Too Busy to Workout?

Get a Life!

We get it. We’re all busy…

…sometimes too busy to squeeze in a workout—until something breaks or shuts down. And, if you’ve ever lost part of your health and wellbeing, even temporarily, you know it clouds everything else you do—or can’t do. So, it’s not rocket science, but here are some tips on making fitness a way of life versus a periodic thing.

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  1. Be Consistent – Build a Habit

Getting and staying fit is not an episode or a season in your life; it’s a way of life. Many years ago we worked with a trainer to build an on-the-road workout regiment. We travel the globe and wanted exercises we could do anywhere, anytime. In other words, no excuses. She said, “Carve out 20 minutes a day for a workout. If you can’t find 20 minutes in your day you have a big problem.”

Here’s the thing, it’s easier to build a workout habit of 20 minutes a day than it is to get into the hour-or-nothing mode. And it’s easier to be intense, to give it your all for 20 minutes.

No exercise program works if you don’t do it consistently. Establish the 20-minute habit and then build on it.

“Getting and staying fit is not an episode or a season in your life; it’s a way of life.

2. Do the Right Things

Keep it simple. Most trainers agree that you need to incorporate three things in your routine: strength training to maintain or increase muscle density, cardio to expand heart and lung capacity and stretching.

  1. You Gotta Sweat

Even if you are walking 20 minutes a day, walk at a pace the causes you to break a sweat. We’re amazed at the number of people we see in hotel gyms who read the newspaper while walking on the treadmill. They are often overweight. If you’re not sweating stop wondering why your workouts are ineffective—you have the answer.

4. Make it Fun

If it’s not fun you probably won’t do it, let alone build a habit. If it is, exercise will become a way of life. Whether it’s biking, swimming, walking, running, dancing, interval training, cross fit or something else, keep experimenting until you find what you enjoy. Make it something you look forward to versus something you detest.

5. Make it Convenient

You don’t need fancy exercise gear, gimmicky equipment or expensive gym memberships to get fit. There are literally hundreds of exercises that can be done using your own body weight (sit-ups, crunches, push-ups, squats, and lunges, etc.) in very little space. Some of the most popular workout series (P90X, Insanity Focus T25 and PiYO) work every part of the body with little or no equipment. Rock climbing and skiing might be high on your list, but if you don’t live in the mountains find something that’s easy to get into, something you can do every day.

6. Consider Your Schedule

Some people know that the day will get away from them if they don’t get a workout in, in the morning. Others use an end-of-the-day workout to dispel stress and get a good night’s sleep. Some people are morning people and wake up with lots of energy, others don’t. Try to find a combination of what fits your schedule and when your body has the most energy. This also ensures that you will show up and get the most out of your exercise when you do.

7. Be Realistic–Focus on Getting Better

Nothing will kill your commitment and resolve faster than being unrealistic about your goals. This is not about perfection it’s about showing up. Who cares if you can’t run a 5K right out of the chute? Who cares if you can’t bench press 200 pounds or swim 10 laps? The important thing is to START and then concentrate on just getting better—adding time, distance, weight and intensity. This is a way-of-life mindset.

8. Find Some Buddies

Whether you walk, run, spin, dance or lift, find some people who share your goals for making fitness a way of life. Perhaps it won’t be the same person every time, spread the wealth. There is a lot of research to suggest that you become more like the people you hang with, so why not team up with people you can encourage and who will encourage you toward a healthier lifestyle? When you hang with people who are into health, wellness and nutrition, who walk the talk, it can motivate you to do the same.

We have a dear friend who holds meetings with people during walks around the lake. As an aside, we know another executive who holds meetings in a room with no chairs. It tends to focus the discussion and make the meeting much shorter.

9. Listen to your body

As you experiment, listen to your body, it will tell you what works. All of our adult lives Jackie has been a fitness fanatic and has done many different kinds of workouts. But when she discovered spin and later cycling she really lost inches and toned while gaining good muscle weight. Spinning just works for her on two dimensions. First it yields the desired physical results and second, she absolutely loves doing it. 

10. Call on the gurus

Whether you are just starting or have been working out for a long time, advice from a seasoned trainer can be worth its weight in gold. A good trainer will build variety into your workout and keep it interesting, not to mention hold you accountable and help you establish a habit. If you want to get more for less, that is more results in less time, a trainer can show you how to isolate muscles, expand your cardio capacity and get a better stretch to get a bigger bang for your buck.

10.5 Don’t Get in a Hurry

Be patient. Too many people get discouraged and give up when they don’t see results right away. Or, they overdue it and get extremely sore or get hurt and then throw in the towel. Our friend Jerry Warren, one of the foremost ski instructors in the world, says this about skiing, “If it feels the same it probably is the same.” In other words, if it doesn’t feel new, fresh and a bit awkward, you’re probably not changing and growing much.

The same could be said for workouts. If you’re not a bit sore and taxed, you’re probably not doing much. Balance and moderation are they keys. Press enough to get out of your comfort zone, but be patient enough to stay in it for the long haul.