Wake up. Go to work. Sleep. Repeat. This was my life for (too) many years until I finally said STOP!
It was time I took back control over my life, and started prioritizing my health and my fitness. A good initiative, right? Except, how do you fit an extra 90 minutes of training in a day that’s already packed from start to finish?
Making time for your fitness goals is a sport in itself!
I have experienced it myself and I can attest to the fact that it’s challenging. However, great are the rewards to people who find the recipe for success.
Today I want to share with you how I managed to effectively make fitness a priority in my already very busy life, and give you tips to increase your odds of success and become a real life superwoman!
SET YOUR OBJECTIVES
So you decided to take your health and fitness seriously and you want to hit the gym? Great! That’s the first step many people don’t even reach. You’re definitely on the right path! Now, if you want to successfully start your fitness journey and skip most beginners’ mistakes, you should go in with a plan, starting by setting your objectives.
You can’t expect to reach your objectives if you don’t have any. Yes, yes, you’re probably thinking that you know what you want out of your time at the gym. Yet it’s not enough to just want to lose weight, get in good shape for the fast approaching summer, or gain muscle.
You need to set more precise goals for yourself, goals that you can plan for, work for, track and measure!
Here are a few things to keep in mind when setting your objectives:
- Set a timeline or deadline for reaching them.
- Objectives need to be measurable.
- And achievable.
- Yet challenging!
Take a piece of paper and write down your objectives. Starting with long term, and then breaking them down into monthly, then weekly objectives. It’s very important you have both short and long term objectives so you can keep yourself focused on the end goal when it gets tough, and so you know what to do today and tomorrow in order to reach these objectives.
PREPARE, PLAN, SCHEDULE
You now have your objectives and you’re ready to hit the gym and crush them. Except, are you really ready?
What you’re missing is a bit of preparation to set yourself up for success!
If you don’t have a solid plan, you’ll likely be overwhelmed, confused, and it won’t make for the best experience at the gym. Getting to know your way around the gym and the different machines and exercises beforehand is key to be efficient right from the get-go.
Do your research
Whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced gym goer, it’s always good to spend some time doing your research beforehand. There are a million blogs and YouTube channels out there to help you craft the perfect workout programme, so you can’t go wrong with this.
A couple of things to keep in mind when creating a workout programme:
- Is your source of information reliable? (Your cousin who worked out twice and sprained his shoulder is not a valid answer…)
- Make sure your programme fits your objectives - do you really need to dedicate a full day to building your arms if your priority is lower body?
- Is it appropriate for your level? Don’t expect to master advanced exercises right away, so you may want to stick to some easier exercises at first.
Your workout programme should include:
- All gym sessions in the week
- All exercises in each gym session
- The order of the exercises
- The number of sets per exercise
- The number of reps you aim to do per set
If it all sounds a bit overwhelming already, don’t panic, you’re not alone! It took me a little while to figure all of this out! YouTube videos can be a great resource to get some workout inspiration, but it requires some time investment to understand the dynamics of fitness programmes and create your own.
You can buy a pre-made programme that matches your objectives, or get a Personal Trainer to create one for you.
→ TIP #1: If you’re new to the fitness world, getting a few sessions in with a PT can make a big difference. Not only can they create an adequate workout programme for you, but they will also show you how to perform exercises with good form, show you around the gym and explain how machines work, and overall boost your confidence and help you overcome any intimidation you may initially feel about stepping into a gym!
→ TIP #2: If you end up buying a workout programme online, be careful who you buy it from. I’d stay clear of the “Too good to be true” type of workout routines, as well as the “Glutes only programmes”.
Make a schedule
You’re now all ready with your brand new workout programme! The next step is to create a schedule that fits your life the best. What are times in your week where you could hit the gym? What could you replace by your training? Does Netflix have to go? Or is it happy hour? Shopping? Chatting on the phone?
You may feel like there’s no room for more in your life. I understand that feeling - I’ve been there. However, unless you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you should be able to dedicate a few hours per week to your fitness!
