How to make time for exercise!

How to convert waiting time into exercise time

One of the most frequent excuses people have for not exercising is “I don’t have time for it”. Do you recognize that?

Time has become a very very limited resource in today’s society. Between job, commute, school or daycare pickup and grocery shopping getting enough time to go to the gym can really be a challenge. It doesn’t feel better either when fitness fascists scream “if it is important to you, you will make time”. On one hand they are right, either make time to stay healthy or make time later to be sick. BUT, when everyday reality hits those lines go out the window even if you know them to be true. So what am I saying? Are we doomed? No, not really.

The problem has always been for me that when I think of exercise I have always thought of my 3 hour power lifting sessions I used to do in my teens. My guess is that you think about at least half hour sessions in the gym or in the aerobics studio, add travel time and the locker room time and you easily spend an hour and a half. Can we get around that? I say, yes and you can start instantly.

The first thing you need to realize is that benefits come early, it is all too easy to think that if you don’t work out for at least 30 minutes it is a waste of time.

You can get great results with as little as 4 minutes. What!?!???? 4 minutes?

Yes and it is not a very new idea either. Meet Tabata, 8 rounds of of high intency training matched with short rest periods. If you do it properly and don’t slack off you can get great workout. This is now my non-running-day training routine when I am waiting for my daugther to fall asleep. This way I convert waiting time into exercise time. No need to even go outside.

If you are not familiar with the Tabata protocol, this is the main idea:

  • Do one exercise at high intensity for 20 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Repeat a total of 8 times and vary the exercises
  • Done

It doesn’t get much simpler than that. What I love about this is that the variations are endless and you can chose between bodyweight exercises and using equipment any way you like. I usually use 4 exercises and repeat the whole cycle twice. My favorite combintation is air squats, push-ups, kettlebell swings, bicep curls with dumbells x 2. A combination of exercises with and without equipment works best for me and I like switching muscle groups between rounds.

The most common mistakes are:

  • Too low intensity
  • Not enough variation in movements
  • Difficulty to track the time

To track the time I suggest you use your smart phone and download a free Tabata timer, just search it.

How do you convert waiting time into exercise time?

Read this post about the how to get fit fast by avoiding the three myths of fitness.

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