No flipping time for fitness.

jar1 224x300 No flipping time for fitness.

I need more ideas or a smaller jar.


Ive ranted ad nauseum about how my workouts are brief.

The thing is, whether your workout du jour is 2 hours or 20 minutes,  it *still* requires you find.the.time.

What about those days where, no matter what you do, life conspires to steal your exercise time away?

Or the days where, despite valiant efforts, every.single.thing. goes wrong as you strive to steal some YOUtime? (not that Id know anything about that one).

I give you my 5 best tips for days when the world seems to be against finding time for a full-on traditional workout.

With special emphasis & “try this! try this!” for numbers 3 and 5.

1. Meditate. Too often we view meditation as an act which requires tremendous time commitment (not to mention oodles of preparation). This does not have to be the case. Steal two or three minutes to stop, pause, unplug, and just be still.  Use this time to wholly focus on releasing tension and capturing the same feelings you have after a challenging, sweat-producing workout.

2. Help others. Nothing makes us feel better than a good ole case of Helpers High.  No time to volunteer traditionally? Email a struggling friend a note of encouragement.  Heading out for coffee? Take a moment to see if you can bring anyone else a cup.  Hold the door for someone.  Heck, even a simple smile can be a kind act which changes someone’s day—and makes YOU feel better, too.

3. Laugh. (Or, if you’re me some days a tough customer in a grumpy mood, at least smile) Take a moment and grab whatever it is that makes you giggle. A silly movie. A television sit-com or even phone a funny friend. While exercise is fantastic for us laughter also serves as a powerful stress reducer.  A good guffaw relieves physical tension (for up to 45 minutes!), can help boost your immune system, increases your blood flow (always good for reducing heart attack risk!), releases those endorphins we all seek and burns approximately 100 calories per twenty minutes!

4. Take full, deep breaths. When we are stressed (as we can be on the days life steals our workout time) we shift to shorter, shallower breaths.  This manner of breathing causes fatigue, increased stress, and is even correlated with triggering anxiety/panic attacks.  If time forces you to skip your workout make the time to stop and focus on your breathing pattern. Check out your posture. Don’t slump or hunch which encourages shallow breathing. Inhale and exhale deeply. Allow your abdomen to move as you breathe. Slow frequency of breaths. I’ve found breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 2 seconds, and then breathing out for 4 seconds provides me stress relief which can rival my recumbent biking.

5. Create a fitness jar. No time for a full-fledge workout? Make today when you finally create a fitness jar. Snag some scraps of paper & write down as many non-gym workout ideas as you can think of (skating, hula hooping, exercise DVDs, jump rope, walking, basket ball, playground time, biking, pogo-sticking are but a few).  Even if you dont have time for the workout TODAY you’re now all set up for success for the next time life has you harried.


Whats your approach when life gets in the way of fitness?

Do you chalk it up to a rest day or try, as I do, and fight back with “creative” fitness?

Would you be annoyed with me if I lovingly remind you 30 minutes of movement is only TWO PERCENT of your day?

please to hit us up with your suggestions, tips & whinings in the comments below.


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  1. Runner Girl says

    I will give you whining LOL
    I’m heading out for a 5k and I am in a hurry and tired.

  2. Healthy Mama says

    I really am in a tremendous rush today or I would not be awake.
    I’m heading up to the twins’ school to volunteer and there is that HELPERS HIGH you mention in your post.

    Thank you Mizzy.

  3. Tuuli says

    So true about the breathing! Sometimes just one sun salutation is enough to at least remind me that despite stress on the brain I still have a more or less functioning body that is _bigger_ than the brain.

  4. says

    so true…I have to get my meditation done first thing in morning otherwise it doesnt happen….
    I’m not good with rest days…so I usually try to figure out something to do…

  5. says

    So far, #4 is working like a charm.

    My other option is to find something physical that needs doing, like housework (eeeew!) or yardwork (eeeew-squared!), and substitute that. Either I will knock some items off my chore list OR the threat of all that work will get me out the door and moving.

  6. says

    One thing that can trip me up is not wanting to get sweaty in the middle of the day. Or change into appropriate workout attire. By attire this mainly means the super supportive workout bra that is not comfortable for daily life but necessary for “containment” during exercise.

  7. says

    I laugh at myself every day. Even if no one else is laughing with me (at least I can make myself laugh lol). I’m laughing right now. Are you?! ;) lol.

    If something comes up and I just can’t make it the gym or run or what have you, I’ll typically take the day as rest day and catch up the next :)

    I must admit, I’ve done leg raises while sitting at my desk and I run after my puppy daily. I’m making that 2% count!

