Are you way too busy to work on them booty gains? According to one UK poll, three quarters of us wish we exercised more; and in the list of reasons for skipping the gym, “Not having the time” comes top.
With exercise, quality beats quantity, all day long. Here are some of our favourite ways to make time for your routine - no matter how hectic your schedule.
1. Turn Your Commute into a Workout Session
Bike or walk to work and you could save loads of money on train fares or petrol, arrive at the office feeling alert and ready for action - all-the-while treating yourself to a valuable aerobic workout.
Even just by getting off the bus a few stops early and power-walking the rest of the way, you can make a satisfying dent in your daily step goal - and get to work feeling totally energised.
2. Maximise Your Lunch Break
With just an hour or less to spare, a full-fat, high intensity workout (plus shower) is probably pushing it. That said, there’s still plenty of time for a quick burst of activity to work your entire body, without getting too sweaty and without leaving the building. Try two minutes each of bodyweight squats, planks, pushes and crunches with a 30-second rest after each exercise.
3. Work Your Butt While Queuing Up
That long wait at the coffee shop counter doesn’t have to be dead time. Glute pulses can be done pretty much anywhere. While standing, squeeze your butt muscles as tight as possible, hold for a couple of seconds, release and repeat. The same goes for calf raises; stand up on your toes, slowly lower your heels to the ground and repeat.
4. Try Some “Deskercise”
Seated abductors are a smart way of working your hips while still working your day job. Seated at your desk, wrap a mini resistance band around your thighs and stretch the band by spreading your legs as far as you can go, hold for a few seconds and return to the start.
5. Ask Your Boss for a Standing Desk
Recent research involving NHS workers shows that those who switched from regular desks for sit-stand workstations reported reduced tiredness, fewer aches and pains - along with a boost in productivity.
6. Enter the Gym with a Plan
When time is short, make every minute count. Without a plan of action, you are much more likely to spend chunks of your gym session ambling aimlessly between equipment. It wastes time and means your heart rate has time to drop - potentially making your workout less efficient. Also, don’t just head off automatically to your favourite machines. Instead, make sure that all muscle groups are covered over two or three short sessions a week.
7. Turn off Phone Alerts
Once you’re drawn into a group chat or start checking your emails or social media, it’s amazing how much of a 30-minute studio session can just vanish. Resist temptation by turning it off.
8. Combine Screen Time with Treadmill Time
Too much TV to catch up on? Make the most of viewing time by getting active while you watch. When you hit the cardio machines, have your phone or tablet in front of you. If you’re at home in front of the big screen, a single Bake Off episode should give you plenty of time for an entire bodyweight routine.
9. Master Foam Rolling
Muscle knots and tightness slow you down and stop you getting the most out of every squat and lunge. Foam rolling can be an excellent way of relieving this tightness. With the foam roller, you can quickly and easily target specific areas of tension (e.g. calves, hamstrings and your lower back). You’ll be ready for action in no time.
10. Add in Some Weights
Are you totally smashing your squat and lunge game? If a routine is getting easier, it usually means you need an extra challenge. You have two easy choices here: Amp up your bodyweight moves by integrating a set of dumbbells or medicine ball to increase the weight of an exercise. Or, move on to a harder variant designed to push you further; for example, going from regular push-ups to diamond push-ups.
11. Book a Class
With a fitness instructor at the helm, there’s generally little to no timewasting. It means that a half-hour CrossFit session doesn’t turn into a one-hour detour. If you’re the type of person who enjoys following a set schedule, being pushed to your limits, or simply the social setting - joining a class could be just what you need.
12. Keep a Log or Diary
If you can’t remember the numbers you hit in your last session, it’s difficult to make the most of your current workout. Take the guesswork out of your routine by keeping a note of what you did. Over time, this workout log can also help keep you motivated by letting you look back and view your progress.
13. Get a Fitness Tracker
Fantastic for aerobic routines, a fitness tracker incorporating a HR monitor and calorie counter gives you a snapshot of how hard you’re working. It shows you where you can push a little harder. With a step counter on board, you can also track all those mini-spurts of activity (e.g. running up the stairs and walking through the park).
14. Get Social
Spinning class or glass of rose with your bestie? Savvy gym goers know social and fitness schedules never have to clash. Next time a catch-up is on the cards, why not suggest a meet up at the studio, a fun game of squash or tennis, swimming or a group yoga session? There are so many ways to keep fit and spend time with friends and family - the choice is yours.
15. Get Kitted out with a Home Gym
When time is short, there’s absolutely no need to make that trek to the gym for a full workout. A yoga mat, balance ball, foam roller and set of resistance bands: it’s pretty much all you need for a full strength training workout. To discover how, be sure to check out our Home Gym Guide here.