Exercise When You Work

How to Exercise When You Work Full Time (7 Proven Tips)

Hey, 9-5 hustlers!

Greg is back again!

I think that we can all agree that when it comes to making time for exercise + nutrition after a 40+ hour week (8–10-hour day) … the thought of that just sounds DAUNTING

Heck, I’m even writing this post on my 1-hour lunch break!

How to exercise when you work a full-time job can be tricky.

This was a problem for me for all of 2019.

It takes skill to balance fitness and working full time when you have a family, social life, hobbies, or whatever else your life entails!

I finally overcame these at the beginning of 2020 right before the global pandemic hit

A basic New Years’ resolution goal that turned into a new lifelong journey. You can read more about me and that story here.

But today I’m going to break down 7 PROVEN TIPS on how to exercise when you work full time.

This is exactly what I used to get on the right track, and I implemented these a few months right before I started working from home full-time.

If you follow all 7 PROVEN TIPS down to the bone, you will create a balanced lifestyle that encompasses

fitness + nutrition + your career +

all other life things

Which will help you reach whatever fitness goal you may have while you work your 9-5.

Let’s get started!

#1 Create a Routine YOU LOVE

Let’s start on a macro level…

and review your daily life and how we can add fitness into the mix when it comes to a few things


Are you an early riser or a night owl? Or perhaps somewhere in between?

It’s important to understand when you feel your strongest physically and mentally

Don’t force yourself to work out at 6am before work IF YOU HATE IT!

Sure, you’ll show up the first few times…

But we all know that you’re going to eventually get sick of it, stop showing up, and keep slamming that snooze button!

This will also affect your sleep because you’ll be awake hitting the snooze button when you could’ve just been finishing up your 7 or 8-hour sleep cycle.

And yes, 7-8 hours because SLEEP IS IMPORTANT!

But let’s digress –

If you are a morning person, then get at it! But if you’re a night owl, or somewhere in between – it may be best to pick a later time of the day.

Either after work at 5pm or 6pm OR closer to 7pm or 8pm.

No shame in a late-night workout! If you like the emptier gym and feel more energized before crashing from the long workday, then use that to your advantage!

Pick a time of the day and stick to it for your workout days!


How does this look daily?

Nutrition plays a vital role in our fitness journey. Exercise when you work full time also includes your food.

Exercise and nutrition are like Bony and Clyde.

I will get further into nutrition later in this post, but I want you to ask yourself 2 questions.

How much time are you spending on your meals for the week/weekend? 

How often are you eating out, and how often are you eating at home? 


This will also be broken down on a more ‘micro’ level further down this post, but I want you to pick a cardio method that

  2. FITS into your schedule without having to put too much thought into it

Interesting, huh?

As I’ve expressed – I’ve figured out for myself how to exercise when working full time.

On a cardio level, here’s what I do


I use walking for my cardio. It’s a great cardiovascular exercise and strengths my bones and my mood!

2. FITS into your schedule without putting too much thought into it

with walking; I aim for 7-10k steps daily. This helps burn an additional 300-500 calories per day, which is super helpful if your goal is weight loss

Just remember, cardio cannot replace your exercise!


What does your current lifestyle look like? 

It’s important to NOT give up on your lifestyle just for the sake of exercise and your fitness journey!

Try having balance in your routine when it comes to exercise + lifestyle

Get flexible; see what you can move around to another day of the week, the hour of the day, or the weekend.

#2 Optimize Your Exercising Time

Now strength training and lifting only need to be accomplished 3x per week.

Depending on how your current exercise program is set up, you can be working out up to 5x a week.

But you only need 3x a week to hit the right targeted muscle groups and see great results.

This is especially important to full-time 9-5 workers because 3x a week is not too much, but enough for us to manage everything else during the week.

To best optimize your workouts 3x a week – we can separate this into the following

  • Day 1: PUSH Upper Body Exercises
  • Day 2: PULL Upper Body Exercises
  • Day 3: Lower Body Exercises

Or if you care about growing your legs…

  • Day 1: PUSH Lower Body Exercises
  • Day 2: PULL Lower Body Exercises
  • Day 3: Upper Body Exercises

And what days are best to work out?

Maybe the weeks are too much… 

Save the 3rd workout for a Saturday or Sunday before any weekend events and just focus on showing up to train 2x during the week.

Or maybe instead you knock everything out during the week and completely forget about it on the weekends.

Both are totally fine! And you can move this around each week

All that matters is that you SHOW UP to 3 workouts per week and get at it!

Think about what days during the week and on the weekend give you the most time to fit in an hour workout, and which days do not!

#3 Actually PREP your Meals

I know the word MEAL PREP can also sound daunting!

But I want to give you a realistic suggestion to set up your meal prepping for the week and the weeks to come.

Because it is going to save you TIME and ENERGY during the work week!

Plan It Out

The best thing to do is carve out some time (it doesn’t have to be Sundays!) to plan the following week’s meal plan.

When getting started – it’s best to just take carve out an hour or two for the day and really plan out

  1. What your goals are
  2. What your current schedule is like
  3. Pick consistent days and times for exercise
  4. Pick consistent meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the week 

Also, take the time on that day to set up your grocery shopping schedule for each week (or bi-weekly if you buy in bulk)

 Plan this all out so that way it’s there in place, and you can just move on!

 Keep the meals consistent over time, and when you start to burn out, switch them up!

 Make Enough for Leftovers

You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) plan out every single meal of the day and week.

 Stick to the same 2 meals for breakfast and lunch and dinner.

