5 Ways to Get Fitness In Without Spending Hours In The Gym

Good morning! I’m re-posting this post from a guest post blog that I wrote for my girl Sam  while she was recovering from brain surgery. Since I thought my readers over here at B2B might find it interesting and helpful, I thought it was worth a share!

If you’ve been following B2B for a while, you’re probably aware that a growing passion for me lately has been how to make fitness work for you and with your busy life. While magazines and some fitness trainers/professionals may tell you that you need to go to a gym, you need to do an hour of working out 5 times a week, etc., I realize that with a full time job, after work commitments, kids, spouses, friends, etc., that type of workout format is not always an option. Most of us don’t have the ability to do hour long workouts at a gym 3-5 times a week, right?

Here’s the thing: that’s OK! You don’t need to spend that much time at a gym in order for a workout to bee considered a workout. When I was younger and had essentially no commitments besides a 40 hour a week job and going out on the weekends, sure, I had ability to spend hours a day at the gym, but as I get older and have more things going on in my life, I just don’t have the need or want for that anymore. I want to be done my workouts in 45 minutes or less and I don’t want to have to rely on going to a gym in order to get my workout in.

There are so many ways you can still get fitness in even with a busy lifestyle, which is why I want to share my 5 favorite ways to get fitness in without spending hours in the gym.

  1. Invest in a medium set of dumbbells and a resistance band so that you can workout at home. The beauty of at-home workouts is that you eliminate the time it takes you to get to the gym and back home. Granted, some exercise programs do require a gym if you need to use a barbell and heavy weights, but if you’re just training for life and to be strong, all you need is a few sets of weights and you an achieve that in the comforts of your own home. In the spring, summer and fall I like to take my workout to my back patio! If you need inspiration for at-home workouts, check out my page, my friend Lauren’s blog and my friend Athena’s blog – combined, we have HUNDREDS to choose from.
  2. Grab a friend and take a walk, but with a twist! Instead of just walking, add in 10 squats, 10 push-ups (inclined if you can!) and 10 triceps dips every 5-10 minutes. The beauty of working out with a friend is they hold you accountable to show up and get a workout in AND it’s more fun! Plus, you can kill two birds with one stone by getting in movement and catching up with a friend or friends. If you’re a runner, you can also do this with running instead. I have some run/walk bootcamp workouts here if you’re looking for some ideas. 11542058_911614432224807_7160125865652676253_n.jpg
  3. Pick your 4 or 5 favorite exercises and do 10 reps of each for 15-20 minutes (or however long you have). This is usually what I opt for when I’m short on time and/or don’t have motivation to workout. Rather than trying to psych myself up for a 45 minute class or gym workout, if I tell myself I just need to move for 15-20 minutes AND I get to do my favorite exercises, it’s a much easier way to get me moving. For me, this usually means squats, push-ups, burpees, lunges & sit-ups because it hits all the major body parts: legs, upper body, core & cardio. Another favorite is a countdown workout where I’ll do 50 jumping jacks, 40 high knees, 30 squats, 20 push-ups and 10 burpees. I’ll do that circuit as many times in 15-20 minutes as I can.
  4. Stairs! Stairs are one of my favorite ways to get movement in while getting to be outside. I love them because there are so many different ways to use them – you can walk up and down them, jog up and down them, hop up and down them, skip stairs, wide step, etc. I usually like to do a stair circuit and then a bodyweight circuit and repeat until my allotted time is up. Check out these posts for suggestions: San Francisco Stair Workout and Stair and Total Body Circuitssf-stairs-3
  5. Find free outdoor fitness classes near where you live or work. I know that in the Boston area, there are TONS of free fitness classes happening on various days all over the city. The program with the biggest amount of free classes is called Seaport Sweat and I absolutely LOVE getting to teach two classes a week through it! You get to be outside, sweating with friends and it’s FREE – doesn’t get much better than that! If you’re not in the Boston area, I would suggest doing a quick google search because I’m sure there are similar types of free classes in other cities, too. 19417574_1470276819691896_8010372336496216580_o

There you have it! If you’re like me and don’t have the ability (or desire!) to spend hours a day in the gym but still want to be active, I hope you’ve found these suggestions for how this can be achieved helpful! Fitness doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment, expensive or something you dread. For it to stick and for it to be sustainable in your life, you need to find out what works for you, and if you’re finding that the gym is just not working for you because of the time and/or money commitment it requires, I hope you try some of my suggestions in this post.

Questions for you: What’s your favorite way to get in fitness or movement without going to the gym?

