3 Realistic Ways To Find Time & Energy To Exercise Consistently & Actually Enjoy It

During this workshop, I share what's helped me and members find the time and energy to exercise consistently again, you know after life happened, or as life is happening.

But first, here’s a few things you can do to get the most from this workshop.:

  • Turn off distractions
  • Take notes, or make comments
  • And, a little later in the talk, I’ll be asking you do take action, and share what your biggest take-away is

Without further ado, lets make a start:


My goal is to show you how to find time to exercise consistently and have the energy to do it.

Why should you listen to me?

Well, number 1: I’ve been there. I have faced so many “life happens” moments over the last 5 years that I’m starting to think of myself as an expert in starting over. And each time I have, I have realized that I’m better off because of it.

That doesn’t mean it’s been easy. And it doesn’t mean I haven’t gone through mourning periods, or that I don’t still hear the old me pushing for being leaner, stronger, more outwardly “in shape”. I have just learned to leverage my new understanding so I can keep moving forward in a way that is more in alignment with what truly matters.

While I still may have starts and stops, I will never stop starting.

The second reason you should listen to me is that I have guided hundreds of clients, members, and viewers out of being stuck in this exact way. I coach on calls, live and recorded videos, and occasionally in-person (pre-Covid), not just in exercise form and programing (which I love), but I help people see things from new perspectives. I ask questions that might nudge a shift toward compassion, forgiveness, and freedom from all the traps this world gets us with.

The reason I started doing this was because I couldn’t stand seeing unrealistic examples of fitness. The kind where a fitness person – whose entire life revolves around how they look – holds themselves up as a standard, whether or not they realize it.

I saw so many people left confused and overwhelmed because they couldn’t do what was being shown, but they didn’t know how to make it fit their capabilities. That was in 2010.

These days, I see so many people bombarded with black and white thinking: this is right, that is wrong, you must do this, and doing that is dumb. People are left trying to do it all, jumping from one thing to the next, or wishing they could just feel contented or focused on SOMETHING!

Another thing I hear from people is they think they need a goal. Like a strength or aesthetic goal. That there’s something wrong with “floating” and going through the motions.

I hate to see people feel alone in their struggles. And I love to see people make progress.  

That’s why I do this. And what better way to make a living that doing something that feeds your sense of purpose.

I also have a bunch of certifications (ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Extreme Kettlebell Instructor, and a qualified Mentor Coach), and I was a Registered Nurse (in Cardiac Surgery) for a decade.

So since 2004, I've worked with people in all walks of life who want or need to make significant lifestyle changes, but struggle to find the time/energy to make these tough changes. So often, it's because the perceived journey seems so great, it feels unachievable and overwhelming. We get so focused on the destination and "getting it right", we don't give ourselves a chance to grow into it, one step at a time. Nor do we give ourselves permission to "fail" (which is KEY, yes KEY, to long-term success).

I don’t like talking about credentials, but they are important. I’m not just someone who’s read a blog and now has the answers. I have the education, but I have the experience both from a distance, and up close. So let's carry on...

Does this sound like you?

  • You struggle to maintain workout consistency,
  • when you do exercise it rarely feels like enough,
  • you keep getting derailed by other priorities,
  • and you're in a cycle of starts and stops.
  • You're frustrated and sick of feeling like a failure

Well, today I'm going to share 3 of my top tips (or strategies) to finding time and energy to exercise consistently again. And in a way you'll begin to enjoy it again, too.

Tip 1 – Reframe and Redefine

When I was in this place, my thought process went like this:

Old (FIT) you did X, Y, Z

Current you wants to get fit again, and remembers how old you did that.

XYZ seems a tall order right now, but you give it a shot. But you soon realise it’s not working for your current life.

New you starts to feel they just don’t have the time/energy for X, Y, Z.

When you try to at least do something, you either fall short (say only doing 2 rounds instead of 3) and disqualify it (ah that wasn’t a proper workout, it didn’t count) or you don't start because it won’t do anything anyway.

The enemy of the good is the perfect (or the old you)

Have you ever wondered if old you could've actually been as fit and in shape with less than you did back then? I wish I could go back 10 years and slow myself down to just test that idea. I'm almost certain I could've done it with 2 workouts a week.

Anchored in “more is better” mindset. Who else’s first weight training approach was body part splits? Like a 6 day/week type deal? That’s how I got started. And that’s how my client Rohab started.

Let me tell you about Rohab….

ACTION: So I asked myself, and you can ask this of yourself: Q for you: What DO YOU have time for?

Let me share a little about Travis Pollen, a fellow fitness professional, and good friend.

If lower frequency can still have benefits, what can you do?

The big takeaway from this is, current you doesn’t need to be old you to make progress. And if you’re not trying to do XYZ, but XY or even just Z, isn’t that more achievable? Wouldn’t you have time for less if you could accept that it was enough and it isn’t pointless?

