How to Fit in Exercise When You Have Zero Time to Spare

How to Fit in Exercise When You Have Zero Time to Spare | Not Dressed As Lamb #notlambFIT
Due to so many deadlines I missed the usual Sunday slot for this latest Getting Back to Fitness post, which is quite apt considering the title!

I thought I’d talk about what you can do to ensure that you fit in some exercise when you have zero time to spare – please note these are short-term solutions only for when you have an incredibly busy schedule for a few weeks or are up against the clock in some way with a project or something that’s taking priority in your life.

I’m currently ploughing through some of the busiest weeks work-wise I’ve had all year (and probably ever since going full time with the blog). I’m organising a blogger event that’s happening on Monday in London; I have another major project I’m working on that I have to start planning the second Monday’s meet is over; I have all my blog posts to write and schedule for while I’m away; I have a mountain of parcels to send back… You get the picture.

We all have these times in our lives when everything comes at once and some things just have to be put to one side. And exercise is often one of them.

However, staying healthy should always be a top priority in your life – always, always. Therefore these tips should help you keep up your fitness levels when you absolutely can’t find the time for a proper run or a workout, but remember – these are just for short periods and not meant to replace a regular exercise routine (though they would be better than nothing at all)…!

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How to Fit in Exercise When You Have Zero Time to Spare | Not Dressed As Lamb #notlambFIT

#notlambFIT Update No.5

Firstly – my #notlambFIT update for this fortnight!

Two weeks ago I talked about getting my fitness back on track and losing 4lbs in two weeks. The last two weeks have slowed – only ¾lb in two weeks. But I’m not worried – I haven’t put weight on and I’m still on track with my goals for my target weight date of 23rd July (birthday present to me).

A summary:

Weight Loss Goals | Not Dressed As Lamb #notlambFIT

So I’m happy with the results so far – it’s good to have this “chart” so I can make sure I’m always on track. It’ll be interesting to see how I fare after this period of not exercising as per my usual routine but trying to keep up some sort of exercise as per my tips below. I’m making sure to rely more on how my waistbands feel at the moment rather than focusing on the scales.

Here are four ways to exercise without actually exercising:


1. Walk or cycle somewhere every day

I know I’m always banging on about walking, but it’s such an easy way to keep just a very basic form of exercise in your life. Most of us at some point in the day need to buy a few supplies from the supermarket, or post a letter, or pick up the kids from school – just make the journey slightly longer by going the long way round – and doing it fast.

Unlike going to the gym or doing a workout you don’t have to change into your gym gear (except for changing into your trainers): I find changing into sports clothes a drag – there’s something about having to start with your sports bra and then everything else that makes me think “I have no time for this let alone the exercise”.

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Walking only requires a change of shoes. Put on your trainers, grab your coat and just go.


2. Make the most of the stairs

If you use the stairs at home or at the office, instead of going up or down just once, run up and down a few times (depending on how many stairs there are). It takes all of a couple of minutes extra out of your day – do it until you’re out of breath and you feel it in your legs. Doing that several times a day won’t be noticed time-wise but you’ll get results in your legs and glutes (and generally improve your heart health from the bursts of cardio).


3. Do squats

There are so many times when we do tasks that involve just standing: Brushing your teeth, doing the washing up, using the photocopier, talking on the phone… All these activities can be done with some squats thrown in. Keep the weight in your heels and squat low as if you’re sitting in a chair.


4. Do exercises in front of the TV

It’s amazing how many people insist they have zero time to spare, but they still find time to watch TV. That doesn’t mean you have to stop watching your favourite shows, it just means that you should make the most of that time by doing basic exercises rather than kicking back on the sofa. Use a waist-twisting disc (I have one of these and I love it!), do squats or dust off that exercise bike or rowing machine you never use. Keeping yourself occupied while watching TV will also stop you munching mindlessly on snacks you don’t need.


Temporary solutions

As mentioned before, these should only be a temporary solution when you have deadlines looming and you don’t have time for the gym or to go for a run or a swim (or whatever your preferred exercise is). They will simply keep you moving throughout the day and keep your energy and fitness levels up until such time that you can get back into a proper routine.




