Obesity rates are at an all-time high in America. Our work-life balance is heavily skewed in favor of work. Between work, errands, dealing with kids, and your home life--living a healthy lifestyle seems next-to-impossible leading many to place their health on the backburner.
However, it doesn't have to be this way.
Achieving optimum health, improving your fitness and nutrition doesn't require you to obsess over fad diets or attempt those crazy Instagram workouts (reminder: that's their full-time gig), but instead these objectives require a focus on efficiency and effectiveness.
You can succeed in fitness without the rest of your life falling into chaos. No matter how hectic your schedule is, implement these six core principles to integrate health and fitness into your busy life.
1. Know your why
Everything starts with a why. All missions and goals in life start with a why.
Your fitness isn't any different. Without a why, your mission doesn't stand a chance of succeeding. Your why is here to remind you that what you're trying to achieve isn't worth sacrificing for temporary pleasures (i.e. happy hours, excess TV time and office cookies).
2. Forecast ahead
After figuring out your why, this is the next most important element to integrating fitness into your busy lifestyle. Whether it's work, meetings, family events, or unavoidable obligations for the upcoming week--taking time to map out your events ahead of time is a game changer.
Most people's workweek starts on Monday, therefore on Sunday, take out a notebook or use Google calendar to fill all your concrete dates in.
Here's a chronological checklist you can use:
1. Write down all your employment work hours for each day since that's permanent.
2. Jot down what times you wake up and sleep.
3. Think about how much time traffic takes from your life.
4. When is lunch break?
5. Jot down other miscellaneous events that are concrete (watching new TV episodes doesn't count)
6. Now after your concrete events are scheduled in, determine how many days you want to exercise and see which days it makes the most sense to head to the gym and put those days in the calendar.
Don't expect perfection on week one, but now you at least have a working plan to get started (you can always make adjustments later)
3. Make sleep your top priority
In a society where hustling into the wee hours earns us a badge of honor, it's easy to see why sleep is brushed aside.
But, without sleep, all our exercising efforts are futile. Sleep is what helps us recover from workouts, helps with food decisions, helps us think clearly, and helps our weight loss efforts. Sleep manages our stress hormone cortisol, which when left unattended can slow fat loss.
4. Focus on what you're eating
It's easy to get caught up in the type of workout that you're going to do, but your diet will either make or break you.
It's easy to get get caught up in counting calories and worrying about the perfect macronutrient split, but that's futile at the beginning (and time consuming).
As a busy individual with a demanding lifestyle, counting calories on an app is the last thing you need to do. A better alternative is committing to eating 3-5 times a day and divide your meals into balance portions between protein, carbs, and fats from quality sources of foods
5. Focus on intensity over duration
You can work out for seven days a week and spend 60 minutes each session, but that doesn't guarantee you results. In fitness, it's a matter of quality vs quantity with quality winning each and every time.
Intensity and the type of exercises selected matter more than the quantity of exercises selected. If you're pressed for time, performing a circuit routine which includes squats and deadlifts instead of isolation movements such as bicep curls and leg extensions will provide more value because more muscles are being stimulated; thus leading to more calories burned within the session.
6. Remember: something is better than nothing
There will be days where you slip up on your diet and succumb to food temptations. There will be days where life gets in the way and you miss your scheduled workout sessions.
And that is perfectly okay and normal. We're only human, not fictitious characters in fairy tales.
Instead of taking a trip to guilt town and getting down on yourself, take a 35,000-foot view of your fitness instead of making instantaneous decisions at ground zero where emotions rule over logic.
A slip up here and there with your fitness doesn't define you nor will it ruin all your progress.
Question for you: What's your biggest struggle with fitting fitness into your busy life? Comment below.
To learn more about Julian and how to fail-proof your fat loss, no matter how busy you are, visit''The Art of Fitness and Life'and receive your free 5-day fat loss course to start building the body you want.