How to fit in fitness - The best methods to free up some extra time to exercise
Millions of Americans have the aspiration to get fit. Every new year passes with resolutions to go to the gym every day or eat more healthy. In a survey conducted by Statistic Brain, “losing weight” ranked as the most popular resolution, with the resolution of “staying fit and healthy” coming in fifth. However, after just one week, 25% of these resolutions fall by the wayside, with a total of 54% of resolutions failing after 6 months.
Now, don’t get me wrong! I am in no way dogging people who make goals. In fact, Statistic Brain’s research also showed that people who explicitly make goals are ten times more likely to achieve those goals then people who express a mere whimsy to do something better. As we approach the middle of the year, we wanted to give an extra boost to those who are still going strong, or a starting point for those who lost the vision, yet still want to lose weight, be more healthy, and improve their lives. After all, you don’t need to wait for the new year to live better! Here are a few tips and tricks that we’ve picked up:
Trade Netflix for Gym Time
We love Netflix. It’s nothing short of magical to be able to have access to thousands of shows, movies, and documentaries from almost any device at any time. According to data released by Netflix, in 2015 Americans spent an average of 1 hour and 33 minutes streaming the service every day. If you are currently thinking you have no time to visit the gym, we recommend you start there. Now we’re not saying that you have to cut Netflix out. Instead, take it to the gym. Watch it while you’re on the treadmill, doing push-ups, pull-ups, or anything else. Watching something sure can help pass the miles on a treadmill, elliptical, or bike.
Get Some Tunes
Invest in some headphones! We highly recommend that you listen to something while working out. Having a funky beat can improve your reps and even help you to lift some extra weight. You can even use music to keep track of time with playlists.
Time Equals Habit
I’m sure you have those annoyingly athletic, healthy friends who go to the gym religiously. I am also sure that you’ve hear them say that they enjoy going to the gym. For most people, going to the gym is a chore, but for a few dedicated people, it’s a passion. This passion did not start on day one for anyone. It came about through repetition, until it was a habit engraved on their personality. Phillippa Lally conducted a study with the University College London, and found that it takes upwards of 66 days for any behavior to become habit. This may seem like a long time, but the sooner you start, the sooner you will be there. Imagine you live in Wyoming and you want to drive to the beach in California, the trip will take you almost two days. You can either sit on your couch, or you can start the trip and you’ll be that much closer to beach time.
When I first made the leap into the wonderful world of fitness, it was hard. I was constantly sore, tired, and had no idea what I was doing. At first, I researched the best exercises to do and I did them. Then I evolved to routines, and I made progress. After about six months I had formed a concrete habit of going to the gym, but my gains had plateaued. Naturally, I was a bit discouraged.
It was at this point that I began to track myself. I created some spreadsheets on my phone to keep track of my weight, reps, and sets. I began to see marginal improvements. Then I discovered the power of smartphone apps. Personally, I use an app called Jefit. It has all the moves you’ll ever want; routines you can create, download, or share; and you can set a timer between sets. This last part was a game changer for me. I began to really hold myself to a standard by timing my workouts and building off of what I had been doing, and it made all the difference.
Use what you are most comfortable with, as long as you are tracking your workouts. You’ll never know where to go if you do not know where you’ve been.
Whether your friend, parent, dog, or neighbor, you need to hold yourself accountable for your achievements and your failures. If you don’t have anyone, post your progress through social media. There are even some amazing apps out there with fitness communities that will help keep you going.
If one day you’re feeling lazy and decide not to exercise, the worst thing you can do is not have anyone else know.
Ain't Nobody Got Time For That!
The worst thing you can do for yourself is to make the age old excuse of having no time. Everyone has the time to exercise! Even if it’s doing a few pushups and squats in your room before you get ready for the day, start somewhere. If it’s important to you, you’ll make time.
Obstacle or Building Block?
Be creative. Depending on your situation, turn any hindrance you may perceive into a help. Maybe you have a small child that demands your attention. Just strap that baby to your chest and do some squats. Exercise is exercise, and your imagination is the limit of your own potential.
This goes without saying, but sometimes the obvious needs reciting: Every sacrifice needs a reward. Buy yourself some nice clothes that are too small or too big (depending on your goal) and have fitting into those be your reward. Plan a vacation to a beach and get yourself in good shape for your swimsuit. Find some way to reward yourself, but only after you’ve achieved your goal. If you do not achieve it, then hold yourself to your own agreement.
Go to your Happy Place
Whether it’s in your basement, a gym, or a dark sewer (it seemed to work for the Ninja Turtles), find a dedicated place to exercise. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve skipped going to gym, telling myself that I’ll just do some exercises in my room, and instead I end up watching TV in my bed.
A dedicated exercise place allows you to be there to exercise. When you’re in that room (or sewer), there’s nothing else you can do but exercise.
On the Seventh Day…
Take a day off. Your muscles need a day to recover, otherwise you will not see those gains. A day off allows you some peace and clarity. If you insist on exercising all seven days, then I recommend doing some yoga for your routine on your rest day. You can still be active, just be sure to break from your usual routine. Go for a hike, fish, swim, or go on a picnic; make sure you rest!
These ten steps will help you get started and stay on track, but in the end it is up to you to make the decision to live better, to feel better, to be better.