“Lack of time is not an excuse” is a phrase rattled off by many the personal trainer and fitness guru. “You can always make time for a 30-minute workout”. True, but if you’re taking your fitness and health seriously, and wanting real results, time dedicated to fitness is a lot more than that 30 minutes.
Let me show you what I mean.
The average gym workout tends to be around 45 minutes, that may include some strength training, cardio or a fitness class. I’m not big on spending more than 40-45 minutes in a gym but if you factor in a warm-up and cool-down you are usually at an hour.
Cross-fit workouts can also be at least 45 to an hour and if you’re a runner your workouts can be hours.
Getting Your Nutrition In
If you’re focused on getting a good workout, you are probably aware of your nutrition and plan a pre-workout meal. If it’s a whole food meal you are looking at two to three hours before to consume it and even a decent snack you’d be best to wait around an hour.
Post workout nutrition is also crucial to build and repair muscle and replace your stored muscle energy. After a workout, you’ll be wanting to get in some quick absorbing protein either through a protein shake or your own smoothie. Then you are wanting a good whole food meal with quality protein, carbs, and fats within that two-hour window after a workout.
Adding It All Up
The average person lives about a seven-minute drive away from a gym and that’s on a good day. Being conservative and saying it takes ten minutes each way, plus parking can tack on close to an extra half hour. Assuming you are wanting to shower at some point, plus time changing before and after, there is another ten minutes. Or a lot longer if you’re a diva like I am…
So adding this up, what should just be a “half-hour workout” is more realistically around five-plus hours that you need to dedicate when you factor in the other important variables that make up a life of fitness. If you’re getting eight hours of sleep at night and work a job that’s a standard eight hour day the time it takes to devote to fitness is actually a massive chunk of time.
I think you’re allowed to be cut some slack when you’re told by someone who basically works out for a living, and spends all day in a gym, that you’re not being devoted to a life of fitness.
Here are four things you can do when you’re actually crunched for time to still take care of your health and wellness.
1. Pre-Prepare Meals
This might be your best time saver. Take one day a week and get some pre-workout and post-workout meals ready to go to at least not be spending all your time in the kitchen. Your freezer can be your best friend in this situation.
2. Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand
Life gets in the way and your plan to make it to the gym might not always happen. On the other hand on those days where things open up and you find yourself with some time to get away having some good pre-workout nutrition on hand will keep you moving.
My personal favorite is a cup of mixed raw almonds and walnuts, a green apple, and some water. You get a nice amount of protein, fiber, and healthy fats to keep yourself fueled.
3. Opt For The Home Workout
If you have equipment at home already then perfect. If not this is a good time to get acquainted with high-intensity interval training. HIIT training can be done without equipment and by just using your own bodyweight. There are many workouts you can follow on YouTube from the comfort of your own home. It’s a good fitness backup waiting at home for you.
4. Tabata Training
To simplify a quick workout even more on the craziest of days, you can engage in Tabata training. If you’re not familiar with Tabata it is a four-minute workout consisting of a 20-second high-intensity phase followed by a ten second rest period and you do that eight times. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Those of you who have done it are shaking your head in disagreement right now. Tabata can be performed anywhere, even in your office without any equipment at all. You just pick one exercise and go with it. I recommend burpees.
Wrapping It Up
A lack of time is a valid reason why getting fit and healthy can be difficult. The main thing is to prepare yourself as best as possible and not beat yourself up over having a jam-packed day. Give yourself some time to breathe and remember about making progress, not perfection.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.ca