How To Find Time For Exercise + A Total-Body Gym Workout

[image via Know Your Meme]

Monday marks my third week at The Active Times and my new weekly schedule of working the “nine to five.” So far, I’ve loved every minute of working there. I’ve written lots about running, fitness, and even traveling and I can’t wait to keep contributing more content.

FYI: You can see all of my articles right here!

Since my office no longer doubles as the place where I also work out (#benefitsofbeingapersonaltrainer), aside from acclimating to an entirely new work environment, I’ve also had to completely re-adjust my workout routine. I haven’t had a job with a traditional 9-5 schedule in almost 2 years, and until now I’ve always had a workout space readily at my disposal and a super-flexible schedule. So in a lot of ways, this re-adjustment was like learning to ride a bike without training wheels again.

My “figure out how to fit your workout into your less-flexible work schedule” muscles hadn’t been flexed in quite some time. So, starting on my very first day at The Active Times I put them right to work by waking up early to go for a run. This helped me form the habit of running before work three days a week right off the bat.

Running makes working out during the week easier, because all I have to do is get out the door and go. But successful and healthy running needs to incorporate cross training too. One of my challenges has been fitting in a few visits to the gym for strength training, yoga, and cycling during the week as well. Which, I’ll be completely honest, isn’t the easiest thing to do.

I find it easier and more invigorating to get up and workout before work. But that’s not to say that it’s actually easy. Just easier. Personally, getting myself back out the door, whether it’s to run or go to the gym, after work is an even bigger challenge. Everyone knows both sides of the spectrum are pretty much equally just as hard though, so below are my tips for fitting exercise into your schedule no matter when or how you want to workout.

Find Time for Exercise

1. Have a routine but don’t do the same thing everyday.
Right now, my routine consists of running 3 miles on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the morning before work and either yoga or cycling at the NYC Reebok Sports Club (which I was graciously granted a month-long membership to for their 18-year anniversary through FitFluential) after work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I like having a routine, but I also need variety. If I were to run in the mornings every single day I’d probably get sick of it and eventually stop out of boredom. Also, too much running without any cross training isn’t ideal for our bodies. So I figured out how to incorporate the gym into my schedule too. Because of where it’s located, for me it’s easier to get to the gym after work. Planning out a routine that works in your favor is key. After all, the goal is to make the entire process easier.

Routines are good, but don’t keep the same one for more than a month or two. Our bodies take time to adapt to new training regimens, but after that they need to be challenged in new ways if we want to keep progressing forward with our fitness. So come up with a new plan that you can commit to every 4-8 weeks.

2. Prepare for your workouts ahead of time.
If I’m planning to run in the morning, I lie my running clothes, GPS watch, and sneakers at the edge of my bed at night before I go to sleep. The first thing I do when my alarm goes off is get dressed. Even though the prospect of sleeping in is so much more enticing (especially in the winter when the weather is chilly!), once I’m dressed and my shoes are on getting out the door doesn’t seem so daunting anymore.

If I’m planning on heading to the gym after work, I pack my workout clothes in my bag the night before. This is important for two reasons. One, I won’t forget to bring them with me in the morning and two, I can go to the gym straight from work. I don’t know about you guys, but if I let myself go home first the chances that I’ll collapse permanently onto the couch are much higher than getting to the gym for an evening workout. But that’s just me. Find a flow that works for you.

3. Write your workouts down in your calendar.
This addresses the fact that your schedule might change from week to week. You have your routine, but sometimes some other obligations will pop up and throw it off. Every Sunday I sit down with my calendar, look over my schedule for the week, and then write down the workout I’m going to do for each day. For the most part, right now it follows the routine I described in number one. But I still like writing it down because it makes it feel like more of a commitment, it lets me rearrange my plans if I need to, and I can compare my calendar with the gym’s class schedule and plan to try something new if I want to.

4. Incorporate group exercise classes.
My favorite thing about group exercise classes, aside from the actual workout, is that they start and end at specific times. As opposed to working out on your own where you might procrastinate and be really slow about actually starting and/or finishing your workout, with a class you don’t have a choice but to start on time, and then 45 minutes or an hour later it’s over and your workout is complete. I think that’s pretty invaluable when trying to fit exercise into a busy schedule.

5. Move more all day long.
When it comes to overall health and wellness, this is the most important thing that anyone and everyone (busy schedule or not) can do. Even if you exercise everyday, prolonged periods of inactivity are extremely unhealthy for your body. Stand up and walk around for even just a few minutes every hour or so. Try incorporating stretches and exercises that you can do while sitting down into your daily routine. Go for a walk on your lunch break if you can.

While it’s actually not the best habit to have, I eat my lunch at my desk so that I can go for a walk during my break. Whatever it takes though, just move more through the whole day. Even if you end up not being able to fit a full workout in (it happens, and it’s OK), you’ll still reap some of the physiological benefits of exercise and your body will thank you by feeling better.

-Total Body Gym Workout & Treadmill Interval Run-

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I was traveling this weekend. I took a road trip down to Virginia with my mom and sister for my cousin’s bridal shower. It was a gorgeous party. I had so much fun with my family and ate the most delicious food, including the most decadent chocolate cake I’ve ever had in my entire life. (I’m not just saying that for effect, it was actually the best chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten.) While it was SO worth it, it left me feeling like a bloated ball of sugar afterwards. Not to mention, before that I had been SITTING in the car for most of the day. So, when we got back to the hotel, I threw on my workout clothes and walked my cake-filled belly over to the fitness center for a quick sweat session. My mom, who was so close to succumbing to her PJs and the couch, even joined me! She is such a workout warrior. Below is a breakdown of the total-body strength and treadmill interval workouts I did. It took about 45 minutes and my now sore shoulder, hamstring, and glute muscles can certainly attest to their butt-kicking abilities! (If you give them a try don’t forget to tag me in your post-workout #proof pics on Instagram and Twitter by using the “#HungryRunner” hashtag!)



Do you have any more “find time for exercise” tips? Share them in the comments below! 

1 comment
  1. Tell someone your plans! The more you talk the talk, the more you have to walk (run) the walk (run) in order to not lose respect. Also don’t worry about what your coworkers do before or after work. You know what you need to do, so just do it and let someone else win the happy hour perfect attendance award.

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