Being too busy to exercise is the most common excuse my clients tell me. It’s an excuse because anyone can squeeze a quick workout into their calendar if they want to, and the benefits will most likely resemble those of long workouts. If you’re too busy and can’t find time to exercise, these six tips will help you burn some calories without wasting any valuable time. Here they are:
1. Schedule your workout time
Want to do something? Put it on your calendar. The power of time constraints and limitations will force you to take action without draining your mental energy. One study in 2011 found that employees who scheduled their flu shots in day and time were four times more likely to take those shots compared to those who didn’t schedule them.
Scheduling works cause it forces you to focus on one thing at a time which gives your mind no space to come up with excuses for why you shouldn’t exercise. Once the alarm rings, you’ll have to choose between doing the work or saying no to it, which is a weighty feeling that you won’t like to experience. So, most of the time you’ll end up with your gym shoes on just so you don’t feel ashamed of yourself.
2. Work out early in the morning (before all the buzz)
When you exercise first thing in the morning, or soon after coffee, you save yourself lots of troubles. Work can often make you stressed in the afternoon and exhausted at night, so the most convenient time to exercise should be early in the morning when there’s nothing that can ruin your mood. Everyone knows that, sometimes, it only takes one email to ruin a good day, which is why
Tim Ferris exercises early in the morning and only checks his email two hours after waking up. Similarly, delaying your gym time till late at night may not be good for you. A sudden exam or a problem at work may force you to pull an all-nighter or make you feel so bad that you opt for Cheetos instead of hitting the weights.
3. Opt for High intensity, time-saving workouts
Many people believe short workouts are useless—they are mistaken. The fact is, and according to a 2013-study by the University of Utah, even a single minute of brisk walking can do miracles to your heart, lungs, and metabolism. The same study also suggests that these short but intense workouts can have the same weight-loss effects that a moderate-paced 10-minute workout provides.
The best thing about high-intensity cardio is that you can do it anywhere. Jumping jacks, pull-ups, pushups, burpees, rope-jumping, planks, all can be done at home or in the office. Do twenty seconds of high intensity followed by 45 seconds of active recovery and repeat for seven or eight rounds, and you’re all set.
4. Bike or walk commuting
I have seen some of my friends try to run to work, but it didn’t feel practical, and none of them made it past the first two weeks. However, a more practical option, if you want to make your commuting time a bit healthier, is to bike to work, or walk if you live not more than an hour away from work.
These two activities, especially biking, are fantastic for your health and will improve your mood while also saving your time. Take biking, for instance. 180-pound cyclists burn an average of 650 calories per hour, which is close enough to what you need to burn one pound of fat in a week.
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Furthermore, biking to work can help you mentally. A new study by Concordia’s John Molson School of Business found that those who biked to work had significantly lower stress levels during the first 45 minutes of work than those who traveled by car.
I’m not a fan of multitasking; I don’t even believe in it. But if reading or watching the news is part of your routine, then you can do it while jogging in the park or on the treadmill. You can walk, jog, or even pull some weights while doing some of your daily activities. And it will save you lots of time.
6. Always stay in the zone
How many will you do if each time you make coffee or tea you get down on the floor and do 10 or 20 pushups? I don’t know how many cups of tea or coffee you drink per day, but I’m sure you’ll do more pushups in a day than what most people do in a week, which is slightly above zero. I used to hate pull-ups when I was at school, so I bought a bar, hung it in my bedroom and decided I’ll do at least one rep whenever I enter the room. I made it eighty percent of the time, and it was enough to see a massive difference in my strength.