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How to Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Schedule

Over 500,000 people work in the City Of London and we all share something in common…We’re all busy! Work, life, social, travel, family - in the hustle and bustle of modern life, maintaining a consistent fitness routine can be challenging at the best of times, never mind when things start to accelerate. At Hybrid Personal Training we spend every day working with busy desk bound professionals and so it felt necessary to share how we manage to incorporate health and fitness into the lives of our busy clients.

When your schedule is bursting, looking after your health and fitness should be a priority and is crucial for both physical and mental well-being. You will be pleasantly surprised how incorporating exercise and a healthy lifestyle can change your everyday life for the better.

When you are as busy as you are, seeing an improvement in stress levels, sleep quality, anxiety and physical fitness is a MUST and will benefit your life and work greatly.

This article explores effective strategies and tips for staying committed to a fitness routine despite chaotic schedules and stressful situations.

Firstly - Be Realistic

During stressful periods, it's essential to set realistic fitness goals that align with how your schedule works right now. Having a long term goal is great and always encouraged - we need a destination to head for and who hasn't sat there and envisaged themselves 6 months, a year or two years from where they are now? But how many people actually get there when it comes to fitness? Breaking these down into smaller, short term and achievable goals is much more realistic. Think of it like setting the pathway to your final goal. Commit to a certain amount of workouts a week, even if it is less that you'd like - something is better than nothing and creating that time for yourself is essential. That time is yours, no one else's and gives you a break and an outlet for stress relief during everyday life.

fitting exercise in to a busy diary
Struggling the time to fit in exercise?

Prioritise Exercise

You might not want to hear this, but you do have time. You manage and prioritise work, family, commitments with friends and family, social events, travel... but you need to make exercise just as much of a priority, especially when you have a busy schedule.

A non-negotiable 30-45 minute block for YOU. Block out time in your diary dedicated for workouts, treating them as important appointments that cannot be missed. (Tell your colleagues it's an important meeting in your diary - And that is no lie! It is…)

Whether it's early morning, during lunch breaks, or in the evening, find a time that works best for you and stick to it consistently. But the bottom line is - Get. It. Done! Not only will you feel better for it through the physical work and a sense of achievement, but it allows space to breathe away from everything else that is going on and we guarantee it will make the rest of your day more enjoyable and run even smoother.

The hardest part of any workout is getting to the gym / studio / class / sport etc. Once it's done, no one ever regrets it!

Make. It. Fun.

We believe the single best exercise programme for you is the one that you will stick to the longest... and the one that you will stick to the longest is the one that you enjoy the most! (with the little caveat that it needs to be convenient as well).

We are more likely to prioritise exercise we enjoy. Whether it's dancing, swimming, hiking, playing sports - find exercise that you enjoy and you will naturally be more committed. Anything that mixes a social aspect too helps keep you more accountable.

If training in then gym then make workouts slightly different, play with it, mix things up. This keeps things interesting and engaging and stops the dread appearing before you even start the workout.

"I Don't Have the Energy..." - Exercise GIVES YOU ENERGY

One thing that we hear a lot from prospective clients is that they don't have the energy to train. Whilst training obviously takes effort, it doesn't pull energy away from you day to day. It gives you so much more energy and vitality. Your body was made to move, not sit at a desk all day and then to slouch at home watching Netflix. The moment you start moving your body you'll realise how good you begin to feel and wonder why you didn't start and stick with that exercise programme a long time ago.

Shorter Workouts Help When Your Schedule is Busy

A good workout does not need to be 2 hours long. When time is limited, shorter workouts can be highly effective in maintaining fitness levels and managing stress. Our workouts at HPT are 45 minutes. That means in one hour you can do a great and intense workout, shower and be done all in 60 minutes! 45 minutes of hard work is more than enough to get in, get it done and get out!

No 5 minute rest breaks sat on your phone whatsapping memes to friends, scrolling Instagram or answering emails. Focus on your workout and keep the intensity up.

If you're spending more than 1+ hour at the gym - you're making friends, not training. Put the phone down, stop talking to people and get to work (in the training sense).

