The resolution season is upon us and in full swing. Gyms are now teeming with new customers, salads are being chosen over french fries, and savings accounts are optimistically growing. Almost everyone has at least one objective for the New Year (mine: land a full-time job saving the planet) and one of the most common goals is to be healthier and, in some cases, slimmer. Early in the new year one’s quest for fitness is fueled by excitement and earnest motivation. However, at some point, life begins to get in the way. Time constraints can make it difficult to stay committed to steady workouts for professionals and active individuals.
To start off the new year I thought I would give a few tips that have helped me to maintain a consistent workout schedule through the years.
(Please Note: I am not an expert in physical fitness, diet, or exercise in any way. I have played sports and been into fitness all my life and these are my personal experiences and views).
Split it Up
It’s daunting enough for most people to think of their morning alarm. It’s downright depressing to think of making it an hour earlier in order to fit in a work out. The same goes for the idea of finishing a long work day and then having to hit the gym for an hour; the thought is mentally exhausting. If you’re having trouble finding large blocks of time try breaking your workout into small intervals throughout the day. Try to fit in 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening or a 20 minute walk at lunch with another 15 or 20 minute set at morning or night. There is no rule that says you have to do your entire workout all at once.
Maximize the Intensity
Shorter workouts can be just as effective as long ones if you use your time efficiently. If you only have 30 minutes or left try to add intervals to your workout or do some high intensity training. Interval training can be done on many pieces of gym equipment (treadmill, elliptical) as well as without equipment. Interval training continually raises and lowers your heart rate and can increase calorie burn throughout the day. My personal favorite are the the 13, 20, 25, and 30 minute High Intensity Training interval workouts from Turbofire. Even on my groggiest mornings the 15 minute Turbofire workout is just long enough to wake me up and rev my metabolism but short enough that I’m not rushing out the door.
Instead of taking the entire hour to eat your turkey on rye, try to drop in on a fitness class. Lots of gyms and studios offer mid-day classes that range from kickboxing to yoga. Not only is it a good break from the office but it will also energize you for the rest of the afternoon. This isn’t a viable option for everyone (having to redo my hair makes this unappealing to me personally) but worth trying at least once.
Work at Work
If possible at your place of employment, bring in a few fitness tools to keep at your desk/cubicle. Sitting on a stability ball for a portion of the day will engage your core and help your posture. Keep a kettleball or a set of dumbbells at your desk so you can build lean muscle mass throughout the day, such as during those marathon conference calls. If you’re really ambitious (and have an awesome office) you could invest in a treadmill desk.