It’s back to school season, at least it is while I’m here writing this, which probably means one of two things:
You are overjoyed to have free time to go back to working out…
You are now busier than you’ve ever been, or so it seems.
Staying fit doesn’t have to mean spending hours in the gym! Here are my top five ways to fit in fitness, even when you’re really, really busy.
1. Set the timer for 10 minutes.
Pick one thing and do it for 10 minutes. Walk, do push-ups or jumping jacks, (take some breaks, but not too many), or try a 10-minute circuit like 4 rounds of:
- 30 seconds of jumping jacks
- 30 seconds of push-ups
- 30 seconds of mountain climbers
- 30 seconds of lunge walk
- 30 seconds of break
(grab the interval timer app if you need help with timing)
That workout might not be right for your level of fitness, so always check with your health professional before changing your fitness routine.
2. Do squats and push-ups in the bathroom.
Not kidding. Every time you take a restroom break, do 10 squats and 10 wall push-ups. No one has to know, and the results will be real. You can even vary your grip on the push-ups (wide, narrow, diamond…) and throw in some plie squats (toes out) from time to time. I really did this at every single one of my jobs, until I started squatting and doing push-ups for a living. No one ever knew.
For that matter, you can lunge walk along the sidelines while Billy is at football practice, or at least practice your good posture while you’re stuck waiting in the car. You might even find that it makes sense to keep a couple of light dumbbells or a resistance band in your car if you do a lot of child-shuttling so that you can do some bicep curls, shoulder presses, or other strength moves while you’re waiting.
3. Don’t throw in the towel.
When you’re tired, busy, and haven’t worked out, a 5lb vat of mac and cheese can sound REALLY comforting. Keep fitness alive in your life by staying hydrated and eating healthy, nourishing, vibrant meals even if you missed a workout or two, even if they’re takeout meals.
4. Have fitness dates
I’m not going to tell you to have a walking meeting at work, because WHO IS DOING THAT? WHO? I want pictures, and not just stock photos of happy executives strolling down a hallway. However, you CAN build fitness dates into your regular social activities like:
- adding a 5 minute walk to your Starbucks meetup (just stroll around the shopping center claiming you need to get a gift for Aunt Gertrude, your friend doesn’t have to know)
- adding a stroll to your time at the mall, or doing the cliche park far away thing…and at the Galleria, you might not have a choice about parking anyway!
- talk your friend into taking a loop around Memorial Park with you, or make use of any of the other cool trails near downtown Houston (there’s one in the Heights in addition to Heights Boulevard, there’s North/South Boulevard, there’s the newly renovated Buffalo Bayou park…all within 5 minutes of Tiny Fitness)
- trick your especially fit friend into joining you for spin, Zumba, or bootcamp instead of just drinking wine together. The wine will taste better after an hour in spandex.
- get the family involved, if applicable
- beer pong is not a fitness activity
- that bike-and-beer thing is only marginally fitness-related…
5. Find the time that works for you.
There’s no universal best time to work out. Maybe you HATE the idea of sweating on your lunch break, or maybe it would work for you to close the door to your office/kitchen/RV and have a 20 minute solo cardio dance party (I literally used to do that at work – let me know if you want my playlist!). Maybe you can safely wake up an hour early to fit in a personal training session, or maybe sleep is the most precious currency in your world right now and you can’t possibly sacrifice a single second. Maybe you can get to the pick-up line early and walk a lap around the school before you pick up your child, or maybe you guys can take a lap around the block together once you get home – your kiddo can tell you about their day and shake out some extra energy, and you snuck in your workout.
Free yourself from the idea that a workout has to last a certain amount of time, happen at a set time of day, or look a certain way, and look for the 5- or 10-minute windows that would make sense for you to fill with a fitness activity.
Need help coming up with something to do with your workout windows?
Schedule even a single personal training session with me and we can develop some quickie home workout routines that will be just right for you.
10 minutes a day = success
Whatever you do with your 10 minutes – goal-setting, workout out, healthy cooking, stretching – don’t let a day go by without acknowledging the 10 minutes you spent getting closer to your health and fitness goals. In this lifelong journey, there are definitely busy seasons, but there is a way to fit in 10 useful minutes every day, and that’s still more than an hour each week – plenty of time to help you take the tiny steps that will become your big results.