How to Stick with Exercise When Life Gets Busy

We’ve all been there – life gets hectic, work piles up, or unexpected challenges arise, and suddenly, our health and fitness goals take a back seat.

It’s all too common to find ourselves postponing our exercise routines, dietary plans, and overall well-being for the elusive promise of “when things calm down.” However, the truth is, life rarely offers a permanent respite, and this pattern of delay can leave us perpetually stuck, struggling to make progress.

So, how can we maintain our commitment to a healthier lifestyle when life’s demands seem insurmountable? The answer lies in a paradigm shift: instead of viewing health habits as a simple “on” or “off” switch, consider them as dials that can be adjusted to accommodate life’s fluctuations.

In this article, we will explore this novel approach and provide practical strategies for maintaining your exercise routine, adjusting your nutrition, and prioritising self-care, even when life is at its busiest.

The Dial Approach: Finding Balance Amid Life’s Fluctuations

Movement Continuum - How to Stick with Exercise When Life Gets Busy

Imagine that your health habits – exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress management, and more – are not binary switches but dials that you can adjust according to your circumstances. When life is sailing smoothly, you can turn these dials up to maximise your efforts. This might entail breaking personal records at the gym, preparing nutritious meals from scratch, and dedicating extensive time to meditation or self-care.

However, life rarely remains consistent. It often throws curve balls our way, whether it’s a demanding work project, family responsibilities, or unexpected personal challenges. During these tumultuous times, you don’t have to abandon your health habits entirely. Instead, you can turn the dials down – not off – to make room for flexibility.

For example, if your usual one-hour workout isn’t feasible, you might opt for a quick session of foam rolling or stretching. When preparing balanced meals at home feels overwhelming, consider adding a side salad to your takeout order. The key is to recognise that it’s not always about achieving perfection. It’s about finding a balance that works for you within the constraints of your current circumstances.

The dial approach can be applied to various aspects of your life, from exercise and nutrition to sleep, stress management, relationships, and even your environment. By acknowledging that your goals can be pursued incrementally and are not an all-or-nothing proposition, you empower yourself to take consistent steps toward a healthier lifestyle, even when faced with life’s challenges.

Navigating the Exercise Dial: Finding Consistency in Varied Circumstances

Let’s delve deeper into how the dial approach can be applied to exercise – one of the fundamental components of a healthy lifestyle. Whether you’re an avid fitness enthusiast or someone just starting on their wellness journey, the idea is the same: adapt your exercise routine to your current situation, no matter how busy or unpredictable it may be.

1. Prioritise Movement: On days when your schedule is jam-packed, and you can’t commit to a full workout, prioritise movement in any form. Even a short walk, a few minutes of stretching, or a brief home workout can help you stay active and maintain momentum.

2. Embrace Variety: Recognise that exercise doesn’t always have to follow a structured routine. Incorporate variety into your workouts to keep things fresh and exciting. Try new activities, such as yoga, dance, or outdoor sports, to add a touch of adventure to your fitness journey.

3. Set Realistic Goals: During challenging periods, adjust your exercise goals to be more achievable. Instead of aiming for lofty milestones, focus on consistency. Commit to a manageable workout schedule that you can realistically maintain, even on the busiest days.

4. Maximise Efficiency: When time is a precious commodity, opt for workouts that deliver maximum results in minimal time. High-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuit workouts, or quick body weight exercises can provide an effective workout in just a few minutes.

5. Leverage Technology: Utilise fitness apps and online resources that offer guided workouts and flexibility in terms of duration and intensity. These tools can help you stay on track, regardless of your schedule constraints.

6. Plan Ahead: Whenever possible, plan your workouts in advance. Schedule them like important appointments in your calendar to ensure you allocate time for physical activity. This proactive approach can help you stay committed, even when life gets chaotic.

7. Embrace Active Lifestyle Choices: Incorporate movement into your daily routine by making active lifestyle choices. Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator, walk or bike to nearby destinations, and engage in physical activities you enjoy, such as gardening or playing with your pets.

8. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself when life’s challenges disrupt your exercise routine. Avoid self-criticism and acknowledge that maintaining consistency, even in small ways, is an achievement worth celebrating.

Balancing Nutrition: Making Healthy Choices Amidst Chaos

In addition to exercise, nutrition plays a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When life gets chaotic, it’s essential to find strategies that allow you to make nutritious choices, even when time and resources are limited.

1. Stock Up on Healthy Staples: Keep your kitchen stocked with essential staples like whole grains, legumes, canned vegetables, and healthy proteins. Having these items readily available makes it easier to whip up quick, balanced meals when needed.

