Ask yourself this question; what’s your excuse? It may be a hard pill to swallow when you’re finally honest with yourself. We all have very busy lives where we’re constantly juggling about a thousand things at once, not to mention the thousand other things on our minds at the same time. But somehow some people mange to find the time to fit everything in. I have read countless magazines, articles and blogs featuring women with full time, high powered careers or who are stay at home moms, married with children, who still find time to hang out with friends, participate in their community and somehow make fitness a priority and thus have amazing bodies. It always amazes me to see these phenomenal women who manage to “have it all”.
So what’s the secret?
Well in reality there doesn’t seem to be one; it all comes down to doing what works well for you and the lifestyle that you want to lead. You have to make the most efficient use of your time to fit in everything that you want to accomplish. But first you have to figure out what you want, which can be pretty tricky. Do you want to be healthy? Do you want to look AND feel good? Do you want to have energy during the day from start to finish? Do you want to be productive? Do you want to be the best possible version of yourself? If you want any of these things (and I hope you do) then you have to make your health a priority. If you are not taking the best care of yourself, then you won’t be able to take the best care of the ones that need you most. Let me explain…
If you are out of shape, inactive, feel tired, sluggish and overworked, then you won’t have enough energy to work your hardest at your job, be active with your children, meet up with friends or enjoy a romantic night with your significant other. Most likely you’ll end up coming home after a long day, ordering in (probably greasy take-out), crashing on the couch in front of the TV and watching another episode of some reality weight loss show, envious of those “lucky” few who have the opportunity to get healthy.
I myself could use any and every excuse available to skip my workouts…and I have many times in the past. It would be so easy for me to use my job, family time, personal commitments, errands or daily chores as reasons for not being active, but I don’t anymore; I’m better than that and so are you. You have to make the time for yourself and include physical activity into your day to make the most of your life.
Here are a few tips for fitting in workouts to your busy schedule:
- Workout in the morning, before starting your day
- The early bird gets the worm, and a morning workout can have enormous impact on your energy throughout the day. This is my personal preference; see below for my workout schedule as an example
- If you have a job or go to school, workout on your lunch break
- If you have a gym membership near your office or school try a lunch hour class or talk to a trainer to help you organize a routine in your allotted time. If you don’t go to the gym go for a power walk outside or if the weather’s bad you can always find a local indoor shopping center or even walk the stairs of your office or school building. Eat lunch at your desk before or after your workout
- If you are out of the house during the day, workout in the afternoon before heading home
- This can be a bit tricky, that’s why it’s important to exercise before you head home where you may get distracted
- Workout at night, after dinner
- This is can also be a big challenge, but if this is the only time that you have then go for it. Prepare dinner for your family a few days in advance to save on time; all you have to do is reheat. Get your spouse to clean kitchen after dinner and to get the kids ready for the next day while you workout
- If you’re crunched for time, you can always break up your workout
- Try 20 minutes in the morning and then another 20 minutes at lunchtime or late afternoon or evening
- Also be sure to consult your health care provider before engaging in a new fitness program
These are just a few options for how manage your time well to incorporate fitness to your lifestyle. Be sure to plan ahead; pack your workout gear ahead of time, make a workout schedule for the week ahead, have a backup workout plan in case of unforeseen events, pack food (pre and post workout meals are essential) and pack extra snacks just in case.
Take time to talk to your family about how your health and wellbeing needs to be a priority and that you will all benefit from a good lifestyle. You can also include your family in fitness as well. Head outside for nice long walk, hike, take your kids to the park and play with them, try a fun class with your spouse like ballroom dancing or salsa, or take a class with a friend like yoga or zumba. I recently started going to a weekly zumba class with my mom and my sister and we have a blast; it’s a great way for us to spend time together and try something fun and healthy. If you prefer to workout at home, pop in a workout DVD or lookup workout videos online, there are tons available for all levels of fitness. If you really can’t find the time to sneak in a workout, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just be sure to move throughout the day; stand up and walk around, stretch it out, use household chores as an opportunity to move too, or you can even blast some music and dance around your house. If you find yourself sitting on the couch watching TV, take the opportunity to try some light yoga poses or even body weight exercises like lunges, squats and crunches while watching your favorite shows.
The point to all of this is that we all lead busy lives whether we have households to run or high powered careers or both, but we all have an obligation to ourselves and our loved ones to be healthy. You can make an active life your reality, find what works for you and get out there!
So, what’s your excuse?
Here’s my sample workout schedule. My current fitness goals are to build muscle and improve my overall endurance and strength. As I mentioned earlier, find what works for you, your schedule and your goals.
Monday – Jogging Outside 30 minutes 6:15 am
Tuesday – Weight Training Upper Body (Biceps and Triceps) 45 minutes at home 6:15 am
Wednesday – Zumba Class 60 minutes 7:00 pm
Thursday – Weight Training Upper Body (Chest/Back/Shoulders) 45 minutes at home 6:15 am
Friday – Jogging Outside 30 minutes 6:15 am
Saturday – Hot Yoga 90 minutes 8:00 am at a local yoga studio or jogging 30 minutes outside
Sunday – Rest
Start It, Finish It