24 Apr Guest Blog: How to Stop Making Excuses & Work Out!
So I don’t normally feature guest blogs. But when Wendy Lafayette asks to be featured on your blog, you say yes. Yes please, actually! Wendy is “Busy Fit World” and the secret behind the success of many high level fitness competitors. But more than that, she’s my friend. And if you want to learn how to create the time (and stop the excuses) to make exercise a priority, you should really read her spot-on advice below. There’s literally a tip for everyone. Check it out…and please share it to help motivate a friend!
We’re all busy …and we all make excuses. Survey says: “No Time”. Let’s take a closer look!
Most common excuse?
Survey says: “No time.” Examine that excuse at close range and you’ll agree it’s usually about something deeper. Typically, it’s lack of motivation, enjoyment, negative associations, fear or possibly low self-esteem.
Busy as we are, we have less trouble finding time for television, because there simply are not the same psychological barriers to those activities.
The majority of people are in denial about their health, we all have reasons for not exercising, it all comes down to time management and fear. Fear you’ll get hurt. Fear of embarrassment. Fear of failure.
But what we’d be better off being afraid of, is what will happen if we DONT exercise. How will a sedentary lifestyle be affecting you next year? In five or 10 years?
Will you have time for multiple doctors appointments? Will you have the time and money to take medication every day to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes? Just as important, what do you stand to gain by finally taking your health off the back burner?
If you want to exercise, you’ll make the time. Read on below for promising strategies that prove to work for any busy everyday person.
CREATE A PLAN!
The best way to make time for exercise is to have a written plan of action.
Decide on the best time for exercise in your schedule and actually enter it into your computer or cell-phone calendar as a repeat event. This way it shows up daily and there’s less chance of you scheduling something during that time. When you check your schedule in the morning, you’ll see it there and form a mental picture of when and how you’ll be exercising that day, which will help you stay motivated.
SPLIT UP YOUR TO-DO LIST
Rather than making one long to-do list you’ll never complete, divide your list into three categories, It’s not enough to get things done, you need to get the right things done. It’s OK to have dirty clothes in your hamper. It’s OK if you don’t read every email the moment you receive it. It’s not OK to cheat your health. I suggest the following list make-over:
Take out a sheet of paper and create three boxes that represent the most important parts of your life (e.g., family, career, yourself).
List the top three to-dos that would make the most difference in each category. For family, it might be cooking or helping with homework. For work, it might be returning phone calls or completing a presentation. For yourself, include exercise, plus something nurturing, such as calling a friend or enjoying a healthy meal.
Lastly, block out times on your calendar for specific to-dos, and honor those very specific commitments.
Having trouble deciding which to-dos are most important? Consider the things that will have the most impact not just today, but a year from now
FIND FIVE MINUTES. UNLESS YOU ARE OPRAH, YOU ARE NOT THAT BUSY
Even if your day is packed with meetings and commitments, you absolutely can spare five minutes for yourself. That simple act of self-care has the potential to change your life. I tell people it’s OK to start very, very small. A five-minute walk now can easily turn into daily 30-minute walks a few weeks from now. We all have to start somewhere.
LIMIT TV TIME
Don’t aimlessly surf cable channels or the Internet. That’s a surefire way to waste time you could be spending in more active ways. Before you sit down, set a time limit (consider setting an alarm on your cell phone nearby to alert you when time’s up) Most of us occasionally watch shows we don’t love because we’re bored. Trade 30 minutes of that low-value television time for exercise. My guess is you won’t miss it.
BE AN ACTIVE WATCHER…WHAT DOES THAT MEAN??
When you do watch TV, make the most of it. Do ball-crunches, planks, yoga poses, squats, lunges or pushups while you’re watching. Keep fitness equipment, such as a kettlebell, resistance bands and a jump rope, near the TV. Or use the commercial breaks to mix in brief cardio intervals. Run in place or up and down the stairs; do burpees or jumping jacks.
Reassess household chores: Can the kids do laundry? Can your spouse cook dinner? What tasks can you hand off so you can get out for a walk at lunch or stop by the gym on the way home? Don’t think you’re the only one who can do all of the things you’re currently doing. Look, too, for things that could be done less often — or that might not need to get done at all.
BE MOTIVATED BY MONEY $$$
Putting money on the line may provide you with the motivation you need to show up. Sign up for a yoga workshop, book sessions with a personal trainer, or throw down cash for a race or other athletic event you’ll have to train for. Schedule a babysitter to watch the kids while you go running.
THINK POSITIVE/BE POSITIVE
Editing your negative self-talk pattern is a powerful way to support healthier lifestyle choices. For example, anytime you catch yourself thinking, “I am too busy to work out,” rephrase the thought in more positive, empowering terms, such as, “I choose to make myself a priority.” Or, “I do have time to be healthy.” Or, “I am willing to do something active today.” Over time, those positive thought patterns will elbow out the negative ones, helping you to see your available choices more clearly.
BE A HOT DATE
Dinner and a movie is so cliché. What if, instead, you took your date/partner/love-interest to a cycling class or, went on a hike or a picnic, or kicked a soccer ball around the park? Bonus: Research shows that shared activity builds attraction.
Chances are, many of your coworkers are in the same boat as you: They want to exercise, but have trouble finding the time. What if you move the weekly progress update or brainstorm session to the sidewalk, or stand during meetings? Can your group hike to the coffee shop rather than order in? Can you win a new client over a tennis match instead of dinner? The fresh air and endorphins will spark creative ideas.
SOCIALIZE ON THE GO
Next time a friend or co-worker suggests meeting for lunch, dinner or drinks, counter with an active invitation. How about joining you for a quick walk around the lake? Instead of spending time on the phone or emailing back and forth, suggest that you catch up on the latest news over a leisurely bike ride, or bond by trying an athletic pursuit, such as indoor climbing, that neither of you has ever tried.