2. Plan Quick and Nutrient-Dense Meals: Develop a repertoire of simple, nutrient-dense recipes that can be prepared in minimal time. Opt for meals that combine lean proteins, vegetables, and whole grains for a balanced and satisfying option.

3. Prioritise Meal Prep: On less hectic days, dedicate time to meal preparation. Cook large batches of nutritious meals that can be portioned and stored for future consumption. This practice ensures that you always have healthy options on hand, even during busy periods.

4. Opt for Healthy Convenience: While cooking at home is ideal, it’s okay to rely on healthy convenience options when time is scarce. Look for pre-packaged salads, pre-cooked proteins, and frozen vegetables that can be quickly assembled into a nutritious meal.

5. Practice Mindful Eating: Even during busy days, make an effort to practice mindful eating. Pay attention to your hunger cues, savour each bite, and eat without distractions whenever possible. This approach can help you make healthier choices and enjoy your meals more fully.

6. Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is essential for overall well-being. Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day to ensure you’re drinking an adequate amount of water. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased energy levels, making it important to stay hydrated, especially during busy times.

7. Avoid Mindless Snacking: Be mindful of snacking during stressful or hectic moments. Emotional or mindless eating can lead to poor food choices. Instead, keep healthy snacks like nuts, yogurt, or fresh fruit on hand to curb hunger between meals.

8. Moderation, Not Deprivation: Remember that maintaining a balanced diet is about moderation, not deprivation. Allow yourself occasional treats or indulgences without guilt. The key is to strike a balance that aligns with your long-term health goals.

Prioritising Self-Care: Nurturing Your Well-Being in All Circumstances

In addition to exercise and nutrition, self-care plays a crucial role in maintaining overall well-being. When life gets overwhelming, it’s essential to prioritise self-care practices that promote mental and emotional health.

1. Practice Stress Management: Develop stress management techniques that work for you, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, or journaling. These practices can help you navigate challenging situations with greater resilience.

2. Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries to protect your well-being. Learn to say no when necessary and communicate your limits to others. Setting boundaries allows you to prioritise self-care without feeling overwhelmed by external demands.

3. Get Adequate Sleep: Prioritise sleep as an essential component of self-care. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensure your sleep environment is conducive to restful sleep.

4. Connect with Supportive Relationships: Lean on your support network during challenging times. Share your concerns, seek guidance, and connect with loved ones who provide emotional support. Strong social connections can help you navigate life’s ups and downs more effectively.

5. Embrace Mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness practices into your daily routine. Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment and can help you manage stress, improve focus, and enhance overall well-being.

6. Prioritise Hobbies and Interests: Dedicate time to activities and hobbies that bring you joy and fulfillment. Engaging in interests outside of work and responsibilities can provide a much-needed sense of balance.

7. Seek Professional Help: If you find yourself struggling to manage stress, anxiety, or emotional challenges, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A therapist or counsellor can offer guidance and support tailored to your needs.

8. Reflect and Adjust: Periodically evaluate your self-care practices and make adjustments as needed. What works during calm periods may need to be adapted during busier times. Be flexible and responsive to your evolving self-care needs.

Creating a Supportive Environment: Enhancing Your Surroundings

Your environment can significantly impact your ability to maintain healthy habits, including exercise, nutrition, and self-care. Consider these strategies to create an environment that supports your well-being:

1. Organise Your Space: A clutter-free and organised living and working space can promote a sense of calm and reduce stress. Dedicate time to decluttering and creating an environment that fosters productivity and relaxation.

2. Surround Yourself with Positivity: Fill your environment with positive influences, whether it’s uplifting quotes, inspiring artwork, or reminders of your goals. Surrounding yourself with positivity can enhance your motivation and mindset.

3. Set Up a Home Workout Space: If you’re short on time for gym visits, create a home workout space with essential fitness equipment. Having a designated area for exercise can make it more convenient to stay active.

4. Stock Healthy Food Options: Ensure that your kitchen is stocked with healthy food options, making it easier to prepare nutritious meals. Remove or limit access to unhealthy snacks or foods that may tempt you during stressful moments.

5. Create a Relaxation Nook: Dedicate a space in your home for relaxation and self-care. This could be a cosy reading corner, a meditation space, or a comfortable spot for quiet reflection.

6. Foster Positive Relationships: Surround yourself with individuals who support your health and well-being goals. Cultivate relationships with people who share similar values and encourage your positive habits.

7. Minimise Distractions: Identify potential distractions in your environment and take steps to minimise them. Whether it’s turning off notifications on your devices or creating a designated work area, reducing distractions can enhance focus and productivity.

