We all want abs, or at least a flat stomach.
We all also lead busy lives–lives that leave little time for the main ingredient of abs and flat stomachs:
So here are 5 (count ‘em, five!) tips for how you can work a little bit of exercise into your everyday routine.
1. Maximize your time-to-calories-burned ratio
Reserving an hour, or more, for leisurely cardio such as walking or jogging isn’t always practical. Instead, look to short, high-intensity workouts that maximise your active calories burn, as well as your after-burn.
Looking for an example to get started with? Try Tabata workouts.
The great thing about these is that you don’t need any equipment to do them, while still breaking a major sweat. You can literally role out of bed and start busting down that quarantine gut.
The even better thing? Tabata workouts are done in just 4-minute increments, each of which burn ~60 active calories (that doesn’t include the calories you continue burning after stopping).
That means that with 4 rounds of Tabata, you will have burned >240 calories! Enjoy that extra slice of pizza!
How does it work? It’s simple–for 4 minutes, you work at maximum intensity for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds before going back to intense exercise for 20 seconds. Repeat that for 4 minutes, which should equate to 8 20-second rounds of intense exercise.
I like to alternate muscle groups in order to work as much of my body as possible during one 4-minute session. Here’s an example (remember, each exercise is for 20 seconds):
(Do this set x2)
- Mountain Climbers
- Air Squats
Boom! That’s 60+ calories burned in 4 minutes. Repeat the same set again, or switch it up with different exercises for the next 4 minutes.
2. Work Casual Exercise Into Your Daily Routine
Contrary to popular belief–exercise does not need to take place in the gym. If you’ve got a busy schedule, see about integrating exercise into your daily routine.
For example, I work on the 13th floor (I know, bad luck) of a 15 story building. So, if I know I’m not going to be able to make it to the gym that day or do some Tabata, I’ll take stairs up (and down) at least once that day.
Right there, I’ve burned way more calories than I would have, had I taken the elevator.
Additionally, I have an hour for lunch each day, of which I spend maybe 20 minutes actually eating. So, with that extra time, I like to go for a brisk walk around downtown.
Not only does 40 minutes of walking burn more than 100 extra calories, but I discover new places and things about my city that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Two birds, right?
Finally, at the end of the day, find ways to exercise during your activities at home. If you’re decompressing during a Netflix, trying doing some intermittent planking or push-ups–or a round of Tabata–every little bit helps.
You could also lunge your laundry to the washing machine or do squats while doing dishes–the point being that there are plenty of ways to burn additional calories while doing otherwise menial tasks.
How can you integrate some extra exercise into your day? Get creative with it!
3. Start Working Out With Friends
We’re more likely to maintain good habits if we have a friend, or friends, there to keep us honest.
Brainstorm some ways to loop your friends into a regular workout regimine.
Maybe it’s a running club after work twice a week … or taking an hour in the morning to wake up and go for a walk with your neighbor.
Maybe it’s playing soccer in the park on Thursdays, or just going to the gym on the way home from work on designated days.
As with anything else, having friends to hold you accountable will make you more likely to avoid the happy hour drinks or the all too tempting sofa in favor of a good workout.
Friends not interested? Well then refer to the lyrics of the “Safety Dance” and replace “dance” with “exercise”.
If that’s the case, refer to apps like Meetup where you should be able to find one or two workout groups, depending on the size of your city. If you don’t find anything of that sort, then feel free to create a group of your own–you’ll be surprised by how many people are looking for the same thing.
In that same vein, you can try exercise-based Facebook groups or drop a post on your newsfeed announcing that you’re looking for some workout buddies.
There’s plenty of ways in which you can use social media to build an exercise circle.
4. Join a Group Fitness Gym
Similarly to point #3, joining a group gym leverages the same principles in that other people hold you accountable.
Unlike a traditional gym where you show up alone, workout alone, and leave alone–group fitness gyms are usually class-based.
This is good for two major reasons … a) you form bonds and friendships with the other people that attend during your preferred class times, and b) registering for a class gives your workout tangibility in your schedule, and cancelling then holds the same weight as cancelling your morning meeting or evening drinks with a friend.
Group fitness gyms aren’t difficult to find … in fact, they’ve become far more trendy in recent years, and are still going strong even amidst COVID.
If you’re looking for something more social and casual while still getting in a killer workout, look for programs like Orange Theory.
If you’re looking to carve into your body to look like a Greek God or Goddess–look to CrossFit gyms, as the workout intensity there will drive even the stubborn fat into non-existence.
There’s plenty of options out there–all it takes is a few Google searches and free trials to find the ones that’s right for you.
5. Gamify Your Exercise; Buy a Fitness Tracker
Making life into a game makes life more fun–fact.
Those addicting freemium games we play on our phones? The way that TurboTax somehow makes paying your taxes gratifying?
It’s all in the gamification– and that’s where a fitness tracker comes into play.
Whether you opt for the Apple Watch, a FitBit, or another brand, they all do the same job of holding you accountable to attainable goals and visualizing your progress.
Not to mention, they have 60,000 other functions that you’ll undoubtedly find addicting.
The point is that a constant, visual reminder of your exercise goals will motivate you to work points 1-4 into your daily routine, and maybe even a little bit more. Once you start closing all three rings every day, there’s just no going back.
Shop around for a model that works for you. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg for something top-of-the-line … even the cheaper models will sufficiently gamify you into getting your sweat.
So there you have it–5 ways to easily integrate exercise into your everyday life and start busting those calories without evening thinking about it.
What other ways have you found to work exercise into your busy schedule? Let us know in the comments!