Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! With 2018 right around the corner, I know many of you will be making “New Year’s Resolutions”. It is so easy to follow that resolution for a few weeks, but then get caught up in the craziness of life and forget all about it when February rolls around. Have no fear! I have a few tips for you on how to stay active even when life gets hectic.
When I was in college (a whole 6 months ago), it was easy for me to wake up at 5:00am and walk down the road to workout at the gym beside my apartment. Fast-forward a few months, and I am married, working, and a good 15 minutes away from the closest gym. How can I keep up my workouts? Here a few tips I use to help me stay on track. If you fall, get back up and try again. We all struggle with different things, but perseverance and encouragement can help us meet our goals.
Tip 1: Build time in your schedule.
The great thing about having a busy schedule is that you are in control of it! Find time in your day at least 4 days a week for 30 minutes. It can be as simple as getting out your calendar and penciling in your workout regimen. Writing down your workout goals in your day book or calendar can really help you stick to it so you can form that exercise habit and see results. Remember that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so get going!
Tip 2: Pick an exercise plan that you will love.
Personally, I love all types of exercise, but I have grown to appreciate them. I used to hate lifting weights, but now I love it and do it at least 3 times per week. The point is that you will be more likely to stick to your exercise plan if you choose something you enjoy doing. Of course, I am a promoter of Zumba Fitness (my personal gateway to fitness), but that is because I am an instructor, and I love it! I have a story with Zumba, but it is not for everybody. I really do not like biking, so guess what? I do not bike…not now anyway. Find what you enjoy doing and can do for at least 30 minutes four days a week. When you do something you love, it will not seem like “exercise” at all, and you will be looking forward to it. This will be a great tool for you.
Tip 3: Get an accountability partner.
In other words, get a workout buddy! This is someone who can encourage you to keep it up. Find time a few times a week to exercise with this person. This person can help motivate you to make time for exercising with them. I have had several accountability partners for many different things. For instance, the picture below shows my cousin and I completing a half marathon. She helped me through my first half, and encouraged me when I did my second.
Tip 4: Take a recovery day.
This is so important. Give your muscles a break. When I first began my exercise journey, I was obsessed with getting fit-fast that I never let my muscles rest. Because of that, I put some permanent damage on my knee and had physical therapy help me strengthen it back. Taking a recovery day is vital to your muscles as they repair from your workouts. You can still be active on these days, but be careful to allow enough time for healing.
Tip 5: Stay hydrated and fueled.
Of course, I had to give my dietitian tip. In order to “make gains” or “lose weight”, ya gotta eat and drink…there is just now way out of it. Without food and water, you will be sluggish and tired and not motivated to workout, which encourages the excuse “I am too busy”. Trust me. I have been there. Drink a few bottles of water before and after your workout (preferably during the day) that way you will be nice and energized for your workout. Avoid those sugary sports drinks unless you are getting over an hour and a half of exercise. They add unnecessary calories that your body really does not need for an hour or less workout. Drink your water. Eat your nutrient dense, whole grains, fruits, and veggies throughout the day, and if you are lifting heavy loads in the gym, you may want to look into adding a little more protein to your diet.
There you have it–five simple, yet easy ways to add exercise into your busy schedule. Make it a part of your life, not just an accessory you try on from time to time. You can pick one tip to try, or go the extra mile and do all five. Let me know in the comments section if it helped you!