 For dinner, make enough the first night for leftovers to have on the second or third night.

 Only your lunches should be planned on one day for the week!

 Making leftovers + knowing the consistent meals you’ll make will become second nature when cooking/prepping.

Don’t Be Afraid of Taking the Right Supplements

 Finding a great protein powder + collagen brand will help you save a lot of time!

 The benefit of having a protein smoothie on the go is that it’ll keep you SO full and hold you over until lunch/dinner time.

 Smoothies take 2 minutes or less to make!

 Adding a collagen supplement to your protein shake will also help keep you full, plus you’ll get your protein!

#4 Add Walking into Your Cardio

Another vital thing to do is move around a bit more.

 Working full-time… I’m sure 95% of ya’ll sit down at a desk for long periods. So we must increase our NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis)

 Which pretty much means anything NOT involving

  • Lifting/Exercising
  • Running
  • Sleeping
  • Breathing

 This is a NEAT little trick, especially if you’re looking to lose weight quickly.

 But regardless of your goal – taking some time to move each day is so crucial for health.

 Walking is usually the best way to accomplish this because working full-time, we’re already doing some form of walking in our daily lives.

 Unless you’re a work-from-home hermit who walks up and goes straight to the computer and then to bed… (Then you need to make some serious changes!)

 But every person wondering how to work out when you work full-time

 try doing a 7k-10k STEPS DAILY CHALLENGE

I talk so much about a daily step challenge because it’s one of the easiest things for us to do when we work full-time. We already walk to the fridge, the car, to the office FROM the car.

 That alone is almost 3k steps already.

 Increasing that number to 7-10k will help you lose an extra 300-500 calories, in addition to dialing in your nutrition strategy.

 Or if your goal is to gain muscle – this will help decrease your chance of gaining excess fat when you are eating in a surplus.

#5 Pick Up a Sporting Hobby

Outside of exercise, this is a good mood lifter.

My ‘sporting hobby’ is outdoor biking. I really look forward to my bike rides 2-4x a week.

Not saying you need to ride that many times! I just love it that much because it’s a great exercise for my physical health and mental health.

It really lifts my mood to just plug in some music and be outdoors with the nice breeze on my face.

When it’s not brutally hot or cold!

 But find something you love that you can commit to either 1-2x a week

Or at least a couple of times a month!

What does this look like for you? Do you like –

  • Rock Climbing?
  • YOGA?
  • Tennis?
  • The elliptical bike?
  • Running?

My two favorites on the list are rock climbing and yoga.

Before the pandemic hit – I was doing Yoga 1x a week, Rock Climbing 2x a week, lifting 3x a week, and commuting to the office.

That’s obviously over-committing, and I’m not recommending that for you because that much is not necessary.

But I just want to express how much biking, rock climbing, and yoga have really helped my mental health, anxiety, and fitness while working a full-time job, and I cannot recommend enough to pick up one of these sporting hobbies!

#6 Focus on Decreasing Stress Levels

I’m going to piggyback off the end of #5 regarding anxiety, mental health, and stress levels when it comes to fitness and working full time

We all know how our jobs can give us a lot of stress at times. If you don’t have that kind of job – kudos to you!



Because it will affect your fitness goals in the short and long run

 Not to mention, it’ll affect your overall health

This is why I was taking up yoga at the time…

It really helped me out with my stress and anxiety

So we must focus on decreasing our stress levels.

But Greg, how do we do that?!


Taking one of the options from number 5. For me, that was yoga because, as I said, I had a lot of stress and anxiety at the time.

But this can also involve different kinds of hobbies outside physical activity.

Like gaming, Netflix shows, embroidery, or something of the sort!

#7 Prioritize Sleep

In addition to TIPS #1-6, we CANNOT forget TIP #7


 7-8 hours of sleep per night should be non-negotiable

We must be re-charged for work + fitness

Sleep should be prioritized on the week AND on the weekends

Keeping a consistent sleep schedule to keep you physically and mentally in good shape

Next Steps for Getting Started

I hope these 7 TIPS give you clarity on what action needs to be taken to fit time for exercise while working a full-time job.

 How you can get started today is by

  1.  Creating a Routine that YOU LOVE
  2.  Planning your workouts for when you feel your strongest
  3.  Actually planning your meals out. Take a day to get a routine going
  4.  Walking 7-10k steps daily
  5.  Picking up biking, yoga, rock climbing, or something similar
  6.  Make time for activities you love to DECREASE YOUR STRESS
  7.  Make time for sleep! 7-8 hours a night

 The most important thing you can do is invest in your health

When you really start looking at your fitness progression that way, it becomes easier to realize the things you need to do and the time you need to make to prioritize your fitness

 It also becomes easier to discover why a personal trainer, a nutrition coach, or both can be important.

 My first 2 two clients also work full time.

 One has a director role for an established real estate company

 And the other one works in tech

 These two clients were never motivated to make ANY time for their fitness or their nutrition!

 But having a coach (Hi, me!) has really upped their fitness game. They’ve become so motivated and always show up ready to train.

They’ve also – 

  • Gotten Stronger. Hitting PRs at the gym!
  • Become more educated on their nutrition goals
  • HIT their nutrition targets
  • Gotten closer to their fitness goals

All while working hard and playing harder!

 And you can too!

 Get started

today and follow these 7 tips!

 What are your thoughts on getting a personal trainer?

 What doubts do you have, and what’s holding you back?

I’d love to hear what’s stopping you and address your concerns in the best and most reasonable way possible!

 Drop a comment below, and I’ll see you on the next post!

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