In a perfect world, we’d all have at least an hour a day to devote to our fitness. But in the real world, 24 hours a day doesn’t seem like nearly enough time to fit in work, school, and family. Stop stressing! Here, 10 ways to sneak a workout into your super busy schedule.
Turn Your Commute into a Workout
On days that Monica Vazquez, 27, a master trainer for New York Sports Clubs in New York City, can’t do her usual run, she stuffs her essentials — keys, cash, credit card, phone, and ID — into a fanny pack and jogs home from work instead. “Running is a great workout, but it’s also great transportation,” she says. “Sometimes I get home even earlier than I normally do taking the subway.”
Not a runner? Bike to work, get off your bus or train a few stops earlier, or park the car farther away to extend your walking time.
Set Your Alarm Early
Becoming an A.M. exerciser means you get to cross your workout off your to-do list ASAP. We’re not telling you to skip out on sleep in favor of a sweat session, but there are simple steps you can take to reset your sleep schedule and wake up earlier. Can’t quite get yourself out of bed that early? Wear your workout clothes to bed and get your sweat on as soon as you wake up.
Sneak In a Lunch Break Workout
At least one FITNESS editor is guaranteed to use this tip on any given day. Make use of your precious 60 minutes by hitting the gym or going for a walk. Not only will it keep your waistline in check, you’re also proven to be more productive during the day by logging off for an hour than you would be by eating lunch at your desk.
Work Out at Work
Get your daily dose of exercise even if you’re working all day long. Try this tip from Gregory Florez, personal trainer and CEO of Fitness First Inc.:
“Sit on a stability ball to strengthen your core, and keep dumbbells or exercise tubing at your desk. Squeeze in 12 to 15 reps of exercises like dumbbell curls, overhead presses, and ab crunches; aim for two or three sets of each. This gives you more free time to fit in fun workouts like biking or tennis.”
Take the Kids with You
Got a young brood? Invest in a jogging stroller to get your miles in without paying big bucks for a sitter. Or strap your bundle of joy into a carrier and do squats for extra resistance and a fun distraction.
Multitask on the Treadmill
“Save time at the gym with this 10-minute cardio/sculpt session: Hop on a treadmill holding a three- to five-pound dumbbell in each hand, and set the speed to a brisk walk. Do a one-minute set each of shoulder presses, biceps curls, triceps extensions, side laterals, front laterals, and standing triceps kickbacks one after another as you walk. It’s an amazing upper-body challenge that also gets your heart pumping. Do this series two or three times each week. As you improve, work up to doing four-minute sets.”
Make It a Date
Here’s one way you can work out like an Olympic athlete: Go on a fitness date like Olympic figure skater, mom, author, and philanthropist Kristi Yamaguchi. She and husband, NHL player Bret Hedican, set up workout dates to keep themselves fit. Single? Invite your friends to try a new workout instead of hitting happy hour.
Don’t Just Wait in Line
All the time we spend waiting in line adds up, so why not sneak in a workout while you’re there? Season 5 Biggest Loser winner Ali Vincent recommends doing lunges, toe raises, and squats at the checkout line. “People might look at you like you’re silly, but who cares?”
No More “Couch Potato”
Just because you’re catching up on Modern Family doesn’t mean you can’t do push-ups, crunches, jumping jacks, and squats too. Clear up some space between the couch and the TV so you don’t miss anything while breaking a sweat. Need an extra nudge? Move your dumbbells, jump rope, and other fitness tools near the tube to give yourself visible reminders.
Power Up Your Stair Climbs
“Instead of walking leisurely up a flight of stairs, gradually increase your speed and the number of stairs you take in one minute,” says Kari Anderson, owner of ProRobics Conditioning Clubs and Gold’s Gyms in Seattle. “Take two steps at once — if you’re able to do it safely — and you’ll target your glutes even more.”