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I love this tip to help you move more

Last week, I posted a blog post that I had a lot of fun writing, as well as reading your responses to it. In case you missed it, check it out here, then come back and read this post: How I Stay Active Working A “9-5” Desk Job

With the permission of Lisa, I wanted to share a really great tip to stay motivated to move more, as well as ways to get the movement in. Here was her response to my post- I’ve bolded the parts that really stood out to me:

I work as a 911 dispatcher overnight. I work a long week of 12 hour shifts (7pm-7am every night except Wednesday night off) then a short week (off every night and only work 4 hours Tuesday night and 12 hours Wednesday night). I also have a one hour commute each way. I’ve gained about 20lbs since going back to this schedule about 7 months ago. When I was working during the day, I was going to OrangeTheory classes in the evening and doing some weights at another gym on my own. When I went back to working nights (by choice), there are literally no OrangeTheory class times that I can go to, other than in my short week. I didn’t feel like paying what I was paying to only be able to to OTF every other week and ended my membership. So, I used excuse after excuse. We are also, literally, tethered to our desks at work with our headsets and can’t just freely get up and go to the bathroom when we want. There has to be a certain number of people answering the phones and working the radios at all times so we have to wait for someone to take our spot when we need to use the restroom – definitely hinders the water drinking.

Finally, about 6 weeks ago, I decided enough was enough. I started using the treadmill desk at work when I can. I had forgotten we had it – it’s at the other end of the room from where I usually sit when I’m on the call-taking side of my job. I can’t really walk very fast and I have to stop when I’m doing a lot of typing, but it’s better than sitting. We are allowed several breaks during our shifts so I’m utilizing those better as well. I also have myself on a better sleeping schedule during my long week. I don’t really have time to get to the gym before I have to turn around and head back into work, but I have accumulated a stability ball, yoga mat, and a few weights at home and I use those daily. Between those things, and YouTube videos (yoga, dance, barre), I make sure I get in at least some activity every day before I go back into work.

On my short work weeks, I go to the gym as much as possible and either do some cardio on the bike or arc trainer plus some weights.

Between that and getting my eating on track, I’m down about 10lbs. (<– !!!!!B2B insert)

I also tend to lose sight of the “everyday” if that makes sense. I’m constantly looking back and realizing 3 months, 6 months, 1 year…have passed and I could’ve been at my goal like 10 times over. So, I put a yearly calendar up on my wall and I mark an X over every day that I consciously moved – could be a gym workout, could be 10 minutes of abs on the floor while watching Netflix, any kind of activity that got me off my butt. It has helped me tremendously to visually watch the days pass by.

THIS! This right here gives me ALL.THE.FEELS. There are so many amazing things going on in this post: self-reflection, tough-love/being real, breaking things down, taking it one day at a time, embracing doing what you can, when you can & every little bit counts.

But, I think the biggest takeaway that I have after reading this- and the reason why I wanted to share it with you- is the fact that she a. acknowledged the excuses she was making for not being able to workout or simply be more active and b. that she took action. Nothing huge, but I think that’s exactly why she’s been successful in keeping up with her goal of moving more and losing weight.

So often we get caught up with how overwhelming it can be to make a change like this. We know what we want: to make healthier choices, to be more active, to make movement a priority, to lose weight, but when it comes down to taking those first steps towards making these changes, it can be really scary. What Lisa has done, though, to take these first steps is what is so great. She isn’t telling herself that she needs to get up at 3am to get in an intense workout before working a 12 hour day or that she needs to go to the gym after she’s done. She isn’t saying that the only workout that counts is an hour at the gym. She isn’t doing an all or nothing approach- she is doing her best to to make small choices to get more movement in, which add up to so much more in the end:

She started with using a treadmill desk, which she’s lucky enough to have in her office.  She’s also utilizing her breaks- I know I’ve been guilty of just working all day and not breaking, but the days I step out even for a 5 or 10 minute walk I feel so much better! She’s acquired a few pieces of at-home workout equipment to make it easier to fit workouts in. And, my favorite- she has a calendar hanging up and she uses it to mark off the days she moves. I think this is huge! Just the sheer act of being able to see how much movement you’re getting in is so helpful to continue to move. It reminds you to take it one day at a time, rather than getting overwhelmed with the bigger picture of weeks, months and even years. By focusing on each day, you can appreciate what you get in for movement in be happy about that… not to mention, it’s motivation to keep going!

If you find yourself looking for something new or different to help you meet goals or feel less scared about getting back into something, I really suggest this calendar idea. Start small and focus on what you are able to accomplish in each day. And, if you find yourself looking at the calendar and realizing days or weeks have gone by with no “X” marked off, you know it’s time to have a little chat with yourself (or a friend or a health coach!) to try and figure out why this is the case. Are you stressed? Tired? Busy? Once you pinpoint what is going on, you can probably figure out a way to sneak in even 10 minutes of movement (and notice how I say movement, and not workout- start small, remember?).

Again, I would love to hear your thoughts- do you have any tips to share? I’m always looking for new ways to get movement in, and to help share motivation to the B2B community. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing such great tips and for sharing your story- I absolutely love stories like this!

