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Are you having issues fitting your workout routine these days? Are you struggling to make time for exercise? Whether it is your job, your family life, or something else, it can be hard to fit a workout routine in your week. Today we are looking at 17 workout hacks for the busy woman to ensure you get the most out of your time in terms of exercise and fitness!
Workout Throughout the Day
How to make time for exercise? This is a question that many women ask themselves. There are a lot of hacks that you can use to get in your workout without ruining your day.
Run or fast walk your errands
This is an easy way to get some exercise time in. You can fast walk to the bank, or run pushing the stroller to daycare. Think exercise multi-tasking.
Simply walking as much possible during the day will help with your overall fitness and endurance.
So think of clever ways that you can increase your walking time. Maybe leave the car at home for a few days. Get off the train or bus a few stops before your destination. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.
Remember that exercise is not only working out in the gym or going for a run, maintaining an active daily routine will also help with your overall fitness level.
Use the commute to work out
Another way of getting a work out on the way to work is to change your commute. Consider cycling, running, or walking to work or on a portion of your route that is easily manageable.
While this will require a little bit of adjustment because of changing weather conditions or maybe getting up a bit earlier, this is an easy and steady way to get exercise every day.
Include the family
Instead of spending time on your phone while they are at soccer or dance practice, go to their practice in your fitness wear. Use this as a chance to squeeze in a run around the park.
Depending on age, you can also include a bike ride or a hike with your kids. Maybe fit in a few reps of squats and push-ups while the younger ones are quiet and occupied in play. Every little bit helps, especially if the alternative is idleness. And a potential added benefit is that your kids will want to join in, which makes it much more fun for all.
Finally, if you have friends around you with kids that have the same problem of fitting their workout into their schedule, have a chat and discuss together how you can help each other out. A suggestion is that on weekends, one parent can watch all the kids and get them together for a playdate for an hour or two, while the other parents go for a run!
Workout at work
This one might seem a bit difficult. Of course, this will depend on your schedule and the type of occupation that you have. However, there are ways to get in some exercise during your workday.
A good option is to skip lunch for the gym or a run and eat a light meal after your workout. This is when meal-prepping can be your best friend. Having a healthy lunch packed away for each day of the week buys you more time to get in your exercise. Check out our article on this.
Sitting around all day does not have a great effect on our bodies and this is the case for a lot of jobs.
You can try as best as you can to find time to walk around the office or outside, or during phone calls.
Maybe buy a stability ball to sit on for part of the day instead of using an office chair. You will activate muscles that will reinforce core strength, as well as improving your posture.
Women often say that the difficult part is to have time for exercising or to keep the time slot available when life gets in the way. Here are some hacks and tips you can use in order to save that precious time for you and your fitness routine.
Fitness time can be social time
Get a membership at the same gym as your friend and set up a time and date, you will be less likely to get out of it if someone else is waiting on you. Letting down a friend is a powerful motivator to stay committed.
You could also find a fitness class close to your home that works for both of your schedules or even just make plans to run together so you can exercise and chat at the same time.
If you have several motivated friends, you can create a message group for those wanting to run together, and with a handful of people, there is often someone available to go and run with you when you have the time.
Block the time in your calendar
If your career keeps you busy, it is easy to have your calendar filled with meetings and things to do before you know it. If you have a say in the schedule, a good trick is to block your exercise time in your calendar. Make your exercise schedule a non-negotiable part of your week.
It will make you schedule what you can around it and it will make it easier for you to say: “Sorry, I cannot do that meeting before 9 am” (no one has to know that 8 to 9 am is your workout time!)
Optimize your time at the gym
If you are working out at the gym, it is likely that you spend quite a lot of time there. Sometimes you skip your workout, thinking that you will not make it in time in the office or back home.
But you can make your workouts at the gym more efficient by sticking to a schedule and avoiding distractions. Leave your phone behind and avoid social chat at the gym for starters, so you go in, workout, and go out.
Use your time wisely, either by going to a class or planning your workout ahead so you know what are the exercises you will perform today.
You can also try to do a superset, which is basically going through your workout program without rest. Supersets allow for a quick workout that adds in a bit of cardio, because of the limited breaks. With this method, you can get a workout within 30 minutes. Try to incorporate a mix of exercises to get a full workout, and use exercises that use multiple muscle groups at the same time to get the most out of those 30 minutes.
Break down your workout
If you cannot find a time slot of 30 to 60 minutes to dedicate to your workout, you can also break it down during the day. Work out 15 minutes in the morning before you get in the shower, another 15 during your lunch break, and another 15 minutes before going to bed.
