Something’s Got To Give

What are you willing to give up for exercise?   Sounds like a crazy question.  In our busy lives, it is hard to think of giving something up just so you can exercise.  Blech!  I like the idea of giving up something for sleep, but exercise???  Alas, we all know we need to do it.  Exercise is key to achieving a healthy weight.  Extending our mortality.  Managing stress. Staving off diabetes. Heart disease.  Alzheimers.  Cancer.   These are the devils chasing us, we gotta stay ahead of them…

The current American College of Sports Medicine recommendation for the healthy amount of exercise is 30 minutes on 5 days per week.  That amounts to 150 minutes or 2 1/2 hours per week!  Seems like a lot…or does it?  An entire week is 168 hours, meaning that exercise should account for only about 1.5% of your week.

Can you spare it?

Can you afford not to?

To free up the time we have to pare back on something else in our lives.  But what?   I want to hear from you!  In the comments section, answer me this…

If you are currently exercising, what do you give up to make the time?

If you are not exercising, what do you pledge to give up to make the time? 

I can’t wait to hear how you do it or plan to do it.  I can’t wait to hear all the things that will get demoted so that you can be a healthier and better YOU.   I look forward to your comments.

Long live…all of us.


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  1. Margo Adams Larsen says:

    I give up sleep in order to run….I force myself out of bed generally before the rest of the world (other than the running partner I’m meeting that day) is up. Lacey, the 4-legged partner is always up and ready to go, well before the beeps of the Garmin call her to the door…..and we go! Amazingly, the dishes are there when I get back, as well as a fresh pot of coffee! The laundry is there when I get back, as well as some dry clothes after a hot shower! The day is better knowing I’ve started it with achieving something important to me, and that most people slept through (even though my pillow and cat would have preferred I do the same). The day is longer and my energy is more because I gave up some things to gain the most important things – health!

  2. Julie says:

    I give up watching tv and partying with friends on certain weekends before big training runs or races. I also give up sleep, because I leave for runs before my kids wake up in the morning. However the energy and feeling of well being I get from running and exercise definitely out weigh the sacrifices.

  3. Sherry says:

    For me, it’s TV (I used to watch it more, but exercising in morning or night had edged that out). I might also cut back on work and house cleaning to get my workouts in. I don’t have the cleanest house at all times, but ah well… something does have to give.

  4. Mbfgmike says:

    For me I give up 2 main things to run. First is sleep on the weekends. I’m usually up late having fun till midnight or later after a long week and up to get ready to run at 6am. I guess I’d rather give up the sleep then the fun.
    The 2nd thing (and more meaningful) thing I give up is at least 2 dinners with my wife a week. I work long hours and sometimes I don’t get home till 7 or later. When that happens I have to get my run in and eat after, my wife can’t wait till 8 or later for dinner so she eats wile I run (or before). I guess it will be worth it if it increases my mortality so we can have more dinners together later in life

  5. I almost said I don’t give things up because I enjoy running and sport so much.

    However, thinking about it I give up going out for drinks and things after work, or seeing friends occasionally.

    Luckily they all understand and know there is always an open offer for them to come too but politely decline as they know how far I run!!

  6. Scott says:

    According to many people close to me, I have given up my sanity.

    On weekdays, I am up at 4 am in order to get my workout done before starting my day. On the weekends, I’m in bed by 9 pm and up at 4:30 ( I get to sleep in!). Then I disappear into the woods for a trail run ranging anywhere from 2 to 7 hours.

    Even my races have started to shift to the crazy side. I’m not happy unless I’m crawling through mud, jumping off bridges, or getting hit with 10,000 volts of electricity.

    Who knows, maybe they are right. Maybe I have given up my sanity, but I’m feeling great and having fun. So turn off your TV and get to bed. The Crazy Town Marathon starts at 4 am and I want to see you all there.

  7. Anne says:

    I give up sleep. But I always figure an hour of running is better than an hour of sleep.

  8. John says:

    I used to give up sleeping getting up before sunrise and drag my ass to the gym. As time went by my workouts became part of my job as a group fitness trainer. The wonderful thing is it’s not work at all. I don’t like exercise is giving up anything as it has become an essential part of my life. Having said that I still think running is work.

  9. Matthew says:

    I gave up watching TV and facebook to spend more time at the gym. Very much the best choices I ever made.

  10. Sharon says:

    This is definitely a sleep deprivation trade-off – the gym. I say that because I have always been a late night person and a late morning riser. But, if I don’t go to the gym at the crack of dawn – I won’t get there. Thank goodness I frequent a gym with staff that are very supportive and competent. Do I feel better as a result? Most of the time. I give myself a vacation away from the gym from time to time and grab that extra hour of sleep. I found the same routine day after day can get old very fast and can put me in a downward spiral. So, when I need a respite, I take it without guilt and then, when I begin to feel my legs cramping again because of the lack of stretch – my 5AM alarm clock and I become partners again and I’m back in the “saddle” or should I say, back on the “treadmill” again!

