Making TIME to Workout (My Schedule & Tips for You)

When I announced that I was starting a health and fitness blog, I was thankful and humbled by the support from readers in the comments they left and in the private emails I received.  I think most everyone desires to be fit,  and by far, the overwhelming question I got was,

“How do you find the time to workout” or “How do you balance it all?”

With jobs, commutes to jobs, kids, after school activities, a household to run and clean, bills to pay, groceries to buy, laundry to do, not to mention trying to catch up with friends, shop, or date-  making time to work out often falls to the bottom on the list of priorities.   It can feel overwhelming to try to fit working in on top of all the other commitments we have on a daily basis.

For me, the first thing I had to do was decide that working out is a priority for me and that my health matters.  I am worthy of taking time for myself.  You are too.

If you’re not feeling good, you’re overweight, sluggish and don’t have the energy or vibrancy you’d like to have, you NEED to take time for yourself.  It can get better.

That having been said, there are only so many hours in a day.  You have to figure out where you can carve out the time for yourself.  You have to put yourself on your priority list.



In my household, I only have one young child that isn’t in any after school activities or sports and I normally work full time.  There have been periods in my life where I got up at 5:30 a.m. twice a week to meet my girlfriend at the gym to workout from 6:00 to 6:45 a.m.  Then I’d get home around 7:00 a.m. and get ready for work to be out the door by 8:00 a.m.

Morning workouts are perfect for early risers and make you feel good and accomplished!  The workout is over first thing and you don’t have to think about it again all day!  How good does that feel?  It’s what I highly recommend if you can commit to it- even just a couple days a week.

I lean much more toward the night-owl end of the spectrum and prefer to workout after work.


This only worked with one parent being home while the other went to the gym- and I did this because our previous gym did not have a daycare.  We recently changed gyms to one with a daycare so that the family could all go at the same time, instead of taking turns.

7:00 a.m. Wake up, eat breakfast, get ready for work.

8:00 a.m.  Take my son to school.

8:45-9:00 a.m.  Arrive at work.

10:00 a.m.   Eat a snack.

12:00 p.m.  Eat lunch.

3:30 p.m.  Eat a snack

5:00 p.m.  Leave work, pick up my son

5:30 p.m.  Make dinner (or have leftovers)

6:00 p.m.  Dinner

7:00 p.m.  Son’s bath and story

7:30 p.m.  Son’s bedtime

8:00 p.m.  Go to the gym

9:00 p.m  Home/shower

9:15 p.m.  Eat a snack

9:30-11:00 Clean the kitchen/prepare lunch for the next day, watch tv, Blog/Pinterest, return emails

11:30 p.m. Bedtime


My new gym has a daycare that is really well run and my son loves to play in.  It’s more like a large indoor playground where he can read, color, play on the jungle gym, play with cars/trains/puppets and the other kids.  They also have dinner tables where the kids can eat.

I am mindful that I don’t want my son to be in daycare all day, then go right to another daycare for an hour when he gets home, so I might only do this two times during the week and then do two more workouts on the weekends.  With this schedule, we tend to go right after work and let James eat dinner with his friends.  He also goes to bed 30 minutes later so we all get a little more time together.

7:00 a.m. Wake up, eat breakfast, get ready for work.

8:00 a.m.  Take my son to school.

8:45-9:00 a.m.  Arrive at work.

10:00 a.m.   Eat a snack.

12:00 p.m.  Eat lunch.

3:30 p.m.  Eat a snack

4:00 p.m.  Husband picks up son (an hour earlier than before)

5:00 p.m.  I leave work

6:00-7:00 p.m.  Eat snack.  Go to the gym (son eats dinner at the daycare)

7:30 p.m.  Home dinner/Son’s bath, and story

8:00 p.m.  Son’s bedtime (30 minutes later), Shower

8:30-11:00 Clean the kitchen/prepare lunch for the next day, watch tv, Blog/Pinterest, return emails,

11:30 p.m. Bedtime

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On Saturdays, I like to wake up, eat breakfast, enjoy my coffee/magazines on the couch, fiddle around the house some, then go workout around 9:30.  It feels really good to get it out of the way early and then you have the rest of the day to do whatever you want.

On Sundays, I don’t like to workout before church, but sometimes like to go for a run during my son’s nap or in the evening before dinner.

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Below are some general time savers that will help you add time to your day.

Turn off the TV.  (And when you watch TV, record the shows and fast forward through the commercials).

Turn off the computer- yep, blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook.

Put your phone down.

Say “NO.”

Decide the house doesn’t have to be spotless every day.

Hire a housekeeper once or twice a month, if possible.

Set out your (and your kids’) clothes the night before.

Prepare lunches the night before.

Get up early.  Go to bed early.


Below are some suggestions to help get you thinking outside the box and how to realistically incorporate working out into your day.

Can you find a gym with a good daycare?

If you are married, can you and your husband take turns going to the gym/watching the kids?

If you are married, can your husband do dinner and feed the kids two nights a week while you go workout and then you come home and do bedtime duty?

Can you commit to waking up an hour earlier to workout?

Can you workout at night?

