Dealing with Workout Interruptions

By , SparkPeople Blogger
The idea for this blog came to me while walking on the treadmill one morning.  Usually I squeeze in a workout before my kids get up, but on this particular morning, I'd decided to sleep in a little instead.  So after the kids got up and we started the day, I asked if they wanted to come downstairs with me and play while I walked.  My workouts these days are only 30 minutes long (that's about all I can handle with another baby due any day), so I figured they could keep themselves occupied for that long.  I didn't think about how the playing, activity, and questions about what I was doing could interrupt the quality of my workout. 
I used to hate when I'd get interrupted during the middle of a workout, or I scheduled a workout and something else got in the way.  Since having kids, I've had to learn to roll with the punches a little more.  There are times when someone gets up early and I have to cut my workout short.  Or I plan to head outdoors for a workout but that is postponed when my husband has to work late.  That time is part of the very limited "me" time I get during the day, so I value the quiet time just to myself.  Honestly, I don't really like sharing it with my kids or anyone else.  But there are times when a noisy workout with them running around is better than no workout at all. 
I'm a pretty structured person, so my workout routine is fairly well-established.  But it's easy to choose to cut my workout short if I get interrupted, especially if I've got some momentum going and I'm feeling good about how it's going.  It's also easy to choose to skip it completely if something gets in the way.   Can you relate?  As much as possible, I try to take my workouts outside.  I like the fresh air, but I also like the idea that no one can reach me for that short period of time. 
Whether its work, friends, family or something else that gets in the way, how do you handle those disruptions to your routine?  Do you block out your workout time on your calendar just like any other appointment?  Do you turn off your phone during your workout so you're sure not to be disturbed? 
What works for you? 

