The last time I was really fit, I was doing something like this:
|1||Long ride||5-6 hours||330|
|1||Long run||1 hour||60|
|4||Short rides||40-50 minutes||180|
|3||Short runs||20-40 minutes||90|
|3||Lifting/stretching sessions||30 minutes||90|
Which comes out to just over 100 minutes per day on average.
Now, it's possible a fit 100 minutes of exercise into a day when you're also working at a job. Lots of people do. I tried all manner of optimizations and efficiencies. The "short rides" were made into my commute, which was only a few minutes longer by bike than by car--basically, I got that workout for free. The short runs were easy to fit in. The resistance exercise was harder, but I managed, getting to the fitness center before work at least a couple of times a week.
That long ride, though, was a real sticking point. It was really only possible to do that on a Saturday or Sunday, which left it vulnerable to the weather. The long run was a little more flexible--it was theoretically possible to fit a long run in after work, but I was usually too tired after work to actually do so. When the weather cooperated, I'd do the long run early on a Saturday morning. That gave me a full 24 hours to recover before doing the long ride Sunday morning. Of course, the weather didn't always cooperate.
The big advantage of not working a regular job ought to be that I can exercise anytime I want. In the spring, I can run in the afternoon when it's warm. In the summer I can run in the morning when it's cool. I can pick the nicest day of the week for my long ride (minimize the chance of being caught miles from home in a thunderstorm) and then organize the rest of the week's workouts around that.
I say "ought to," because I haven't taken full advantage so far. Last summer I was still working until the end of August, and then I was trying to focus on my novel while still cranking out four or five Wise Bread posts a week. I tried to get the running habit set up in the fall so that I could continue it through the winter, but didn't really manage it.
Now, though, it's spring, and I've decided to make exercise--that is, fitness--my number 1 priority. I'm not in shape to manage the workout I describe above--I can barely run for 20 minutes and just a 2-hour bike ride leaves me sore and tired. But I know from experience that things improve very quickly from this point. I should be able to do some real exercise by the end of June, and back to my old levels of fitness by late summer.
The thing that slips to the number 2 priority is the writing. I suspect, though, that this won't mean less writing. I know that 100 minutes a day for exercise is enough to get me fit, and I'm pretty sure that I can spare 100 minutes a day from sitting in front of the keyboard without cutting into the quantity of my writing (and it'll probably help the quality).