One of the most common questions that I hear when discussing fitness is "how do I reach my goals with an extremely busy schedule?" If I could send out a helpful article with just a few statements or less, I would simply answer that question by saying this: If it's a priority, you'll make it happen. If it's not, you will continue to make it an excuse. But I live in the real world where making statements doesn't help people. So here are some practical ways to make fitness work with your busy schedule.
PREPARATION IS KEY
When I was playing baseball in college, our weight room had a slogan above the entry that said something like this: "failing to prepare is preparing to fail." That slogan served as a reminder to my teammates and I to treat our training sessions as preparation for our games. In other words, failure to better ourselves in the weight room is preparing to fail on the diamond. Taking this same approach is important when it comes to chasing a fitness goal, especially when we are dealing with a busy schedule. Every single aspect of your routine that applies to your goal must have preparation. Food is a good example. Those who claim to have a busy schedule are usually running around and have little time to cook and eat. That may be true, but that doesn't mean you can't take two hours out of your Sunday (or whatever day works for you) to prepare your food for the week. If your food isn't prepared, you'll fall off course within the first few meals. I'm willing to put my money on that.
The workout itself is another part of fitness that must have preparation. Before you even think about starting a plan or begin to go to the gym regularly, find a time that works. A good workout should last about one hour. One hour is a perfect amount of time to get a proper workout in. Anyone that tells you that you'll reach your goals with a 15 minute at-home workout or a 3 hour "pump sesh" is lying through their teeth. At this point you may be thinking, "well I don't have an hour to spare at the gym!" I'm just going to call you out and say b.s. on that one. Guess what, if you work from 5am to 8pm daily, you still have time for a workout before or after. Once again, if it's a priority, you'll make it happen. If not, you'll keep going in circles.
FIND A PLAN
Now that you've come to realize you actually do have time, and have picked an hour of your day to workout, it's time to get a plan. Before going to the gym, try doing two things first. The first is selecting a well-thought goal. You can read more about ways to create great goals here. From there, you want to pick a plan that will help you reach that goal. If you have a 12-week plan and have specialized workouts geared toward your goal, odds are you'll do it. If you just wake up feeling like you should train your lower body because you haven't done it in a while, it might not happen, because you aren't treating your workout as a priority. There are plenty of resources to get quality plans from well-qualified people. Take Poehlmann Fitness' plans for example... ok fine that's my only plug for the day! Maybe.. ;)
TRACK, TRACK, TRACK
There are plenty of places you can go to track your progress. One of my favorites is a pen and paper. Bring it to your workouts. Track your bodyweight, personal records, emotions, feelings, etc. Heck, track whatever you want! Measuring all of these things can help you stay consistent, as well as recognize when you're falling off pace. Another great (free) place to track is the app called Fitocracy.
SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING
We are all extremely busy at some point or another. I get that. Things happen. So when your life turns into an absolute tornado, remember that something is better than nothing. Although a 15 minute routine for every workout is not ideal, 15 minutes in a crazy day can mean a great deal in the long run. Committing to SOMETHING will create a good habit of working out even during your busiest days.
Taking these practical, simple efforts and applying them in your day-to-day routine will have you making forward progress in no time. These pointers can serve as an extremely solid foundation for maximum results in a busy schedule. Before you know it, working out will be of high priority for you, and you'll be getting results when you never thought it was possible.
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