There are some days when we just can’t find the time to train. It happens to all of us, even when we have a schedule. Part of setting yourself up to succeed is accepting that there will be times when things go awry. There will be days when, despite your best efforts, there just isn’t enough time between obligations to a training session in.
There are some experts out there who will say “There’s always time to workout! You just don’t have your priorities straight!”. I see what they’re trying to get at – for the sake of our health and longevity, we need to get active. If there’s time to watch a Toddlers & Tiaras marathon, but no time to get in a workout, maybe you do need to look a little closer at your schedule.
That being said, maybe an hour of Toddlers & Tiaras is the only time in the day that you get to take a rest, turn off your brain, and unplug for a few short moments. Far be it from me to take that time away from you. We all need rest – mental, physical and emotional rest.
So, accept that it will happen and move on. You are not going to be perfect. Recently, Mark Fisher had an awesome post that said “When we let go of BEING PERFECT, we can start the important work of GETTING BETTER.” Don’t let one missed day turn into two. It’s easy for two to turn into three and snowball from there. Part of why we slide back into the habit of doing nothing is discouragement, part is familiarity. So, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start at it fresh tomorrow.
Another reason that we start to stray from our new training habits is that with each day that you miss a session, fitness moves a little further from the active part of your mind. It gets filed behind the big project you’re working on, or the game that you have next weekend, or the million emails piling up in your inbox. Bit by bit, it becomes less of a priority. Coach Boyle recently posted that you only get one body. Make sure that you keep the state of your body somewhere in the forefront of your mind.
How do you do that when you absolutely, positively cannot find the time to train?
Here’s how: Trick yourself.
I’m not going to be all, “Here’s a quick 15 minute workout. You’ll hardly know you trained at all.” There are some days that you won’t find those extra fifteen minutes and trying to will just stress you out and make you feel worse about missing a workout. What I am going to suggest is keeping fitness at the forefront of your consciousness by turning the things that you HAVE to do into bite-sized fitness chunks.
How to turn chores into fitness awesomeness: (I actually do all these things, so they’re totally not dumb)
Garden: Gardening is a great way to exercise. Between raking, pulling and planting, you can get a full-body workout. When pulling or planting, alternate between a (good form) squat and a full-kneeling posture, engaging the core. Use both arms and keep your shoulder girdle set (shoulders in your back pocket, not shrugging). When raking, use a lunge stance with one foot in front of the other, switch throughout. Make sure to warm-up first and stretch following.
Walk the Dog: I have a tiny dog. She loves to run. When I walk her, we start out slow for the first couple of minutes, getting warm and getting our blood pumping. After we’re warmed up, we alternate jogging and walking. Mostly we jog until she finds something good to smell, walk to the next smell and then jog again. By the time the walk is over, we’re both happier and fitter.
Clean the House: You can go through all of your basic movement patterns while you clean. Squat when you need to get low, hip hinge when you need to bend over, push, pull, lift, carry. Cleaning the house can work it all. The key is to keep your posture in mind as you go room to room. When you put stuff away, use proper squat or deadlift form to pick it up and fully extend to put it away – you can also apply this to doing laundry, or washing and putting away the dishes. Extra credit: bust out the vacuum, especially if it’s an old heavy one. Keep your shoulders set as you vacuum, and lift with your legs as you carry it up the stairs.
Shovel Snow: I do this every time I shovel. My neighbours think I’m just a really inefficient shoveller. I shovel a strip and then run full tilt back to the other side of my driveway and do it again. Shovelling intervals! Hooray! When shoveling, keep your posture, don’t let your back round, and use your legs to lift and throw.
Sit in an Office Chair: Most of us spend a lot of time in a chair. We have to stand up at least a couple of times throughout our day. When you sit and stand, why not box squat? Bret Contreras teaches how here. Look at the 1:00 minute mark, where he details a high box squat – use a wider stance and keep the tibia vertical. Make sure to squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement. Only use a barbell if your boss is really cool.
Stand Somewhere: The days that we’re the busiest are also often the days where other people seem the slowest. If you find yourself waiting in line, do some calf raises. It’s a little thing, but it’ll keep your body on your mind.
Another thing that I have all my clients do is what I call a Seam Check. Most of us have postural issues. A lot of us have rounded shoulders from working on a keyboard all day. Stand up and look at where your palms face. Is it towards your back? If so, you’re probably slouching. Every time it comes to mind – pick your shoulders all the way up to your ears, pull them back and then slide them down (think of them going into your back pockets). After you’ve done that, your middle fingers should line up with the seam of your pants. Be careful that your chest doesn’t flare when your shoulders are pulled back, I like to add the extra cue of tucking your ribs in. Seam Check = Better Posture. BAM.
You may miss your training session, but incorporating little bits of fitness into your day will keep your body on your mind. That’s the way to keep yourself on the track to long-term success.