  8. says

    I tend to squuuuuuuueeeze fitness in wherever i can and if not i try to move on quickly without getting upset. i like the idea of making a jar with things to do for the next time it happens. i’ve become a master of my schedule (90% of the time) and I know i only have a certain window.

    thanks for sharing your tips!

  9. Miz says

    IT’S YOURS. Totally changed my fitness like as I’m always set up for success now. I always have ideas at.the.ready.

  10. says

    Great ideas Miz. I currently try to build fitness into my working day – so I go to the gym either at lunch or straight from work before I head home. That way it’s like part of a commitment I can’t get out of. Weekends are more difficult, but early is good, as then excuses are less likely to come up.

    But… I’m trying to be ‘measured’ in my approach and okay if things come up and I miss a few days as I know I’ll get back on track when time permits!


  11. says

    LOVE!! I like laughter. I have a couple shows like TMZ that I hate to admit I watch BUT I record it OR watch it & it gets me laughing cause of the voice over guy!

    Other than that, YES, split it up into small increments!!!

    Me, no kids in house, so I work out at times that nothing can get in the way – I am lucky & grateful for that & a hubby that puts up with it. Sometimes I may get less sleep for that workout but I can always catch up later… :-)

  12. Meredith says

    I need constant reminding of how fitness does not have to = gym time.

    I’m a slow learner…

  13. says

    That’s why I workout in the morning, it hardly ever happens life gets in the way then. The only times I miss a workout is when I keep hitting the snooze button. If that happens it’s usually because I obviously need the rest and I make it a rest day.

    The benefit of having a dog is that you have to go for a walk at least 3 (on work days) to 4 times (weekend) a day. I move every day that way. At work I don’t take the elevator but the stairs.

  14. says

    helping others is actually where i think i need to spend more of my time. I feel like that is some of what i hope to do on my site, but i need to do it more in person, good reminder

    • Miz says

      I can entirely relate to your comment too Amanda.
      When I started MizFit it was BECAUSE the Tornado was so little I wasnt volunteering in the way I used to (in person). She was a year old and just too much of a handful to do so.
      I figured Id start MizFit and giveaway all the personal training and just LIFE STUFF Id learn and that would be my volunteering.

      I definitely had to remind myself when she got older that it was time to ‘take it to the streets’ :) and bring her along with me….

  15. jennydecki says

    Perfect timing! My recommendation is to have a back-up plan. This morning my xBox just decided not to turn on. The cords are behind this huge, heavy table-thing and the girls needed to get on the bus in a half hour so I didn’t have time. I fired up the laptop (the OTHER dvd player) and we did a mile before they got on the bus. Thanks for the tips, I am a huge fan of laughter as an antidote and solution to pretty much everything!

  16. says

    LOVE the fitness jar idea! I need to try that! I always try to fit in some form of activity when life gets in the way, but if that isn’t possible then I really try not to beat myself up over it. It’s not worth it to make myself feel guilty.

  17. Olive says

    30 minutes of movement is only TWO PERCENT of your day.
    When you say it like that it sounds like nothing :)

  18. Valerie says

    Great tips! And for the truly time-crunched, the meditation and breathing can be combined. :-)

    I have a Facebook friend – someone I don’t even know IRL, and I have no idea how he ended up on my friends list, but I’m glad he did – who regularly posts photos that he’s found which are odd, interesting, or downright hilarious. He doesn’t post every day, but when he does, I’m always grateful for the belly-laugh to start the day.

  19. says

    I love your sneaky ideas!

    I’m discovering meditation (or at least my weird version of it) can happen at the same time as other simple chores, like doing dishes or shopping. Rather than focus on breath or mantra, which I suck at anyway, I train my attention of physical feelings, or colors, or other sensory stuff I’d otherwise miss. Makes the chores less aversive too!

  20. says

    I love the feeling of ‘helpers high’.
    That’s why I love to teach group fitness; it’s great when you see other people enjoying your workouts!

    And I definitely need to laugh more often. Gretchen Rubin’s book had a crazy stat about laughter; kids laugh about 400 times a day, grownups, 17. Yikes!

