January is nearly upon us – and after an indulgent festive period, many of us will be turning our attention to gym workouts, park runs and getting fit and healthy for the New Year.
However, as busy career women, carving out time for gym sessions can be tricky. Mornings call for packed lunch prepping and rushing out the door; evenings can fill up quickly with dinner dates and work socials – so that doesn’t leave a lot of time for exercising.
At We Are The City, we’ve put together a few tips to help you manage your time a little better – with a few insights from presenter Emma Willis, who has recently launched her first sportswear range with Next.
Tip one: Work out at different times to see what suits
It may be that evening workouts simply don’t fit with your routine. This is certainly the case for busy mum-of-three Emma Willis who prefers exercising in the morning, confessing “if I leave it till the evening then I find I don’t end up doing it”.
Alternatively, it may be that dinner dates and overrunning client meetings make evening workouts virtually impossible. The only way you’ll know what works for you is by testing out different options (and remember, what works for one person may not work for another).
Tip two: Every little helps
Even if you can’t manage a full workout, a walk around the block or a swift jog is better than nothing. After all, the most important thing is to keep active – and that doesn’t necessarily equate to spending hours on a treadmill.
Taking the stairs instead of the lift or getting off the bus a couple of stops early and walking the rest of the way are just a couple of the small lifestyle changes that make a big difference in the long-run.
Tip three: Find a colleague to work out with
Ask around and see if any of your colleagues would be interested in exercising after work (ideally someone of a similar fitness level). Then, find a gym that’s good for both of you location-wise.
Having someone to work out with will act as an incentive and make the whole thing a lot more enjoyable. Plus, it’s much harder to back out of a gym session when you know somebody else is relying on you to go…
Tip four: Be spontaneous
Plan a rough outline of what your week (and its workouts) will look like, but if you suddenly feel the urge to do a 5k mid-week, don’t be afraid to go for it.
It’s healthy to carve out times and moments during your week for exercising, but it’s not essential for you to stick to these. Perhaps having a more natural, spontaneous approach will make workouts seem more enjoyable too, as opposed to a task or chore that you need to accomplish.
When asked about her fitness regime, Emma said, “I start with being realistic and that is by looking at fitness week by week and judging how much time I have available to train. So sometimes I train once a week, sometimes twice, sometimes three times so it’s on a week by week basis. I prefer to look at it like that so I don’t get stressed out by not doing as much every week as I’d like to. The main thing is to not put added stress on myself.”
Tip five: Do home-based exercises if you can’t get to a gym
The gym isn’t the only place where you can exercise and sometimes as busy career women, we simply can’t get there.
There’s a wealth of workout guides and exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home with minimal equipment (if any).
Although home-based workouts are great if you’re pressed for time, you’ll have to be strict with yourself. The benefit of getting out and going to the gym is that you’re surrounded by likeminded people (which acts as a form of encouragement) whereas when you’re at home, you’ll need to be more disciplined.