Balancing Fitness with A Busy Lifestyle

The idea of squeezing in another commitment into your already jam-packed busy schedule not only seems impossible but even thinking about it is sometimes tiring. There are already a million things on the to do list. If we find ourselves in a situation where we are constantly going at full speed while trying to be productive at work, spend quality time with friends and family, trying to do our part in the society as volunteers or managing to take time out to go to the gym --- there is likely a feeling that sets in where we begin to realise that something has to be given up.


While making this decision, giving up workouts is likely the choice of most. The recurring excuse to not hitting the gym is “No Time”. Experts say that this excuse needs to be examined more closely as there are underlying issues behind these two words. Typically, it is lack of motivation, lack of enjoyment, negative associations, fear of failure, fear of embarrassment or even low esteem.


“Most people are in denial about their health”. Says fitness industry icon Richard Simmons. People habitually think that they have all the necessary information that they need to maintain an equilibrium in their lives as regards to work and health. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Busy as we may be, we find it less difficult to take time out for watching a favourite show, being involved in social networking or even day to day tasks. Just like anything else in life --- practice makes perfect.

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Bear in mind that when we talk about fitness, we are not only referring to exercising and working out in the gym. Fitness also incorporates a healthy intake of food and necessary nutrients according to our age and fitness levels. It also involves in preserving a positive environment around us by consciously developing a close social network of friends and family.


With the following tips and strategies, we shall soon master the art of balancing a healthy lifestyle with plenty of time for workouts and socializing without compromising our efficiency at work.


1. Make A Plan:

The best way to make time for anything, and in this case exercise, is to make a written plan. This is a commitment to oneself. Give yourself a week to see which time suits you best for a workout. Once you have a repeated time pattern, then you can add it to your computer or your cell phone this way there are less chances of you to schedule something during that time. Also, when you check the schedule, you will see the set time for your workout. This will help you make a mental picture of when and how you will be exercising thus keeping you motivated as well.


2. Wake Up Early:

As said earlier, many people complain of lack of time. If you don’t have time, then make time! You will be surprised as to how much you can accomplish simply by waking up a couple of hours earlier. And needless to say, if you plan to wake up early you might consider hitting the sack early as well. There is no need to spend mindless time on the television, when you can be getting all the hours of sleep that you need. Set a bedtime and honour it. You will feel refreshed and ready to take on the day with a new energy. Stop telling yourself that you are not a morning person. Start telling yourself that you are. A change in mindset can lead to an amazing result.

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3. Prepare:

Now that the plan has been made and you are up early, it’s time to set aside a day and start the preparation process. It’s really one day where you can write your workout plan in a journal for all the days of the week. You can start meal prepping the breakfast, lunches and even snacks. This helps in a healthier choice of food when you are on the go. If you already brought lunch to work, there are less chances for you to grab junk food with your co-workers. You can even meal prep your breakfasts with all the overnight chia pudding or overnight oatmeal recipes with hundreds of variations on the net. Preparing a healthy grocery list ensures that you always have a guilt free choice of snack at home or at work. If you are planning to go out with friends for dinner, you can either plan an earlier workout or even check the menu online to explore alternative healthy options.


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4. Pair With A Workout Buddy:

There will be days when you will need an extra push to get your workout in. And for that you need a fitness friend. Not only will this friend give you the right dosage of motivation when you are low after a hectic day, but will make going to a fitness class fun as well. You will each be accountable to each other and will work side by side. This buddy could be a colleague, a neighbour or friend. Even if you do not have any friends who share the same fitness enthusiasm, you can always make some nice ones at the gym or in the workout class that you enjoy. Having likeminded people can be a true inspiration and soon you will look forward to your classes at the gym.


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5. Establish An Effective Workout Routine:

When time is limited, go for maximum intensity routines. You can make a few changes to bring your fitness workout to its peak effectiveness. Modify the number of reps, decrease the rest period between the sets, incorporate compound movements, increase the amount of weight you lift and most importantly consider interval training as that extra boost of adrenaline in your fitness circuit.


