the issue and the want factor is.

  • You don’t want it as bad as you want to watch T.V.
  • You don’t want it as bad as you want to sleep in.
  • You don’t want it as bad as you want to go out.
  • You don’t want it as bad as you want that junk food.
  • You don’t want it as bad as you want to “rest” and “take it easy.”
  • You don’t want it as bad as you want to feel comfortable.

Here’s the deal:

Getting in shape won’t be sunsets and grassy meadows all of the time.

There will be obstacles to overcome. There will be ups, downs, and setbacks.

Your ability to persist past the tough times will determine your success. Think about it.

If it were easy then everyone would be in killer shape. And suddenly looking awesome wouldn’t be that awesome.

So stop lying to make yourself feel better.

Check yourself and ask, “Is time the real problem or do I just not care enough?”

#6: Don’t Kid Yourself—You Only Need to Workout for 30-45 Minutes

how long should i workout

Another reason you “don’t have enough time to workout” is because you’re lying to yourself thinking you need at least an hour to workout.

Then you’re going to be sweaty so you’ll have to take a shower, which will take up more time.

Keep saying things like this and it’ll be easy to talk yourself out of any workout.

Here’s the deal:

You can get a great workout in with just 30-45 minutes of your time.

And what should you do if you’re strapped for time? 

Well basically, the more time you have the longer you can workout for (up to 45 minutes). Yes, you can be efficient and get something in even if you only have 5-10 minutes to workout.

It adds up over time and it’s certainly better than nothing.

Download my free time crunch workouts for effective 5, 10, and 15-minute workouts.

#7: Workout Earlier in the Day

time to workout in the morning

Your real issue with missing workouts might not be a time problem. Instead, it could be your energy levels.

For example, you might be too tired after work making you less likely to go to the gym. The solution is simple—workout earlier in the day.

Of course this means you’ll have to workout before work (and go to bed earlier) but look on the bright side:

Not only that, but I’ve tended to notice that random things are more likely to pop up later in the day than the morning.

This is because in the morning all of your friends are still asleep and they won’t bother you.

So if you do choose to workout later in the day and a friend hits you up to go out, you’ll have a tough decision to make.

It’s easier to just get it out of the way and have your evenings free to do with as you please.

#8: Understand There’s Someone Busier Than You Who Still Works Out

when to workout if you're busy

A couple of years ago during Thanksgiving, I was complaining to my sister and cousin about the lack of success for this very website.

I said, “I was too busy with school to make things happen.”

Looking back on it, I now realize how wrong that statement was.

Especially talking to my cousin who has two of her own businesses and a side job to top it all off.

Fortunately, she didn’t call me out, but maybe she should have. Maybe it would have woken me up.

Understand this:

Right now there’s someone with a busier schedule than you who still finds the time to workout.

He doesn’t complain or brag to others about how busy he is.

He just pays his dues and moves on. Nothing else to it.

No one looks at him and thinks, “Wow he must be a fitness model who gets paid to stay fit.”

Similar to how no one looks at someone who’s out of shape and thinks, “I bet this person doesn’t have enough time to workout.”

The reality:

No one cares what your excuse is for not being fit.

Nobody cares what all you went through to get fit.

People only see you as you are.

#9: Be Willing to Adapt

best time to workout

It’s not the strongest or smartest who survive, it’s those who adapt.

This is something you must do if you’re going to be successful with fitness.

You’re not always going to have the same schedule and be able to go to the gym at the same time.

Life will happen and you’ll need to adjust.

For example, if you normally workout on Wednesday evenings but you have a meeting scheduled, then you need to reschedule a different time to go.

Don’t just skip the workout completely claiming you’re busy—find a different time to go. Be prepared.

Look at your schedule for the week and plan ahead. Don’t just take life as it comes to you because you’ll never get anywhere with that attitude.

Something random will always be popping up and ruining your gym time. I don’t have set days that I go to the gym.

As long as I complete 4 workouts within 7 days, I’ll be good to go.

You might like that idea more or having set days, but either way, be willing to adapt.

Final Thoughts

Not having enough time to workout is the most common excuse for not exercising.

It’s also one of the lamest excuses.

Start making your health and well being the priority.

Start taking responsibility.

Start living the life you’ve always wanted.

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