In my fitness coaching business, I get the opportunity to talk with people from all walks of life about their health, fitness, and weight loss goals and staying in shape on a busy schedule is usually a big elephant in the room.

Whether their goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, stick to a diet plan, or to maintain their current fitness level, they all have one common enemy…TIME.

For most of us, the number one challenge in the quest to stay in shape and/or lose weight is not exercising itself. The biggest issue is having the ability to fit an exercise program into our busy schedules.

So how do you do it? How do you balance the demands of family, career, relationships and exercise?

Here are five keys that will help you fit a consistent workout plan into your already hectic life.

Commit to a specific schedule even when busy

It’s often said that when you fail to plan you plan to fail.

Trying to fit your workouts into your day without any prior thought is bound to fail. If you’ve ever told yourself “I’ll work out as soon as I get some time”, you were in direct violation of this key principle.

To set yourself up for success, it is crucial to take the time to write your workouts into your weekly schedule. And, to ensure that this works out, you must do your best to follow your exercise program at least three days per week. Anything less would be kidding yourself.

So, when making your appointments and to-do lists, write down a plan for your weekly workout routine. This will ensure that you’ll never be in the dark about when you committed to yourself to work out.

Make use of the weekend

Take advantage of the fact that it only takes 3-5 days per week to complete an effective, results-producing workout. One trick to help you pull this off is to work out on the weekends. When you do this, your schedule will be more flexible and under your control at all times.

This means whenever you have a hectic week, you’ll only be responsible for working out 1-3 days to hit your goal workout days.

Keep your workouts as a high priority

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to allow your workout program to be easily bumped off by other people’s demands.

Although things will sometimes come up that will force you to move your workout, you must only allow emergencies to take you off your plan.

If one of those emergencies comes up, reschedule your workout to the next possible day. If your health, fitness, and efforts to stay in shape are not a priority, they certainly won’t be to anyone else.

It is upon you to make sure the people in your circle know that you value your health. Let them know that you will not compromise your standards to let down your guard when it comes to your fitness.

As a result, they will respect that and will seldom come up with demands that might push you off course.

Get the support of others

Don’t go at this alone. Let the important people in your life know what you are up to. Your spouse, parents, children, co-workers, and close friends will often pitch in and help you reach your fitness or weight loss goals.

But, this can only happen if you make them aware and ask for their support. Leverage these relationships to delegate some of your normal responsibilities. They can even allow you to shift appointments that you have with them as you restructure your scheduled workout.

If any of them are into exercise or trying to lose weight, form a buddy system with them to motivate and push each other.

Never beat yourself down

No matter who you are, there will be times during your training program that you lack the energy to keep up due to outside demands. Don’t be too tough on yourself when this happens.

Remember, it is what you do over time, not what you do in spurts, that counts. Get back on course as soon as you can and continue pressing forward. Do your best to avoid slacking off again and be on the lookout for any future disruptions.

It doesn’t matter what your health and fitness goals are. It is possible to fit an effective exercise program into your hectic schedule and succeed at getting the exact results that you want.

Do you want to get control of your health and fitness? Would you like to take fitness to the next level but don’t know where to start?  Check out my online coaching program and sample my fitness coaching for one week free.