How To Get Fit If You Have a Busy Schedule

By Leon Ho, Founder of Lifehack

Reviewed by Davide Alfonsi, Celebrity Personal Trainer

As you’ve landed on this page and began to read this guide, you’re eager to be fit and healthy. However, you may not have the time or capacity to hit the gym or go out running. Well, let’s start by breaking one of the many fitness myths: No one is ever too busy to get fit.

How so? Because there are many healthy habits you can easily integrate into your everyday life. Habits that will over a period of time keep you fit, energetic and healthy.

Be it workouts or meal/diet planning — you really don’t need a lot of time to optimize your fitness to get results. Whether you’re a busy parent, student or workaholic, you can stay fit and healthy by creating your own schedule and habits.

All the answers you need to create this schedule are included in this guide. So whether you’re stuck at home with little to do or busy beyond belief, we’ve got the solutions that will give your health and personal energy a dramatic and permanent boost.

Work Out

There are several kinds of workouts that are available to you, but it doesn’t mean that every workout is important. Depending on how you are living your life, certain workouts can prove to be more beneficial for you than others.

Here’re some general tips for working out and exercising:

Always Warm-Up And Cool Down

Exercising safely means always spending a few minutes warming up at the start, and a few minutes warming down as you bring your exercise session to an end. Warm ups and warm downs might not be sexy, but they’ll reduce your chance of injury, thus enabling you to exercise more.

Gradually Increase Your Amount Of Exercise

If all the exercise you’ve done for the last few years is to walk around your home and office, then you might not want to think about running a marathon in the next few days!

However, if you set yourself a target of running a marathon in six months, you could gradually build up your fitness (through daily runs) so you’d be ready to run and you’d be ready to cross the finishing line.

Eat A Snack Immediately After Your Workout

It’s good practice to eat protein-heavy snacks within 15 minutes of wrapping up your exercise routine. This can help optimize the healing of the tiny muscle injuries that normally occur while you exercise. Protein is also satiating, which means you’ll be able to resist the temptation to eat junk food later on!

Stay Hydrated

There are many benefits to drinking plenty of fluids (preferably water), but the key benefits when it comes to your fitness are: keeping your body at peak performance, delivering nutrients to your body and regulating your body temperature. If you don’t like drinking lots of plain water, then as an alternative, consider drinking fresh fruit juices.

Home Workouts with No Equipment Needed

This form of exercise don’t require – or require little – equipment nor going to the gym. Some of the reasons to consider these exercises is that they can provide you with a pre or post-workout to cool down or ease yourself into. It’s a similar idea to running on the treadmill after a workout.

Using this as a stand-alone workout plan can also work too in many ways:

  • You’ll not have to spend money on memberships. Also, you can realistically spend little to no money at all in doing this.
  • It saves you a considerable amount of time. No need to drive, walk, or bike to your local gym. Also because home exercises don’t require much setup you’ll be focusing on moving more rather than putting on weights or getting machines set up to exercise.
  • No crowds, meaning no waiting for machines.
  • You focus more on the workout itself

There are several ways to be working out from home as many people have provided video tutorials on home exercises. Also if you want to invest a little bit of money, you can look into cheap equipment like some dumbbells or resistance bands. There are several types of exercises you can do with these things.

  • Strength workouts — 12 best at-home workouts that you can use for strength and mobility.
  • Build a six-pack — Ways to build six-pack abs from the comfort of your couch!
  • Burn that fat — 6 fat burning exercises you can do from home.

Get started right now with your home workout by using our Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan.

You can also make use of one of these 13 Best Fitness Apps to Use in the Comfort of Your Home to keep track of your fitness progress at home.

How To Get Fit If You Have a Busy Schedule

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No excuses! Get started with your home workout and keep track of your progress with one of these tracking apps.

Muscle Building Exercises

We all use our muscles every single day to move, lift, push, pull, and more. Our muscles are important in our everyday function so building them up is very helpful. Even if you live a sedentary lifestyle, building up muscles is further important as stronger muscles allow us to keep a proper posture and not suffer from body aches and pains later on in life.

Muscle-building focuses more on heavier lifting exercises rather than worrying about how many reps you are doing. These sorts of exercises are best done with a trainer or someone who has experience in building muscle as they’ll be able to guide and spot you too so you don’t overexert yourself.

This is ideal because the types of exercises that you’ll be doing rely on lifting, pulling, and swinging. Getting into specifics, exercises like bench presses, deadlift, kettlebell swings, squatting, rear delt flys and general strength training are some of the many exercises that you could be doing.