Bonus Tip: 

Let's chat a bit about frequency and consistency, because I often hear people conflate the two:

Higher frequency doesn't translate to greater consistency. What allows for consistency is something's achievability. If you can achieve higher frequency, then you are consistent AT that. If you can achieve lower frequency week to week that is also consistent.

And guess what, your frequency isn’t set in stone! It can be flexible. “Doing less” might just be a temporary thing, it isn’t a fixed thing. Last year I started with one workout a week, but now I’m up to 3/wk. I thought I didn’t have the time, but I adjusted my definition of what a workout “had to” be, and I shifted my goal from trying to lose weight, to I need time for myself and my mental health improves, my creativity improves, and my stress is more manageable…. And I have more energy because I am allowing myself time and space to recharge away from everyone else’s needs/wants.

Tip 2 – Shift How You See The "Starts and Stops"

I wrote on Instagram a while back how even with all the stops and starts, never stop starting.

No matter how many times per week you exercise, you are making a choice to start. Every time you end a workout, that could turn into a stop.

So why is it we focus only on the stops, when in actual fact, we’ve become experts at starting. Up to this point, you haven’t given up starting, right?

I know you’d like there to me fewer days between these starts, but when I started to see the strength it takes to not give up, I actually realized I’d probably done about 100 workouts that year.

Story: My therapist pointed out to me, after I told her I felt like I must be a quitter because I keep running out of steam, and I don’t enjoy my work any more (this wasn’t recent, coz I love my work now), she made the point that what most people struggle with is STARTING things. I realized then that it was a strength.

And this is true for exercise too. Let’s see our starts as a step toward consistency, and remember that some action is better than giving up completely. We are showing that we have perseverance. And perseverance is a rare gem in this world. And you’ve got that.

All you need to do now is figure out a way to:

Find an achievable amount of exercise you can manage right now, so doable and something that won’t fill you with dread

Accept that you are skilled at starting. And starting is something every exerciser needs to do, regardless of their training frequency.

Tip 3 – Setting your intention

Finally, you have to find a time slot for your weekly “starts”, which is what Jonathan and I did in January 2019 after a year "off track" following the birth of our first baby.

We were new parents, and we had both fallen into a rut of basically zero exercise. We’d both gained weight and we were feeling more and more sluggish, not as happy or energetic.

We wanted to exercise, but we felt so tired and drained. It was easier to slump down on the sofa and watch TV, but we realized something had to change.

Here’s what we did:

We sat down and looked for times through the week when each of us could get 30-60 minutes to go and train. The other person would hold the fort. The time slots were agreed on, and we’ve never looked back. Sure, there have been weeks when one or more workout didn’t happen, but I made ONE slot non-negotiable.

This is your homework: Talk to you significant other or even your older children, or if you don’t have someone living with you find a good friend to help you do this. Basically, you need to have someone hear you set your intention, and agree to support you.

This removes “feeling like exercising” from the equation.

Find as many slots of time that align with your idea of what’s achievable for you right now, and then think about your typical week and where these times might be hiding.

Here’s a few ideas:

  • My sister, does 1 main workout at the weekend when she has more time, then aims for a “Wee 3” or two during the week if she has time. She told me that doing this gives her a confidence that all hope is not lost. In other words, this is peace of mind. She’s done her main workout before the week begins, and she’s more likely to manage shorter workouts through her work week.
  • Ophelia has 3 kids and she says she does her training while they play. Her workouts aren’t done all at once, but she does a set here and a set there. And that’s the season she’s in right now.

One thing I hear a lot – and it’s something I’ve done a lot too – is to doubt the support that’s given to you. Like, my husband would say he support me, but I’d still feel guilty and cut my things short.

Don’t do that LOL.

Believe them, even if there’s a voice inside saying not to. Take that time slot because you are doing something achievable, and persevering toward your desire for a fit life.

Wrapping Up

There are, of course, many more things I could suggest, but I wanted to give you 2 mindset shifts, and ONE action to do. The mindset shifts make you see the value of making time, even if it’s less than your old self would’ve done. Valuing your journey and efforts more will make it all feel worth-while, instead of focusing on where you are NOT and feeling frustrated and behind.

Remember, you probably don’t know whether you’re old self would’ve been just as fit with less. And, you may actually be in a phase of life when doing more – like the XYZ – actually brings diminishing returns. Well, trying to do more or believing you need to do more already brings diminishing returns just simply to your level of joy and contentment.

Before I go, I’d like to just sum up with this:

Be content doing less, see the value in the process, remember your frequency should be flexible, and take this single action step this week to establish your time slot to do a workout that’s achievable.

I hope you found this helpful, and I look forward to reading your take-away(s).

Please feel free to leave a comment below or reach me at Marianne@equippedwithstrength.com.