Is your life really too busy or are you looking for excuses like ‘I don’t have time’ when you’re tempted to skip workouts? Here’s how to make time and ditch those excuses.

Even if you’re highly motivated and on a mission to lose weight and get fit, there will be days when time is short. Or there will be times when you convince yourself that you don’t have time to exercise because you just don’t feel like it. Even if you’ve only got a limited amount of time for a session, it’s always worth it – even if it means you have to skip a few sets or reduce the amount of cardio.

Unless you are genuinely ill or feel so tired that doing a workout would be totally counter-productive or even dangerous (bad technique when fatigued could cause injuries), then give yourself the benefit of the doubt and head for the gym. The reality is there will be some days when you just don’t feel like exercising. So your brain will do a great job of convincing you that you don’t have enough time.

A 20 to 30-minute workout where you keep moving and don’t dawdle can be just as effective in moving you towards your goals. Think of every workout as a step closer to the body you want to achieve. You can also think of each session as ‘pennies in the jar’ – if you bank a few coins and you do it regularly enough, before you know it you’ll wake up and find a substantial amount in the penny jar. Think of exercise in the same way. If you work out regularly, one day you’ll look in the mirror and see the flat stomach you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Keep your workouts short and fast

On a low-energy day, when you feel tempted to swap the gym for the sofa, motivate yourself by doing just a quick workout – rather than skipping the session altogether. Hit the gym, warm up in five minutes, then work hard, without stopping to chat to other gym users and losing momentum. Work quickly and it’ll be done before you know it.

However, by the time you complete the session, the chances are you will probably feel much better and quite happy to carry on. Sometimes mental fatigue can be mistaken for physical tiredness. It’s not the same thing and sometimes just clearing out the cobwebs and getting rid of the stress of your working day can be all you need.

If time is genuinely tight and you know it’s going to be a challenge to fit in your workout, then planning ahead will enable you to be more time-efficient and stick to your routine.

Plan your workouts

As the saying goes, ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. So sit down with your diary or calendar and work out when you’ll be able to train over the coming week. Plan each week in advance and enter your training sessions in your diary or calendar, giving them the same respect and commitment as if you were meeting a friend or colleague for drinks. Make a note of your sessions – time, intensity and type – and stick to them.

Carry healthy snacks to avoid wrong choices

Feeling tempted to skip a workout because you’re tired or hungry? Carry healthy snacks such as energy bars with you so that you’ve always got a handy pre-workout snack to fuel your sessions. It’s one less excuse to avoid exercising!

Have your workout kit ready

If you plan to train before work, lay out your workout kit on a chair the night before, including sports bra, clothes and trainers. Make sure that any other accessories, such as headphones, MP3 player or iPhone, are in your gym bag ready to go. Having all your kit prepared the night before will save you valuable time hunting all over the house for your sports bra or Capri pants and working out whether or not you left them in the washing machine.

Go the gym straight after work

If you train after work, don’t make the fatal mistake of going home first to get changed. Once you hit that sofa, you won’t want to go out again. Have your gym kit packed and ready or take your workout gear with you to the office and head to the gym after work. If you like to travel light and you can get away with wearing trainers at work, do it. It will be more comfortable and will save you carrying a bulky rucksack. Don’t forget your MP3 player for motivation.