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Thanks for the great article! :) Report
When I exercise, I make it all about me. I turn off my phone, and gety husband to watch our grandson. I don't even answer the door! Not to be rude, but I really need the time to take care of myself and gather my strength for the day. Report
I used to get up way before my kids when they were small and get out on the road- Report
GReat Report
I prefer to swim for my workout; I am trying to do that twice a week. I usually do it during the hours that my son is in day school, but sometimes other items on my schedule make it impossible for me to spend the 90-120 minutes it takes for me to change, swim, and shower. I need to find better ways to spend time exercising while my son is with me, for example, I got him to dance with me at an indoor playground; we were in there alone while it was raining. It was fun.
My workouts don't often get interrupted, but they do get cancelled sometimes, and I struggle to find a plan B. Report
I remember those days!!! Report
good article Report
I also hate being interrupted, so I get up early yet people seem to have become aware that I am up early and that its a great time for them to get a hold of me Report
I block out time for my exercise. For me if I'm interrupted I will find an excuse to quit. I can't afford that. Report
I try schedule it but sometimes that's not always possible. When I can get some free time by myself I will do quick workout. I do a couple mini (15-20 minute) workouts when I can squeeze them like before the kids get up, at lunch or at night. Doing these workouts a couple times in the day, leaves me feeling more refreshed. Also, if I only get to do 1 that day I feel satisfied that I was able to do something not skip it entirely. Report
My grandaughter interrups me sometimes. Report
As a mother we all know things can come up at the last minute so if I get inturrupted I usually just put the girls in the stroller and go for a walk to log some miles and get my heart rate up :) Report
My uninterrupted workout is when I used to ride my bike at the beach. It is 120 minutes on uninterrupted time that I thoroughly enjoy. I can not wait for it to get cooler so that I can start riding again at the beach. Report
I hate when I get interrupted when I work out! I normally work out to fitness DVDs at home and sometimes my mum would come in or say something not very supportive beforehand and it would put me in a bad mood! I know some people can work out when they are angry and get rid of stress, but with me, I just get more agitated and can't concentrate so then I p*ssed off I can't do a properly workout but can't go away and relax either! I've had moments when I'd arguments about this with my mum. Not easy! It's just it's hard enough to be disciplined yourself and do the workout / eat the right food but when someone else starts sabotaging your efforts, it can get very annoying! Report
I don't like to get interrupted when I'm working out. I feel antsy, when that happens. I will go back to my workout and finish it though. When I had small children, I used to work out, when hubby, could look after them.
It's when people visit, and I'm in the middle of a workout, that really makes me nuts. lol. Report
Before my dd(2) came back home (see my blogs), I had all the "me" time I needed~in excess. She has only been home a month,so I am trying to nail down a routine now. I sure would like to earn that 10-minute exercise streak challenge badge I signed up for over a month ago. I can't get out of week 1!
Right now I schedule it at naptime, but the little angle keeps switching that up on me too! (sigh) LOL Report
For my fitness activities, I attend classes at the gym. I schedule everything around my classes! Alas, sometimes, the gym is closed--like Monday for Labor Day. I either do something on my own or take it in stride and remember that one day off my routine won't hinder me reaching my goals. The other thing that gets in the way of my fitness routine is this darned knee pain! I find my self forced into lower impact versions of my routine and I hate that! But this is better than no workout! Report
I do mine every morning before they get up. And if I know that I can not fit it in in the morning I will try and do it after they go to bed the night before. Once I start I don't want to stop. I always get yelled at from my daughter away at college because she always seems to call when I am working out and I will not answer the phone until I am done. Report
{Blush} I live alone but I manage to interrupt myself while I'm working out: I don't stay focused and aware of what I'm doing, but think of all the things I could/should be doing and, poof, there I go. It's embarrassing to be unable to accomplish, without outside interruptions, what so many manage to do with them. This blog was a good reminder. Report
I know what you mean when it is nice to not be able to be reached for a while. Between the hubby and kids it is hard not to have an interrupted thought! The kids have started school and I am hoping to complete my workout before they get up. I also have a little time each week when all of them are in school. I hope to use that also. I have been trying to carve out a little one on one time with each of the kids (hard with four) once a week and am trying to spend it doing something active like a walk or such. We will see how that goes. My kids do like biking and I am hoping the weather is cooperative for a while. My personal goal right now is to put aside all other crafty things and such until I have reached my goal. Weight loss for me has been a long thing coming and I am determined not to let it go to the wayside any longer. Good luck to you all and I hope you find solutions to the interruptions that life can bring. Report
I've exercised at home for as long as my kids can remember, so they don't bother me much. But I still prefer to go out to a class or workout at home before they get up. Report
I hate being interrupted during my workouts, so I try to do them outside of the house. In winter, when I'm using my elliptical, I try to exercise after my kids go off to school (all four are teenagers). That way, I get my peace and quiet and can concentrate on ME! Report
I recently had some minor surgery and was not allowed to exercise for a week. It's amazing how your routine can get thrown off in such a short amount of time. I find myself not hopping out of bed to walk before work, and know I just need to get back into the routine. I have exercised most days after work, but that sometimes depends on what time I get home, my hunger level, etc. I definitely need to have an exercise routine. Report
I got interrupted on the treadmill so much by my kids (who are teens) and my husband that I wrote a sign that said "Out running, back at 10:00" that I would hold up when they would try to talk to me. Report
I also try to workout before my husband gets up because he loves to come in and ask quesdtions while I am trying to follow a DVD or video on Sparkpeople. If he does it repeatedly, I shut off the video so he can have my full attention, which is what he wants and then it is super hard to get back on track with where I was. Yes, it is irritating :~( Better to have been a child who doesn't know any better! Report
My weight gain occurred during the 10 yrs I gave birth to 3 children. It just felt too complicated to take care of me & their needs, issues, etc. With no family close at hand for support, it pretty much rested on me, and I didn't know how best to get through the baby / toddler years and take care of myself as well.

