Treat it like business. “Schedule your workout on your calendar like you would a work meeting,” says Laura Lee Bloor, a holistic health coach based in San Clemente, Calif. “My clients are ambitious, professional women. They wouldn’t skip an important business meeting, so the key is to treat exercise with the same mentality.”
Crunch during commercials. “Take your favorite half-hour show, and devote each commercial break to a different core exercise,” Bloor says. Bloor recommends the following fitness sequence: break 1: push-ups; break 2: crunches; break 3: plank; break 4: bicycle crunches
Train at lunchtime. “If a lunch break workout is feasible, make sure you mark it on your work calendar so no business meetings creep in,” says Brett Stewart, author, personal trainer, endurance athlete and coach. Stewart also recommends packing your lunch to save time and keeping baby wipes and deodorant at your desk for easy post-fitness freshening up.
Sweat in spurts. “So many people mistakenly assume that exercise has to last 30 minutes or more,” says Maria Brilaki, an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and founder of FitnessReloaded.com. “According to research, three 10-minute bursts are just as effective as 30 minutes straight—and more maintainable over the long run.”
Try Tabata. “Tabata-style workouts are high-intensity interval training workouts that require just 16 minutes of your time, can be done without equipment, and work your whole body,” Brilaki says. Tabata involves 20 seconds of high-intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times for a total of four minutes. This routine is repeated another three times with different activities for a 16-minute workout. Tabata can be done with push-ups, sit-ups, squats, different types of cardio, etc.
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Evaluate your day. “If you think you don’t have time to work out, write down everything you do in a day,” says Kim-Lien Kendall, yoga teacher and co-founder of Smarterbodies. “I guarantee there is something you can cut out—say, the 30 minutes you spent on Facebook—and replace with a 20-minute workout.”
Become a morning mover. “The biggest thing I do to make sure my workout gets done is to make it the first thing I do in the morning,” says Randy Ganther, founder of Maxfitweightloss.com. “It’s not an earth-shattering concept, but it helps you avoid post-work fatigue, distractions and temptations that can prevent you from hitting the gym.”
Always be prepared. “I keep an extra set of sneakers, stretch pants and a sports bra top in my car at all times,” says Janette Janero, Miami-based fitness expert and personal trainer. “You never know when your fitness inspiration will strike!”
Tone at home. Use everyday, at-home tasks to your fitness advantage, says Karen Shopoff Rooff, certified personal trainer and pre/postnatal fitness specialist. “Every time you brush your teeth, do two sets of 10 squats—for a total of 40 a day. While you wait for water to boil, do 10 each of pushups, tricep dips, bicep curls and shoulder presses. Short increments can add up and really make a difference.”
Condition in your car. According to Holly Mosier, author of Stress Less, Weigh Less, your car can be a fitness mecca. “Keep a set of light dumbbells in your car, so you can whip them out for a few sets of bicep curls, triceps kickbacks, and shoulder flys when you have time, like before a walk.” Your ride is also a great place to work your abs, chest, shoulders and back. “You can get a killer ab workout by doing tiny crunches and rocking your torso side-to-side. Contracting your arms inward with your hands on the steering wheel works your arms, shoulders and back.”