Here, without blocking a huge amount of time in your schedule, you still have done 45 minutes of exercise during your day!
Workout at Home
A good way to ensure that you are going to get your workout time is to simply do it from the comfort of your own home. No transport can make your life much easier and avoid quite some logistics issues. Let’s look at some things you can do to work out at home and make it efficient.
Make your workout more enjoyable
The great advantage of working out at home is that you are not disturbing anyone if you are multitasking. Why not listen to a podcast at the same time, or an audiobook, or catch up on that TV show your friends are talking about while you are working out? It will make it more enjoyable, and you won’t feel like you are cutting into your leisure time by working out. Double win!
If you are working with a playlist, another good trick is to have a playlist that is the exact amount of time your workout is. It will help you avoid the temptation to obsess about the clock. Soon enough you will know that you are almost done when you hear that last song!
Working out at home is efficient
It is not because you don’t have all the equipment available at your local gym that a home workout will not help you burn fat or gain muscle. Plenty of exercises are efficient for fat burning and muscular fitness, while they require no other equipment apart from a yoga mat.
Use burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, push-ups, and planks for example to make yourself a little home workout routine.
This way, if for some reason you have to skip another of your activities like a class or going to the gym, you can also replace by your home workout.
You don’t necessarily need a dedicated home gym
There are plenty of exercises you can do without any equipment but only your body weight, such as abs, planks, push-ups, etc.
Once again the trick is to find a slot of time to do it. You can of course block a 20 to 30 min slot for your workout routine, but you can also for example do reps while watching TV or while you are waiting for the dinner to finish cooking.
You can make a little break with yourself to do some sets of reps during commercial breaks for example! Finding these little time slots in your day can be a bit difficult to start with, but once you get into the habit of spreading out your workout while doing something else, you will gain time!
Make a home gym
If you don’t have the space to have training equipment in a dedicated room, you can use various equipment that is easily stored such as small weights (LINK), resistance bands (LINK), or a kettle ball (LINK). With a kettlebell there are plenty of exercises you can do that will give you a full-body workout. Check out our article here for more details.
If you have space you can dedicate to your home gym and you can afford to spend on some equipment, you can invest in equipment that will allow you to do multiple exercises such as a multifunction fitness machine.
Finally, for quite a bit of a budget, you can consider a smart home gym (or digital home gym) equipment. Products such as Mirror home gym or Tonal training machine are not on the cheap side but are having a huge success due to the easiness of use and the variety of workouts you can get. It is likely that the entire family can benefit from it as they are interactive and offer plenty of options.
A key element to success with a fitness routine is consistency. This seems like the most basic thing but can also be one of the hardest to achieve when a busy schedule or some unplanned events get in the way. In order to stay motivated and stay in shape, you need drive and motivation. Here are a few things that can help:
Keep track of progress
If you have a goal such as weight loss, body composition, or a running objective, keeping track of your progress is a good motivation. When you are feeling tempted to skip the workout, have a look at the latest data you have saved regarding your progress to get an extra kick of motivation.
Rewarding yourself for your hard work is also a good motivation technique. It does not have to be a big reward, but for each week or month you stick to your plan, you can agree with yourself on something rewarding. It could be a movie with a friend, a massage, buying yourself flowers, taking the time to call your best friend for an hour, etc.
Another trick that works for a lot of people is to reward yourself for working out at home (if that is what you have chosen to do) and saving money on a gym membership. Each time you work out, put some money in a jar, and treat yourself at the end of the month!
Have a good training outfit
Feeling good about yourself and the clothes you work out in is important. Whatever your preferences or color taste, treat yourself to an outfit that you like, is comfortable, and flatters you. Looking good while you are working out is a little extra motivation!
We are talking about workouts, but we all know that nutrition is also key to achieving your body composition or weight goals. Here we will not recommend any nutrition plan, but share some hacks that can save you time on a daily basis and therefore free up some extra time to work out!
Try intermittent fasting
We have discussed intermittent fasting at length on the EMH blog and you will find plenty of resources. One thing that does not often get mentioned however when talking about intermittent fasting is the amount of time you save in meal prep and eating time by eating less during the day! If this is a daily diet that works for you, it will also free you extra time to work out.
Meal prep to save time
If you are short on time to cook or meal prep is a big part of your day, you can also consider tips to make your meal prep more efficient. Cook in batches, buy some equipment to help you be faster in the kitchen, store the right products for healthy snacks or last-minute meals. All these things can also save you some valuable time over your day. Check out our easy meal prep recipes and some ideas here.
With all these hacks and tricks to fit in some fitness routine into your day, we hope that you will find the time to fit a workout in your schedule several times per week!