Part 2: “I don’t have time.”
During my time as a personal trainer, one of the poorest excuses I had from people during their orientation or retention check up was that they just “don’t have time” to exercise regularly (hence the gym memberships they pay for and never use). THEN these very same people often talked about the television shows they (okay, we) loved to watch when they got home from work. Here my inner dialogue chimes in, “so, let me get this straight, you can watch an hour or more of television, but you can’t find time to do a simple workout?” The average hour-long primetime TV show contains almost 15 minutes of commercials. Personally, that sounds like time wasted.
To this, I offer a solution. If you have a gym membership, or are planning on getting one, and you HAVE TO watch your shows, choose a gym that offers television on its cardio equipment. You can walk (bike, step, etc.) during the show and RUN (bike faster, climb higher, etc.) during the commercials. You’ll have a nicely paced interval workout before you know it. If you choose to work out at home, use the commercial breaks to do short circuits of push-ups, sit ups, air squats, stationary lunges, etc.
Another solution to this problem is to set aside 20-30 minutes for exercise before work (or school), during a lunch break, or when you get home. When you think about how much time you spend online, watching TV, planning your next career move, fantasizing about winning the lottery, or any other time-wasting activity, 20-30 minutes is not a huge investment for your health and well being.
Here is a short series of exercises you can do timed. Set a watch, microwave timer, phone alarm, etc. to the desired time (i.e. 10 minutes = better than no minutes).
- 1 minute of air squats
- 1 minute of push ups
- 1 minute of sit ups
- 1 minute of superman
- 1 minute of alternating lunge jumps
What’s great about a setup like this is that you can do any integer of 5 minutes. If you only have 5 minutes when you wake up, and 5 minutes before you go to bed, you’re still getting in 10 minutes of exercise. I recommend doing 4 rounds for a total of 20 minutes. If your muscles aren’t burning and you’re not out of breath after minute 5, you’re probably not pushing yourself hard enough. If it’s just too tough to handle, take a few slow breaths in between each exercise.
The most difficult part of this workout, if you’re going to try multiple sets, is the lunge jumps followed by the air squats. Try your best to push through them. You can take comfort in the fact that in just another short minute, you’ll be lying on the floor. (Once my final timer beeps, I usually enjoy a minute or two of the “sleeping starfish” stretch…)
Now that you have a plan to follow, let’s talk about hydration. If you read my last blog post, this probably seems like déjà vu. I’m going to assume that you have all adopted the practice of drinking a glass of water when you wake up, and hopefully a glass before each meal. What about after your workout? Coconut water (not juice or milk) is a great hydrating beverage. It is a great source of electrolytes, potassium (which we lose when we sweat), and it is isotonic (meaning it has chemistry similar to that of human cells – important for absorption). Some sources say that the “magic” of coconut water is an urban myth, but I like the taste, and it works for me.
My food of the week is Greek yogurt. I love Greek yogurt for many reasons, primarily the nutrient breakdown when compared with other styles. Greek yogurt has more protein, and less sugar than your average yogurt. The consistency is a little thicker, and some people disagree with the “sour taste”, but I have found a few brands and flavors that are simply mouthwatering. Chobani is my “go to” brand. I love the pomegranate (with actual crunchy pomegranate seeds), and blueberry. If you’re someone who doesn’t like fruit pieces in your yogurt, you might like Fage with honey. So just as with our bread swap out last week, we can make healthier choices with other foods we love too!
So in summary…
- You do have time to workout, even if it’s only 10 minutes
- Find a gym with TV’s and do a “TV interval workout”
- Use commercial breaks for short circuits
- Set aside 20-30 minutes a day for an easy routine
- Aside from your morning glass of water, try a yummy alternative that restores nutrients like coconut water.
- Make healthier selections
- If you like yogurt, try switching to Greek style with less sugar and more protein.
I would love to hear any feedback you might have. I will do my best to respond to questions in a timely manner. If I don’t know the answer to a question, I will either tell you that I don’t know, or I will spend some time trying to figure it out.
As always, it is recommended that you contact a healthcare professional (i.e. your doctor) before you start a new exercise plan (even though I think 99.9% of you won’t).
To read the first installment of this series, click here.