How working on specific muscle groups can help you in achieving your fitness goals can work in several ways depending on what those goals are. For example, muscle exercises can help with:

  • Losing weight since muscles require calories and fat in order to grow. If you’re strengthening your muscles, they’re going to naturally eat away at fat build-up.
  • Working specific muscles can also ensure your muscles can keep you locked and supported in specific positions. For example, building back muscles can lead to a straight spine when sitting down. This ensures you mitigate back pain in the future.

As mentioned before, muscle training is something that’s smarter to do with someone else – especially someone who can spot you and can guide you through proper form. However, there are some other tips to consider:

Set expectations before getting into it. Building your ideal dream body isn’t something that’ll be achieved in three months.

The two big factors to easier building muscles and fat loss are your genetic blueprint and your work ethic. For this reason, an Olympic athlete is going to have an easier time building muscle and burning fat than someone who sits around all day.

To build muscle, you’ll need to pay more attention to your protein intake over the number of calories. For those building muscles, it’s not out of the ordinary to be taking in 100 grams or more of protein.

Remember that protein doesn’t have to come from meat. Taking protein shakes over the course of the day can help to cover a good portion of protein intake for the day.

For a more specific guide to building muscle, consider:

Weight Loss-Focused Exercises

There are several ways to be losing weight beyond simply building up muscle. Building up muscle is a faster way, but also requires you to maintain that muscle too. Skipping out on training for long periods of time can be detrimental.

Fortunately, if you want to be losing weight, one alternative to consider is focusing more on the weight loss-focused exercises. Like the muscle-focused exercises, the upside to these exercises is you’re focusing on the exercises that burn more fat while also improving your overall endurance too.

Some of the common exercises that are done are cardio like jogging, walking, sprinting, or biking (either on machines or out and about town) as well as HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training).

For those who are not familiar with HIIT, it’s a series of exercises that are done in intervals and are at high intensity. What this means is that you’re doing short bursts of exercises within a period of time. Think of doing several jumping jacks before doing a series of sit-ups before taking a short break and starting different or the same exercises again.

Get your weight loss plan and get in shape – Your Ultimate Weight Loss Plan (Workout & Diet)

To help you stay on track with your weight-loss goal, you can make use of these trackers: 8 Wonderful Weight Loss Tracker Apps: Achieve Your Fitness Goals Fast

Stretching for Flexibility

Maybe you already have your ideal body or are generally fit, but you’re suffering from some aches and pains? Stretching can come in handy in these kinds of cases as they provide all kinds of benefits:

  • Help in stretching out your muscles to make exercises easier.
  • Contribute to improving range of motion for exercises
  • Improve your overall posture
  • Help to heal back pain
  • Reduce muscle soreness
  • Prevent injuries

Find out more benefits of strecthing in 15 Important Benefits of Stretching Before, After, and During a Workout.

Stretching is one of the basics in terms of exercising. There are several kinds of stretches that focus on various parts of your body:

  • Neck stretches: tilting your head to one side, hold that position with your hand until you feel your neck stretching. Repeat on the other side too.
  • Cross-body shoulder stretch: Pull one arm over your chest and keep it straight. Lock it in place with the opposite arm and begin to pull until your shoulder starts stretching.
  • Triceps Static stretch: Lift your arms overhead with both arms behind your head and bent at the elbow. Use one hand to pull on the opposite elbow to stretch the triceps.

Grab our 30 Day Resistance Band Full Workout Challenge online guide for FREE to start stretching your body.

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Before every workout, make sure you incorporate some stretching to maximize your flexibility and ensure you don’t hurt yourself.

Motivation to Workout

“Too busy” is just an excuse — and you probably know that too. Maybe you just lack the motivation to get to work and get fitter and healthier. There are several ways to be building up motivation. Some ideas are:

Have Variation To Your Workout Routine

If you’re focusing on a full-body exercise routine every weekday, add some variety by having one day devoted to upper body and another to lower body. There are several ways to add variety such as new exercises, more reps, higher weight, etc. Variety keeps things interesting and you won’t get bored.

Make The Workout The First Thing You Do

Within the first 20 minutes of your day, getting up and working out is a sensible choice. Like many, once it reaches a certain point in the day, they get wrapped up with something and don’t bother about working out. Avoid that by hitting the yoga mat or the gym when you get out of bed.

Use Music Accordingly

There’s a reason gyms use upbeat music. It keeps you pumped up and motivated. Even if you’re not going to the gym, having some music in there will pump you up.

View Exercise As An Improvement Rather Than A Chore

We all hate doing chores. And we especially don’t like it if you’ve got to force yourself to do it. Motivation during those times can be dwindling in those circumstances and it doesn’t help much. Instead, it’s key to reframe something to be not a chore but rather something we are invested in.

