If I know anything, it’s that life gets extremely busy. It’s hard to find time to catch your breath, let alone workout. There are plenty of Pinterest boards that give you quick, at-home workouts or tips on how to become a morning person or to prevent you from pressing snooze when it is time for your 5 a.m. workout. But in all honesty, how many times do you actually do the workouts on your Pinterest boards? Or actually find the motivation to wake up at 5 a.m.?
If you’re anything like me, you don’t.
That’s why I connected with personal trainer Sarah Crawford to get some answers from a professional on how to realistically fit your next workout into your schedule without having to get up at 5 a.m.
“The most common excuse I hear for not working out is, ‘I don’t have time,’” Crawford says. “And that’s the worst excuse there is. We have 24 hours in a day, and everyone has 10 to 15 minutes to get away from something they’re doing.”
Sticking to these five tips might just be your answer to a realistic workout routine completely catered to your busy life:
1. Plan ahead
Planning ahead allows you to look at your schedule day to day and identify ideal workout times for you.
“Oftentimes, people think ‘I’ll just wing it and figure it out tomorrow,’” Crawford says. “The problem with that is, when it comes down to finding a time, they’ve already missed an opportunity or made up an excuse to do it the next day instead. Then it’s just a vicious cycle of excuses day by day.
“Those who wing it typically won’t do it,” Crawford says. “Make sure you plan well enough in advance to commit to it.”
2. Schedule it
Once you’ve planned ahead, schedule it. Treat your workout time as important as that afternoon class or work meeting. Once you’ve allotted the time, you can’t use that as an excuse to avoid your workout.
3. Allot 10 minutes, three times in your day
A common misconception for working out is that the longer you go, the more results you’re going to see. Crawford says you only need 10 to 15 minutes, which you can split up throughout your day to get in your 30 minutes.
“A workout is a workout, no matter how long or short,” Crawford says. “Allow yourself 10 minutes to get your heart rate up. You don’t need a big chunk of time. You just need snippets of high heart rates to get your metabolism kicking and your muscles working.”
4. Do the little things
We’ve all heard that taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a great way to aid in weight loss. Well, Crawford says she firmly believes in those small tactics and confirms that doing the little things count.
“You don’t need to burn massive calories to start seeing results,” Crawford says. “The little things you do throughout your day will add up and have a substantial impact on your fitness goals. Plus, doing little things throughout the day keeps workouts from being overwhelming.”
Here are a few ideas for maximizing your daily movement:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Do 10 pushups right away when you wake up in the morning.
- Do jumping jacks, squats or burpees during commercial breaks while watching TV.
- Run up and down your stairs.
- Replace something you do every day with something active instead (e.g., go for a walk instead of having dessert after dinner).
- If you work in an office, get out of your chair and do calf raises or stretch every 20 minutes.
“The fitness aspect of wellness has been around forever,” Crawford says, “But it’s not the end all. Working out for an hour does not mean you can sit the rest of the day. Movement throughout the day matters.”
5. Let yourself experiment
Many people decide on a whim that they want to start a serious workout routine and eating plan as soon as possible. The problem is that you won’t continue to do something you don’t love.
“It is absolutely crucial that you find a workout you love and honestly enjoy so you continue to do it for the rest of your life,” Crawford says. “Plan ahead, and give yourself time to experiment with different workout routines or activities.”
Crawford says to start slow with discovering workouts and recommends using your experimental time to identify fitness goals and realistic nutrition plans.
“The most important factor to seeing results with your workouts is what you put in your body,” Crawford says. “Nutrition is absolutely key, and no amount of working out will fix a bad diet. So while experimenting with which types of physical activities you love, plan your fitness goals, find a nutrition plan and have fun doing it.
“All the information you need on workouts and finding the time to fit them can be there, but until you’re ready to commit, motivation can only come from within,” Crawford says. “If you want it bad enough, you will find the time, not excuses.”