You’re busy. We get it. Here’s how to get in shape, even when you’re short on time.
Everyone’s busy with their own agenda – work, personal life, dating, social obligations, you name it. Being an adult means making appearances, being a thousand places at once and sometimes our workout time, the one time specifically designated for making ourselves healthier, is the first to go. It can be hard to make time to get in shape. We understand, but no other pursuit can have as much of a positive ripple effect on every other aspect of your life, as taking the time to get fit.
But whether it’s for your health or your own person reasons, getting in shape ( or maybe getting back in shape) means working harder toward your goal. If you’re short on time, but still want results, you’ve got to work smart. That’s where we come in.
Best Way to Get in Shape
“No matter what else happens today, I WILL take a half hour for myself and fitness goals.”
Even if that’s all you can take, even if it’s less, 15 minutes of physical activity is always better than putting it off another day. We all know this inherently, but read it, print it, post it, write it, repeat it–whatever you have to do. Just absorb this fact: you do have time and your health is worth it.
OK, that’s out of the way. Let’s keep moving. So maybe that’s not you, maybe you used to work out but lately you’ve just fallen off the wagon. Is this you?
“I’ve been active most of my life but I’m having trouble sticking to a plan, I just don’t know how to get back in shape.”
People focus on the past a lot when it comes to where they want to be in the future with their fitness goals. “I used to be so skinny, I used to be so toned, I used to be so fit,” etc. Let’s stop doing that to ourselves. If you want to get in shape, focus on moving forward, you’re never going to look like you did ten years ago, instead you can look even better and be healthier.
Now, what if you’ve got a few extra pounds hanging on?
It’s no secret that in today’s society, this takes a toll on our self-esteem. The reality is, we all have something about our appearance that we’d rather change. By committing some of each day to improvement, we build character, which is the real foundation of confidence—much more so than our actual appearances. Will you feel great when you get in shape? Definitely. Still, fitness is a journey not a destination and it is the road that builds confidence and helps us feel good in our own skin.
Getting Back into the Swing of Things.
To get you started, we’ll show you the best technique to make the most out of your time exercising. We’re all busy, so let’s waste as little time as possible, and get the greatest return we can. This means combining exercises in the right order, and also carefully selecting movements that work large portions of the body’s total muscle mass.
So let’s get to planning YOUR workout, instead of following a standard weight training workout six times a week, try this. Three times during the week, execute a thirty-minute workout that focuses on resistance, using mostly bodyweight exercises like pushups and squats. Feel free to add dumbbells if you have them.
Now here’s the key!
With each workout, you should add in some interval exercises, drop-sets (dropping to a lighter weight when you fatigue), or supersets (jumping straight to a different exercise). By adding intervals, drop sets and supersets, you get more out of your time in the gym, plain and simple. The key is to work different muscle groups OR opposing muscle groups, so that the muscles you just worked get a rest period during your next set. This way you can get in shape with less total time spent “in workouts.” For example, here are some splits you can use at home for super productive training to help you get in shape, even short on time:
- Pushup / Squat (Rounds of 12 reps per exercise)
- Seated Tricep Dip / Alternating Reverse Lunge (Rounds of 12 and 24)
- Burpee / Wall-sit (6 burpees, 30 second wall sit per round)
- Complete 2 rounds of each superset pairing.
- Modification: perform exercises singly, followed by an immediate 50m sprint.
Using intervals means finishing your pushups and jumping straight to tuck jumps, your next exercise or a sprint. This can be performed inside on a treadmill or, if you’re feeling it, go outside. Aim for each session to last 20-25 minutes, plus a 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up to get loose.
Now,at least once a week, incorporate in a 60-minute walk. It doesn’t have to anything hardcore – we aren’t asking you to go sprinting up and down hills and mountains for an hour. In fact, this could be a peaceful walk with your family or friends. All bodybuilding and gains chasing aside, regular walks are excellent for your stress levels—which is key to your health and great for building muscle—boom.
The best part about this? Most of this can be done at home or outside without equipment, travel time or gym memberships. And you can get in shape while making your own schedule. If you aren’t able to do the 60-minute walk after work one day, wake up a little earlier the next day and do it then. Trust me on the walking.
