When I was a teenager and then newlywed and I had a simple schedule it was easy to make fitness one of my top priorities. As I got older it wasn’t my age or physical state that prevented me from working out as much as it was my responsibilities. Work and my commute took up a good percentage of my time (try 90%) then there was… well sleep, that was another 5% and then I had the remaining 5% to myself to workout. Sound familiar? That last 5% was a nebulous 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there, it wasn’t consistent nor lengthy. I had to make a choice.
No I didn’t quit my job at the time I was a freelance image consultant for television and I wasn’t able to turn work down, I had to make my schedule work. How did I manage to get a workout in 45 minutes of my day? Here’s how:
Make some decisions:
Making your workout a priority is a difficult prospect.. It seems nearly impossible to think that we could possibly fit in one more thing into our schedules. We all have difficult schedules but we need to make some decisions about what we can and what we can’t do. Ask yourself, can you wake up an hour earlier? Can you power pack 15 minutes when you get home? Is it possible to bike to work? Can your spouse make dinner while you go for a 20 minute walk? Can you get a Skype session with your trainer at lunch?
Choose your workout:
There will be times in your life that you will have flexibility in your schedule to warm up, strengthen and stretch (woohoo!). Those times in your life are like precious manna from heaven because the majority of people with a job aren’t as lucky. When you do have time to workout you have to choose which one will be most productive and successful for you. If it’s simply a matter of moving for flexibility and maintaining strength, then you might consider a simple calisthenic plan with maybe 15 minutes of cardio.
If your goal is weight loss you may want to flip the above scenario to include 45 minutes of cardio and 15 minutes of strength training.
Decrease times proportionally with the time you have. The most important feature here is to know what you need. Do you have a weak core? Do you have metabolic syndrome? Are you overly stressed and need to learn how to stretch tight muscles? Or do you feel weak and listless. Basically there is a workout for everything, figure out what you need and create a plan for you to get it.
Most people find keeping a fitness journal to be tedious. Although it may be tedious it will help you to keep track and focus your activities on what’s important. Keeping a fitness journal will also help you see your progress and find moments to celebrate and appreciate your efforts, even when no one else seems to. This is important because you will need to reward yourself at specific predetermined intervals to keep you motivated.
While you are sweating, moving, maybe even swearing at your workout you will need something to look forward to more than to “at least maintain” your fitness and weight levels.
Reward can take many shapes. I like the rewards that take little or no effort or money :) Things like hot herbal baths, reading my favorite book, massage by my husband or getting a pedicure or manicure (nominal $15 or $20 expense). I’ve also been known to disappear on a weekend afternoon to go for labyrinth meditation or a slow hike with a camera. These are things I enjoy maybe you would like to go to a movie, visit a friend, go to a concert or take time to create something. Many enjoy crafts, painting or sculpture. Find something that makes you happy and do it as your reward for taking care of yourself and make a note of that too.
Rewarding yourself will also refuel your energy stores giving your root chakra a boost! This will keep the energy from your root flowing through the rest of those organs associated with the root chakra and that need it like the adrenal glands.
You may have some bigger choices to make aside from your schedule. Your cortisol levels may be artificially elevated along with your blood pressure due to chronic stress. You may be lethargic because your adrenal glands are working over time. Stress can add to multiple hormonal or chemical imbalances that simply can’t be fixed unless you change your job, your location or some other aspect of your life. That’s the worst case scenario, but think about it, in the greater scheme of things what is really more important? Changing your job or keeping the status quo and risk your health? You may have some choices to make.
These are the basics of getting back on track. We all have different priorities at different times but I’d be willing to bet you will never regret paying attention to and taking action for your health. Simply put everyone you love who loves you will understand, everyone else doesn’t matter.
Take the time to perform these steps and let me know how you do!
Blessings on your fitness journey ;)