I’ve heard it many times…  

“I want to exercise, but I’m just too busy.”  “I’d feel better about myself if I could find the time to workout.”  “I’m a working mom. I don’t have the time to get healthy.”

Throughout the years I’ve seen posts from other veterinary moms asking how others find the time to exercise.  We get up early and work late. We work through lunches. In between, we take care of our kids and the house. We help our loved ones get meals on the table.  Take little ones to afterschool activities. How do you find the time? I’m going to hit you with the hard truth. It’s not about finding the time, but making the time.

No one wants to drag themselves out of bed at 4:30/5 in the morning to workout for 30-60 minutes.  No one wants to hit the gym at lunch and most likely spend the rest of the day sweaty and disgusting.  No one wants to go for a run before getting ready for bed. At first, it’s not going to be fun. You’ll even dread it a majority of those first days, making up excuses to skip a day here and there.  If you want to work towards a healthier you, then you’ll have to make the time. And, trust me, it will make you feel better and happier in the long run.

First, you’ll have to pick which part of the day works best for you: morning, afternoon, or evening.  Then, make the time. Don’t know how to decide? I’ve thought of some pros and cons to help you out. These are some that I processed through before deciding.  

Mornings. 

I know the feeling of waking up to that alarm early in the morning, groggy and completely out of it.  You lay there trying to talk yourself into it when all you’re imaging is how to get out of it. You start bargaining with yourself.  “If I don’t exercise this morning, I’ll make sure I get it done tonight.” “I’ll work out twice as long tomorrow.” Trust me, it often doesn’t work out that way.  So, if you’ve decided to try to make mornings work, here’s what I’ve found helpful. Get yourself a nice alarm clock. The two I use often are vibrating watches and daylight alarm clocks.  

My Fitbit has been a part of me since my husband got it for me for Christmas almost 4 years ago.  It’s great for tracking my steps, my weight, and my sleep. It also has a great vibrating alarm. It gently vibrates against my wrist and calmly wakes me up.  I like it because it doesn’t wake the husband and is easy to turn off. Just a touch of my finger on the main screen. No reaching over to tap my phone and knocking off only God knows what off my nightstand.  

That leads me to my next alarm clock.  You do still have to reach to turn it off, but it gradually wakes you up so that you’re more likely to get up and not fall back to sleep.  We purchased a daylight clock last year. Starting about 30 minutes before your set time, a bright light starts turning on to mimic the morning sun.  It reaches its brightest at the set alarm time. No horrible, annoying noise. It’s actually a pretty peaceful way to wake up. The sunlight intensity helps to get you moving, especially during the winter months when the nights are so long.  

A downside to morning workouts is, yes, you may have to start going to bed sooner in order to wake up earlier.  You may also be more tired throughout the day, but you’ve gotten a fresh start to your day. While running, you can start sorting out your to-do list, build momentum for completing all of your tasks.  If it works for you, then it’s worth it!  

Afternoons. 

This is the time of the day during the work week that I just can’t see myself accomplishing.  I DO NOT want to be sweaty for clients for the rest of the day. I just know that my hair will be a mess, my make-up will be trying to melt off, and my body odor will be trying to break through.  Yes, I could try to take a shower, but then that adds an additional hour of clean-up/getting ready time to the afternoon workout. That’s just not doable for me.

For some, however, it’s the perfect time.  You don’t have to get up early, and you won’t have to go to bed a little late or miss family time at home in the evenings. You may, however, have to miss lunch or scarf down a meal in order to make it back on time.   

I feel afternoons work better for men.  Many either don’t care how they look or smell when dealing with animals all afternoon, or they can shower and return to work faster than The Flash.  They don’t have the hair and make-up to worry about before, during, and after workouts. And, I feel a lot of men can eat meals so quickly, or on the go, that it won’t interfere with the afternoon run.  And for you ladies out there with these capabilities, more power to you!

Evenings. 

If morning runs don’t end up happening, I try to get them done in the evenings.  That’s if I actually live up to my bargain that I made in the morning when I hit snooze.  It’s a nice relaxing time, to clear your mind from the day. Flush out all the toxins.

A problem I do have with running in the evenings is that you tend to miss family time or end up doing it after everyone has gone to bed.  It also tends to get you to bed late. I do usually have more energy in the evenings for some unknown reason. I try to tell myself that I have the entire night to sleep off the soreness, and hopefully I wake up the next morning able to get out of bed.  I also prefer to shower at night, so exercising in the evenings works out perfectly.  

Side note:  I don’t get people that prefer morning showers.  I know you say that it helps wake you up and prepare you for your day, but who wants to sleep in their own filth every night?  Come on morning showerers! Get it together!

So, whether you want to get a fresh start to your day or wind down from it, you should be able to find time to exercise that works best for you.  Or should I say, you should be able to make time. Because that’s the key. No one else will be able to do it for you. Make it happen!

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