This post was inspired by a client and friend of mine, who works between 60 and 70 hours every week. Wowzers! That’s a lot of time to crunch, and doesn’t leave much free time left over for fitness and healthy choices, especially when those aren’t necessarily the top priorities in our mind before, during, or after the daily grind. So let’s crunch some numbers here for just a tick.
In a 5 day work week, there are 120 hours.
If we get a full 8 hours sleep each night, there go 40 of those hours.
120 – 40 = 80
Take away 65 hours as an average for someone cranking out a ton of work hours …
80 – 65 = 15
Let’s then figure 30 minutes on average to “wake up and get ready to hit the day” taking up another 2.5 hours over the week.
15 – 2.5 = 12.5
Factor in an hour of drive time to and from work each day for 5 more hours.
12.5 – 5 = 7.5
Let’s then give us a grace of 2.5 hours split up over the week for errands, chores, and other general maintenance things.
7.5 – 2.5 = 5
So, in a 5 day work week, that leaves 5 hours of personal time.
Phew. So as you can see, we don’t have a lot to work with, which makes the challenge of using those 5 hours for personal betterment through cooking or exercising instead of decompressing and unwinding in front of a TV.
Before I continue, I want to stress, that IS possible to use that time to get in quality workouts, and meal prep.
2 or 3 hour long workouts in those 5 days, still leaves 3 to 2 hours for meal planning and prepping; while 5, 30 minute exercise sessions also allow 30 minutes of meal prep every day.
But, the REAL objective of this post is to offer up ways in which we can combine exercise and ease of making healthy nutritious choices without dipping into those coveted hours of personal time.
Hang on for the ride folks! Some of these suggestions are so incredibly simple that their benefit may blow your mind.
1.) Invest In A Cooler
A cooler? But I’m not going to the beach! Hear me out. By investing in a cooler you have the option to cart around more healthy food choices and snacks for you that might need to be kept cold, or just contained in general. Consider the following. Lunch rolls around, and you are busy owning life at work. The most convenient thing to do would be to order out to save you those precious minutes. But what if, instead, you could reach over, crack open your cooler, and pull out a piece of fruit, or a vegetable, or sandwich you prepared yourself?
Also! Not only does the cooler act as a portable portal of nutritional goodness, it also provides you with an exercise you perform simply by walking from one destination to the next! You will be actively doing an exercise known as a suitcase carry. By having a weighted object in one arm, you must use stabilizing muscles to keep yourself upright, and statically activate muscles in your arms and back. Just don’t forget to switch sides on your next trip to balance out the work!
2.) Stairs or Elevator?
When faced with this question, the elevator is always the easiest route. But, by taking the elevator, you are passing up on a free workout that is 100% a part of your day and in no way would be cutting into your precious free time. Suck it up buttercup, and master those stairs for an awesome cardio workout and strength training for all the musculature of your legs!
3.) Park Further Away
Always, anywhere, wherever. Choose a spot further away from your destination. You’ll get extra steps in and really, is the 30 seconds to a minute it will save you worth more than your overall health and those precious precious hours at the end of the day?
4.) Portion Control
In the end, there are situations that you sometimes just won’t be able to control when it comes to choosing whether or not to eat out or pack your own lunch. Be it a business lunch, or last resort convenience you should also be prepared to deal with these encounters. Restaurants are notorious for delivering you unrealistic portions. Your mission is to eat slowly. Savor the meal, enjoy it and taste every flavor. By eating slower and registering the meal with your brain, you will be less likely to over eat, and guess what, those left overs? Will make an awesome second meal later! Of course, it never hurts to be cognoscente of the nutrition factors of the meals you order while out as well.
5.) Back Pack It
This one may not be conducive to everyone. But, if you have many things to carry around with you, investing in a good backpack may be pertinent. I can tell you that I always carry a backpack where I go. It will always have a notebook in it and other useful doodads that anyone might need in a given day, like pens, pencils, business cards, iPod, gym shoes, a shirt and pair of shorts, computer, and the book I am currently reading. The computer doesn’t always travel with me, but when it does, it’s a nice added weight (not that without it the pack is unnoticeably light.)
Make sure to strap your arms through both loops. Carrying this bad boy around with you wherever you may have to walk to will give some added resistance to stairs, and walking in general for a little added exercise.
6.) Find Little Increments Of Time
Dedicate waking up 5 minutes earlier to get in a quick powerful workout prior to showering and starting your morning routine. Grab another 5 – 10 minutes around lunch time when you feel your focus fading and need a break anyways (not only will a quick bout of activity re-juice your energy levels, it will be another increment of healthy activity for you.) Just got home? Take 5 more minutes before you start your winding down regimen. Doing that 5 days a week will provide you with 20 minutes of vigorous activity per day, more than enough to develop fitness wise!
7.) Weekend Prep
Notice, I did not include the weekends in this plan? Chances are with the rest of your busy life style, your weekends are also filled with plans and other “get-it-done” activities. But, if you dedicate an hour of your time on Sunday, or even Saturday, you can prepare an entire week’s worth of meals in one fell swoop. Eat a single portion and partition the rest off into freezer bags or Tupperware. Put the ones for later in the week in the freezer and the ones that will be eaten soon in the refrigerator. There are lots of great meal ideas out there on the internet, accessible at the click of a mouse. All you have to do is prepare enough servings of it to last the week. So what are you waiting for??
So at the end of the day, the take away is this. There is always time. Finding it is the difficult part. But nothing in life worth having is ever easily attained. You owe it to yourself, to search for that time to treat yourself right.
Have any other tips that work well for you in your busy schedule? Please feel free to comment here and tell us all about them!
Knowledge is best served with a side of discussion.