Actually, even CEOs of Fortune 500 companies manage to hit the gym! So, really, you should find the time!
If you still can’t figure out adequate moments to fit your gym sessions in, meet me at my next point below!
COMMIT & MAKE FITNESS YOUR PRIORITY
Yes, our lives today are fast paced. Your job takes a lot of your time, and then there’s your social life, your family time, and your hobbies, and sleep… There are more and more things we want to fit into our lives, but days aren’t getting any longer! Unfortunately…
If you want to change, if you want to take your health and fitness into your hands, then you have to make fitness a priority.
A priority is what comes first.
If you’re not ready to sacrifice other activities to liberate enough time to train, perhaps it means you’re not really ready to take the plunge!
It all comes down to you and what you prioritize in your life. Remember why you wanted to do it in the first place, and why you want to reach the objectives you wrote on that piece of paper.
Make a fitness schedule, marking the days and the times you want to train for the week. Make it a priority by regarding your gym time as a professional meeting or a doctor’s appointment. You wouldn’t skip a meeting or appointment because you just don’t feel like going, right? Of course not!
Same goes for your fitness training! Make it a priority in your life, and schedule new tasks and activities around your gym time!
→ TIP: Prepare your gym bag before going to bed for the next day. No chance of forgetting it on your way to work, not having time to prepare it, or having a wave of Monday morning laziness and excuses...
GET YOUR NUTRITION RIGHT
Reaching your fitness objectives does not only depend on how many times you hit the gym per week. What you feed your body has a very big impact on your fitness journey, yet many people forget the importance of nutrition in weight training.
Do your research
‘You want me to do research again?” you may be thinking. I know, you’re not trying to get a Phd in fitness training, you just want to get in shape!
Still, knowing what you’re doing, doing the right things, and in the right way, helps a lot in achieving your fitness goals faster and more efficiently!
You will need to maintain discipline in what you eat, and when you eat it if you want to maximize your time in the gym. Don’t worry though, it’s not as bad as people make it seem!
Again, YouTube is a great place for fitness meal inspiration. Other platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are also great resources. Otherwise, there are lots of different options out there that will teach you about healthy eating, and give you great fitness nutrition tips!
Have a strategy
Whether you’re already following healthy eating habits or not, you’re likely gonna have to adapt your nutrition to match your fitness objectives. I like to have a good strategy to maximize my chances to follow my diet!
This is how I like to go about it:
- Research on what meals and recipes are adapted to my needs, and choose the ones I’m the most likely to enjoy.
- Make a list of all meals for the week
- Write a grocery list that I strictly stick to
- Shop online to avoid turning in the wrong aisle, and do it after I've eaten to reduce the risk of giving in to temptation (it’s only a click away after all…)
- Pick up different spices to innovate with new tastes
I recommend you pick healthy meal options that you’ll actually enjoy. It makes for a more pleasant experience, and it also increase your chances of sustaining your diet in the long run.
Homemade is queen
How’s it possible to follow a good nutrition plan when you’re at work, out with friends, or too busy to cook? Well, what I’ve found works the best is to cook in batches at home on the weekend.
That way, you only have to think about taking your lunch box everyday and heat it up at work. It’ll save you a lot of time and guarantee that you follow you diet anywhere! Same thing for dinners! On days where you know you’ll be short on time, simply take out a meal you prepared from the fridge, and ditch the greasy and salty take out!
Mastering what food you feed your body is key if you want to achieve your goals! And yes, with preparation and commitment, it’s possible to make healthy eating work with a very busy schedule!
Prepare in advance, be ready, and set yourself up for success!
ELIMINATE UNNECESSARY STRUGGLE
You’ve got your program and schedule ready! Your fridge is full of healthy and tasty homemade meals for the week! It’s Monday evening, and you step into the gym ready to take on your fitness journey by storm!
You read somewhere that squats is a great exercise, so you walk towards it with determination and start setting it up!
"What the… those clamps don’t fit the bar or what? And the bar on my shoulders… so much pain! Who would’ve thought?!"
