Finding the motivation to hit the gym is tough for a lot of us. Add an extremely busy schedule to the mix, and working out can become nearly impossible. For many young professionals adjusting to new work schedules and life after college, exercise often gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list.
But Elle Woods from Legally Blonde had it right when she said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy…” You can fill in the rest of that quote, right?* Even though fitting a workout into a busy week can seem stressful, the reward is almost always worth the effort of throwing on a pair of sneakers and dragging yourself to the gym.
Here are some tips for making exercise a priority, even when the clock is against you:
Get inspired. When I was feeling particularly uninspired to work out, I discovered the blog Losing Weight in the City, written by Theodora, a young professional who lost 50 pounds and ran a marathon. If that’s not inspiration to jump off the couch and straight to the gym, I don’t know what is.
After finding Theodora’s blog, I discovered a whole world of healthy living blogs that give me much-needed daily motivation to work out. Every time I open my Google Reader, I see post after post from these amazing women about their latest workouts, and it energizes me to do the same.
Make exercising a social event. If you had told me this time last year that instead of planning happy hours and nights out, I’d be planning early morning 5K runs and zumbathons with friends, I would have laughed in your face.
But in the past 12 months as I’ve made my health more of a priority in my life and dropped 28 lbs, I find many of my social plans now revolve around exercise. We still get to hang out and have fun, but instead of consuming calories in the form of greasy food and beer, we burn them.
Hit the gym before work. Believe me, the thought of rising before my alarm clock (and the sun) still makes me cringe, but I’m slowly forcing myself to become a morning person. When I wake up at 5 a.m. to head to the gym for a quick 40-minute workout, I find myself happier and more energized and alert at work. Plus, then you can brag to all of your friends that you’ve already done more in 40 minutes than most people will do all day.
Having trouble rolling out of bed? I’ve found the best solution to becoming a morning exerciser is to be mentally prepared. The night before a morning workout, I lay out my gym clothes right next to my bed, fill my water bottle and leave it waiting in the fridge so all I need to do in the morning is hop out of bed, brush my teeth, get dressed and out the door I go. Still need convincing? This article outlines 10 benefits of morning workouts.
All you need is 30 minutes. Don’t think you have enough time to fit in a solid workout? Most of my gym workouts are about 30 minutes, but are extremely effective. For example, today I ran for 15 minutes on the treadmill, biked for 7.5 minutes and did the elliptical for 7.5 minutes. 30 minutes of straight cardio using different muscles, speeds and intensities. I left the gym a sweaty mess, and feeling good.
When I need to get in a quick workout, I also enjoy choosing three different 10-minute OnDemand workouts. If you’re searching for workouts you can do at home or on the go, the ladies at Tone It Up send daily emails with workout videos. See? Now you have no excuse!
Find a workout you love. Not everyone is meant to run a marathon. If a certain type of workout doesn’t appeal to you, don’t force yourself; there are plenty of other exercise options to choose from. Find the workout you enjoy the most.
When my job began offering Zumba classes last winter, I quickly became addicted and now attend two or three classes each week. Going to Zumba doesn’t feel like a workout to me (even though I sweat like crazy), because I have so much fun doing it. The dimly lit room and loud music makes the hour-long workout feel like a party.
How do you fit exercise into your busy schedule?
*If you didn’t already figure out the rest of Elle Woods’ famous Legally Blonde quote, she said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”
Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, we offer edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work — this isn’t your parents’ career-advice blog. Be Brazen.
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