How Busy Are You?
Note: Comments are open on this page. Please share your ideas to help busy people, success stories and more (see below).
Okay, seriously, when is the last time you met somebody who did not consider themselves busy? My answer, well … never.
Anyone bothering to read this blog is probably busy. After all, my focus here is on middle career, middle age, hard working and very busy people. Even so, I think there is information on this blog that can help ANYONE who wants to make progress with fitness and weight loss. Otherwise, I would not bother with the hundreds of hours I have dedicated to reading, research and writing here.
So, let’s start with the assumption that everyone reading this blog is busy. That said, there is busy and then there is busy! Most people’s lives vary day to day and week to week with regards to the many demands on our time. This variability alone poses difficulties to each of us in devising strategy to create a realistic plan striving to exercise, eat better and get fit that will work with our schedules. Everyone is different and unique as our our careers, families and other interests and commitments. For this reason, there is no “one size fits all” approach to finding the time needed to succeed in YOUR individual strategy to achieve success in weight loss and fitness.
See Item #6 on the Why We Fail and How to Succeed page for starters.
Okay, so you are busy. You are also out of shape and overweight but you want to do something about it – otherwise you would not be reading this. Where do you start? How can you make a plan to overcome the challenges of your schedule? The short and simple answer is that you need to take a long look at yourself, your life, talk to your loved ones and decide I AM GOING TO DO THIS and mean it!
Consider this as a bit of extra motivation as you examine your life and individual circumstances. Obesity is draining your energy, negatively effecting your self-image and thus your confidence and stopping you from being able to do and enjoy the things you want to do. Life is short, and tomorrow is promised to none. That said, there is no reason people cannot continue to be very active and fit and truly enjoy their lives well into their 70’s and beyond … but only if you take care of yourself (and are a bit lucky in the genetic lottery and nothing random like accidents, cancer, etc. take you out). We cannot plan for those random things. WE CAN DECIDE TO TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES TO MAXIMIZE OUR POTENTIAL HAPPINESS. Also consider that if you do succeed in getting trim and fit, you will have more energy for family, work and hobbies – for years to come!
So, stop making excuses, however justified they may be, and set your mind to getting this done and achieving success!
Some Tips For The Very Busy
- If you are quite overweight and out of shape when starting out (as I was) – focus first on nutrition (diet) and weight loss. Trying to jump into an intense exercise program at this stage is daunting and possibly unhealthy. As you lose weight and feel better you will find that you have increased energy to devote to more exercise. This is not to say you should not increase your activity and exercise – you should – but do so slowly. Small daily changes and gains over time add up to amazing long term results!
- I strongly recommend using Weight Watchers at this stage. It is simple and does not add that much to a busy schedule – and it works!
- Recruit your partner / spouse / significant other. Certainly they want to see you succeed and get more fit and healthy and have more energy – and perhaps live longer! They can help you keep motivated and also with grocery shopping, meal planning, etc.
- Prepare as many of your own meals as possible. Use fresh ingredients and plan your meal strategy EVERY day. I think it best to do this the night before and go into each day knowing your eating plan – and thus your planned “calorie” or “points” intake. This is particularly important if your career has you eating on the run a lot, or if like me, you work odd hours which alone tends to lead to terrible eating habits.
- Force yourself to eat something at least 5-6x a day to avoid excess hunger and falling into starvation mode. Many busy people skip meals and then are very hungry late in the day and pile up their plates. This is a fitness and diet killer.
- Focus on adequate water intake. This takes no real time – just attention.
- Print 7 copies of this detailed “daily planner” worksheet and chart out an actual week (i.e. your last week or two). Don’t leave any detail out – this is only for you. Then take a hard look at things and figure out where you can carve out 10, 15, 30 minutes in scattered chunks throughout your day.
- During short blocks of time, get up from your chair, find a quiet stairwell, and briskly walk up and down the stairs for 10-15 minutes with a goal of sustaining 80% of your Maximum Heart Rate for Your Age
- If you can get in three 10 minute such blocks, or two 15 minute periods, there is your active 30 minutes of cardio for the day.
- Consider trying the proven “HIIT” (High Intensity Interval Training) “7 minute workout.” There are free apps for this – you can also see it here on YouTube. There is no equipment needed – and if you do this twice you can count 15 minutes of cardio for the day!
- If your job requires you to be on your phone a lot – consider making calls using a headset with your cell phone. Then get out of your office and walk around as briskly as you can manage indoors or outdoors.
- Referring to the calendar project you did (above) – consider small changes you could make to set regular exercise times, for example:
- I believe anyone (if motivated) can carve out 75-90 minutes a day for exercise if you plan appropriately!
- If you have what most people would consider an “office job” (lawyer, engineer, business, technology, teaching, etc.) – can you start your work day a bit earlier (i.e. 45 minutes) and stay a bit later (i.e. 30 minutes)? If so, that is 75 minutes you can use to: take a longer “lunch break” and use this time for exercise -OR- take longer “coffee breaks” and do mini workouts on each of these (stairs, brisk walking, 7 minute HIIT workouts, etc.)
- Along the same lines, can you start your day a bit later and exercise early in the morning before going in? Perhaps by staying later or giving up some lunch or break time?
- Can you start your day an hour earlier, finish an hour earlier and head to the gym for exercise before going home for dinner and family time?
- Particularly when starting out on your journey to lose weight and get fit I do NOT believe it is good to take days off! Working out 5 days a week and “resting” on weekends is fine for those who are already fit and trim and generally active. For those trying to get to that point, days off should be rare. For those of us trying to lose weight and get fit my experience is that it is critical to do something active for at least 30 minutes every day!
- Weekends. There is little excuse to NOT workout for at least 45-60 minutes a day on your weekends. Do it early in the day and get it over with (you will feel energized). Then get on with enjoying your day. Just find the time, stop the excuses and do it!
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