Can you turn your “date night” into a workout, then go eat afterwards?

Can you meet your girlfriends for a walk/workout instead of a happy hour/lunch/dinner?

Can you trade babysitting with a neighbor/friend?

Can you get a jogging stroller so you and your baby/toddler can go together?  My son used to nap in his when he was younger.  Or what about a bike with a kid seat?  Or bikes for the whole family?

If you are a parent who’s always at your kids’ sporting practices in the afternoon/evening, is it weird to walk a few laps during the practice?  Or could you skip out (I know that sounds bad) and trade “babysitting” with another parent who’s there?

Can you leave work early and workout before you get home or go at lunch once/twice a week?

Do you have a neighborhood pool where you could swim laps?

Can you do a neighborhood bootcamp?

Can you combine everyday errands with fitness- like parking way in the back and walking to the store or taking the stairs instead of the elevator?

If you don’t belong to a gym or just cannot get there, you could try workout videos you can do at home.  (I am researching to see what good ones are out there and will write a separate post on that.)

Great home exercises also include pushups, crunches, lunges, jumping rope, jumping jacks, lifting hand weights.

Could your family play in a sport together- like soccer or tennis?

I am always a fan of just starting to walk or jog in your own neighborhood after dinner.


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  1. Colleen
    September 27, 2012 / 3:20 pm

    so glad you are doing this! It's helpful for me as a working mom to read some of these tips. I recently starting getting up earlier to run on the treadmill. My kids are still asleep so this works for me at this point in my life. I won't lie, it's hard to train myself to do so especially since sleep is precious!

    • September 29, 2012 / 10:07 pm

      You are right- sleep is precious. I commend you for getting up early to run. Don't you feel better throughout the day?! I like to workout early for that reason on the weekends.

  2. Allie
    September 27, 2012 / 4:06 pm

    I've done a million home dvd workout series. I really enjoy Chalene Extreme, TapOut, and Insanity so you may want to look into those to provide information about on your blog. I have also done P90X, Insanity Asylum, Ripped in 30, 30 Day Shred, Cross Train Fit for Women, and I am about to start RushFit. There are so many ways to get fit and stay fit without using a gym!

    Thank you so much for this new blog. I'm excited to read it. It is great to see what you are doing as we are similar in many ways–I'm about 5'0", I am 34 and I have an almost 2 year old son. I also work full time, am committed to being fit and healthy and making sure my son is the same, and I will never give up my chocolate!

    • September 27, 2012 / 9:28 pm

      I love hearing about these videos. I plan to write a post about them soon since I know lots of people want a workout they can do at home.

    • September 27, 2012 / 9:29 pm

      p.s. We have about the same stats:)

  3. September 27, 2012 / 8:01 pm

    also netflix and HuluPlus have some good workouts to choose from! super convenient since many people have either of these!

  4. Anonymous
    September 27, 2012 / 8:54 pm

    I really like Blogilates because she posts song challenges, which is doing one move (i.e. squats, calf raises) throughout the whole song. really good for when you don't have a lot of time and you can do a few back to back 🙂

  5. September 27, 2012 / 11:27 pm

    I need this inspiration! I eat super healthy but between two jobs and my kids it's always the first thing to go. You look great by the way! :)-Bree

  6. September 27, 2012 / 11:36 pm

    I really enjoyed this post! I have struggled finding time to workout for years. Currently, I get up at 5am Monday-Friday & go to sleep at 11pm on average. I have tried getting up earlier to squeeze in a workout, but was never successful. Your tips really helped! Hopefully I can manage to make my health more of a priority! 🙂

    • September 29, 2012 / 10:08 pm

      Katie- you aren't getting very much sleep! I would be so tired if I did that- I need 7-8 hours for sure.

  7. Victoria
    September 28, 2012 / 1:46 am

    I work full time and also have a two year old very close in age to James. Question- do you have trouble faking asleep on the evenings that you work out after he goes to bed? That's always my fear with working out at night, but now I wonder…

    So excited about your new blog!

    • September 29, 2012 / 10:09 pm

      Hi Victoria- when I workout at night, I fall asleep better! When I get home, I eat a small meal, then shower and I think that helps me relax. Plus, I'm tired from the workout.

  8. September 28, 2012 / 6:33 pm

    Hey! I love the neighborhood bootcamp idea. We are about to move to a new neighborhood that has a huge grass field and a little jogging trail…perfect for training. How would I go about finding an instructor? I'm sure I wouldn't have problems finding people to join in.

    • September 29, 2012 / 10:10 pm

      I would just do a google search and see if there is already one nearby, then you could ask if they want to do one where you are- or you could go to a gym and talk to some of the trainers – they are often a great source of info.

  9. September 28, 2012 / 7:11 pm

    I have enjoyed following your other blog and now will be a regular for this one. I have been extremely into continuing my workouts the past few years despite now being 40 and having a 7 and a 5 year old! I am fortunate to not have to work too much but do freelance some (I'm a musician). I now workout at home and these are my fave workout DVD's- Jillian Michaels, ripped in 30, shed/shred, any of hers really. Turbofire- which is Chalene, she rocks! Tracy Anderson metamorphosis and jackie warner also have good stuff. Keep up thegreat work!

