It is that time of year when colder weather starts to settle in along with the mid-semester slump. Busy-ness seems to take not only time, but also more and more motivation as time goes on.
With the continual busy-ness comes energy depletion. What results is a difficult task of finding both time and motivation to maintain a balanced lifestyle. Here are some truths to help maintain the balance with respect to physical fitness.
First, structure is key. Try taking a few minutes out of your Sunday night to bust out the schedule and scratch in some time for the gym. However, just writing in “gym at 4:00pm” won’t quite cut it. Write what you will do at the gym each time you go. It should look something like: “Back, biceps, and 4-mile run at 4:00pm.”
What if you cannnot afford the time to do a “full” workout? This is when efficiency of the workout is key. For cardio, try HIIT workouts, interval training, or tabatas, all of which are short ways to fit in all the benefits. For strength training, try decreasing rest times. Even better, try mixing cardio and strength training through exercises such as body weight drills or fun CrossFit workouts found easily online.
As far as motivation goes, I have found that having a rewards system helps. Slash through a day in one direction if you successfully complete the workout for that day and slash the other way if you have successfully eaten healthfully that day. Once you get a certain amount of slashes, you can reward yourself in some way.
Another important aspect of motivation is seeing progress. Writing down what you have done at the gym a certain day—such as a specific running time and distance or the number of reps and weight for an exercise—can help with seeing progress. Setting yourself up to be able to see progress by recording workouts is crucial, plus you will also have a reference point for your next workout. Recording is also useful when you have a set goal for the future whether it be a competition such as a 5k race or just a weightlifting PR to bench your own weight by a certain date.
Lastly, do what you like and listen to your body! If you hate running, there is no need to run! There are endless ways to stay physically fit. The important thing is to find at least something and at least some time.
Don’t forget: if some of the busiest, most successful people find time to stay physically fit, so can you!