You think you’re doing something wrong, so you move on to the next exercise! Deadlift, yes, you’re gonna try deadlift!
"After struggling to set it up, and after yet another battle with those @%!* collars to lock my weights, I can finally start lifting!"
"But wait?! Did my hand palms actually come off? The pain on my hands is awful…"
Ladies! You only have a limited time to dedicate to training, and it’s normal. You being there training is already a great effort. Don’t let your efforts go wasted because you don’t have the right equipment!
Many great exercises can be painful. Think squat bar on your neck and shoulders, the bar on your hips when you hip thrust, or your hand palms' skin when you pull on a bar.
That’s why you will see a lot of more experienced women (and men!) bring their own equipment to the gym to make their workouts painless and easy!
Figure out which exercises that you want to do cause you some pain or struggle, and then pick your equipment accordingly. Whether it’s workout gloves, barbell pads, easy locking collars, bluetooth headphones or even a headband to keep your hair out of the way, you need to be able to go through your gym session smoothly, without unnecessary pain or struggle.
Invest in your gym equipment, trust me it’s a strategy that pays off! Don’t expect great results if all you can think about at the gym is the pain from the bar on your neck, on your hands, or whether your leggings are see-through or not!
What you wanna do is optimize your time at the gym! Your time is limited, so make the best use of it!
MAKE YOUR WORKOUTS AS EFFICIENT AS POSSIBLE
You should approach your gym session like you would tackle a challenging day at work. How can you achieve the best outcome in the most efficient manner? With this mindset, you will take advantage of every minute spent in the gym!
Do the right exercises
One very simple way to optimize your workouts is to get rid of what isn’t necessary, or what doesn’t exactly fit your objectives, to keep only the most efficient exercises.
Should you really do endless isolation exercises that take you 10 minutes each? Or should you focus on more complete, intense movements?
Create your workout schedule with efficiency and optimization in mind, so you don’t waste time on exercises that will only bring you minimal results.
Organizing your workouts around compound exercises is a great way to optimize your time at the gym.
Examples of great compound exercises: Deadlift, squats, hip thrusts etc.
- Isolation: Movement involving one joint, targeting only one muscle.
- Compound: Movement involving multiple joints, and targeting multiple muscles.
Superset, HIIT, circuits
You’re not alone wanting to make your time at the gym count and your workouts short. Various techniques will help you cut gym time. Among these you will find the popular and trendy HIIT method (High Intensity Interval Training), as well as circuit trainings.
HIIT: Short bursts of intense efforts followed by short rest times.
Circuit trainings: Perform a series of exercises that target different muscles in a row, without rest times.
Superset: Perform two exercises that target different muscles back to back, without rest times.
These techniques are great to up the intensity and shorten your gym sessions significantly. Give these three techniques a go if you have less than one hour to dedicate to each workout.
Download the FREE Mini Guide to make your workouts more efficient, and discover 10 easy ways to make every second spent at the gym count.
Leading a very active and busy life doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your fitness. In fact, the more fast paced your life is, the more you should focus on your fitness as a means to stay healthy and happy.
It may seem impossible at first, yet with a bit of preparation, lots of commitment, and some discipline, you can achieve your fitness goals and more.
- Start by preparing well, doing good research on both how to workout and how to eat well to take full advantage of your efforts. You want to go in there with a plan and know what you’re doing!
- Set your goals and get into it with the right mindset. Focus on long term progress and break your objectives down into smaller, achievable chunks!
- Commit to these goals and make your fitness a priority.
- Eliminate any struggle or unnecessary pain during your workouts -things should go as smoothly as possible to make the best of your time in the gym!
- Optimize your time spent in the gym. You want every minute to count whilst you’re there!
If you follow these guidelines, you’re setting yourself up for success in your fitness journey.
It’s your life, your health. Make it happen!
Download the FREE Mini Guide:
Download the FREE Mini Guide to make your workouts more efficient, and discover 10 easy ways to achieve your fitness goals more efficiently.
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