In the case of working out, it’s key to see working out as an investment in yourself. As such, you don’t want to be forcing yourself to love working out. If you have an off day or need a day to recover, take it.

Rewire Negativity Of Past Experiences

Similar to the previous point, maybe you’re losing motivation due to bad experiences. Train yourself to reshape those experiences or thoughts.

For example, if you’re worried about what other people might think of you when doing a certain exercise, find another exercise that provides the same benefits and that doesn’t make you uncomfortable. Another is if you’re worried about jogging in one part of the neighbourhood, change up your route.

Discover more ways to stay motivated here: 10 Ways to Quickly Boost Your Workout Motivation

Diet & Nutrition

What you eat and drink is a critical component of getting and staying healthy and fit. That’s why in this section, you will get a list of resources to take control of your diet.

Meal Planning

A failure to plan is a plan to failure as they say and nutrition is a big part of any kind of person looking to be healthy. The level of planning varies from person to person depending on their own goals and current physical ability.

Ensuring that you are eating properly via a meal plan means that:

  • You’ll be improving your nutrition. You can structure plans to require specific food groups into each of your meals.
  • You’ll be making overall healthier choices. Many people choose unhealthy foods last minute because they aren’t sure what kind of food they have available. Plans remove the guesswork since you have meals either prepared or the ingredients you need.
  • You’ll focus on eating high quality foods. Anything cooked will be healthier for you than foods that are processed or high in fat.
  • You’ll save money. As a general rule, buying your own ingredients is cheaper than buying take-out and pre-made meals.

Here’re some tips to help you plan your diet:

Healthy Meals Ideas (With Recipes)

Naturally, you can’t have a meal plan unless you have meals and a simple look around the internet you can find a plethora of meal ideas to consider.

Below, are some ideas that fit any kind of eater whether you’re someone looking to save money, want generally healthy foods, or want the food to be energizing.

  • Healthy breakfast ideas — From chia breakfast pudding to buckwheat breakfast muffins, find a tasty and healthy breakfast to help you start the day on a high.
  • Healthy lunch ideas — From quinoa veggie bowl to steak fajita salad, find a healthy lunch that works for you.
  • Healthy dinner ideas — From pesto pasta to stuffed chicken, find dinner ideas that will help you lose weight and gain muscle strength.
  • Healthy snacks — From miso soup to fruit ice lollipops, find snack ideas that will satisfy your taste without destroying your health.
  • Work appropriate snacks – It addresses smells but also these particular snacks help in boosting your productivity and focus too.
  • Budget friendly meals – For those looking to save money on their grocery bill, these meals cost $5 or less to make.

Intermittent Fasting (Recommended For Losing Weight)

The last section to your nutrition is to consider whether intermittent fasting is a good idea. There is definitely some sound logic with fasting since we gain weight overall by eating more calories than we burn off. Since fasting is all about denying calorie intake, it makes sense that you’d be losing weight through it.

Beyond that, fasting can also:

  • Reduce insulin resistance, making you less at risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in your body
  • Make you stronger against heart diseases
  • Induce various cellular repair processes

While fasting provides these benefits, fasting for long periods of time can have adverse effects on you. Considering we get our nutrients from food, you need a certain amount of food over the course of the day to function. Those who fast for too long risk feeling tired, experience dizzy spells, constipation, dehydration, and are unable to handle colder temperatures.

When choosing this method, keep in mind how long you can fast and be sure to pay attention to your body. For more information about fasting and having a structured plan, consider the guides below:

  • Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack) — This guide will teach you all about intermittent fasting weight loss. It’ll explain in simple terms why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. With just a few minutes investment of your time, you’ll be able to implement intermittent fasting into your diet and instantly experience the many benefits it offers.
  • Intermittent Fasting Diet for Beginners (The Complete Guide) — This guide will take you through the basics of why intermittent fasting is beneficial, how to start an intermittent fasting diet and how to incorporate it into your daily routine. You’ll also learn how to overcome the 3 major problems most people encounter when attempting to fast for the first time.

Sufficient Sleep & Energy

If you’re not having sufficient and quality sleep, it’s hard for you to stay energetic throughout the day, let alone to reach your fitness goal. So if you want to stay fit and healthy, pay attention to your sleep quality and energy level as well.

How To Get Fit If You Have a Busy Schedule

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Besides hacking your sleep cycle and building a night routine, find out more ways to help you boost energy in this ultimate guide: How To Boost Energy And Peak Performance (The Ultimate Guide).

You are in complete control over your body. From the healthy and unhealthy habits that you build to the food that fuels your body. For any person looking to be improving themselves, a good first step is being mindful of the physical things that you are doing to yourself and what you are eating.

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