Since I went from full time work to full time mom. I didn't have a "routine" to begin with, so there was nothing to work on or find time for. -- Guess it would have been helpful for someone to point me to "Sparks"!?! (Don't think that existed then either. lol)

Sometimes there just are not perfect answers. -- But I will say that this AM I was concerned to see a small infant in a jogging stroller on a rough surface, gravel mix path, getting rattled to pieces as mom went jogging by, pushing the baby. I can't imagine that was a good idea for baby!!? Report
i usually walk/jog with my 2 dogs on leads

but as i am becoming more serious training

i am finding the dogs an interuption to my focus

it's only fair to focus walks for dogs

and let training be training. Report
What works for me is working out first thing in the morning before I go to work. If I wait until after work it almost never gets done. Interruptions by phone calls, roommate wants to chat about her day or unplanned errands. Report
My kids are older now, 5 and 8. It is great because they are more flexible. I can workout on my lunch break, or they will play in the same room while I work out. I try to wait until my husband is home in the evening because it does help! Also, my 5 year old often wants to participate, so we will "exercise" together. Report
First off, I have to commend you on your dedication despite being pregnant, a mother, wife, etc. So many people have excuses but you are proof it can be done! And, absolutely. I totally understand what you are saying. I have found that if I don't work out in the morning before the day really gets going, the chances of me getting a workout in becomes about 30% or less. There are so many distractors. I really love the structure of fitness classes because it is a getaway, I know how long it will last, there are others sweating their butts off, too, etc. Report
I can't workout at home. I go to the basement to workout and before I know it everyone is in the basement too! Dogs, kid, hubby! I cannot be left alone! I've asked and I've asked but I am most always interrupted. So, i head to the gym. Headphones on and no one bothers me. Bliss! Report
I have to admit to being easily annoyed by interruptions to, or disruptions to my workout routine. Right down to being annoyed if someone else snags 'my locker' at the gym, or 'my shower' ... the nerve of some people :) I've since taught myself to focus more on the fact that someone else has come to appreciate the fantastic location I usually choose for my locker, and go to my alternative choice.