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By minimising the rest period and including compound movements – exercises that use several muscle groups – the workout intensity increases and so do the training effects. Not only will you burn calories during the workout, but also after you have left the gym.


6. Make The Most Of Your Screen Time:

First of all, do not aimlessly surf the cable channels. Find out reviews from friends who share your interest in similar TV shows or movies. Click directly to the desired program. While you do watch TV, make the most of it. Be an active watcher. Do some crunches, push ups, lunges, squats or planks during the show or when the commercials come on. Keep some equipment like a kettle bell, resistance band or jumping rope near the couch. This way you can add in a bit of cardio as much as you can. Remember, even these five to ten minutes will benefit you in the long run and are good at establishing positive habits. You will find yourself making minor additions of mini workouts like these even at work.


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7. Make Habits of Lifestyle Changes:

This is perhaps the most important of all aspects. “Do a new task every single day for 21 days and you have created a habit”, says Alwyn Cosgrove, co-owner of Results Fitness in California. Adding that the right habits “can change your life”. And it all starts with a positive thinking and positive attitude. Psychologists suggest that reinforcing positive self-talk patterns leads to a powerful way to support healthier life choices.


Even if your day is packed with meetings and commitment and is crazy busy, you can absolutely take out at least five minutes for yourself. This small act of self-care goes a long way. “It’s OK to start very-very small” Says Richard Simmons, the fitness guru. “You have to start somewhere”. Soon a five-minute walk can turn into a 30-minute brisk walk in a few weeks.


8. Find Inspiration: 

Work in a few moves while doing everyday household chores. Diedre Pai is a mom of two little girls under the age of five. While balancing her everyday tasks and two active kids, she creatively includes a few exercise steps. While picking up toys, towels, food and even her baby off the floor or carpet, she increases her glute and leg strength by doing squats instead of bending at the waist. Whenever she picks up her kids, she does few lifts. Sure, to get a few laughs as well. Running after the kids is workout enough when they are outside, but adding a few lunges in between the running helps her engage in the interval training that she looks forward to.


9. Be Consistent With Your Personality: 

Part of the reason that we find it to workout is that we are not focusing on the right workout that is befitting our personality. Do not engage in classes just because they are popular or a friend is doing them and loves them, instead, analyze your lifestyle and personality to find a routine that suits you. Once you understand your fitness personality, you will be able to identify activities that you actually enjoy and look forward to. Thus, squeezing them into your schedule will not be as hard.


10. Adjust Your Habits: 

While traveling, pack a few favorite gym clothes and as soon as you see them it sends signals to your brain that you intend to make time for exercise. Again, it doesn’t have to be like an hour at the gym, but a good 15-20 minutes of swimming laps, or running up and down the hotel stairs can complete the task for the day. Doing a plank achieves the same goal.

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Make a habit to get up and walk around during an anticipated long phone call. God knows, you need to stretch your legs and a few steps can help achieve the daily step count. Before you know it, your pedometer is flashing your achieved target steps. Taking a longer route while going to grab some coffee, or walking an extra block to a deli further down the road will never be regretted.


Adopt a do it yourself mentality. Ditch machines and start doing work by hands. This might include raking leaves, pushing the lawn mower, even shoveling snow. You will find yourself sweating hard even in sub-zero temperatures.

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These simple day to day actions alone can give you focus and direction. The reason most people do not act is that their goals are either overwhelming or not inspiring. So, pick something that you enjoy and really want to do. These days people have less time ever than before. Fitness often becomes an afterthought, pushed aside for more pressing tasks. But if you make whatever time you have on hand efficient and put it to best use, you can slowly reintroduce fitness back into your routine. Seeing healthy results in your general health and well-being will further reinforce your efforts, leaving you with more time to enjoy, socialize and explore other interests.

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