As fitness experts, there are plenty of opportunities to educate people on how to live their best life. Health and wellness doesn’t just include exercise, but your overall well being. Recently, we were able to lend some life-balance tips to Corp! Magazine. Read on.
Think about fitness this way: a one-hour workout is only 4 percent of your day. A 30-minute workout is just 2 percent. No matter how busy a person’s life is, there is always a way to sneak in exercise during a busy day. The great thing about exercise is that it can be modified to fit each individual’s lifestyle and schedule. Here are some ways you can get more exercise into your schedule.
Switch up your lunch routine
For typical nine-to-five jobs, squeezing in a lunchtime workout is the most efficient way to go. Eat lunch before or after your workout, and then spend your hour on a walk, pumping iron in the gym or doing whatever activity you prefer. You’ll come back to the office refreshed, motivated and ready to finish the day strong.
Incorporate “deskercise” into your day
There are only so many responsibilities one person can handle. If your schedule is packed, find little ways to get in some exercises throughout the day. Find one minute to do push-ups, whether they’re at home or in your office (with the door closed). Take another minute during the workday to do triceps dips on the edge of a chair, push-ups against your desk, lunges or squats – whatever combination is best for you.
Connect with a fitness-minded coworker
Skipping a workout is difficult if you have a fit friend pushing you. Find the most fitness-minded person at your workplace and partner up with him or her to help reach your goals. It’s easy to make excuses for yourself. It’s not as easy to make excuses to another person. Plus, if they are at a different fitness level than you, it will be an extra push for you to not slack on your workout.
Schedule in a workout before work
For as hard as it can be to get out of bed early, morning workouts can be a real blessing. Once you get going, you’re jazzed up and feeling like you can take on the world. Thanks, endorphins! By the end, you start to think why you even thought about going back to bed. By raising your heart rate, you’re ready to take on the day with extra oomph. That’s one of the benefits of morning exercise – they give you energy to tackle the workday and have you going into your day feeling great.
Bring gym clothes to the office for an after-work sweat session
Not everyone is a morning person and sometimes after-work exercise can help ease the stress and anxiety the workday brings. Pack a gym bag with a few changes of clothes and throw it in your car or bring it to the office. You won’t have the I-forgot-my-gym-clothes excuse if you have a week’s worth of clothes in your bag.
Join a 24-hour gym
Not everyone has a nine-to-five job. If that’s your case, find a gym that’s open 24 hours so you have access to it whether you work out at lunch, before work or after work. There are benefits to having these types of hours, too. Depending on when you go, the gym could be all yours. No more fighting over free weights.
When it comes to working out, finding time to balance work and exercise is really about efficiency, problem solving and knowing what’s best for you and your schedule. If you’re committed to a fit lifestyle, however, you will find a way and make it happen, no matter what kind of obstacles you face.
A lot of people start a fitness routine because they want to look better. (You look great, by the way.) But fitness is more than just how your body looks. Sure, it’s awesome to love the way you look, but fitness not only helps you achieve that, it also helps you love the way you feel.
That photo of Simone Biles or Michael Phelps may be the thing which gets you into the gym, but your overall wellness will be the thing which keeps you going. When you think about it, an hour a day for three days a week isn’t taking up much time at all. And for all these benefits you get, a regular fitness routine is more than worth it.
Changing the water cooler is no longer a hassle
Let’s start with the most obvious. As you train your body and muscles, you become stronger. That’s just a simple fact. So don’t let soreness deter you from pushing forward. As you sculpt and tone and your body gets responds to the work its doing, the constant or intense soreness will fade, which is a testament to the amount of strength you’ve gained.
Your mind will thank you
We all know about endorphins, the “feel-good chemicals” in our brain. Exercise produces endorphins, which can give you a mood boost, increase brain function, reduce stress, and relax your mind and body. So if your job is giving you extra stress, a morning or lunch-hour workout might curb those stressful feelings.
Tired by 3 p.m.? Not anymore!
The more your heart adapts to working hard during exercise, the less it needs to work while it’s resting. This helps your body to conserve energy and leaves you less tired throughout the day. Just like the muscles you see in the mirror, the heart needs to be worked and strengthened, too. Like your heart, your lungs are conditioned to be more energy efficient. Think about walking up a flight of stairs when you haven’t exercised in a long time. Out of breath, right? Now think how much easier it is when you’ve been exercising consistently.
Your confidence goes through the roof
Confidence doesn’t just come from your superficial body transformation. It comes from your full-body transformation. By feeling better and even looking better, your confidence levels increase dramatically. You walk with a little more swagger, you’re more likely to speak up, you feel good about the work you do at your job, etc., etc. You find confidence in aspects of your life you never expected.
