Seven years ago, I was far from a fitness professional. I’m not sure I was even fit. Working long hours and traveling weekly, I could not fathom fitting in a workout on most days. I was just “too busy.” After years working at that pace, my happiness had withered and so had my muscle tone. I knew something had to give. That’s when I decided that training for stage would be my first step toward regaining control of my happiness and health. Once I made that decision, I miraculously made time. Was it easy? No. Did I take the stage five months later a happier, healthier, but still busy woman? I sure did.
So, here’s the truth: No one has time. From my experience, even the people whose lives seem cushy and responsibility-free struggle with adding more things to their days. When it comes to finding time to fit in your fitness, or anything else you want, you have to make time. So how exactly do you do it? While each of us struggle to manage own individual time vampires, here are a few strategies that help me FIT IT IN:
First things first. Get your exercise in first thing in the morning before anyone or anything can hijack your day. This may require you to wake up and go to bed a little earlier. Rarely are people at the height of productivity late at night, so if necessary, shift your schedule to make the most of your day.
- To help you hit the ground running in the morning, I recommend: 1) prepping your coffee maker and breakfast the night before, 2) wearing your workout clothes to bed or have them set out, 3) having your workout planned and 4) if you use a fat burner, or some other pre-workout supplement and keep these items on your nightstand to take as soon as you rise.
Manage the workplace (even if you’re not the boss). If you must train in the evening after work, set yourself up so you can leave the office at a reasonable time. It may feel like you are a victim to the whims of clients, bosses and co-workers, but by strategically arranging your day and workload, you can get to the gym regularly.
- Tips to help you get out of the office on time: 1) don’t schedule calls and meetings after 4:00 p.m., 2) make deadlines for projects a few hours before you want to leave the office, 2) complete your most important work tasks early in the day and 4) make it a habit of leaving at the same time each evening.
Plug your time leaks. Track how you are spending your time and determine where you’re wasting it. Are you mindlessly surfing the Internet? Checking Facebook or your e-mail compulsively? Watching hours of television? Talking to that high-maintenance friend for hours? Arguing with your partner over silly things? Complaining? Worrying? Procrastinating? By cutting back or eliminating any of these, you can find at least an hour a day for fitness.
- To do a time audit, record how you are spending your time over three days. Think of it like a food journal for your time. At the end of the three days, add up the hours you spend on each task. Determine if the time spent on each activity is supporting your goals and happiness. If not, adjust your “budget” accordingly.
Get intense. You don’t need hours to sufficiently work out. With high-intensity interval training, you can get an effective strength and cardio session complete in an hour or less.
- A few high-intensity workout ideas: 1) five minutes of treadmill sprint intervals (30-second sprint followed by 30-second rest) between weight-training supersets or 2) add one-minute of plyometric exercises (bu rpees, mountain climbers, high jumps, push-ups, lunges, etc.) into giant sets.
Make the world your gym. Sometimes there just isn’t time to drive to a gym. The good news is that you can run, walk, climb stairs or do plyometric exercises anywhere at any time. One of my clients does a plyometric routine next to her newborn’s crib a few times a day. When I was traveling weekly, I did resistance band training in my hotel room.
- Don’t have an “all or nothing” mindset. Fifteen minutes of exercise a few times a day adds up. Your body won’t know the difference, I promise. Try repeating this “Work-it Wherever” circuit a few times a day: 30 stationary squats, 20 mountain climbers, 10 high jumps, 2-minute “high knees” run in place, 15 push-ups, 50 ab crunches, 10 burpees, 15 lunges (each leg). Repeat for 15 minutes.
A Winning Thought
At the end of the day, one of the most critical factors for consistent fitness success is to believe that you deserve to live healthfully. If you do not, no tips will help you overcome your time deficit. You must let go of the guilt that often comes along with prioritizing yourself, as fitting in fitness is going to make you more effective at everything else you do. I like to say fitness fuels success. So, refuse to neglect yourself for one more day, and proclaim your commitment to good health. Once you have made that resolution, watch out, sister! Nothing will get in your way.