Sometimes It’s Okay To Let Life Get In The Way of Fitness

by tinareale on May 22, 2013

I like to workout. It’s a mental release for me. I view it as my quality time with myself. It truly makes me not only a healthier person, but a better person.

I’m also a fitness professional. Staying in shape is important because I want to set a good example. I don’t want or need to be the fittest out there, but I do hope to display the positives a commitment to fitness can provide. It’s part of my work to regularly run through the Best Body Bootcamp workouts to ensure they are reasonable, fun, effective workouts before I provide them to you.

I like working out. It’s something I do. It’s part of who I am. Working out an hour or so a day 5 to 6 days out of the week has never been a struggle for me. In fact, I can struggle with trying to fit in and do too much more easily than not having enough motivation to get to the gym.

I heart The Gym

When the past few months hit and I suddenly found myself with a LOT less time than normal, I fought giving up my workout time. I knew it helped me disperse some of the stress piling on top of me. Over the weeks, that time gradually got shorter and shorter and shorter. I just didn’t have the time (or the energy with multiple nights of only 4 hours of sleep) to put in my typical effort in the gym. I would even say it did more harm than good to try to push through.

The past few weeks my workouts have been 3 to 4 days per week, 20 to 45 minutes per session (most often around 30 minutes each workout). I started off feeling like a fraud or a slacker. Even though I knew better, I feared that I would lose hard earned progress.

But I have to remember. This is one season of my life. And thankfully one that I trust the good Lord is bringing to a close. This is not forever. Sometimes life gets in the way of our fitness goals. When it happens, it’s okay. We must keep our priorities in line. I must remember mine and align my time each day to them – my relationship with my wonderful, Heavenly Father. My kids. The very few, short moments I can steal with my husband these days. Sleep when I can get it.

That isn’t to say that when life happens we give up completely. It’s still important to care for our bodies and treat them well. Movement is treating them well. It may just take a little more planning and innovation, plus a lot less grip on control and expectations. The goal shifts from getting that PR or losing X pounds to keeping my body healthy. Plain and simple. It’s okay to not care so much about all of that from time to time and simply to care to just get a workout in for the day.

That’s for sure been my focus lately. My favorite options:

  • a short run of 3-4 miles (about all I could manage the past two weeks and this coming week too)
  • DVDs – my favorite shorter ones are Insanity, anything Jillian Michaels, and Cathe premix options
  • 30 minutes of online yoga – once again Reflexion Yoga has been a lifesaver in a pinch
  • quick strength circuit – something like my Full Body Tabata circuit
  • even running around the park with the kids – any movement can count in times like these

So if you find yourself in an overwhelmed state with literally zero time, take a hard look at what you can fit into your week, plan ahead, and do it. But don’t feel bad about letting bigger goals go or for not doing all the training so and so does or anything like that. Life happens…and it’s okay. Take care of yourself and give your best. If you give your best, how can you be disappointed with that? Happy training!

Give Your Best

Have you ever faced a time when you truly did not have time for fitness? What options do you use when really short on time? How do you make sure to still fit in something to care for your body?


1 Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness May 22, 2013 at 6:12 am

There was a time when I thought if I couldn’t run at least 5 miles or workout for an hour then why bother. Now, when time is short, squeezing in a 3 mile run or 30 minute workout is better than nothing. Why it took me so long to realize that I will never know :)

2 Miz May 22, 2013 at 6:42 am

for me it all all all changed with my daughter.
family first…fitness…PARALLEL? :)

3 Ericka @ The Sweet Life May 22, 2013 at 6:50 am

I have definitely felt like this before! In fact, this morning I was just NOT feeling it and feeling stressed. I was feeling bad about skipping for “no good reason” but I told myself, it’s okay — even if you work out 3-4 days this week — that’s better than most of American and you are fine. Keeping balance matters…good reminder.

4 Dana @momrunshalf May 22, 2013 at 7:25 am

I have felt like this before and I tried to maximize the time I had, sometimes running up and down my stairs for 10-15 minutes was all I could get in but at least it was something.

