Feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day? A hectic lifestyle is often blamed for keeping people away from their workout goals.Whether you’re a busy professional with a frustrating commute, a parent who’s pulled in several directions, or you’re currently going through something which has turned your routine upside down, it can be easy to let your fitness slide.
But the good news is that healthy living and hectic schedules can co-exist. It’s just a case of knowing how to manage them.The truth is that even the fittest, leanest and healthiest people on the planet are sometimes run ragged by work, family or social schedules. In fact, some of the most successful fitness celebrities, athletes and physical models are busy entrepreneurs.
How do these people still manage to get their workouts done, their healthy meals prepared, and their 8+ hours of sleep every night? They’re not superhuman; they just know how to prioritise, plan and prepare. And now you can, too. Try our seven surefire ways to streamline life for fitness success.
Build movement into your day
Rather than focusing on the workouts you don’t have time to do, focus on how you can build more movement into your day. So you don’t have time to go to the gym. OK, but do you have time to go for a walk? Can you do your local errands on foot instead of driving? Can you do some kind of activity after dinner rather than just watching TV? Gardening, walking the dog, playing with the kids, even housework and decluttering are all valid forms of movement which will add to your daily steps and ramp up your NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis). As far as your body is concerned, it all counts.
Just one snack can set you back several hundred calories, obliterating the good work of several days clean eating. If you’re often on the road, get to know the healthiest go-to food options. Learn which shops, high street chains, motorway services and coffee shops serve healthy choices. Swap lattes, cappuccinos and calorie-laden fancy coffees for tea or coffee with milk (or green tea). Forego biscuits, flapjacks and pastries and instead look for protein options like beef jerky, chicken, or snack packs of seafood. Pret, M&S and major supermarkets are all great; grab a decent portion of protein, a piece of fruit or some ready-chopped veggies, a bottle of water, and a salad with some rice or quinoa, and you’re all set. Calorie-bomb avoided!
Parents of young children will laugh at this advice, but hear us out. There is probably nothing more beneficial for your energy levels, hunger management, cravings control, mood, and even fat loss than sleep. If you regularly feel exhausted during the day, try a short nap. If you’ve got into the habit of making a coffee or grabbing a snack, swap out the time you spend doing that for napping, or even just sitting quietly. You’ll avoid the unnecessary calories and caffeine, and benefit from the rest. It’s the energy you’re body is really seeking.
Workout smarter, not longer
Do you completely give up on workouts as soon as life gets busy because you think you don’t have time? It’s time to rethink your approach. You don’t need to do an hour’s gym session, attend an exercise class, or go on a long run to get an effective workout session. In fact, you don’t even need to go anywhere. Just 20 minutes at home, using your own body weight, can be all it takes to raise the heart rate, burn calories, and ramp up your metabolism. Even if you crave longer workouts, remember that 20 minutes is a lot better than nothing at all. That 20 minutes can be done in the morning before everyone else is awake, in a break from work, whilst the baby naps, or in place of a 30 minute TV show.
Slash sneaky calories
When life is busy, it can feel overwhelming to think about making every meal clean, fresh and cooked from scratch with superfoods. Instead, think about where you can easily trim needless calories. If you eat two biscuits with your mid-morning cuppa, just take one. If you order a cappuccino every morning, go for a filter coffee with milk. If you have a snack after dinner every night, try going without (do something different instead to break the habit). Tiny snips here and there add up.
The best things in life really are free. At least, that’s what the body would say if we learned to listen to it. Water, sleep, rest, walking, getting outside in nature, connecting with friends, meditating, journaling. All of these things will help your body stay in great shape physically, emotionally, hormonally, and even on a cellular level. Don’t try to do them all at once, but pick one or two and work on them for a week. Start with “drink more water” and “get outside more often”. Ah, feels better already, right?
Fill dead time
If you have any dead time in your day, make it work for you. Stuck in traffic? Drink some water. Waiting for the kids to finish after-school club? Make a meal plan for healthy dinners this week. Got 30 minutes to spare before bed? Chop some veggies so you have quick-grab food in the fridge, and make tomorrow’s lunch. You get the idea. Like most busy people, you’re a pro at managing your time, so making the most of any dead time is perfect.
All of these little changes will have a big impact over time. Using your time more productively, making healthy swaps for snacks and meals, and knowing when you can squeeze in some mini workouts or naps all add up to quite a significant lifestyle change. When things get hectic, you don’t have to rule out a healthy lifestyle - you just need to think a bit smarter.
If you’re keen on exercising at home, a foldable treadmill or exercise bike is an ideal purchase, particularly if you want to squeeze in a quick workout for 20 minutes a day. Check out the range available from New Level to make your exercise routine more effective and less hassle.