You exercise regularly for months… then get derailed by a vacation, business trip, or just the general insanity of life. Sound familiar? Here’s how to stay in shape when you’re busy — it’s faster and easier than you think.
Bonus: We even created a cool infographic that summarizes this article.
Click here for: Nutrition and Fitness for Busy Professionals
It’s one of the most common patterns I see as a fitness and nutrition coach (this is something I struggle with as well). People trying to get (and stay) in shape work out diligently for months — then get derailed by the holidays or a big deadline at work.
As a consequence your workout routine suffers despite the amazing benefits physical activity offers.
Now you’ve become sedentary without an outlet to help combat stress. You still have your job pressure, kids, money which can sap your mojo. The benefits you worked so hard to achieve start reversing immediately.
That’s why we came up with this simple, do-anywhere workout. It takes only a few minutes a day, it requires minimal or no equipment, and it focuses on compound exercise (big muscles, big movements) so it’s certain to be effective.
It’s also adaptable: You can shuffle exercises around or skip a few of them, come up with different ways to add resistance, or modify the total number of reps and rounds according to how much time you have and your preferences.
The important thing is to get some full-body movement each day.
Use this plan when you just can’t make your regular workout happen. It’ll help you maintain muscle, keep your metabolism humming, stave off fat gain, and more.
Workout: Do-Anywhere Workout
Equipment: 1 Resistance band, 1 Dumbbell or Kettlebell (women 25lbs to 35 lbs, men 35lbs to 55lbs)
1. Move through each exercise in sequence
2. Do 5 reps of each exercise
3. Don’t rest between exercise
4. Rest 1-2 minutes at the end o the circuit
5. Repeat for a total of 2-4 circuits
(1) Starting on all fours, push down with toes to bring knees off floor.
(2) Keeping pelvis centred, “crawl” with right arm and left leg moving forward together, and vice versa. 10 seconds = 1 rep.
(1) Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, dumbbell in each hand.
(2) With chest hight, abs engaged, and lower back neutral, step right foot back. Keep weight on forward heel and hips squared as you lower right knee until it’s just off the floor and slightly behind your hip.
(3) Drive weight into forward heel to return to start. Complete set for right leg, then repeat on the left.
(1) Start in “plank” position, hands directly under shoulder and fingers forward.
(2) Maintaining a straight line from head to heel, keep elbows in as you bend them to lower. your body as far as you can without shoulder popping forward.
(3) Squeeze shoulder blade together and down towards gluten as you lower, then allow them to spread fully apart at the top. Keep abs tight, tailbone tucked under and shoulders down away from ears.
(1) Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended in front of you.
(2) With abs engaged, ribs pulled down, and tailbone tucked under, push hips back and lower as far as you can, keeping feet straight and knees aligned with little toe.
(3) Drive weight into heels and mid foot to return to start.
Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
(1) Keeping ribs down, abs tight, tailbone tucked, and weight through forward heel, pull kettlebell or dumbbell toward lower ribs while locking your shoulder blade inward and down.
(2) Keeping ribs down, abs tight, tailbone tucked, and weight through forward heel, pull kettlebell or dumbbell toward lower rib while locking your shoulder blade inward and down.
Banded Hip Extension
(1) Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with resistance band looped behind neck and end secured under feet.
(2) Keeping abs engaged, ribs pulled down, back straight and weight rooted through heels, push your hips back and bend at waist until you feel a slight stretch in hamstrings.
(3) Return to start, keeping abs tight, ribs down, and tailbone tucked.
Make It Easy
When you’re busy and stressed, working memory and willpower are low. Here’s how to make a minimal workout happen.
1. Keep your resistance band or workout clothes somewhere visible, where you’ll practically trip over them. Behavioral triggers make exercise more automatic, less thought-driven
2. Don’t think if the workout as a chore or punishment. Positive keeps your stress hormone response in check and reduces hedonic compensation (“I did push-ups so I earned this brownie”)
3. Can’t do one or more of the exercises in the circuit? Skip them. If possible, focus on the legs, which require greater muscle recruitment and energy burn.
4. No dumbbell or Kettlebell? Use whatever you can find to add weight to the moves.
Why This Plan Works
1. Required minimal time and equipment so you can do it anytime, anywhere
2. Uses “compound exercise” — big muscles, big range of motion — so you get more out of reach rep
3. Maintains joint and tissue health
4. Helps you avoid the all or nothing downward spiral of feeling “off-track” with exercise
5. Gives dietary sugar a purpose, mitigating chances of increased fat storage and weight gain
6. Keeps stress in check
Want help sorting all this out?
This is simple stuff. But it’s not necessarily easy to put into practice, especially with the consistency needed to see results.
If you’re looking for help and guidance yourself, we can help.
We accept a very small number of new clients every month, so if you’re motivated and tired of being stuck click on the “I want to get started button“. Spots at our private studio are first come, first serve, and when they’re gone, they’re gone.