  10. September 28, 2012 / 7:16 pm

    I have enjoyed following your other blog and now will be a regular here as well. I have always been very into fitness and try to maintain despite now being 40 and having a 7 and a 5 year old. Fortunately I freelance and only work part-time so I am flexible, but it's easiest for me now to work out at home. Some of my fave DVD's are as follows- pretty much anything by Jillian Michaels, Turbofire, Tracy Anderson, and Jackie Warner all have great stuff to check out! What's especially helpful about Turbofire and a lot of Jillian's stuff is that they are short, we're talking 20-30 minutes tops but you get all that you need to get- really good for Moms! Keep up the great work Megan, thanks! Claire

    • September 29, 2012 / 10:11 pm

      Thanks for sharing those videos- I'm going to write a separate post about that soon and will include them.

  11. September 29, 2012 / 2:53 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the neighborhood bootcamp. That is a brilliant idea. Too bad my neighbors are all in their 60s 🙂 I love all these tips. You are so right about putting yourself first. A lot of moms don't realize how much better of a mom they will be if they feel GOOD first.

  12. CHAS
    September 29, 2012 / 3:45 pm

    I'm a HUGE fan of workout DVDs! My favorites are by The Firm, their old school ones give the BEST results but you can find newer ones at Target. I also love Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred and I'm getting into Tracy Anderson's Metamorphosis, even though I'm not seeing big time results yet.

  13. September 29, 2012 / 8:58 pm

    Hi there,

    new reader here 🙂
    Loving it so far. Thank you for sharing.

    I am mom to 2 girls, the older one is in school, but baby Boo is 2 and is still home with me, our small town gyms do not offer child care and we have no domestic help / nanny / support so no gym for me. 🙁
    I'm a photographer, so I work at home, and after the kids go to bed, I start editing, so I cant gym after hours either. LOL
    I've however started exercising at home (so far just turbofire and taebo), I don't know why I didn't sooner, I had so many excuses and all was rubbish.
    I have a long way to go, I know it, but I keep reminding myself that it took a long time for my body to get this bad, it's going to take time to recover it..
    I know that one day, I will also be able to post a before and after photo.

    Thank you for sharing your journey!
    I look forward to following it!

    • September 29, 2012 / 10:12 pm

      You can still get the results you want at home if you stick with it and eat right. I want that before and after story Tash! 🙂

  14. October 11, 2012 / 12:12 am

    Just seeing the new blog…love it! I keep children in my home and many times have a little one as early as 6:45 and as late as 4:30. I also have a 7 year old of my own and once the little ones I keep leave we hit the door for some sporting event or church. I am a big fan of home workouts. I am currently doing Jillian Michaels Revolution. I am about finished with the program but plan to do it again and do it with all the things she suggests to "take it up a notch," like adding more weights, increasing the number of reps etc. The first 4 weeks were easier for me but the 5-10th weeks have been killers. I like them because they are about 35 minutes. I usually can get those in while a little one is taking a nap or they can play right along side me. I have done other DVD's by Jillian Michaels and find them a good workout. I also take kids in the stroller and go for a run too.
    I have done bootcamps but my husband leaves for work too early for me to go anymore. I love them and would like to find one I can do even one time a week just to change things up a bit.
    Really, it's a mindset, like you say. For years, I tried to do quiet time and exercise on the morning before 7:00am. My problem was I wasn't going to bed early enough and as much as we would like to say we can make it on 5-6 hours of sleep, we can't if we want to get the exercise in. I also think you have to evaluate what you wan the most….TV or a toned body, facebook or exercise, chatting on the phone or toned arms. That one thing was a kicker for me…where was I wasting time or letting something I really wanted slip away from me because I wouldn't stop doing mindless activities. You can do it at home just like you can at the gym…it 's up to you to push yourself to do the harder workout, do the extra reps, not stop because no one is actually there watching you.

  15. November 28, 2012 / 3:21 pm

    First of all, it's so nice that as an attorney, you can leave right at 5pm. That never happens to me! Then again, I don't have a small child to care for, so maybe the partner for whom I work would be more understanding if I did.

    I also wanted to mention that YouTube has some great, free workout videos. I do a series of ballet bootcamp ones, and they kick my butt every time. To find them, just search "ballet bootcamp." They're challenging, but watching all the ballet dancers do them is so motivating – I want my thighs to look like they could crack concrete, too!


  16. January 7, 2013 / 6:37 pm

    I found your blogs from pinterest and I absolutely love all of your tips! I'm a 19 year old that works a second shift job and ends up staying up late to have time with friends most nights but I am trying to become healthier, more responsible, and more organized. Its a bit difficult doing that when like I said I end up staying up late even on the nights when I would prefer to go to sleep earlier. Do you have any tips for me?

  17. November 13, 2018 / 10:44 pm

    Thank you for inspiring us that all we need is a proper time management as a mom. Even we have lots of schedules we need to find time to workout and have time for our self. In my case as a new mom, I’m trying my utilize my time, I tried to exercise early with my pro bar and I love it. Please refer to this link:

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