Disclaimer: Please note I am not qualified in health or fitness in any way – these are just solutions that work for me. If you are thinking of starting an exercise routine do check with your doctor first.



  1. 17 September 2016 / 4:04 pm

    I totally agree, health has to come first. I am realising that more and more as I get older. I have started on a 12 week fitness plan recently too, I'd like to lose weight from my midrift and arms so I'm getting up at 6am to do a workout and going for evening walks too. It's good to have goals as they keep you motivated. Good luck! Tor x

  2. 15 September 2016 / 3:52 pm

    Some great tips here…must do squats in the evening instead if drinking wine! #brillblogposts

  3. 2 June 2016 / 8:37 pm

    I love these tips, thanks! I recently blogged about how my free NHS health check showed up that I'm less than 1% likely to develop heart disease BUT reading this post was very timely and reminded me that I need to KEEP my heart healthy. I'll definitely be taking the slightly longer walk to school. Thanks! #brillblogposts

  4. 13 May 2016 / 9:10 pm

    Great tips and amazing weight loss so far! Having goals is great and as I'm currently testing out some weight loss plans, I have yet to set some so I will go and do that now! My main thing has always been walking, getting those 7,000-10,000 steps a day for me is crucial for days when I cant do a workout. Otherwise, I wait until Mia's in bed and exercise then! 🙂


  5. Miriam M
    12 May 2016 / 2:44 pm

    Great tips! I do exercises in front of the TV all time. To squeeze in a good workout I've made a habit of getting up super early (5am) to make sure I get it in 1st thing. It really helps me stay on track. I need to make a chart like that tho! Thanks for sharing!

    xo Miriam

  6. 12 May 2016 / 10:24 am

    I absolutely agree! Staying fit and healthy should always be a priority over work!! These are some great tips, especially the one doing some exercise in front of the TV… if you have time to watch tv you have time to exercise 😉 #brilliantblogposts

  7. 12 May 2016 / 9:08 am

    Your post is a timely and very useful reminder of what I can be doing to add to my sporadic exercising! Great stuff x

  8. 12 May 2016 / 6:41 am

    Some great tips here. I do need to walk more, and have to say it's my favourite formo of exercise. Please picture me squatting whilst I'm doing the washing up! X

  9. 11 May 2016 / 11:10 pm

    Love and needed to read this, you are spot on that exercise and health is the no 1 priority in life and these are fab time savers. I've started squatting in front of the TV and now it's getting lighter later, I noted my neighbour walking past with his dog wondering what I was up to! Ha! x

  10. 11 May 2016 / 10:21 pm

    When you do walk, take longer strides, really works the muscle. Or very short steps at a fast pace. Yes it looks weird so just alternate with regular walking. Also, when you come up from a squat, go up on toes and bend knees into a plié and hold that ( without tipping). Make a game of it, see how much you can do before someone asks what's wrong with you!

  11. 11 May 2016 / 8:57 pm

    I'm trying to lose a little weight at the moment and looking at you chart I'm at quite a similar stage. I've been mostly doing it with diet but I conscious that I need to fit in more exercise to tone rather that just get skinnier.

    I'm struggling to fit in exercise at the moment but I've been making an effort to walk the school run every day and trying to take a bit of a detour on the way home to make it a little further. Fortunately my boys love walking to school and make me run quite a lot of the way so I get a bit of extra exercise from that too!. I love your tip about the stairs, I'm definitely going to give that a go.

  12. 11 May 2016 / 8:30 pm

    I echo the above commenter's tip – whenever we go on holiday I always choose a hotel on top of a steep hill so we can balance out the food and booze!! Who wants to take their workout gear on hols?

    I also deliberately leave things at home upstairs or downstairs so I have to run up and down to fetch them, and I also try and use the toilets in work on the next floor up or down. Squats and push ups off a kitchen work surface are also easy to squeeze in while the kettle's boiling!

    Great tips, I too have had a very intensely busy period, so these are good reminders for me to get back to the fitness x

  13. 11 May 2016 / 2:58 pm

    I think these are good tips…even when you are working out regularly! Especially the stairs and walking! When we went on our cruise years ago, that's how we were able not to gain any weight—we took the stairs every time!

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