11/18/2013 08:48 EST | Updated 11/21/2013 02:35 EST

Making Time To Make A Difference

Unless you work or live right beside a gym, and don't mind going at peak times, it can be difficult to find the motivation and time to keep active. There are strategies to get around this scheduling challenge, and we’ve got them here.

Getting fit can be difficult, but not impossible. We've all done it; bought that gym membership only to never set foot on a treadmill, joined a run club and never showed up for a single meet. Instead, we find excuses upon excuses. There is a veritable laundry list of excuses, but each of them has a solution. For example:

Making Time To Make A Difference

"It's too far!"

It's true that if your gym is too far or too out of your way that you won't go as often, if at all. Try to find a gym that is either close to your home or close to your work. If it's on your regular route, you'll have no reason to claim distance as an excuse. If you’re keeping fit outside of the gym, plan your workout around your usual schedule; pack some workout clothes and run home from work, for instance.

"I don't have enough time!"

You can find time to keep active, it just might mean taking time away from your TV schedule. One of the best ways to make the time is to book appointments with yourself. Pen them in and don't miss them.

Also, your workout doesn’t need to be hours long. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that a healthy adult between 18-64 years should be active for 2.5 hours a week. If you break that down, that's 30 minutes a day for five days. That's not a lot of time. In fact, that's a half-hour sitcom. Aren’t you worth a rerun of Friends?

"I don't know what to do when I'm at the gym!"

It's okay not to know what every machine does or how to turn on the treadmill. That's why it's always a good idea to make an appointment with a personal trainer. They can take you through the machines, assess your fitness level, and create a program for you. If you can’t afford a regular personal trainer, then request a free introductory session with one. They can also help you perform the exercises correctly and ensure you don't hurt yourself.

"I'm self-conscious about working out in public!"

Despite what you think, no one is watching you while you work out. They're concentrating on their own pace and their own exercise. Keep in mind that everyone started at the beginning, and most of them understand exactly what you're going through.

"It hurts!"

Soreness is different from pain. You should not be in pain after a workout. Instead, you should be pleasantly sore. If you do have some pain, there are topical ways to treat it, but if the pain persists during a workout or if it hasn't cleared up within a week, go to a doctor. You may have sprained or injured yourself while working out and without medical care it could lead to a chronic condition.

"I'm just not motivated!"

Bad days happen, but what can you do to remain motivated? Try making a list of why you should work out. For some it's physical and mental health, for others it’s the mood boost of endorphins, and for others it's for the challenge of lifting more weights or lasting the entire spin class. Whatever your reason (or reasons) may be, find what motivates you and really keeps you going.

"I get bored!"

Routine is good, but if you get bored, why not mix it up? Add new twists to your standard workout by adding weight, reps, new exercises, or even by combining several exercises into a super set. Not only will your mind be consistently occupied, but your muscles get used in different ways and you’ll avoid suffering from a fitness plateau.