Today’s challenge is to let go of the “I don’t have time” mentality. If I had to pick one thing that prevents people from living a healthy and active lifestyle is that they claim to not have time. Everybody has time, you just need to make it. Exercising does not have to take up hours of your day. Of course the more time you spend exercising the more you are going to benefit from it, but that does not mean that a little can’t go a long way. 

Before we get into the topic of exercise, let’s take a quick moment to talk about nutrition one more time. Eating right is the easiest and least time consuming part of a healthy life. It is as easy as saying no to things we know we shouldn’t be eating and saying yes to things that we should be eating. It starts in the grocery store and picking out the right foods. If you are busy, like me, then shop like a busy person and do not expect that you are going to cook extravagant meals. Buy precut vegetables, batch cook your healthy grains (these foods can last for days in the fridge when stored properly) and look for healthy premade meals, because sometimes it is just nice to have a meal all ready to go. If you are a busy working mother, or father, utilize slow cookers or a Sunday evening when the kiddies are asleep to cook at least one healthy meal for the family. 

Unfortunately, exercise is a little bit harder. It takes space, time and some equipment, but I know all of us can find 20 minutes in our day, a small square of floor space, a mat, a set of dumbbells and an exercise tube. Will 20 minutes a day of exercise make you look like your favourite celeb? Probably not.  But neither will not exercising. You may not lose your cellulite overnight but you will increase your muscular strength and endurance, your cardiovascular fitness and your emotional wellbeing. You may also learn that exercise is fun and possibly start craving more. 

When planning a 20 minute workout it is important that you are prepared. Write your workout out in advance and have everything that you need before you start so that you waste little time. When I am short on time I will pick a four or five exercise circuit, with one or two lower body exercises, upper body exercises, cardiovascular exercises and core exercises. I do each exercise for 50 seconds and then repeat the circuit four or five times (I allow myself 10 seconds between each exercise to rest). If you are a beginner then start with a circuit like this: squats with a dumbbell overhead press, push-ups from your knees, front plank, jumping jacks, and reverse lunges with an exercise band row. These exercises, four times through, will be challenging to start, but make sure as you get stronger you increase the difficulty of each exercise. You can also download a training app onto your smartphone, my absolute favourite being the Nike Training Club App (NTC). Fitness apps do the planning and motivating for you and they record your progress, making sure you are continuing to challenge yourself.

Remember as you start 2017, your expectations must meet your actions. If you only have 20 minutes a few days a week to work out, don’t expect to be running a marathon soon. But that is ok. It is a start.  You can only go up from here.  

Attached: Hilary Duff out grocery shopping at Whole Foods in Santa Monica, California on January 5, 2017.