Here are some of my favourite tips for prioritising exercise and squeezing it into a busy day:
Swap the sit-down lunch for a walk and talk. A lunch-time break doesn´t have to be sedentary, so grab a smoothie and meet a friend at a park for your weekly catch-up.
Move while you wait. If you added up all the time you spend waiting in a day, you’d be surprised – so use that time to move. Do side kicks while you wait for the kettle to boil or squeeze your abs while your emails download.
Turn off technology. Rather than emailing your colleagues, walk to their desks.
And the clock strikes 10! If you work from home or a secluded office, when the clock strikes the hour, use it as your cue to move! Get up from your desk and do 10 push-ups, 10 dips, and a minute of ab crunches – if you do this five times a day, it will add up to about 10 minutes of exercise.
Take the stairs. In 10 minutes of climbing the stairs, a 60 kg woman will burn almost 336 kJ. (More than the approximate equivalent to a slice of bread)
Put your multitasking talent to work. While chatting on the phone, walk around, climb stairs, do squats, lunges, side kicks or calf raises.
Step it up. Get a pedometer and track how many steps you take each day. You should aim for 10 000. Find ways to increase your daily steps, for instance by parking further away and walking.
Who needs a chair? Invest in an exercise ball and enjoy the many benefits of actively engaging your core rather than slouching at your desk. This is one of my FAVOURITE tips, as it means you can substitute HOURS of being sedentary for activity while you work.
Be prepared: You should always have your gym bag packed. This is not only convenient, but it also mentally prepares you to take advantage of an opportunity to train whenever it should present itself to you. It will save you time and effort, so you are more likely to train.
Schedule your workouts: If your timetable is busy and erratic, exercise needs to be penciled in like all your other appointments. A manic schedule is not likely to allow you a free moment to squeeze in a workout, so putting time aside for it in advance will help you honour the commitment. If you think there are too many other pressing matters that are stressing you out, remember that making time for yourself will refresh you for the next task at hand, and help you feel that your workload is still manageable if you can maintain your health while working hard.
Get a gym buddy: Training with a friend doesn´t only give you good company to look forward to, but it also keeps you accountable. You are less likely to flake when someone is counting on you, and you will slack less in your session if there is someone rating your progress.
Switch to mornings instead: Getting up just 40 minutes earlier each day could be your solution to fighting fatigue after work. You will perform better in your session, and will be less likely to skip a session. It can also improve your energy levels for the day, and allow you to enjoy a longer and more relaxing evening.
Make it a rule: At the end of the day, exercise should be one of our highest priorities, so make it a rule that you don´t break. Committing to a minimum of three training sessions a week will keep you motivated when you are tempted to skip. You can also keep the balance – if you just can´t manage a workout, fine, but you´ll remember you need to squeeze in an extra one before the end of the week. NOTHING is more important than your health, and nothing significant can be achieved without it!
Check your iron levels: If you exercise regularly but are battling with increasing fatigue. Women in particular are susceptible to iron deficiencies, and practising only aerobic exercise can slowly deplete iron levels. Getting tested by your doctor is an easy way to check, and be sure to include plenty of beans, legumes, lean beef and spinach into your diet for an instant iron boost.
Ease into it: A full hour of training is daunting when you´re exhausted. Rather tell yourself you will commit to half of your training session – something is always better than nothing! If you´re too tired to carry on you can pride yourself on still burning some calories, but chances are you will have perked up enough to finish your workout – getting started is half the battle!
Try something else: If you are too tired to be inspired by the thought of hitting the gym, replace it with a more pleasurable activity. Catch up with your bestie while taking a brisk walk on the beach, treat your pup to a frisbie session at the park, or simply practise a quick workout in the comfort of your own home. Even is these exercises don´t burn as many calories as your gym routine, your body and mind will appreciate the fresh activity and you can be proud that you still got a workout when you weren´t in the mood.
Have a goal in mind: If you are dragging your feet at the end of the day, visual motivation will get you up and going. Keep photos of you at your fittest in your office, or a visual and realistic goal of your ultimate body.
Snack for energy: Here are some ideas for almost instant energy: watermelon, pears, raisins, carrots, almonds, green tea, olives, dark chocolate, ginger and peppermint!