5 Marilyn May 22, 2013 at 7:34 am

In the last two years, during the week, I’ve only had about an hour to dedicate to my daily workout (ie – including travel to and from gym, etc.). This usually translates to 30-40 minutes of actual exercise. So sometimes, I feel down when I hear about other people putting in a full hour or two every day. One of the ways I’ve been trying to re-frame it for myself is that I’m coming back from an injury, so this time limitation actually helps prevent me from overdoing it. But I really have to work to keep things in perspective.

6 Meghan @ After the Ivy League May 22, 2013 at 7:34 am

This post completely rings true for me. I was in a similar situation a few months ago, when I was going to grad school for engineering full-time, working part-time (30 hrs) as an engineer, and blogging/living my life. Working out was so difficult to squeeze in between sleep, studying, homework, class, real work, commuting, etc etc. If I only got to the gym 3 times a week, I was totally fine with that. It’s better than nothing. Life is always changing, you can’t always be at the ultimate peak of your fitness. It’s true, life really does get in the way sometimes!

7 Coco May 22, 2013 at 7:40 am

This is such a great reminder. I used to think I had to spend at least 45 min working out or run at least 4 miles, but that “perfectionist” thinking got in my way on days I really didn’t have time. Doing what you can when you can and realizing that sometimes other things are more important is important to having a healthy balance.

8 [email protected] May 22, 2013 at 7:48 am

Really inspiring post Tina! I’m exactly the same and find it hard to let go not necessarily of fitness goals but just of working out as it just sets me up for the day and releases any potential stress before it has time to come to a head. Some great tips too…think I need to invest in Insanity some time soon! :) Hope things are starting to work out better for you…xxx

9 Linz @ Itz Linz May 22, 2013 at 7:59 am

my fitness goals and what i “can” do have changed drastically over the course of the year. itz hard to control things that we really have no control over and life will still go on… though itz easier said than to truly believe :)

10 Kim May 22, 2013 at 8:04 am

First – I can see why you are overwhelmed – moves are difficult!!!
I used to be the type person that thought a good workout should take hours – I’m slowly getting to the point where I am happy with shorter workouts!!!
I hope things slow down for you soon!!!

11 Lee May 22, 2013 at 8:14 am

I think that everyone goes through this at one point or another. Life does get in the way sometimes and it’s okay. Your workouts will still be there when life calms down again. It’s hard to think of it that way because I know, for me at least, there’s a big fear that I’m going to “lose my fitness” but even if that does happen, I know that I can get it back.

12 Megan May 22, 2013 at 8:52 am

I love this. I think it’s hard for us who are active to take a break from time to time. However, there are various seasons of life, and sometimes there are things more important than fitness. There are cycles, and fitness will come back into the picture! I hope that things slow down for you soon!

13 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats May 22, 2013 at 9:14 am

I realized this week that I’m hitting one of those phases. Bar exam prep is way more time consuming than I’d ever imagined, especially starting off already behind because of my finals schedule. I’ve realized that sometimes just getting in a quick workout when you have the chance is all you can do, and that’s okay!

14 Beckett @ The Birchwood Pie Project May 22, 2013 at 9:26 am

Absolutely. Before I started grad school, it was so easy to do a circuit workout in the morning and a run at night. Now, it ain’t happening. I’ve been living off the New York Times 7 minute full body workout and a few 3 mile runs or 30 min cardio sessions here and there. There just comes a time when fitness can’t fix a sleep deficit anymore.

15 Christine @ Love, Life, Surf May 22, 2013 at 9:42 am

I most definitely feel like this has been my life lately. So busy and frustrated when I ant get good workouts in or pushing myself when I’ve gotten about 4-5 hours of sleep. I did that this morning and it was a horrible workout. I should have just slept in! Moving and exercising are a huge part of my life but you’re right – there are other more effective ways to work it in and frankly, it’s OK to take it easy when things get crazy. It’s a give and take. I hope that things settle down for you soon!

16 Laura @ Mommy Run Fast May 22, 2013 at 9:57 am

Like Jill, I used to think it had to be a longer workout to “count”- thankfully, the last few years I’ve learned much more about the efficient workouts out there- circuits, HIIT, etc. I still prefer to stick to my routine, but like you, I’ve gotten more flexible and know that every little bit counts. Sometimes that’s all you can do- been there!