 

How I Stay Active Working A “9-5” Desk Job

While many people in my classes think I just live the fitness life of teaching classes/training people (I wish!), I do have a regular “9-5” job (which is actually more like a 7-5 job, but who’s counting 😉 ) that requires me to do more sitting than I need/want. I try my best to stay as active as possible throughout the day, but I’ll admit: when you’re super busy with back to back meetings, it can be hard to get a lot of movement in! I’ve touched upon this topics a few times  before on the blog, but as there are some new followers out there, I thought I’d touch upon it again- I don’t think we can receive too many reminders/tips on how to stay more active in our day to day lives, even if you aren’t working a desk job!

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the “take the stairs!”, “park further away” and the “get up rather than calling”, tips, right? And rightfully so- as much as these may seem like nothing, every little bit does count when you add it up. Which I think is the biggest way that I stay active: I move as much as I possibly can…

I park on the ground level of our parking garage so that I have to walk to the front door and then up 2 flights of stairs to my office.

I use the bathroom downstairs so that I have to do the stairs down and up.

I drink a lot of water so that I a: have to get up to go to the bathroom frequently and b. have to get up and refill my water frequently.

I walk to people’s office’s instead of calling or emailing.

I do laps around the office, sometimes “pretending” I need supplies or something in the kitchen.

Rather than combining my water refill/bathroom/etc. into one trip, I break it up and do it separately

I’ll try and go for a walk- even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes.

These may not seem like much, but they really do require much more movement on my part than if I didn’t do them. And I’ll be the first to say- it’s so easy to NOT do these things. To take shortcuts to save time. To call people instead of walking to go see them. To get caught up in your work and realize you haven’t stood up in 2 hours.

Creating more movement in your day when you work a desk job requires you to be cognizant of your movement and to continuously think of ways you can move more. In fact, I started doing a lot of the above movement tips when I started wearing a FitBit because I was shocked to see how little I moved during an average day in the office and I’ve even noticed that I move less now that I don’t wear a step/movement tracker because I’m not as aware of how much or how little I’m moving.

Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with days where you decide to veg out on the couch rather than get movement in. In fact, I think it’s very good to have days like that once and a while, but in general, I think movement is always a good choice. Our bodies are meant to move and if we are lucky enough to be able to move them, we should. It doesn’t have to be intense (it shouldn’t always be intense), it doesn’t have to be long (it shouldn’t always be long) and it doesn’t have to be organized- a simple choice of walking to do errands, go out to eat, go to Church, etc. will help get you moving, accomplish a “to-do” and make you feel better. I feel so fortunate to be able to walk to Walgreens, the dry-cleaners, the grocery store, Church, my nail salon and some of our favorite restaurants so I try not to take advantage of that by driving to them when I know I can walk to them. In fact, as we start to house hunt, a requirement of mine is being able to walk to things (this is not something I had the luxury of doing when I was a kid because I lived in a very rural town, so I love being able to do it now!)).

To sum it up, yes, I work at an office for anywhere from 8-10 or 11 hours a day, but that doesn’t mean that I am completely sedentary all day. All it means is that I have to make extra effort to get some movement in. It’s nothing too hard or time consuming, but – and I hate to sound cliche- every little bit does count. Moving makes me feel good, so I make it a priority to do it in some way, shape or form as much as I can.

Questions for you: How do you get movement in during the day? Do you find it hard or do you work at a job where movement is part of it? Do you have any tips for fellow readers for getting more movement in?

 

 

7 Ways To Increase Your FitBit Steps {and general daily movement}

Good morning! Can you believe we are getting pounded with MORE SNOW today? While up in Vermont over the weekend, RM and I were talking about how much better the snow is when you don’t live in the city. I love winter and love snow but living in the city and having to deal with parking and snow removal has literally made me want to move away! With that said, please make sure to stay warm and dry this week- and be careful shoveling! If you need workouts to do, but can’t get to a gym, I’ve got lots on my “At Home/ No Equipment Necessary” page, as well as the Kitchen Chair Workout I posted last week.

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a post talking about tracking devices and asked you guys what you thought of them. Do they make us crazy? Are they good for motivation? Is there a time and place to use these devices? I really loved reading all of your comments regarding this topic, and since it seems as though there are a number of you who thought they are helpful and a good way to hold you accountable, I thought I’d share some tips for how I try to get my daily steps in.

I’ve always thought of myself as an active person; I’m always thinking about ways I can move more and never get really find myself sitting for hours on end. I just enjoy moving, but I have to admit that there are days where it’s hard for me to meet my 10K steps goal… especially if I don’t work out. Even though I’ve been pretty good about not obsessing over my Fitbit and my steps, it’s still fun for me to try and think of ways I can get more steps, ultimately leading me to be more active. And, the beauty of these tips/ideas is that even if you don’t wear a Fitbit, they can still help you get more movement in, which is never a bad thing 😉 I know some of these are common sense things, but sometimes life, shortcuts and laziness get in the way and we forget about little things that can add up and make a big difference.

Park far from the door

This tip has been around for ages, but that’s because it’s a good one! I’ve realized that if I park at the back of the parking lot, I easily get in at least 500 more steps than if I parked in the first spot.

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