My teens are dual-enrolled, so I drive back-and-forth to the junior high 6-8 times every day. I teach them three subjects at home, so I prepare and discuss algebra, Latin, and history daily. They have a German class at the homeschool assistance program weekly, as well. I provide personal and small group training every day with a flexible schedule that changes every week, and I create my own work outs for both 1-1 and groups. There is research and writing to maintain my training business. My kids and I take piano lessons which require daily practice and a weekly lesson. My mother lives with me and stopped driving this year, so I take her shopping and to appointments as needed. My lifestyle is paleo, so I make most meals from scratch. And for the past month I’ve had no dish washer and had to hand wash 2-3 times each day. Let’s not forget the shopping, various doctor visits, veterinarian, and daily husband rides to and from work.
All that is to emphasize that I have no time to exercise. Just like you. None of us have time, do we?
But a good work out makes me feel fantastic. It’s food. It feeds me, and when I fail to get a work out for a week, I get grumpy. No, I turn into a bitch. Let’s add to that how I hate early morning work outs. It’s not going to happen. I train others, but my body is not ready to make that kind of effort before 9am.
So, what to do?
Most of us believe we need to do 100% for 45-60 minutes or we get nothing from it. Wrong. 10-20 minutes of moderate work several times a day or 4-5 times a week is just as good.
To gain the benefits of exercise, it doesn’t make a great deal of difference whether you perform one long work out or several shorter ones.
From a study carried out at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine:
One group performed a single bout of exercise lasting 20-40 minutes, 5 days per week.
Group two did the same amount of exercise, but it was split into several smaller bouts lasting just 10 minutes.
Twenty weeks later, the women who split their work outs into shorter bouts lost 20 pounds, compared to just 14 pounds in the single-bout group.
The reason for the extra weight loss is that women in group two did more exercise than women in group one, possibly because they found it easier to fit shorter work outs into their day.
So what does all of this mean for you? Work out when you can. Consistency — not duration — is the key.
The evidence does not support that exercise alone allows significant weight loss. If that is your goal, you’ll also need to change your diet. Either way, for strength and a strong heart, just add on 10-20 minute sessions whenever you can. At home or with us in the studio.
Your Opportunity Cost
Television and Facebook are things that take time; giving them up is your opportunity cost. Is the hour of FB worth giving up the chance to exercise? Is that episode of reality TV really more important than 20 minutes of moving that affect your health and continued time with loved ones?
I think about these things all the time. In fact, my kids are the reason I pursued weight loss when I was over 200 pounds. My doctor warned me about diabetes and heart trouble, and I wanted to be here for my kids and to be a good model for their own choices as they grew into adulthood.
Every hour, take a short walk or walk the stairs. When you wake up, do 10 minutes of calisthenics or yoga and do it again before lunch. Be sure to include all the major muscle groups (chest, back, shoulders, legs, core, arms).
I fit my work outs in where I can, but I reserve at least one long intense session for Saturday mornings — my Murph. Exercise is MY TIME not some dreaded WORK TIME, so it’s special to me, not something to be gotten out of the way. I savor it. It’s my form of meditation. And I have my kids doing a similar work out with me on the weekends – a Kids Murph.
Change your mindset about timing and consider your “why” and you may find exercise becomes both integrated and effortless with your life.