As a side note - there is also no "best time to train". Some research suggests some times may be better for some people than others, but it's all irrelevant if you're not being consistent with the basics of just regularly being active anyway. It’s all down to personal preference, so don’t worry about it being too early or too late. Just worry about it not happening at all. The best time for you to train is the time you have available to train. Worry about optimising further down the line.

Hybrid Personal Training Bank
Finding the time to exercise is critical to long term health

Incorporate Activity into Daily Routine

How can you add physical activity into your everyday life without making a meal of it?

  • Take the stairs instead of the lift or the escalators

  • Walk, run or bike to work if possible (no ebikes or scooters)

  • Use breaks to be active e.g. go for a short walk, stretch

  • Take the slightly longer, more scenic route to wherever you are going

  • Get off a station earlier and walk more to add more steps

  • Stand up desks

  • Walking whilst on virtual (or in-person) meetings

You'd be surprised how much small bursts of activity can make you feel, both physically and mentally. Being sedentary has many adverse effects on you and your body. These include, increased all-cause mortality, cancer risks, metabolic disorders such as diabetes and hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Currently, less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity per day and only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week. Shocking when you think about it.

Be part of the minority that actually gets the exercise in! Making small changes like those above can have hugely positive effects on your health and even prolong your life!

Fail to Prepare; Prepare to Fail.

It's true. Get your workout gear ready the night before, pack your bag ahead of time, and plan your week ahead. It will take 5 minutes to sit down, look ahead at your week and pencil in time for you.

I always tell my clients to sit down on a Sunday and look forward to the week ahead. Where will you be that week? Are there any days that look to be tougher than others? Is there a work meeting that crosses lunch? Have a plan in place on those danger areas where you feel you may end up slipping up.

Having everything ready in advance rids you of excuses and helps you stick to your plans. This will alleviate so much stress from your day to day so you can focus where you need to focus and not feel guilty that you didn’t do enough.

Have a workout clothes draw so everything is easily accessible. Make sure laundry is done ahead of time. Leave training gear and/or trainers at the office so if space becomes available in your diary to exercise you're ready for action.

Most of us look for ANY reason to not exercise. You have to put systems in place to ensure that you do and it's as easy as possible to allocate the time.

Quality Over Quantity. ALWAYS.

Don't worry about the duration of exercise - just focus on making the exercise count. Challenge yourself each workout. Start heavier than last week. Do an extra rep or two this time.

Focus on the major movements (compound exercises) such as press ups, bench press, shoulder press, pull ups or rows for your back, lunges and squats for legs, deadlift variations, and glute work. The exercises incorporate more than one muscle and lead to a more efficient workout overall - essentially, they give you the most bang for your buck and so if you're pressed for time - utilise them as you'll build strength and fitness quicker, burn more calories and progress faster. Make each workout speedy but effective.

tips for exercising when busy
Don't stress. Take small steps and be realistic with how much you can fit in

Seek Support and Accountability

Share your fitness goals with others that can help lift your motivation, and accountability. Whether it's joining a fitness class together, scheduling regular workout sessions with a friend, or participating in community based fitness sessions. Having somebody to guide and support you throughout will always push you further.

And remember...The life we envisage doesn't always go to plan. Just know that some days won’t go the way you wanted. Accept it. It's impossible for it to be perfect all the time. Something will come up unexpectedly and plans will change. Don't linger on it though, you did what you could and so get over it and come back stronger. It's all in the recovery. Be flexible and modify your plans OR squeeze in shorter sessions whenever possible, but avoid completely skipping exercise altogether.

So in conclusion, exercise is not only beneficial for physical health but also plays a significant role in managing stress and improving mental well-being. 

You CAN maintain your fitness journey even when life gets hectic. 

We see it daily. Our clients prove it to us everyday that even amongst the chaos, it can absolutely be done - and then some! Remember to focus, find enjoyment, prepare and quality over quantity.

“If something stands between you and your success, move it. Never be denied.” – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson


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