Working out can be challenging on the best of days, and that’s given there’s enough time to actually squeeze in a workout. Between a busy work schedule, life admin and maintaining a social life, it can feel like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. But we’ll clue you in on a secret, there are. Here’s how you can fit exercise into an action packed schedule.
Make Exercise a Priority
Block out the time in your calendar to exercise, similarly to how you would schedule a meeting or appointment. This is about finding a time that works for you and sticking to it. Make exercise a non-negotiable part of your daily or weekly schedule.
Overcome Decision Fatigue
Throughout the day, we experience decision fatigue. The more decisions we make throughout the day, the more fatigued the brain becomes, and so the quality of our decision-making may suffer as a result. The ‘eat the frog’ concept is a strategy, popularized by the personal development author Brian Tracy, to overcome this.
The concept derives from a quote by Mark Twain, ‘eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.’ By eating the frog, or tackling the most challenging task early in the morning when we have the most mental energy, we can avoid delaying the task.
The same applies when making the decision to exercise. You may find it easier to stick to an exercise regime first thing in the morning rather than in the evening when you’re mentally and physically exhausted. Plus, you’ll gain a sense of accomplishment and momentum to carry you through the day.
Set Yourself Up For Success
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Make working out as easy as possible so that you’re less likely to bail on a workout on the days that you’re not quite feeling up to it. This can be as simple as packing your gym bag the night before, pre-booking a workout class or leaving your trainers by the front door.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by periods of low-intensity recovery. HIIT workouts typically range from twenty to thirty minutes, but can be performed for up to an hour.
Most importantly, it’s a great workout if you’re on a tight schedule as you can achieve similar benefits to endurance running, for example, in a much shorter amount of time. HIIT training produces excess post-oxygen consumption (EPOC). This increases your resting metabolic rate for the following twenty-four hours after a session, meaning you not only increase aerobic capacity in a shorter time period but keep burning fat hours after you finish your workout.
There are a variety of different types of HIIT you can do. Tabata, for example, involves performing a single exercise for twenty seconds at maximum effort followed by ten seconds of rest. This cycle is typically repeated for a total of eight rounds per exercise. AMRAP, by contrast, involves performing as many rounds as possible of a set of exercises within a specified time frame.
Switch Up Your Routine
Adapting your lifestyle can allow you to get the heart pumping even on the busiest of days. These changes can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the lift, or parking further away from your destination to get those steps in. We took a look at some of the key wellness trends for this year and found micro workouts to be among the top five. These are low bouts of intensity activity that are carried out through the day. These workouts can range from a quick set of push ups whilst waiting for the kettle to boil to a brisk walk to the local coffee shop. Small bursts of activity throughout the day can add up to a significant amount of exercise across the course of the week.
Find an Accountability Buddy
Partnering up with an accountability buddy is a great way to stay consistent with your workout regime. The clue is in the name, they hold you accountable. The phenomenon of accountability is related to the idea of social support and influence.
When we feel that others are counting on us to follow through, we are far more likely to honor those commitments than one that we’ve made to ourselves. Buddying up not only increases consistency, but transforms working out into a social occasion. Been meaning to catch up with a friend over coffee? Trade that coffee break for a gym date to maximize your time.Look and feel good during your next workout session in our Women’s Workout Shorts.