I’ve mentioned this before: I’m not a fitness guru. Nor am I in the best shape I could be. I’m just a normal everyday girl who is doing her best to be healthy.
One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is you don’t have to be in the best shape to live a fit lifestyle. But it does take some work and dedication. Especially, when you’re busy.
I talk a lot of how my schedule is crazy. Let me give you a little insight into my daily schedule (when in school).
- 6am: Wake up and get ready for work
- 6:45am: Breakfast and coffee (all the coffee!)
- 7:15am: Leave for work
- 8am: Arrive at work and begin my day
- 5pm: Walk to school
- 5:30pm to 7:30pm: Sit in class
- 8:30pm: Arrive at home
- 8:45pm: Eat dinner and chat with my husband
- 10pm: Bedtime
This is my schedule three out of five work days a week. As you can see, it leaves little room for fitness.
But in the words of Tim Gunn: you gotta make it work.
Working full-time and going to law school really teaches one how to manage their time (as demonstrated in my time management post). It also reminds you how easily it is to fall into a world of fast food and not working out. Since day 1 of school, I’ve strived to make sure not to fall down this path.
So let me give you a few of my tips and tricks for fitting in fitness when you have zero time.
Follow online fitness influencers.
If you can’t find an awesome online fitness influencer, then you must not be looking. A couple of years ago, I fell in love with three fitness influencers: Anna Victoria of Fit Body Guides, Katie Dunlop of Love Sweat Fitness, and Karena and Katrina of Tone It Up. Each of these gals have fun personalities and provide great content, including communities where you can meet other women focusing on their health. Let me give you a little run down of why I love them so much.
Anna Victoria – Fit Body Guides
I can’t remember the first time I was introduced to Anna Victoria, but I can tell you it was likely through Instagram. Not only is she beautiful, but she is completely down to earth and realistic about being fit and healthy. She isn’t afraid to post an unflattering picture or show you how she indulges in pasta.
I’ve been doing Fit Body Guides (or FBG for short) since last August. If you are looking for a program that will make the scale meet the magical arbitrary number you set for it, then this is not your program. It is your program if you want to be stronger and more fit. Anna Victoria provides daily workouts that last anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes. If you get her meal plan, she provides basic meals that are sure to satisfy. I was able to see a difference in my body within just a few weeks. She’s my total fave!
Katie Dunlop – Love Sweat Fitness
I have not been following Katie as long as Anna Victoria, but I still love her personality. She is super fun and relatable. Her content on social media is useful and fun. She even includes short workouts you can do anywhere!
My favorite posts of Katie’s are the ones when she travels. She does a great job posting on Instagram and Snapchat of how they indulge, but also how she fits in her workouts. There are even times she does a workout on PopSugar Snapchat from her vacation spot! You should definitely check out her blog post about when she went o a vacation to Europe and actually lost weight by eating and drinking all the good stuff (check out that story here).
Karena and Katrina – Tone It Up
While my everyday workouts are FBG, Tone It Up was my first online fitness influence purchase. I found their book, 28 days to Fit, Fierce and Fabulous, on Amazon and decided to buy it on a whim. And thank goodness. This opened me up to the wonderful fitness world Karena and Katrina have built. That book really got me started thinking about fitness in a different way. It made me try new foods and exercises unknown to me. They also have an awesome social media presence. These girls are so much fun and don’t take life too seriously. Plus I enjoy seeing an Indiana girl (Karena) doing great things!
I love using their YouTube workouts to supplement FBG when I need additional cardio. Their HIIT workouts, in particular, always leave me feeling sore but ready to go.
There are many more influencers out there that are also great. It really depends on what you are looking for in a fitness influencer. One way to find them is by searching “fitness” or “fitness influencer” on Instagram or pay attention to those featured in health and fitness media like PopSugar or Self Magazine.
Choose a fitness program.
Whether you work out at home or at the gym, it’s important to pick the right program for your body. And remember, what is right for me may not be right for you.
All the programs above are great programs with proven success stories. I choose FBG 2.1 as my main program because it includes more weight lifting than cardio. While I love cardio (especially running), I see more results from a routine more focused on weight lifting.
If you aren’t interested in paying for fitness programs, then you’re in luck. There are so many free workout plans on the internet. All you have to do is search Pinterest or Google to find the type of workout you want. There really is no excuse.
Another key in fitting in fitness is choosing exercises that give you the biggest bang for the shortest amount of time. That is one reason I love all the workouts listed above. The duration is roughly 20 to 30 minutes (depending) and include high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT maximizes calorie burn and makes you feel great afterwards. I always get an energy burst right after I’m done!
Set up a great workout space.
Despite moving 40 minutes away from my gym, I attempted to keep going to my 6am BodyPump class (side note: BodyPump is one of the most amazing classes I have ever taken. If you get the chance to go on a regular basis, I encourage you to do so. It is such a great cardio/weight lifting mix.). But getting up at 4:45am to get ready and be in my spot by 6am was taking a toll on me.
So I decided to give up my gym membership and create my own space. Luckily, we had a spare room in our house. All my equipment was purchased through Amazon, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or Wal-Mart. I tried to scout the best products at the most reasonable prices. I even got this Jillian Michaels Cross Bar from Groupon!
Another piece that was super important to me was making goal wall and a motivation wall. The goal wall (pictured below) includes my short and long-term goals. It also includes my current measurements so I can track progress.
My motivation wall is a collection of quotes and pictures I found on Pinterest (check out my motivation wall board here). When I am struggling through a workout or need to be reminded why I’m doing this, I look at the wall and I remember. I also love to show off my medals and bibs from the 5k, 10k and half marathons I’ve completed!
Schedule, schedule, schedule
If you’ve read most of my previous posts, you have heard this before. Scheduling is key. It allows you to maximize the minimal amount of time you have. With a schedule like the one above, there is very little wiggle room to fit in a workout.
But I do it. I first look at my calendar to see if I have events on my non-school evenings. If not, then I schedule workouts for right when I get home. I also look at the weekend and determine where I can workout during the weekend. Then I determine whether it’s feasible to workout before class. If not, I will get up at 5:30am two of the three school days to get the workout in before I head to work. It is rough, but the sacrifice is worth it.
Find an accountability partner in a similar situation.
As I mentioned before about FBG, Love Sweat Fitness, and Tone It Up, there are great communities of women on the same path to fitness as you are. Join these groups and communities to share your experience, celebrate the progress of someone else and gather encouragement when you feel like quitting. I don’t personally know any of the women in my FBG community, but they all have a very positive impact on me and my fitness.
If you have a real life accountability buddy, that’s even better. One way I fit in my cardio is by walking with my friend Valerie. We walk at lunch (when we have time). I’ve frequently called it my therapy session because we get a chance to talk about our lives and offer helpful advice where necessary. We are also both in law school and working full-time, so it is nice to chat with someone who understands what I’m going through.
Being fit is all about doing what’s best for you while pushing you out of your comfort zone as well. Look for challenges, but don’t kill yourself trying to constantly squeeze in workouts. It really is about finding a great balance in working out and all the responsibilities of life. But the number one thing to remember is that you are worth taking care of. So no matter what, do not feel guilty for taking time out of your crazy schedule to be healthy. You’re so worth it.