One of the most common questions fitness professionals get asked is how to lose weight with a busy schedule. It’s a question that doesn’t have an easy answer. After all, if it was as simple as pushing a button, we’d probably all be strutting around the office while shirtless.
Many so-called “tips” for squeezing in some quick weight-loss are impractical and overblown. Overcoming the mental hurdle to staying healthy is the most difficult part, but once you’ve tackled that obstacle, there are some very simple and straightforward steps you can follow to a slimmer waistline.
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1) Keep it Simple
Lose your fantasies of hitting up every fitness machine in the gym. Getting in a good workout can be as simple as buying a set of used weights and a jump rope at a garage sale. The important thing is getting started with a core of simple exercises that can both burn fat and tone muscle (which, by the way, also burns fat).
In fact, getting to a great physique involves nothing more than a few dumbbells and regular cardiovascular exercise. With the abundance of home cardio workouts, and the availability of jogging surfaces (ie. the sidewalk), most people have ready access to the fundamental ingredients of an active lifestyle.
2) Keep a Daily Planner
The same principle that applies to every serious endeavor applies equally to losing weight. One of the greatest threats to living an active lifestyle is getting home from work, not having a scheduled activity on the agenda, and sitting down to watch the tube.
By keeping a daily planner on your phone that provides regular alerts, you can gain that extra push to lace up your sneakers and get active. Taking an extra 5-10 minutes in the morning to plan your day can also grant the added benefit of having a more organized schedule overall.
3) Divide Your Exercise Periods
Despite what the jogging aficionados at work tell you, you don’t have to run a marathon every day. In fact, you can still burn a lot of calories by dividing your daily workout into two 15-minute routines – one before work, and one after closing time.
Once your heart and muscles have warmed up after a few minutes of exercise, you’re burning calories with the best of them. A solid plan is to start your morning with a quick, 15-20 minute jog, and pump some iron after coming home from work. Alternatively, mix it up according to your needs.
4) Can You Jog or Bike to Work?
Guess how many calories you burn while sitting on the car or the bus? Ask that group of cyclists outside the window and they’ll tell you. While there are obvious limits to how far you can jog or bike to work, it’s not unrealistic to even get part of the way there using foot power.
Numerous studies have shown that even a casual bicycle ride to work does wonders for the cardiovascular system. Getting to work as actively as possible also energizes you for the work day, as opposed to dozing off while stuck in traffic on the freeway.
5) Cook in Bulk
Tally up the number of hours you spend cooking dinner or preparing lunch every day, and you’d probably be shocked. If you’re a typically overworked person, chances are you also indulge in takeout a little too often because cobbling together a home-cooked meal is just too much effort.
By setting aside a portion of your weekends to make bulk meals such as sautéed chicken breast or broiled salmon, you can set yourself up for an entire week’s worth of lunches and dinners. This also gives you a great opportunity to use all of that Tupperware you’ve left languishing in the cupboard.
As always, living a healthy lifestyle always begins with finding the personal motivation to get going. Thankfully, each of these five simple steps can get you there. Best of all, they complement each other and can add up to a comprehensive daily routine.
However you decide to begin, it’ll be important to track your progress and share your results with a close group of loved ones and supporters. A great way to get fit is to exercise and work out with a partner, friend, or colleague who may be looking to shed some of those extra pounds as well.
So, the next time a demoralized coworker asks you how to lose weight with a busy schedule, hold up five fingers and get yappin’. You know what to do.