We all know that exercise is important for our physical, mental, and emotional health. But almost every Busygal I know has the same dilemma: A desire to exercise, but not enough time or lack of energy/discipline to do so. This Busygal is no exception to the rule. However, I've found a few tricks that seem to work for me (hopefully they help you too!):
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Most gym memberships include attendance to group fitness classes at no additional cost. I have found that this is the only way I get in a decent workout. If I attempt to exercise on my own on a treadmill or elliptical machine, I'll quit in about 10 minutes. I get bored, I feel unmotivated, I get tired. However, in a group exercise class, I feel energized, there's an instructor encouraging and directing, and...time for the real truth...I'm competitive. I don't want people to see me giving up, so being in a class pushes me to give it my all. Some of my favorites at my YMCA include Kickboxing, Kick-Step-Funk, Cardio Smashup, and my new favorite...Swimming (more on this later).
2) Stay ahead of the pack
Once you get comfortable with the routines in the group class, get there a few minutes early and make sure you get a spot toward the front. Why? Because when you know that there's a room full of people behind you, you definitely will feel pushed more to keep going when you feel like giving up. This has also worked wonders for me. When you're in the back row, you're more apt to go easy on yourself and take more breaks. If you're anything like me, being toward the front will push you.
At my gym, they offer a Swim Fitness class. When I went to join, nobody was attending. For the last few weeks, I have had a private, one-hour Swim Fitness class with an instructor. It's been fantastic! Tip/Lesson Learned: Look for possibly obscure classes offered at your gym that you might be interested in, and you might be treated to individual instruction, or very small classes. This will push you to work harder, as there's nobody to hide behind. Regardless of the class offering, another wonderful exercise is swimming. It works your entire body, it's low-impact, and it's refreshing. Before I found my Swim Fitness class, swimplan.com was a huge help to keeping me on track.
4) Join a Boot Camp Class
Boot camp can be really expensive through private organizations. Try checking out a gym, however, and you might be surprised. My gym offers boot camp classes either 3 days per week in the early mornings, or 2 days per week in the evenings. This is an additional charge to my membership, but at $55 for 10 weeks, 2 times per week, it's worth the extra cost to me! I would by lying if I said it wasn't difficult, but it's an hour, and us Busygals can survive an hour of really hard work, right? Right! That's what I tell myself anyway, and it's been working so far. You work out hard, and you see results!
4) Subscribe to Exercise Magazines
Women's Health Magazine has some great tips for exercise, eating healthy, and staying in shape. I always feel motivated and learn something new when I read it.
5) Eat Healthy
We all know that, right? But as life as a Busygal goes, sometimes healthy eating goes out the window when we're running from one obligation or social activity to the next. This is one of the hugest struggles for me. I've found that pre-portioning out healthy snacks can be helpful. When I get home from the grocery store, I immediately put out zip locs or tupperware and divide snacks into healthy portions. This helps, because when I get home from a long day and I'm starving, I'm reaching for what's convenient, not healthy. But...if my healthy snacks are right there, I'm more apt to grab for those. Also, Trader Joe's has some great snack-sized portions of almonds, called "Just A Handful." A healthy and filling snack. And, as Dave Zinczenko (the guy who authors "Eat This, Not That") recently tweeted, "DIET VS EXERCISE? Workouts help the heart but barely dent our avg 3500 cals/day, says UK study. Focus on eating right." So...when exercise just isn't in the schedule for the day, maintain your health with better eating.
Push yourself, get competitive, join some classes, and eat healthy. You'll be glad you did, I know I have been (and I'm excited about the pounds that have been shed as a result!).
Happy fitness, Busygals!