How to get fit (and stay that way) when you are super busy

I am always a little bit sad when Summer ends because I love the longer hours of daylight, the warmer temperatures, sleeping with all the windows wide open and finding excuses for spending time outdoors. Most importantly, I can upgrade my back garden to outdoors exercise area where I can enjoy a lot more space and plenty of fresh air. Clients are usually on holiday and so I get to slow down too for a short while.

When Autumn starts life gets busy on all fronts again. Not just for me but for my clients too. For many of them the end of the year coincides with the end of their financial year and suddenly work brings a whole new dimension of busy-ness to their already packed lives. When I worked in corporate many years ago, from September onward I knew I would start at my job around  9am but I never knew when I would come home. Not only I had my usual tasks to deal with but heading towards the “festive season” meant more business lunches, more networking events, more parties and so on. I know, it sounds like such a hard life (not!) but believe me, having to kiss arse and get drunk in order not to disappoint clients can take a significant toll on you and your waistline in the long run.

At the time I used to exercise in the evenings as I am a bit of a night owl but from September onwards it became virtually impossible to stick to a regular routine. Nowadays I witness the same issues with some of my clients who are often forced to cancel or reschedule their evening sessions at short notice.

The only way that you get visible and long lasting results when you follow a weight loss and fitness program is if you are consistent with your efforts. It’s not different from running a business or working for one. In fact I look at my fitness regime as one part of the “business of me”: it has to provide the results I want and be enjoyable, in fact make that exciting. This helps me re-frame fitness as something that is vitally important to my own success both as an entrepreneur and as an individual striving to maintain optimum physical and mental health.

How to manage your nutrition when everyone else isn’t

Eating healthy when everyone else isn'tThe first step is always to (re)define your goals and be realistic about them. For example, if you know that you are coming up to an extremely busy few months with plenty of social events that you can’t get out of it might not be the best time to start working on your beach body. Unless of course the people you have to hang out with are also following a fat burning program and won’t mind discussing business over a rocket salad and a glass of still mineral water. It can be really difficult to stick to your meal plans when you are under a bit of peer pressure to have a few drinks and a curry.

So if that’s the case why not allow yourself a bit of slack and revise your goals from going to the gym for weight loss to maintenance/damage limitation with perhaps a bit of slow progress as a bonus instead? You can still achieve a lot, you just have to make the most of the change in circumstances and go with the flow.

I successfully used two strategies for my clients (and myself) to sail through busy times without any damages to the waistline. The first strategy is to alternate binge meeting and eating with fasting, i.e. have as many meetings as you can to include both lunch and dinner in one day followed by a day of fasting. The second strategy consisted of spreading out the meetings as much as possible and use the extra dinners or lunches as part of an intermittent fasting program. The ultimate goal here is to try and break even with calories in vs calories out with a little bit of extra help in the form of more movement and exercise when necessary.

The thing is if you book a table at a restaurant that’s nowhere near a tube station or bus stop you will have to walk there and back. It’s always nice to do this after a large meal and it will help you sober up slightly if you have had one too many. I speak from experience. …hic!

It takes a lot of commitment to yourself and your goals to stick to either strategy but if your health and fitness are important to you you will always find a way. Otherwise you will find excuses masqueraded as reasons. Again no different than running a business.

How to exercise consistently in the face of busy-ness

Internet wisdom suggests that abs are made in the kitchen. I disagree. Abs are made in the gym and are revealed by wise use of your time and energy in the kitchen. If you can’t do the latter you must make sure you are at least focusing on the former for the time being.

The thing is in order to achieve the perfect beach body (I am already thinking about next Summer here…) you have to build the physique and that requires consistent effort with your exercise. When you are super busy there is no need to get all complicated, you can save that for later when you have an easier schedule and you need to put the finishing touches to the solid foundations you have built. But, again, it’s important to make the time for it.

the best workout for weight loss is the one you do, not the one you think about.The solution is super easy. You need to have strong boundaries with yourself first and your co-workers and bosses second, but you must make a point of not starting work earlier than your contract says unless extreme circumstances arise. This is an important part of achieving a healthy work-life balance: if you know your finishing time is a vanishing time you might as well start when you are supposed to and not a minute sooner.

This gives you room to get up 30 minutes earlier than normal in the morning and stick in a quick 20 min. metabolic workout that as well as keeping your physique in tip top condition will also give you a little bit of extra energy for the day. There are many good ways to exercise at home with or without equipment: it depends on your personal preferences and what you are trying to achieve.

I had a few clients in the past who used this strategy very successfully: they would see me at the crack of dawn to check in on their progress since my last visit and then put in a jolly good workout before going to the office. They got energised in the fresh air and started their day with a spring in their steps and their renewed confidence helped them make strides in their careers. Personally I hate getting up early in the morning but when I had to I soon learned to love the feeling that I got after a good workout and in fact I ended up getting up even earlier to do some extra work too.

You don’t have to do anything fancy (but you can if you want to), if you stick with a few basic exercises focusing on form rather than reps or personal bests you can reinforce your neuro-muscular connections. This will ensure that your body is ready for muscle growth and increased strength. If you do this right you will get that sweet feeling of your metabolism burning fat all day long, making you feel a bit warmer and almost buzzing with extra energy. Your mind will be sharper and you will feel and look stronger giving you the edge in the business environment where presenting your ideas with confidence can make or break a career.

If all you can do is work out for 20 min 3 times per week you will still get results and in fact you will be amazed at how remarkable these will be. Then when life allows it again you can go back to being more thorough with your fitness training program but that’s an article for another day.

In the meantime if you would like some help finding the best way to get fit and lose weight through your busiest times with ease and grace book a complimentary breakthrough call now and let’s define some goals. Without obligation but with a lot of enthusiasm.

P.S. If you are reading this article in the run up to Christmas you may want to check out my book “Burn fat, not the turkey” offering tips and tricks for navigating the holiday season in style whilst simultaneously avoiding crocodile tears on January 2nd.