One of the biggest issues people run into when it comes to starting a new fitness regimen is being able to call upon their own intrinsic motivation to work out when things get tough. I’ve seen it countless times with the clients I train. They come in eager to get started. For the first couple weeks or so, they are really into the program. They have worked out enough times to see the benefits, and may even start noticing some small changes in their body. Everything is going great until suddenly, something totally unexpected pops up and knocks them off their normal routine. It could be anything from getting sick to having a big deadline at their job, which means they have to work longer hours to ensure it gets finished in time. All hopes of being able to squeeze in their training sessions this week have now been put on the back burner. While missing one week of working out isn’t going to hurt anybody, it’s the mindset shift you must make to ensure you don’t totally fall off the wagon because you weren’t able to get in the gym.

What people seemingly fail to realize is that opportunity to move their bodies is all around them! Just because you can’t make it to the gym doesn’t mean you can’t still fit in some beneficial movement that will help keep you on track towards your overall goals. I tell my clients all the time that if they can just manage to fit in 15 minutes of focused movement, they will not only feel better, but it will probably motivate them to do even more! Think about it: 15 minutes, that’s less than 1% of your day, and you’re trying to say that you are so busy you can’t make less than 1% of your day about taking better care of yourself? Sorry, but I’m not buying it. Self-care isn’t about having time. It’s about making time.

Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day. While it may be tough to make it a habit at first, I promise you that practice makes permanent.

Now that we’ve decided that 15 minutes is all we need to commit to if we are unable to make it into the gym, let’s talk about what you should be doing in that that less than 1% of your day! Walking, jogging, and bodyweight exercises are great options that can be completed virtually anywhere! Don’t have space to jog? Try climbing stairs! Most office buildings have them, and I can guarantee they are probably a lot less busy than the elevator. Squats, lunges, and push-ups are three of the most basic exercises in most fitness programs and can be modified for any body type. They work in several planes of motion and are a great way to get that heart rate up! Set a timer and do sets of 10 of each until the 15 minutes is up. Track how many sets you could do of each and try to beat it next time! Keep your 15 minutes simple but focused. Don’t allow anything to distract you until you’ve completed them. I promise that Facebook isn’t going to change in the time it takes you to complete 15 minutes of activity.

Once you begin to understand that staying on track with a fitness routine is as easy as completing 15 minutes of activity a day, you can end the vicious cycle of either being “In” a routine or “Out” of one. Life is going to happen whether you are trying to work out or not, so be open to adapting to the changes life throws at you. Don’t allow something like a deadline at work keep you from reaching the goals you made for yourself. You made enough of an effort to get started, use the 15-minute rule as a tool to “keep going.” I promise that your body and mind will thank you.