Make Fitness a Priority – Even with Limited Time

by | March 1, 2021

Are you letting excuses impede your fitness progress? Right now, more than ever, we as first responders need to make sure that we are managing our fitness and our stress. There are a lot of excuses that we can use—my gym is closed, my gym is open, I do not have time with the kids being home, I am tired, I do not know what exercises to do. But all these excuses are basically saying the same thing: I don’t have time because I haven’t made time.

Watch this quick video for some thoughts on how firefighters can make fitness a priority:


I get it—this is an incredibly stressful time in society. Our “normal” has changed; our schedules have changed. But if you are brutally honest with yourself you will realize that the excuses you are using now are the same ones you have always used. Trust me, I’ve used them too!

The trick, however, is to not let the excuses to continue to hold us back. I have had the privilege to work with thousands of first responders over the past 15 years and have heard every excuse on the planet on why fitness progress is not being made. And these are the same excuses I am hearing now amid the COVID-19 pandemic—the most common of which is time.

But with a little focus, you can break your reliance on this excuse and prioritize your workouts to get the most out of the time you do have.

“I Don’t Have Time for That”

First off, when you say you do not have enough time, what you are really saying is, “I don’t have enough time for that.” I love the caption in the photo below. If we’re being honest with ourselves, we can probably carve out at least 15 to 20 minutes a day for exercise. Add up all the time you spend watching TV and surfing the internet throughout the average week—if you replace even just a little of that with exercise, how many workouts could you get in?

Make Fitness a Priority

Change Your Mindset

One thing that will help you make time is to change your mindset. Don’t ask yourself how much time you are going to waste by working out a few times a week. Ask yourself how much of your life you are going to waste being unfit and overweight. And, in most cases working out gives you energy to get other tasks done, which in the long run may save you time!

Instead of trying to find time to work out, think about how you can make time. Some activity is better than none. The trick is to find a block of time in your daily schedule that is consistently free of commitments. Try to make time first thing in the morning or before and/or after shifts, during your lunch hour, or after homeschooling lessons with the kids. The time commitment can be minimal. Start with 15 minutes in your day. The next week, go for 16 minutes and the following week, 20 minutes.

Soon, that found time will become part of your schedule. Walk every time you are on the phone so that you can knock out some more steps. Try to add some simple stretches and mobility work first thing in the morning. The point is to make some time to fit in (no pun intended) healthy activity.

And remember, you can watch TV, check email, and post on social accounts while you’re on the treadmill or on the exercise bike!

In my next post, I’ll discuss the “power of 5s” and how you can use this to create effective, efficient workouts even if you only have 15 minutes. In the meantime, start thinking now about how you can make fitness a priority.

Author’s Note: My 28-day CATALYST Workout Program is designed to help you improve your performance on (and off) the fireground by maximizing every minute you spend exercising. And it is free for all Lexipol readers right now. Get started today!

Questions or comments? Contact me at or visit Fire Rescue Fitness.

AARON ZAMZOW is a firefighter/training officer for Madison Fire Department with 20 years of experience as a fitness trainer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in health and wellness as well as a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification. He is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist, an NASM-certified personal trainer and an ACE-certified peer fitness trainer. Zamzow is the founder and owner of and develops programs aimed at getting fire rescue athletes fit for duty. He authored the book "Ladder 2 Workout: A Comprehensive Firefighter Workout Program that will get you 'Fit for Duty' in 28-days." Connect with Zamzow on Twitter at @GetFRFit, on Facebook at Fire Rescue Fitness or at

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