8. Incorporate Natural Elements: Introduce natural elements into your environment, such as houseplants or natural lighting. These elements can contribute to a calming and rejuvenating atmosphere.

Maintaining a Balanced Lifestyle: Embrace Flexibility and Adaptability

In summary, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially during busy and unpredictable times, requires flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to adjust your approach. Remember that it’s not about achieving perfection but rather finding a balance that aligns with your goals, preferences, and current circumstances.

By applying the dial approach to exercise, nutrition, self-care, and your environment, you can navigate life’s challenges while still making progress toward your well-being objectives. Prioritise consistency over perfection, and embrace the idea that small, manageable steps can lead to meaningful and lasting change.

Ultimately, your health and well-being are lifelong journeys, and they will ebb and flow with the ever-changing tides of life. By maintaining a flexible mindset and incorporating these strategies, you can ensure that your commitment to a healthier, happier you remains unwavering, regardless of life’s ups and downs.

I hope this helps, and while you’re here, I want to make sure you know that if there’s any way I can help you achieve your health and fitness goals, I’m here for you.

I offer online nutrition coaching to clients who are ready to quit dieting and start looking and feeling better, with more confidence and increased energy levels –  without complicated diets or painful workouts

What exactly is “nutrition coaching”… and how will it help you reach your goals?

When it comes to losing weight and getting the body you want, “eating better” is one of the most important steps. The only problem?

Most of the common diet advice you receive simply isn’t sustainable…

  • “Avoid your favourite foods… forever!”
  • “Don’t eat after 7pm!”
  • “Weigh and measure every morsel of food you eat!”

If you’ve tried something like this before and “failed”—or just couldn’t stick with it—you’re not alone.

(And it’s definitely NOT your fault.)

I talk to people every day who are trying to muster up all the willpower they can find to diet their way to a better body… but they still aren’t getting the results they want.

The good news? There’s a better way.

My nutrition coaching focuses on strategic, doable daily actions that are designed to fit into YOUR lifestyle. With this approach, you’ll learn how to:

  • Eat better—without dieting or feeling deprived.
  • Lose weight—without giving up your favourite foods.
  • Ditch the food rules—overcoming the guilt and shame.
  • Feel energised all day—so you can enjoy all the things you want and need to do.
  • Get the results you’ve always wanted—and build the healthy habits you need to stay that way for good.

Bottom line: My goal is to help you learn how to “eat better” so that it becomes easy, consistent, and automatic.

No restrictive dieting. No weighing or measuring your food. No “one size fits all” meal plan.

Instead, you’ll learn how to bring healthy eating into your lifestyle and get in amazing shape—while building the habits you need to stay that way for good.

How is nutrition coaching different from fitness coaching or personal training?

As a coach, my number one goal is to help my clients reach THEIR goals. Doing that effectively requires me to constantly look for opportunities to learn new skills and hone my craft.

This is exactly why I chose to become a Certified Nutrition Coach through Precision Nutrition.

I’ve now been trained by the best of the best, so I know what works.

(The nutrition method they teach is backed by science and has been proven to work with over 100,000 of their own clients… so it’s the real deal.)

The best part? The knowledge and skills I’ve gained can help you finally get the results you want—and keep them for life.

Through the rigorous training I’ve received, I learned that while exercise is a crucial part of losing weight, feeling good, and achieving optimal health… it’s only half the equation.

The other half—as you may have guessed—is nutrition.

I’d actually argue that nutrition is more important than exercise, because while you spend a few hours working out each week, challenges around eating and food can happen anytime (some would say all the time!).

That’s why having a coach there to guide and support you is crucial.

Don’t get me wrong: Exercise is very important. But no amount of exercise will ever be able to “outwork” bad nutrition habits. So in order to help you get the life-transforming results you deserve—I’m excited to be able to offer nutrition coaching in an official capacity.

What I learned while becoming a Certified Nutrition Coach opened my eyes to a whole new way of doing things. And through this science-proven approach, I’m ready to help you get even better results through healthy nutrition habits.

Interested? Have questions? Let’s talk…

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, or if you have questions about what this would look like… I’d love to discuss how my online nutrition coaching program could help you get the results you’re looking for.

Click here to get started and I’ll answer any questions you have. Plus, we can connect to talk more about what this would look like for you.

Dedicated to your success,


P.S. Just so you know: I’m offer fitness coaching as well—and it doesn’t have to be “either or.”

If you’re in a place where guidance and support from an experienced coach could help you reach your goals, I’m here to help in whatever capacity will be most beneficial for you.

Simply learn more here and we can talk about the different coaching options I have available.

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