WORK IT IN
Holly 35, is a mom to one girl under age five. With a toddler constantly in tow, she’s had to get creative with her exercise routine. While picking up toys, towels and trash off the floor, she increases glute and leg strength by doing squats instead of bending at the waist. “I do calf raises whenever I’m standing at the counter or stove, and when I’m going upstairs to change a diaper,” she says. Whenever she picks up her baby, she does a few overhead lifts. “That always makes her giggle.” Kids playing outside? “I get in there and run and climb at their speed, which gets my heart rate up,” she says. Over the course of a single day, Holly estimates she gets about 60 minutes of exercise this way. “I consider parenting to be a full-contact sport,” she says, “and being in shape makes me a better player.”
RECRUIT A CHEERLEADER
What looks like lack of time is often lack of motivation, consider recruiting emotional support. When you’re excited about something, you find time to do it. Nominate a friend, family member, life coach or personal trainer to be your cheerleader and encourage you (positive messages only; no nagging) on a daily basis. Or, join an online fitness oriented community.
Part of the reason you don’t make time for exercise is because you’re not focusing on the right workout for your personality. For example, don’t assume you’re a runner just because your best friend loves to run. Instead, consider your own lifestyle and personality to find a routine that suits you. Once you understand your fitness personality, you’ll be able to identify activities you actually enjoy, and squeezing them into your schedule won’t be nearly as hard.
BRING THE WHOLE GANG
If family obligations prevent you from fitting in regularly scheduled workouts, rope your gang into other types of group activities. Schedule family hikes, soccer games, after-dinner walks, bike rides or family trips to the gym. Ask the kids suggest family-activity options. And remember that exercise is something you’re doing for your family. When kids see that exercise is important to Mommy and Daddy, it will be important to them, too. Be the example.
TAKE YOUR SHOW ON THE ROAD
As you pack for a business trip or vacation, include your workout clothes and shoes. Packing them signals to your brain that you intend to make time for exercise. What to do? Spend 15 to 20 minutes swimming laps, running stairs, or jogging on the hotel treadmill first thing in the morning. No gym or pool? Ask the front desk if they offer guest passes to a neighborhood gym.
Exercise DVDs are cost-effective, private and flexible, and they allow you to stop and start your workouts based on real-life time constraints (For example, you can do laundry while working out) Brooke used this approach to shed more than 15 pounds while going to school full-time and working. Try Pilates workouts or fitness training with Jillian Michaels.
RISE AND SHINE
For most of us, the day only gets more demanding as it goes on. Exercising first thing in the morning will ensure you squeeze it in. Lay out your workout clothes the night before, to avoid wasting any time and this way you can’t claim you forgot anything.
DITCH YOUR RIDE, YEP YOU HEARD ME …
Whenever practical, hop on the bus, train or subway, or ride your bike to work or to run errands. If you can’t do it every day, try for once a week. People who take alternative transportation tend to get more exercise than daily car commuters.
MASTER THE MICRO-WORKOUT
Whether you’re at work or home, never let yourself sit idle for more than a couple of hours. Create a loop around the block when you grab a cup of coffee, or plan 10-minute breaks at regular intervals to stretch or do a brief circuit workout. I recommend throwing in random sets of body-weight exercise throughout the day. One hard set of 12 or fewer reps won’t make most people sweat if they’re in an air-conditioned building, but it will be enough to make a difference if done several times throughout each day. It takes less than 30 seconds to do 15 pushups or sit-ups, so don’t say you don’t have time. Set an alarm on your computer or cell phone to remind you.
HIT IT HARD
Short on time? Focus on higher-payoff workouts. If you’re focused, there’s no reason you can’t get results in less than 20 minutes a week. My favorite routines? Kettlebell swings (consider keeping a kettlebell by your desk) and slow-motion resistance training. One female case study cut her body fat 3 percentage points in roughly four weeks with only five minutes of kettlebell swings three times a week. The key is staying focused and maintaining a high intensity throughout the mini-workout session. For a fast and furious workout idea, check out my blog on http://busyfitworld.com/or do a Google search on “HIIT” (short for high-intensity interval training).
WEAR A PEDOMETER
As we get older, we typically take fewer steps per day. By age 50, most people are down to about 4,500 steps. Your goal should be to maintain 10,000. The best way to do that is to get a pedometer at your local sporting goods store, or download an app that converts your cell phone to a pedometer. Those wearing pedometers tend to walk more because they’re more conscious of their steps. Looking for extra credit? Climbing a flight of stairs is the equivalent of walking 100 steps!
DO IT YOURSELF MENTALITY
Do things by hand instead of letting a machine do them for you. This might include snow shoveling, pushing a lawn mower, raking leaves or hanging laundry to dry. Ditch remote controls and other automatic devices that undermine your body’s energy use.
WORKOUT WHILE YOU WAIT
Sheena, mother of three, and successful paralegal. She spends a lot of time on the sidelines of soccer practices and games near their home in Great Falls, MT. “I started bringing my bike with me and riding around near the fields while my kids practice,” she says. Sheena has used this technique, too: “Instead of cramming in one more errand while my kids are at their activities, I put on my sneakers and take a walk for the hour.”
PHONE IT IN
Have a conference call you can’t skip? Need to return a few phone calls to family and friends? Grab your cell phone, headset and begin walking. Assuming your area has reliable reception, strive to walk whenever you’re on the phone. Warning: Talking and listening will distract you from the fact you’re exercising. That can be a good thing, or a dangerous thing. Always be mindful of your surroundings, and traffic. The goal is to squeeze exercise in wherever you can — safely.
Written by Wendy Lafayette of Busy Fit World