If you’re not already in a regular fitness routine, starting up and getting momentum can be a challenge. Just take things slow and remember that progress big or small is good progress. Over the course of a few months, you’ll be able to reflect on your achievements and affirm how fitness has shaped you for the better.
The positive part of summer ending is that you fall (pun not intended) back into a routine that is easy to predict and a little better to sustain. Whether you’re going back to school, you have kids going back to school or your schedule is lightening up from all the summer fun, the season change also comes with a schedule change.
As you get your work and life schedules set for the fall, now is the best time to get your workout schedule set. If you don’t plan it now, time is just going to go by and you’re going to put it off. Here are some of our tips on how to get back into the swing of things once the summer sun starts to fade.
Decide the time of day you enjoy working out
This can be a time that works best for your schedule or your personal preference. There is no bad time to work out – the only bad thing you can do is not make time to work out. When it comes to the time of day to work out, everyone has their own sweet spot. Some people like waking up early and getting their workout out of the way. Other people, however, shoot daggers out of their eyes at the mere mention of getting up earlier. Neither opinion is wrong and not everyone operates the same way. Try a few different workout times during the week and decide which one is the best for you.
Keep backup workout clothes with you
You know the feeling. You get to the gym and you’ve only brought one show. Or you’re halfway through changing and realize you have no shorts. Prepare for the worst by always having backup clothes. They could be in your car, office, purse or backpack – just have them! Maybe just one thing, though. Don’t have them hanging around for too long. Remember to swap out those clothes every once in a while to avoid mildew, mold and overall death-stank.
Find a buddy
For most people, work starts to pick up and get busier in the fall. Busier days means more energy spent and sometimes longer work days. All this combined makes it really easy for you to trick your mind into skipping your workout. Make it harder for your mind to trick you by finding a workout buddy. The best buddy is someone who enjoys the same activities as you and whose schedule matches yours. If you’re close with someone at work, they might be a good lunch-hour buddy. If you’re an early bird, find a fellow early bird. You may have to ask a few people, but the hunt will be worth it in the end.
Set a goal
Don’t view your workout as a chore or something you have to slog through. Set a reasonable goal you’d like to accomplish by winter. This could be coming to CKO three times a week instead of two or being able to add an extra 10-20 push-ups onto what you can currently do. Push yourself to make it happen, but don’t let it overwhelm you.
These tips will help motivate your, but the real motivation has to come from yourself. Realize that getting dressed and traveling to your workout is really half the battle. Once you do that, you’ll get into your workout, get in the zone and question why you were debating on skipping in the first place.
Xristina is one of CKO’s beloved trainers. She is a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)-certified personal trainer with a vast pool of knowledge. Her group exercise chronicles over 12 years teaching a variety of formats – boot camp, ride, core, strength and balance, yoga, pilates, cardio kickboxing and Zumba. She has specializations in senior fitness, functional movement training, and TRX.
When not motivating others to find a passion in activity which provides both mental acuity and physically health benefits, Xristina enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, be it traveling, good food or fine red wine. Learn more about Xristina and her journey to CKO:
How did you first hear about CKO?
I heard about CKO from my dear friend Shelby Reno. Shelby and I taught group exercise together for several years. Today she is one of my closet friends, and now I have the privilege of training at her first facility.
What was the one thing about CKO that stood out to you the most?
What stood out most about CKO is, regardless of one’s fitness level, anyone can participate in class, seeing and feeling results of resistance training using heavy bags. It’s just you and the bag!
How did you get involved in fitness?
Nothing sexy here. Simply said it was timing and being prepared when the opportunity presented itself. No one gets rich teaching group X. It’s a passion which includes having a love of fitness, inspiring and motivating people, empowering individuals, and then educating and guiding them to take charge so that they want to continue a healthy lifestyle.
What is your regular fitness routine?
I look at workouts cumulatively, which would be my total output within a week’s time. In that timeframe I seek to accomplish two to three hours of weight training, two hours of yoga, three to four hours of cardio, and two to three hours of active recovery (stretching, balance, resistance tubes, and body weight stuff). And, of course, kickboxing at CKO. For me, looking at things in a block of one week gives me permission to be flexible as well as cut myself some slack!
You have 12 years teaching group exercise. How is CKO different from other classes you’ve taught?
Teaching on heavy bags is definitely a new experience for me. I love that the workout is simply a good old fashioned butt kicking! In some ways it reminds me of boot camp, yet you can truly go at your own pace. When a participant works on a bag, the work is focused quite simply on their bag. It’s great to hear people say after class, “Wow, I needed that!” It’s a stress reducer on top of being an effective body sculptor and fat melter.
How do you motivate others to reach their fitness goals?
The best way I know how to motivate others is by meeting them at their current fitness level and building from there. I approach fitness in myself and others as an ongoing journey. It’s becomes a lifestyle. In life we have good days and bad, awesome trips and mediocre ones, ups and downs, and so on. Again, it’s looking at our actions and behaviors cumulatively.