17 Sylvia @ Frolic Through Life May 22, 2013 at 10:07 am

I feel like this all the time during the school year. Between work and school I am home for only 4 waking hours some days, and spending time with my son and boyfriend often take priority. I try to schedule my workouts in advance so that I don’t end up doing something else in their place. My go to quickie workout is always a run – 5 minutes and I can be out the door. You’re not slacker, life just gets in the way sometimes, and as much as I enjoy working out, letting life get in the way is a lot more fun sometimes. :)

18 Haley May 22, 2013 at 10:11 am

This was just what I needed to hear. My schedule is so crazy right now and I am going through the same time management problems. Good to know I’m not the only one who feels this way some times.

19 Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef May 22, 2013 at 10:39 am

great reminder! i just finished grad school and am working a couple parttime jobs while job hunting and trying to have a life…..soooo i totally get it. we all need grace in this area during busy times of life!

20 Melissa May 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

Thank you so much for posting this. I’m having a hard time balancing everything at the moment, and sometimes I beat myself up for not working out an entire hour – 30 minutes really is plenty of time to get a good workout in! You’re right, sometimes family and work and everything else on our plates needs to take priority – the important part is that this time will pass, and we’ll be able to get back to it later.

21 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries May 22, 2013 at 11:36 am

Yes, excellent post and great reminder! It’s easy to feel like you’re lazy or slacking off when life gets in the way, but sometimes it just happens. Even though my health is important to me, my body will be just fine if I don’t get in as many workouts for a few weeks…in fact, it probably will appreciate the rest! I’ve had to remind myself of this a lot lately!

22 Jess May 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I am SO glad you brought this up, my friend. I think we can ALL be way, way too hard on ourselves when it comes to setting the bar for our workouts, and sometimes setting them TOO high when ‘life’ as you say, gets in the way, something changes, an upheaval happens, a season happens. It’s how we approach that slight shift in season versus feeling like we are a failure if we do slightly less than what we’d deem as ‘normal’ activity. Something HAS to give sometimes when life throws a curveball at you, and if your workouts wind up being the thing that ‘gives’ now and then, I think we have to give ourselves permission to be ok with that. It’s hard to do. I admire you for openly sharing this here because it 1) proves you’re human (I knew this already, hehe) and 2) reminds all of US that we’re human and need to cut ourselves some slack sometimes. xoxo hang in there friend (ps sorry for my rambly and LONG comment!)

23 Clare @ Fitting It All In May 22, 2013 at 1:28 pm

LOVE – thank you for posting and being so honest Tina. It can seem hard in the blog world to have some “not quite as into fitness” moments, but I know that will likely happen to me shortly as I get super busy with school. It IS important to take care of ourselves and make sure we stay a little active, but it’s okay to not be full force. You’re the best.

24 Nicole May 22, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Thank you for this post! I think it’s something we can all relate to. The reminder of “You can’t be disappointed in yourself if you gave it your best” is something we all need to hear. And, sometimes your “best” is only what the day allows – it doesn’t have to be a 14-mile run, nor bodypump followed by kickboxing classes. If you have 30 minutes, use those 30 minutes for you! Thank you.

25 Ari @ Ari's Menu May 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I feel like this is something that so many of us go through, but we just pretend it doesn’t exist because we don’t want to feel ashamed. As long as we are doing OUR best in that moment, there is nothing to feel ashamed of, and I love that you were open and honest about it. You should feel PROUD for making your workouts happen during such a stressful time. Remember that to most people 30 minutes 3-4 times per week is actually considered “normal”. I think we get blinded by seeing what so many people in the blog and fitness worlds accomplish that we forget that most of America is sitting on the couch and not doing anywhere close to that!

26 Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona May 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I feel like this sometimes too, but I always try to remind myself that I do have time to workout, I just have to find it. That might mean giving up time in the evening to watch tv, or reading blogs, but in the end a workout will have been a better choice than watching a rerun.