By creating a plan either with your bodyweight or using the weights you have at home, you won’t lose any time going back and forth from the gym. You can get in shape in less time spent on workouts, from home! This way you’ve removed one more excuse from your busy life that can hinder you when you want to get in shape.
You get to do it all at home or outside! How convenient is that? Even the craziest of schedules have room for this plan because you’re already at home, or heading there. Sometimes success is about creating the path of least resistance in a productive way.
When necessary, adjust your workout days as you see fit, especially if you’re super busy. Even the most demanding schedules can fit in this type of simple routine. But these exercises DO pay dividends. Exercising even 3-4 times a week incorporating body weight exercises and compound movements is enough to begin a shift in your lifestyle. You’ll find yourself WANTING to train more as your results emerge and encourage you further to get in shape.
So now you’re good to go, right? Nope. There’s another piece to efficient training and getting in shape, your nutrition. You can’t solve the puzzle without all the pieces.
Exercise is a huge aspect of staying fit and healthy – but so is nutrition. Let’s think about a normal day for you. When you’re super busy, you might not have time to prepare healthy meals. You want fast, quick meals that you can eat on the go and keep moving. This is one of the most common pitfalls in nutrition today. Why? Because most restaurant food is not healthy and we order with our eyes not our fitness-focused brains on the warpath to get in shape.
This isn’t going to work. But neither is a diet that consists of just broccoli, chicken and protein shakes/bars, you’re still a human. This is especially true if you have a family you come home to; kids might not be all about the kale kick. And odds are, your kids probably don’t want to slurp down a protein shake to start the day. So complete diet dictatorship is out. This means you’ve got to choose some healthy pillars to install and set guidelines around your food, even if you can’t always meet them 100%. Want a couple to start? Cut refined sugars and white starches–completely. These aren’t the easiest two to begin with, but do have the biggest impact when you’re trying to get in shape.
Pick up a few healthy habits here and there and these will steadily displace your old ones to help you get in shape.
When you start your new exercise program, you should already have your food planned out, making sure that you have balanced meals available containing complex carbs (mostly from vegetables and fruit), natural fats and lean proteins.. Also, add in a daily multivitamin and fish oil. Next, you want to make sure that you get that post-workout meal in your body as close to half hour after your workout as you can—the sooner the better.
After the first two weeks, make it a goal to add some kind of new healthy habit into your life every 14 days. It could be anything – how you eat food (on the go vs. sitting down and taking your time with home-cooked meals), what you decide to eat, the total amount you decide to eat, or even when you decide to eat (like cutting out those midnight snacks).
All of these are small changes – but that’s the point. They are changes and you’re adding in something new every 2 weeks. And a huge factor – you aren’t making impossible changes that are unsustainable. The best plan? The one you’ll stick to.
Think about this over the long-term – within a year, you’re going to be eating completely differently than how you used to be. If you want to get in shape, your diet has to match your goals.
Busy? Relax Anyway, It Matters
This one is easily the most overlooked by busy go-getters today. If you don’t make time to relax, your increased levels of cortisol will result in more storage of body fat. So, besides worrying about trying to get in shape, Stress also contributes to around 75% of all human illness. So, fight for your work-life balance and TAKE time to relax, move and be free.
Let’s start by not overthinking our workout time. Be free and flexible and always adapt and try new things. No matter how many health magazines, bodybuilding newsletters or advice columns you read, the number one factor in determining the effectiveness of a workout plan? You.
When you have a million things to do, it’s easy to let our focus be on everyone else’s needs, but let’s not forget that in order to help others, we must first help ourselves.
In order to manage all of the demands of your life, family, friends and job, you need your body and mind firing on all cylinders. How do we achieve that? Regular intense physical activity and clean eating.
If you think you don’t have time for your health and fitness, consider this: what if you could shave just a few seconds off of every task throughout the day by being more efficient and clear headed? Wouldn’t that save you time? Well, your brain works better with exercise, so you can actually SAVE yourself time, by making time to exercise and get in shape. Not to mention looking better and being healthier internally are great bonuses.
So ask not if you have the time to workout, but whether you can afford not to get in shape. There’s no better time to start than now!
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