I quite often seem to find myself explaining to people that really, I do manage to fit in quite a lot of gym time. Honest. I’m not even lying.
Whenever the gym (or working-out in general) pops into conversation, I love watching people look shifty and (and this is almost invariable) mumble rapidly “Er well, yeah, I go to the gym regularly, erm I mean you know, once a week or so, but er … it’s just finding the time you know. I don’t know how you do it – how do you find the time?”
Don’t get me wrong – I do totally sympathise with this because there are loads and loads of times when I can’t make it to the gym for whatever reason (trains, work, knackeredness, appointments, social commitments etc etc etc … the list is endless) and there’s nothing more frustrating, specially when it’s time and time again in a short period (**grinds teeth**). However, I can usually try and work-out at least six times a week in one guise or another.
I’d really really love it if this was because I had a lovely cushy job which allowed me to drop in every now and again but sadly I’m a junior in a busy lawfirm so I do actually have to do a bit of work now and again. I’d like it less if it was because I had no social life. Luckily that’s not it either – since 21 February, I’ve only had three days with no plans. And one of them was 21 February when I was on a flight from NZ to England. I literally go out nearly every night.
The sheer number of times this query (usually accompanied by a look which implies that Hermione Granger, Professor McGonagall & I have been conspiring, and I’ve now been provided with a time-turner) prompted me to think – how do I fit it in? I’ve come up with a few ideas on how to fit the gym in.
1. get up earlier
Isn”t this the most depressing advice? I love my bed nearly as much as I love food, specially on those cold winter mornings. However it’s the one and only time I can definitely fit in a work-out with nothing else getting in my way … So if I manage to prise myself out of bed, not only do I get my exercise out the way for the day – paving the way to feel unbearably smug – but I also actually get the work-out in!
2. use lunchtimes
I have frequently asked myself why I should use up my own time working out, when I can use my boss’s instead. Besides, my work pays for my gym membership, they should be grateful they’re getting their monies’ worth right? Lots of gyms have shorter classes at lunchtime to fit in with one-hour lunch breaks, or of course there’s always the gym floor to have fun with. If you don’t belong to a gym, that’s cool, ’cause you can always go for a run …
3. make a contingency plan
My gym schedules look craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy – but that’s ’cause I usually factor in a few “missables”. That is, if I schedule 10 work-outs, I know if I miss four, that’s cool ’cause I know I’ll still get six in. Simples!
4. make work-outs part of your social life
Sneakily, I’ve managed to get my friends to join in my work-outs under the guise of “having fun”. Pole lessons, burlesque tasters, roller disco, ice-skating, biking in Hyde Park, kayaking on the canals, bowling, playing rounders, having an impromptu game of touch, rock-climbing, bouldering, Go Ape … heheh and it’s all under the radar and they have no idea they’re actually aiding my addiction. Mwahahahahahah.
5. do something that’s totally fun (to you)
One person’s fun is another’s idea of pure torture (as I discovered when a friend proposed Go Ape for her birthday, half her friends fell on the suggestion with howls of joy and the other half looked so horrorstruck that you’d think she’d suggested a slug-eating contest). My big passion is pole (and other aerial things, but mostly pole) so for me going to a two-hour pole or aerial hoops lesson doesn’t feel even vaguely like a work-out although I’m shattered afterwards and ache for two days afterwards.
I look forward to it all week and no matter what, I barely ever miss a pole or aerials class, even if absolutely everything else goes out the window. Loving it makes it a whole heap easier to go! Other things I love are gymnastics, trampolining, touch rugby and netball, so if I happen to be doing any of those it’s a total joy to go, not a chore at all.
6. book a course in something … anything
Once it’s in the diary, it’s in the diary and it’s much harder to change.
Specially if it’s a course and each week you’re building on the week before … ’cause then if you skip a week you look like a numpty the following week. Just sayin.
7. try some personal training
It’s amazing how if you have an appointment with someone else, you can usually make it. I have had weeks where I haven’t been able to drag myself out of bed any morning at all … except the one when I have personal training. And it is EAR.LY. But knowing I’ll be letting Hiren down if I don’t show up just makes me make time for it, no matter what.
Instead of going to the gym for an hour and wearily slogging it out on the treadmill, try something a bit different that lets you work out for a shorter period. Sadly the short work-outs are usually much more intense – but the good news? As well as saving time, a short but more intense work-out’s meant to be much better for you and burn more fat. Bargain.
9. go to the gym before going out
I do this quite a lot actually – I’ll tell my friends I’ll meet them a bit later, and scarper to the gym between work and meeting them.
This has a fourfold benefit:
(i) it makes you all smug and virtuous when I am out
(ii) it lets you have a couple of glasses (or bottles) of wine guilt-free
(iii) it’s not even a hassle to go ’cause you’re going out afterwards anyway – you barely even remember going
(iv) you look even hotter than usual when you are out ’cause you’re all glowing from exercise AND you’ve just had a shower and are all clean n sparkly. Awesome.
10. get a time-turner
and also please get one for me at the same time.