27 purelytwins May 22, 2013 at 8:59 pm

love that quote! pinning :)

28 Michelle May 22, 2013 at 9:03 pm

So, I had a good excuse, but I stopped doing real workouts at the beginning of April. While I missed doing them, my body was tired and letting me know I needed to slow down. I still went to the gym and talked on the treadmill, but it was really strange NOT doing more. Truthfully, I hadn’t done that in previous pregnancies – and I worked out till the bitte end. Obviously, it was a good idea that I did slow down. I can’t imagine going into labor and delivering like I did after an exhausting workout!! Of course, now I’m on hiatus and just plotting my return. If anything this break gives me a renewed spirit. I’ll definitely be ready to get this body back in shape!

29 Melissa @ Live, Love, & Run May 22, 2013 at 11:11 pm

I know you’re one of the people who have seen me go through periods of little or no exercise…and I swear it was due mainly to life getting in the way. The no exercise bit may or may not have been my own laziness…;). I think it’s really important for people to understand that there is no reaching “perfection” when it comes to fitness and a healthy lifestyle. I’ve never heard of someone working out 6 days a week, eating perfectly every day for their entire lives. Indulgence is allowed. Rest is allowed. Obstacles are existent. It doesn’t mean we’re unsuccessful! You’re a rockstar, momma! Doing all you do and still getting all that in? That’s big. :) That’s love. ;)

30 Tamara May 22, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Hooray for sharing such a sane attitude! We exercise to live, not the other way round!
Funny, today I posted on FB that I didn’t exercise today, as it was my youngest son’s first ever track meet and I wanted to spend the day hanging around the track and cheering all of the children on. One of my friends responded with the word ‘refreshing’. I think it IS refreshing to here fitness professionals admit that sometimes fitness isn’t the top priority of the day and just getting in enough to stay healthy and sane is fine!
Stay strong, Tina!

31 Christiane May 23, 2013 at 8:13 am

We all go through periods when it can seem impossible to keep all the balls in the air, but I found a flexible approach always help, with the idea that none of us are perfect and cutting yourself a bit of slack now and again won’t be a problem in the long term.

32 DeeDee @ Exercises For Fat Loss At Home May 23, 2013 at 11:45 am

Excellent post. Yes, sometimes life does get in the way. Squeezing in shorted bouts of easier exercises is the norm for me. I workout long and hard when appropriate, but on days when it isn’t there, it just isn’t there.

I too am a fitness instructor and my students love it when I remind them that exercise is a part of who they are whether they train 7 hours a week or 1 hour. If all you have the time for is a 10 minute walk to clear your head then go for it!

33 [email protected] May 23, 2013 at 12:55 pm

During finals weeks in grad school–but I tried hard to get up earlier & at least get in 45 mins. It helped me so so much!

You’ve got this Tina–besides, you’re doing pretty close to recommended amount anyway, so you’re fine in that regard. However, I do know the LOVE of the gym feeling. This time too shall pass. xo

34 Nancy May 23, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Thank you for this post and for all the comments. I often don’t get started again because I feel I have to do a full week and if I can’t commit to that then I will start on Monday. Like a diet but only for exercising. I can see that this is silly thinking. One day is more than none. Thanks for the kick in the rear and the inspiration.

35 Cait @ Dare to Move May 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm

What a wonderful reminder! Working out is something that should help us to feel as strong and empowered as God created us to be; missing a workout to take care of responsibilities or to spend time with our loved ones doesn’t need to make us feel guilty! This post really gets to the heart of what exercise should be – an activity that helps us honor our bodies by staying as healthy as possible!

Praying for you and your family during this time of transition. You may feel unsettled now, but sometimes things have to become a little bit jumbled so that they can be pieced back together into something beautiful and new!

36 jobo May 24, 2013 at 9:23 am

yet another REAL honest, YOU post and I love it. Life happens, we aren’t all perfect, nor should strive to be, and that doesn’t mean you are a fraud at all! quite the opposite! :) You are real and honest and not pretending you are doing your ‘usual’ level of workout or keeping it under wraps, you are owning up to the fact that ya know what? I just have not had TIME, literally, and sometimes that is just ok. ((hug))

37 [email protected] June 24, 2013 at 3:32 am

Hi, I do like this post, as its something I have to deal with on a regular basis. I do find that using the notion, make exercise part of your day rather than a task in the day, for example. i do calf raises on each stair i walk up, during adverts i do press ups. sometimes i do squats while watching TV. that way i dont feel so guilty when missing out on exercise.

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