  11. Matt Whited says:

    I give up lots of things for exercise. TV watching, gaming (I remind you the average gamer is 32-37yrs old), recreational reading, work. I’m in a research field so after a full day of work I take a lot of what I do home with me. My recreational time is small and precious to me. After work I’m tired, stressed, and my body is telling me to go home and “relax”. The thing is that exercise not only solves all of these problems, it also enhances the quality of whatever recreational activity I do that evening. After exercise I feel somewhat energized, way less stressed, and I have better focus and presence for whatever I do next. I may spend less time working and recreating in the evening as I make room for exercise (and preparing a healthy meal), but my evening activities are so much more rewarding. I’m really just trading quantity for quality.

    Now if only I could remember this lovely speech at the end of the day when i REALLY don’t feel like going to the gym 😉

  12. Kristin says:

    Nothing. I don’t feel like I “give up” anything for exercise as a lot of my exercise involves socializing with friends. I guess my solitary runs take the place of things like house-cleaning, reading, watching tv and sometimes sleep. But I get much more from exercise than I give up.

  13. Melissa says:

    I give up excuses and fear of failure.

    After a lifetime of adult obesity sitting on the sidelines, worrying I’d look stupid or fail, I finally mustered up the courage to try. Just try.

    And now I realize that every time I try a new exercise or physical pursuit, it gives me the courage to try again.

  14. Sherry says:

    Those of you mentioning sleep… do you feel like you are getting LESS sleep (or not enough sleep) because you exercise OR IS IT that you are getting up earlier and going to bed earlier because you exercise, but still getting the right amount of sleep?

    • Sharon says:

      Less sleep because I’m waking much earlier to get to the gym. And, my body clock makes if very challenging to get to bed earlier at night. An extra hour of shut-eye in the AM has always worked better for me. So, yes, less sleep is my trade-off.

  15. LauraSueP says:

    I give up sleep often. I give doing laundry timely to run or hit the gym! Gym time is my time!

  16. for me, getting up in the mornings to get my run in is pretty much the only way that they will happen. and i am OK with getting up early. i love it.
    however, that means going to bed early, which means that after all is said and done with the kids, i would have to sacrifice time with my wife, my best friend.
    and i hate the thought of that.
    so i think we’re going to try an every other day thing.
    we’ll see how it goes.

  17. Susan Bakke says:

    I honestly don’t give up anything. Exercise is such a huge part of my life that it comes naturally like brushing my teeth.

  18. Stephenie says:

    I give up cooking on a regular basis. I also gave up living someplace that requires a commute to work. And a few days a week I give up hygiene at work…I sneak out to the gym and don’t shower before I come back.

  19. Emily says:

    This question is really interesting. When I exercise for the sole purpose of losing weight, even though I enjoy running and exercise in general, I tend to focus more on how hard I can push myself, how much my body can take, and what I have to “give up” to fit exercise into my schedule. And then when I don’t lose weight, or lose less than I want to, I get frustrated and give up on exercise for a while.

    But when I engage in exercise that I genuinely enjoy, that’s challenging, rewarding, and NOT punishing, then I don’t feel like I’ve given anything up to do it. For example, over the past month I’ve been practicing yoga consistently, and I truly don’t feel like I’ve given anything up to incorporate it into my life. I do yoga 3 times a day, even if it’s just for a few minutes during a break, and it’s increased my mental clarity, relaxation, flexibility, physical strength and agility, and the list goes on. I’ll do yoga to music, a video, or with a friend; I’ll do power yoga routines that challenge me or gentler routines that relax me. This routine has generated so many mental and physical benefits for me, including improved sleep, mood, productivity, physical strength and energy. So I truly can’t say that I’ve given up anything, including sleep or social activities, because the benefits I get from exercising have actually improved the quality of my sleep, my friendships, my work, and my life!

  20. Randy says:


  21. Andrea says:

    Pretty toenails…

  22. Mike says:

    i give up sitting on my ass to exercise! i have to sit A LOT during the day for my job… all throughout the day i get up and walk around… and usually my lunch hour consists of about 5 miles of running. while my co-workers consume about 1,000 calories of fast food! i’m slowly converting them!

  23. Mindy says:

    I’ve given up a lot of time in front of the TV in favor of going to the gym. My husband and I used to watch TV all the time! Now – not nearly as much.

    About 2x a week I also give up 1-2 hours of sleep so I can get up early to do yoga or go for a quick jog.

  24. maleah says:

    this week, it was sleep but i planned for it. went to bed a little earlier and got up earlier. i had a few obstacles that morning, but i just did it anyway. Another day i walked 15 min up the street instead of 2 to get a drink & fresh air at work–30 min walk DONE!

  25. Dan says:


  26. Stephenie says:

    I think I gain sleep from working out. It helps keep me on a regular pattern. If I don’t work out, my stress level goes up, I get antsy and I have a harder time falling and staying asleep. I may wake up earlier to fit in working out, but my overall sleep quality is greatly improved.

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