  21. addy says

    Yes, I would be annoyed with you for that particular bit of wisdom. And grateful for the reminder. ;)

  22. says

    I’ve gotten so much better at MAKING the time. I always say if I have time to be online I have time for fitness. In fact if I’m NOT online it’s likely because that time was traded for a workout. But on those rare days that a workout just isn’t happening I try to be as active as possible, not beat myself up, and move on. ha ha, move..on. ;)

  23. says

    I really think hard about where I can squeeze it in. If I know I am going to be busy, I get up earlier and just suck it up. Other times if I am out, I will do some stretches while waiting in line or some air squats waiting for something to heat up in the microwave. Any fidgeting can count as exercise :D

  24. says

    I feel good about my 1 mile morning walks because although it’s not much, it’s better than nothing. Even if I don’t get anything else done that day, at least I had my walk.

    I find that smaller chunks work better with my strength training. I may not have to do everything I was supposed to do at one time, but I have time to do a plank for one minute. Then later, I’ll do a bridge for one minute. Then later, I’ll do some squats. Then later, I’ll do a wall sit. Then later…

    You get the idea. Small chunks makes it doable.

  25. says

    Some great ideas, and some in the comments too.

    I really like your 5 suggestion, to create a fitness jar. I think I’ll start one myself. Can I add the Wii to my fitness jar, or is that cheating?

  26. Cheryl says

    I work with children who have autism during the week and volunteer at a cat shelter. I am also taking graduate level classes online. I ALWAYS find time for at least oone workout (at least 30 min) or even two- before and after work. Dont watch TV except for news . There is always enough time if you look for it-going to yoga with my daughter one time a week is “girl nite” for us. Forzen yogurt after class!

  27. says

    When I don’t have time to workout I like taking a walk, I think of walking as an essential part to whatever work I’m doing since it helps massage some of those ideas out of my brain.

  28. says

    I love the fitness jar idea – have yet to do that, but have been meaning to! I am pretty lucky in that I almost always can squeeze in at least 30 minutes, but if for some reason it’s not happening, I try to squeeze in little bits here ‘n’ there: squats as I pick stuff up off the floor, leg lifts as I wait for things to boil, etc. in the kitchen, a few extra trips up and down the stairs – or skipping steps as I go. All those little bits can add up – even a full-on kitchen boogie session while making dinner can burn a few cals while torching stress, bigtime!

  29. says

    Love these ideas! I, too often, end up having a terrible day when I realize I have no time to run. I end up eating poorly and feeling like crap. The thing is, even if I’m not running or “working out”, I am active about 50% of the day with my 15 mo old son. We spent 4 hours outside today in NYC – he ran after birds, played on the grass, and we walked along the west side highway…I need to do a better job with remembering that I am being active and healthy even if I’m not running.

  30. says

    I’m the queen of functional fitness and adding movement. Make folding laundry an active chore (or better yet, ignore it and take that ten minutes to lift a few weights, do some crunches, or whatever). Pace while on that call. Work standing up. Take that two minute break between activities to get a quick walk in. I can’t imagine never having time to fit in at least a couple extra trips up and down the stairs.

  31. says

    I absolutely adore these suggestions and also think they are pretty good for people like me who have physical issues (mine is autoimmune/asthma related) and don’t always want to fight our bodies to get it done. It is even more important to get regular exercise when we have a flaw or two in the system and these suggestions are such easy ways to add in the movement and de-stressing that we all need.
    I’m lucky to have a job that requires me to move a bunch on most days!

  32. says

    Love the fitness jar idea! I usually don’t have problems with this but sometimes I lose the motivation and time to do something too. My tips are

    a) if it’s very occasional, just skip it.. sometimes you do just need a break or extra rest day
    b) sign up for a race – it’s much more motivating to get your workout done when a challenge is looming on the horizon, it’s amazing how much more of a priority fitness is…
    c) just show up. If your really lacking in motivation, put on your shoes, and start. Chances are, in 10 mins, you’ll be fine.

    And, yes, 30 mins is 2% of your day. I’m certain that everyone has 30 mins SOMEWHERE they can squeeze in a few times a week (weights while watching TV, after dinner walk instead of internet surfing, etc). The only time I skip is if I’m sick, or intentionally resting due to mental/physical burnout eminent.

  33. says

    So when I first read the title I thought this was going to be a post about exercises you could do that are quick but effective. But I like what you came up with so much more! Esp. meditation. The more into fitness I get, the more I realize how incidental it can be. It’s wonderful yes. But other things can be more wonderful and it’s about finding balance. Esp. love the helping others tip! (And your comment about the smaller jar cracked me up!)

  34. says

    I love this list. I often psych myself out with the stress of a busy schedule so that I think I can’t squeeze in a workout. My best remedy is to rebel against it by popping in a 20 minute kickboxing dvd for a fast and furious cardio session. That 20 minutes actually helps to rev up my mood for the rest of my day… So worth waking up 20 minutes early for. :)