What is one fitness goal of which you are proud?
I’ve accomplished many disciplines, including bike races, 25Ks, half marathons – with and without pushing a stroller – and two half triathlons. In one of those tris I was training a client in her first competition. I HATE swimming so I cheated and pretended to jump in but never did, LOL! She did great! I believe my biggest fitness goal and challenge still awaits me.
You have three kids. How do you pass down health and wellness to them?
I do have two wonderful sons and an amazing daughter. I feel pretty good about the fact that they enjoy participating and watching sports. All three of them are physically active and make pretty decent food choices. The old saying that “children learn what they live” holds a lot of truth. My husband and I are not perfect, but we focus on staying balanced in everything we do. He and I have always been physically active; it’s nice to see that trickle down into our kids’ lifestyles. Shaping and molding our young people begins within our own four walls.
What do you like to do for fun?
A lot! Not in any particular order: training, instructing and coaching – yep, all GREAT sources of fun. My job is truly fun, and I love what I do! My most important fun job is my family. I really enjoy being with them, especially when all three kids are home at the same time, doing nothing in particular, simply being together! Additionally it is awesome when my kids have their friends over and just chill. Dating my husband again as the nest empties has been incredibly fun, too. Other avenues include concerts, sipping wine with friends, chilling on the river while my husband fishes…and sipping wine 🙂 I’m a pretty simple person, all of the above brings me joy.
What’s one great piece of fitness advice you’ve received?
The best advice I’ve received was simply this: Every day cannot be race day. Do NOT go balls-to-the-wall every workout. This advice is actually something I had to tell myself several years ago after an injury. So it is this advice that I serve up to others and myself regularly. We must give our selves permission to actively recover and, yes, even rest!
Reaching Your Maximum Potential
It’s bound to happen. One day you’ll begin your workout session and just not feel it. You’ll slug through it and finish feeling no more accomplished than when you started. Sure, there is no such thing as a bad workout, but that doesn’t help when you fall short of your own expectations.
A less-than-stellar workout happens to all of us, but there are measures you can take to ensure you have more of the energized kind which will leave you amped for the next one. Here are six lifestyle-based action steps to help you maximize your fitness potential.
- Hydrate to regulate.
This is a no-brainer. You literally need water to perform at life, so of course you need it to fuel you regardless if the effort is high intensity interval-based or steady state-based. In addition to, you know, keeping you alive, water is a lubricant for your muscles, joints and vital organs. It primes your body for physical exertion and helps regulate your body temperature when you are heating things up in a hardcore HIIT workout. Be smart, though. Make sure you are steadily consuming water throughout the day instead of chugging right before a workout.
- Fuel your mind and body.
We’re talking food here. The right kind of food can set you up for a spectacular workout. The wrong kind will leave you feeling bloated or sluggish. Stay away from added sugars and salts; avoid heavy meals right before a workout. Like chugging water, scarfing food won’t mix well with physical activity. This is where natural snacks come in handy. Fruits, vegetables and nuts will provide you with an energy boost from quality nutrients, like fiber and protein. When it comes to meals, think of your food as something which will help fuel and repair the body. Focus on whole grains, lean meat, lots of fruits and vegetables, and protein-filled foods like legumes, nuts, leafy greens, seeds, and tofu.
- Wear gear that moves with you.
Choose clothes which will work with you, not against you. Think about the kind of activity you are doing and research the best options for that workout. Your clothes and shoes should allow you to move freely, provide stability where you need it, wick moisture, and not ride up. The right clothing will keep you in beast mode when you need it most.
- Envision goals for mental prep.
If you’re not in the mood for your workout, it’s probably going to suck. Do whatever you can to convince yourself it’s going to be awesome and moves you a degree closer to your fitness goal(s). Find a motivational quote or mantra and set it on mental repeat. Envision what you will look and feel like with your fitness goals achieved. Find that perfect pump-up jam and blast it to get you in the zone. Whatever you need to do to get you into beast mode, do it.
- Determine the best time to work out.
Some people perform their best in the morning hours, while others get top results in the evening. The very best time to work out is that time which is right for you. Sample various times and pick the one where you feel strongest and most energized. We have a winner!
- Be kind to yourself.
You’re not going to kill it every time. Each workout is a step toward a better you, so bear in mind your humanness. Do your best and enjoy the experience. Fitness is a journey where a hard-and-fast destination is always just out of reach.
Combine all these tips to maximize your fitness potential and get your best workout ever. Some – like modifying your diet – will take various levels of effort to sustain, but once you start incorporating these tips, they will become ingrained into your routine, and you won’t even have to think twice about them. In fact, they will shape you (both mentally and physically!) for years and years to come.