I'm a recent college grad who's moved back to my home city, and I'm starting my first full-time gig this week (gulp). I'm sure you've covered this before, but I'm looking for exercises that I can fit into my new 9-5 work schedule. I don't have a long lunch, so it really would need to be before or after work. I gained the most weight this past year, when I had to pick between maintaining a social life, keeping my health up, getting a job and mastering my last set of classes (you can guess which three took priority.) My biggest goal is to get healthy and fit back into the clothes I've been wearing while keeping new job stress at bay. I'm very out of shape and really looking to get my sass (and ass) back. Any tips on how to safely start?
Gone are the days of personal trainers writing ‘programs’ for their clients and thank god because I don’t know how many thousands of hours I have sat in my office designing programs for my clients that never end up getting used. Unless you are training for a very specific event, or you have very specific goals in mind, what is most important is that you find time in your day.
Health Canada recommends that adults complete 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous activity. What you choose to do with that time is up to you. Since you are starting a new job and your days will be filled with work, getting ready for work and travelling to and from work, not only are you going to be tired but your time to work out is limited. Therefore, you need to capitalize on the limited time you have.
High intensity intervals are what I suggest during the week, and then something longer on the weekend. I am a big believer that in our lives we need to do activities that are truly exercise, activities that we don’t necessarily enjoy but rather love how they make us feel when they are done. Trust me, I do not ‘enjoy’ spin classes or hitting the track for 400 repeats but I enjoy how these types of workouts make me feel. I enjoy pushing myself and I enjoy not giving up. Then we need activities that we look forward to waking up and getting out of bed for on a sunny weekend morning. For me, these are things like kayaking, hiking, stand up paddling, surfing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, mountain biking – all activities that I can’t wait to do.
You need to find both of these and put them into your life. The activities that you love to do should be saved for the weekends, when you have more time, and those tough, butt kicking workouts should be done during your week. You’re already working hard at work anyways, so what’s a few more minutes in your day of focus?
You also want to try and make your workouts social. Meeting a group of people at the end, or start, of your day is a great way to break your day up and make your ‘not so fun’ workouts just a little more fun. Finding a community where you are supported and challenged physically will help hold you accountable and keep you moving forward. I fully endorse small, independent workout studios like the one I work at, because they always have welcoming and supportive communities.
If going to a group workout is not an option due to time, or location, then download the Nike Training Club app (NTC) to your phone. This is the best thing to happen to fitness since fitness itself. You can join the Nike community and track your progress, as well as compete against other people, and as you log your training minutes you are encouraged by Nike trainers and athletes to continue to challenge yourself. You can pick 15 minute cardio blasts to do before you head to work, 30 minute workouts that require zero equipment to do on your lunch break, or a 45 minute full body blast to finish off your day with. One of my favourite workouts to do is Ellie Goulding’s and break it up into 3 sections placed between 5 – 10 minute cardio blasts. So on your lunch break you can start by power walking for 5 minutes to a park, then do the first 5 minutes of the workout, then jog for 5 minutes, do the second part of the workout, then walk for 2 minutes and run for 3 minutes and finish the workout. That’s an easy way to fit into your day 15 minutes of cardio and 15 minutes of strength training.
Set a goal of completing 90 minutes of vigorous activity during your work week, broken up however you like, and then save 60 minutes for the weekend to get out and do something you enjoy. As this becomes habit, increase the intensities of the workouts as well as the frequency. And then as you start to crave being pushed, up the ante and pick a goal. Maybe you train for your first 5km race?
But you can’t forget about your nutrition! Now that you are office bound from 9-5, you will be surrounded by unhealthy food options on a daily basis. Pack healthy snacks as well as start your day with a very healthy breakfast and if you can’t pack your lunch, then hit a salad bar for lunch or grab some healthy sushi, such as avocado rolls with brown rice (hold the mayo!). And water is your best friend. Keep a bottle on your desk but if you are finding at the end of the day the level of water in the bottle has not changed, set an alarm to remind yourself to drink every 15 or so minutes. MyFitnessPal is a great tool to track your nutrition and it will educate you on not only how much you need to eat in a day but also what happens when you waste most of your daily calorie allotment on the fatty coffee shop muffin you had on your break.
You can exercise all you want, but if you are not complementing that with proper nutrition, then you are wasting your time. Start making small, lifestyle changes daily and do not expect massive results right away. Be patient with yourself but work hard, because losing weight is not as easy as we would like.
Attached - Amanda Seyfried heading to the gym in New York the other day.