Fit fitness into your life
Put the excuses away and make time for you
ARE you a fitness devotee or a reluctant exerciser?
The first is the person who gets up at 6am, puts on their workout gear on and sweats it out before breakfast.
The second is the rest of us. Yes, we’d like to exercise more … if only we could find the time, or even commit to be in the one place – step class at 6pm Tuesdays – regularly.
But how likely does either seem when we there’s constant mobile calls or emails to return and our responsibilities at work or home aren’t exactly decreasing?
“One of the most common excuses for inactivity is lack of time,” confirms celebrity trainer and author Donna Aston.
Unfortunately for those of us who moan that there never seems to be a moment to run in the park or do 10km on the Stairmaster, it is just that – an excuse, says Aston.
One of the most common excuses for inactivity is lack of time
“What you need is greater time management skills to prioritise the things that are important,” she says.
“If you wait until you have some spare time to exercise… I think we all know time is never that spare!”
Aston, who herself used to be overweight and unfit, believes we must simply make time to exercise, but she also sympathises with the demands of high-pressure lifestyles.
The secret, she says, is to maximise the time we do have to workout and Mark McKeon, a Melbourne-based motivational speaker and author of Work a Little Less, Live a Little More, agrees.
For this reason, all-round workouts, such as power versions of Pilates like Body Balance classes, that combine core exercises with more dynamic fitness to music, or Body Attack classes that combine aerobics with strength and stabilisation exercises, are a growing trend at gyms.
Learning how to develop the mind-muscle connection is another way to get maximum results with the minimum amount of time, says Aston.
Simply put, this means focusing on the muscle you are working instead of the guy on the weights machine who resembles Brad Pitt or the Angelina Jolie look-alike beside him.
“It’s all about quality, not quantity,” Aston says.
For clients who are determined to stay busy, McKeon designs programmes that work the whole body in just two 30-minute sessions a week.
“If this is you, you must train your upper body, lower body, heart and lungs in the same session,” he says.
“Don’t only ride a bike. Don’t just lift weights. You need a combination workout to stretch and tone your muscles while including a cardio or aerobic section to flush and train your circulatory system.”
Start with stretching and light jogging and move on to rowing, climbing, or stepping before launching into resistance exercises such as step-ups, dips, squats, push-ups and abdominal crunches, then warming down.
McKeon also advises the chronically busy: “Morning workouts are one of the greatest time-management techniques of them all. Your exercise is done for the day and the only time you’ve used has been traded off from excess sleep.”
Of course there are other ways to outsmart sloth.
Try getting involved in a team sport, where you have to show up.
Or exercise sneakily e.g. rollerblading, dancing, bike riding, or doing something you would consider pure fun.
And for those who are always on the run and want to exercise as they go, or on a whim, the latest trend – fitness programmes you can download to your MP3 player – are ideal.
It’s a bit like having a personal trainer on tap so, even if you suddenly find yourself with 30 minutes of spare time, you can press play and start getting fitter.
Excuses not to exercise? Not any more.