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How do I make time for regular workouts? It’s a question that I’m asked a lot. I live a busy life. The odds are that you do, too. In fact, I don’t think I know anybody who doesn’t live a busy life. I know people who are retired and whose lives are even busier than mine (and I’ve taken on about as much as I know how to handle). Still, despite the fact that the current norm is to max out every moment of our schedules, it’s still very important to exercise regularly.
I take my workouts extremely seriously. I know that if I start letting them go, there goes all the weight loss I’ve been maintaining. I also know that, as crazy as it might sound, my energy levels will fall through the floor. I have way too much going on in my life to want to go through that or to have to start from scratch in getting fit again.
To make sure that I get at least 5 regular workouts per week, even when I’m so busy I’m not sure what to do with myself, I use the following tricks:
• High intensity interval training (HIIT) – This isn’t my favorite type to include in my regular workouts because it’s hard, but I still love it because I can complete my entire workout in half the time. I usually do a half hour workout, but HIIT lets me cut that back to fifteen minutes or even ten minutes if I really push myself. This type of workout has you putting everything you have into your exercises, with small breaks or easy exercises in between. For example, it makes me sprint as hard as I possibly can for a minute before walking at a slow pace and then picking it back up again. It’s super hard, but before I know it, it’s over and I can move on to the next part of my schedule.
• Set a challenge – I find that workout challenges drive me. The key is to choose the right challenge. For daily activities, I like 10 or 14 day challenges. For activities where there are days off, I like thirty day challenges. To motivate me to keep up my regular workouts even when I’m very busy, I assign a thirty day challenge to myself, where I need to get in six days of exercise (some cardio, some strength training, some yoga) per week. Once that’s done, I start a new challenge. This keeps me going toward my goal because I don’t want to ruin my challenge achievement. Especially when I have a reward for myself at the end! When I face a particularly tough challenge, taking a supplement for energy before I exercise really makes a difference.
• Make it a habit – I make my workout a normal part of my day. As long as it’s a regular part of my routine, I do it without even questioning it. In the morning, I get up, make coffee, eat breakfast, do my workout, take my shower, get the kids ready and head to work. It’s how I do it on weekdays and don’t question it. On the weekends, I do yoga before bed. Because it’s part of my daily rituals, it’s easier to fit it in.