Up at 5:55 a.m. Make tea, eat breakfast, and wave to the kids as they run out the door. A few minutes after 7 a.m., I am in front of my computer—still in my PJs—checking email, putting out fires, and updating my Facebook status (a girl’s got to have a moment). “As soon as I finish this one little project, I am going to work out and shower.”
Suddenly it’s midnight. Dinner’s been served, homework supervised, client projects delivered, social media updated, and I am still in my PJs…no workout done.
Has this ever happened to you?
Even as a fitness pro it’s hard to find the time to exercise consistently. I have a handful of great, hardworking clients who are scheduled on the same days that I teach Spinning classes, so at least those three days I am fairly active (though I don’t actually work out with my clients. I am “hands-on,” and I demonstrate the moves to get them going. Except for the stretching, which I do with them. Aaah.)
The rest of the day (and on the other days) I am running a business, researching and writing, or marketing something while sitting on my butt in front of my trusty Mac. I’ve been known to stay there over 20 hours in a shot (except for breaks to feed the household) when a project deadline is looming. Many times I have pulled an over ’26 hour day’ in my chair.
That sucks. And I can literally see my butt get wider each and every marathon work shift.
So the question is: how do we keep our bodies moving, the blood flowing, and our metabolisms firing while trying to get our work done?
Over the last few months I have made some changes to how I do things so that I can fit workouts into even very busy days. Something has been working because I am seeing a downward trend on the scale (yay) and I can feel my muscle tone improving. I used to love my shoulders, and now I can see a slight muscular rippling in them again.
Two weeks ago I spoke in front of a professional business women’s organization where I let them in on my little “secret” to keep workouts going even on our busiest days.
What did I tell them?
This super easy, super useful tip: Use an online, egg or kitchen timer. Set it for 55 minutes. When the timer goes off you get up and do something. Walk around, squat, breathe deeply, do big arm circles, walk up some stairs, hula hoop, step, dance, sweep, vacuum one room…do something, anything.
What I do, on my busy ‘desk days,’ is exercise one muscle group during each break. For example, at the first ding of the timer I do 3-5 hard sets of triceps exercises, then go back to work. The next time the timer goes off, I hit the biceps. Then the shoulders. And so on. Or I will focus on core work, butt, legs, calves. Take your pick (just don’t work the same body part two days in a row).
Squats, lunges, jumps, mountain climbers, pushups, dips, and jumping jacks are awesome, too. So is skipping though the house, running from room to room, or walking around with exercise bands firmly wrapped around your knees. It kind of resembles that old “pee pee dance” we used to do as little girls, and really works your butt and upper outer thigh.
The only way this is effective, though, is to work hard during those little breaks. You want to feel the burning in your muscles, and start feeling warmish all over. You probably will not break a sweat (unless you are doing something with higher impact), but you will feel that overall glow from exertion…kind of like a hot flash. That’s the feeling you are looking for.
I can’t believe how effective these little exercise bursts are.
When you think about it, if you work a 7 hour shift in front of your computer and you fit in even 3 minutes every hour, that’s 21 minutes a day you are working your body fairly strenuously. If you move for five minutes every hour, that’s 35 minutes a day. Add 10 minutes in the morning to get you going and maybe 10 minutes of stretching or yoga in the evening, and you are up to almost an hour of exercise a day, with barely an effort. This is something you can fit into even the busiest day.
It might not seem like much, but this little trick really works.
Something is always better than nothing. Always.