Gone are the days of rolling out of bed at noon, attending a few classes, snacking all day with friends and then maybe going to the gym before heading out for the night.
Even if you’re at the end of your undergraduate academic career, fitness is beginning to take a more critical role in your daily life.
Perhaps you’re no longer able to pop in for a mid-morning yoga class, and your gym is no longer within walking distance to your home, there are still plenty of ways for your to maximize your time to include healthy habits beyond that green shake you drink once every blue moon.
Below are a few ways to incorporate workouts into your busy schedule, whether still in class or working full time.
As we get older, we realize “adulting” often means stricter scheduling of our time. When it comes to workouts, you can use that restriction to your advantage. Just like that weekly staff meeting that starts like clockwork at 10am, make your a.m. workouts a part of your weekly schedule.
Not a morning person? Carve out time following your workday, signing up for fun classes to keep things interesting. Memberships like ClassPass provide access to a wide range of workouts that you lose if you do not show (all the more incentive to get you there!)
Set reminders and even establish a workout buddy that will keep you accountable. Be sure to choose someone more athletic than you who is less likely to let you skip out here or there. You’ll find yourself more motivated knowing both of your successes and failures will be shared.
Don't jump into the deep end if you're feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you've started a new job or gotten a promotion that requires more hours in the office. Scale your workout schedule to the number of days you are able to allot the time.
That may be only two to start, but as you adjust to the new expectations of your role, increase to three and add in a Saturday. Think in terms of months. Commit to two workouts a week for the first month and then add the third in the second. If you find you have the time to add additional workouts sooner, even better. But if you end up moving too fast, try to at least keep your original commitment intact.
Make your workout part of a larger ritual. Your morning routine may be a Kind Bar followed by a two-mile run, refreshing shower and a fruit smoothie before heading off to work.
For an evening workout, schedule your trip to the gym after an evening call to a friend or spouse and before you stop at the grocery store for a sensible meal (just make sure you’re not too hungry when combing those aisles.)
By combining exercise with tasks you're going to do anyway, the workout begins to feel like an integral part of the day.
Not everyone has the space or extra funds to build an in-house gym. In addition to weighing the fees and facility, consider the location when selecting a gym.
For a pre-work routine find a gym near your home. Evening exerciser? Choose a spot by work. The less time it takes to get to the gym, the easier it is to make it a part of your busy day.
Save an additional few moments by laying out your workout clothes the night before or keeping everything you need in a locker at the gym.
A Harvard study shows that shorter workouts of higher intensity can have the same benefits as longer workouts. The energy output is what matters.
Rather than building up the intensity over a 30-minute period, cue up your and engage in 15-minutes of full intensity twice a day if that better suits your schedule.
Even on the days when a trip to the gym or a half-hour run just isn't in the cards, squeeze in some cardio or muscle toning at work. If you have a private office, push back from your desk for a mental break and do squats, lunges and push-ups.
Move your lunch hour away from the office and take a 30-minute brisk walk around your building and mix in some jumping jacks to get the heart going if you’re at the end of your day.
Don't have a lot of organic interaction with others? Set a timer on your phone or computer and do a lap around the office each hour.
Lastly, practice the old standby: take the stairs, not the elevator. That same Harvard study suggests that walking up stairs provides many of the benefits of a formal workout.
The key to sticking with a workout routine after the realities of a 40-hour (or more) workweek have hit is to set yourself up for success. Don't expect to have two hours a day, every day to devote to fitness like you did in college.
Give yourself time to adjust to the new lifestyle by starting off slow and mixing in some unorthodox exercises on time-strapped days. As the new schedule becomes routine, you'll find your workout becomes a more necessary and beneficial part of your day.