The Busy Person's Guide to Fitness

So who isn't busy these days? If you're not busy, you're nobody, right? At least that seems to be the culture we live in. Even if you ask someone how they are doing, the typical response of "good" has been replaced with "busy". It is a state of being, a status, a mind-set but most annoyingly, an excuse. 

I get it, there are a million ways we are fed information and a million-and-one things we are not doing that we think we should be doing, so it is no surprise we constantly feel overwhelmed by prioritizing life. However, "being busy" also serves as a really convenient reason to avoid getting sh!t done! Trust me, I hear it (and live it) everyday. Patients don't do their exercises because they were "busy". I'm too "busy" reading about the Kardashian baby-boom to do necessary paperwork. We are all guilty. 

I am not professing to be the authority on setting priorities. I think "busy" is the most overused adjective/noun/verb in my vocabulary. However, I have gotten much better at not letting "being busy" overwhelm me and prevent me from staying healthy. Perhaps the most frequently asked question I get is, "How to do manage to fit in working out with three young children and a business?". Well, I don't have a simple or concise answer for that, but I do have some strategies that have been moulded over time that seem to work well for me. So let me share. 

1. Find your jam and own it 

There are so many ways to get exercise, so find what you like (if you haven't found it yet, I promise it is out there). I like spinning, running, hot yoga and Pilates. I don't like Crossfit, kickboxing, bootcamps or folk dancing. I suppose it is somewhat like dating - you have to play the field, stay open-minded and break-up with the classes/activities that mooch all your time and energy and spirit. You will refine your taste and start crush hard on some form of exercise(s). I find I go in phases (I'm poly-amorous, that way;), and cycle through different classes and modes of exercise until I start to get bored and need to mix things up. 

2. Schedule your workouts

Even I roll my eyes at this one, so I get it. Hear me out, though. You need to work out way less then you think, but you need to be efficient with your time and energy. When you schedule your workouts, much like you would schedule a meeting, you have already dedicated your time and attention to exercising - and that is half the battle. I workout MUCH less now that I have children, but my workouts are much more focused and effective, which gets me stronger/faster/leaner all the same. WIN.  Each week (if I am not training for something specific) I aim to do: 1-2 spin/bike workouts, 1 run, 2 HIIT/resistance workouts (30 min) and bite-sized stability work interspersed in the day (more on this soon). This equates to ~ 4 hours / wk, which is probably less time then I spend scrolling Instagram (sad reality). 

3. Eliminate barriers

If you think the only way to workout is to get a sitter for the kids, drive to the gym and use fancy exercise machines - then you are creating barriers along the way that become easy excuses to miss a workout. I understand that many people cannot workout any other way and the gym is their escape. The IKEA "start the car!" commercials come to mind.....BUT how many of you sign up for a gym membership with the best intentions, have A+ attendance for all of two weeks and then your membership card becomes as useful as a Blockbuster card? Umm hmm. With the advent of the world wide web and social media, there are so many ways you can workout at home by following a program with minimal equipment and loads of guidance. If this peaks your interest, then stay tuned ;)

4. Be strategic

This one may not be obvious, but has been a game-changer for me. When I think of my workouts for the week, I informally rank a workout based on time required and how kid-friendly it is (these are my two biggest barriers/excuses to miss a workout - yours might be different). For example, doing a cycle or spin = 1 hour of time, out of the house, no kids present. Yoga is much the same. Therefore, for me these workouts have to be done (way too) early in the morning. Doing a HIIT workout = 30 min of time, in-house or outdoors, kids optional. This becomes a little more attainable to work into the day. Stability work = 5-8 min at a time, in-house, kid-friendly. Therefore, I know that I have the most flexibility with my stability workouts and choose to do them in small gaps of time when I am with the kids / cooking a meal / watching Netflix. With this system, I maximize my time when I workout without the kids around (early mornings) and then fit in HIIT or stability work at home or at the park. As a bonus, kids tend to find it very entertaining to watch you jump around and pant like a jungle animal.  When I am giving exercises to patients, I tend to follow this same system when recommending how they execute. Some exercises can be done at the office, whereas others require more focus or need to be grouped together.  This may seem incredibly complicated and over-analyzed, but for me thinking of working out in this way gave me much more clarity into what I was doing and when and helped to eliminate some of the barriers mentioned above. 

I'll save you from the "go easy on yourself" schpeel....but, go easy on yourself! Going hard out of the gates or trying to look like a Kardashian are recipes for failure. Learn to be flexible, be creative and most of all, be realistic. You got this.