Nope, I still don't roll with the changes well - but at least I recognize the problem! Report
I can completely relate! I can't even seem to breathe without getting interrupted! However, having children has made me a much more tolerant person for distractions. I love my kids and if it means getting a few extra hugs or smiles, cutting short or skipping are ok to me. I recently had my 3rd little one and it's been a challenge to stay on a schedule as he is a demanding baby! Slowly the light is showing at the end of the tunnel!! He is finally getting something that resembles a schedule! yay! I take advantage of that when I can! Report
I can truly relate! That time is for me since I only get a little bit of time to myself.
I do not like the interruptions either. Report
I either turn off my phone or leave it at home when I am out walking or running. It is sacred time for me to think, no music, no one to talk to, just me and the dog, I love it. I do enjoy having a walking partner occasionally though. As for my strength exercise at home, these work outs are almost continuously interrupted by my dd, the dog or cat trying to help with Yoga or Pilates, or my hubby. In these cases, I just go with the flow and do what I can. It all is a step in the right direction. Report
My biggest problems seems to be members of a sporting club I run wanting to pop around for a chat about gear or to collect stuff.
Last night for example I had 3 members at 3 times and although they had asked beforehand to come there was no way of fixing a time for any of them. So I ended up working out late which work me up and left me wide eyed in bed till nearly 3am. So today I'm tired which will make todays workout more difficult.
This seems to occur at least once or twice a week.
As I work from home I have the luxury of tailoring my work hours to suit my workout time. On a good day I can slip in 1 or 2 workouts between 9-5 and then work a little later if need be. But it only takes 1 client, or 1 urgent job and that plan goes out the window.
Like yourself, I think my best option is to be up and exercising before the rest of the world realizes the day has started. That certainly works for my wife who is out running or at the gym at 6am while I'm snoring.
Alas, it's going to take a lot of work to get my sleeping sorted out to do this. I've never been a morning person :)
. Report
I get up an hour early to get my workout in before the rest of the household has to get up and ready for school. If I try to plan evening workouts something usually interferes Report
I can't imagine trying to fit a workout in while prego...great job on that! Honestly, I try to get my workouts in without kids too! But not solo...I spend the time talking with my partner...its one of our only times to catch up! Report
I go out running so it's impossible for me to be interrupted and knock on wood, my gym strength workouts have only ever been interrupted once by the childcare staff. Report
I dont mind workouts but like you said its easy to get distracted and then not follow through. I have at least 5 children in my home at any given time and if I dont get the "me" time I need I get depressed. So even if I have to drive somewhere to walk or just read I try to 4 days a week. I about what keeps me sane. Report
I guess I do not have enough dedication to get up that early and exercise. I am not a morning person. I do have a flexible work schedule (most of the time), so I put an appointment on my work calendar and use my "lunch" break to go to the gym. It doesn't always work out, however. If I end up being too busy at work, or at a different location than normal, I very rarely will exercise after work instead. It's almost like I look for excuses not to exercise, even though I know I need to. I don't really like to all that much. Report
I really dislike for my workouts to be interrupted and I really enjoy that time all to myself so I get up at o'dark thirty to get it in. It actually sets the mood for the rest of the day and I seem to make better food choices because I don't want to "undo" all of my hard work. I have a 2YO so sneaking downstairs at 5am is usually the best way to go! Report
I treat my workouts like work meetings. I do everything in my power to not miss one. Years ago I used to exercise at 4:30 in the morning as it was the only time I could squeeze it in! If something prevents me from doing it during my scheduled time I find another way. Sometimes that means working out at 10:00 pm or doing it over lunch (my least favorite time of day) but I do it for me and to set a good example for my two teenage daughters. I get grumpy when I don't exercise! Report
I have a 2 1/2 year old. I too, try to wake up before he gets up to get my workout in. It doesn't always happen, and I am learning to be more flexible. This morning I snoozed away and missed my planned treadmill run, so when my son got up I put him in the jogging stroller and headed outside. I prefer to run solo (hence the early morning treadmill run) but my plan B had to be put into action. On other days I may end up doing a dvd while he naps. Recently his naps have been a fail and I end up finishing the workout as he is playing around me, or on me! It is frustrating, but I also think that it is good for him to see me exercise. Right now he says "mommy stretching" or "mommy going for a run" and my favorite "mommy sweaty." I love it! Report
I run in the mornings around 6 when it's quiet and I don't take my cell phone with me. At that time of day I have no interuptions. I lift weights at night usually when most people are eating supper. I eat earlier so I can work out while others are eating. My workouts are important. Report
I get so annoyed when my workouts are interrupted. I don't have children, but in paranoid moments I think that my professors are teaming up against my fitness efforts. Report
I completely understand. I am a stay at home mom with two toddlers. Usually I can pop a dvd in and they will watch it until I am done. However, there are some days that my workouts are constantly interrupted by the kids or others. I sometimes wait until the kids take a nap and turn off my phone. I also try to let the kids exercise with me. They find it to be fun to try certain stretches. The kids also like the cardio I do such as jumping rope, hula hooping, or dancing. Also, my gym has childcare so that makes things easy for me when I want to workout there. Report
I don't like to be interrupted in my workouts but I will roll with it usually. If I can't get my workout in at my scheduled time I will try to get it in during a different time in the day. If I do skip a workout I will simply move it to my normal "rest day" (I work out 6 days a week). I have an easier time however because my kids are older and if they don't like the fact that I am taking over the TV for my workout time they can suck it up and do something else. Report
I can definitely identify with the frustration of trying to fit in a workout with kids and husband and pets and friends and family getting in the way. I remember a recent time I decided to sleep in and one of my children woke up early and was asking me questions about what I was doing. I was so frustrated and I almost quit for the day. Because he is older I decided to invite him to work out with me. He and I had a lot of fun working out that morning, but when I asked if he wanted me to wake him up the next morning he told me that it was okay now that he knew what I was doing. I used to look for the toddler workout videos when my kids were younger and I would do them with my kids. Now, I have a better idea of what I need to get through a complete work out. I work out in the early mornings. I block out the time. I don't answer the phone. I am fortunate that my kids are older then toddler age and it is much easier for them to understand that I need my time. I also approach each work out with the acceptance that I might not be able to get a full work out in and if I need to break it up into smaller segments to get it all in today that that is okay. Report
My kids are older (5 and 10) and I try to do my workouts when they are asleep or my husband is home to help them with something they might need. Report