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How to fit your at-home workout into your busy day

With so many obligations and responsibilities packed into each and every day, it can sometimes be tough to squeeze in a workout. We’ll help you find ways to stay motivated and active—no matter how hectic your day-to-day is.

Man looking at his watch

Let’s face it, life is busy and it can be challenging to fit in the things we love (like your favourite sports!) when there are so many other things that need our attention every day. But guess what? Squeezing in an at-home workout is easier than you think; here are a few tips for how to get it done… 

GET TO KNOW YOUR INNER CLOCK

The first question you need to ask yourself is “Am I a morning person?”... Everyone’s inner clock is different, and it’s important to recognize when in the day you feel most energetic. Some people spring out of bed at 5 am; others get a burst of energy when the sun begins to set. Figuring out which time of day is best for you is the first step. Once you’ve reserved that block of time (and it doesn’t have to be long!) you can juggle other priorities accordingly.

What it might look like…
- Set your alarm for 5:30 am so you can start working out by 6 am. For many, the early morning is a quiet time when they can enjoy a peaceful workout session and feel charged up and ready for the day ahead. 

- Opt for a lunch-time workout and block some time in your calendar to get it in. This will require some meal prep (more on that later); but you can definitely get a 30-minute session in before that afternoon videoconference. Pro tip: If it’s in your calendar, you’ll do it!  

- Wait until the evening, when the busy pace of the day starts to wind down. Giving your body a chance to move once you’ve signed off from work can offer a huge release—both for your muscles and your mind. 

PREP YOUR GEAR

When time is tight, you don’t want to be searching through your laundry hamper for your favourite pair of sports socks. Make a habit of preparing your gear the night before, and you’ll find it that much easier to slip into activewear when it’s time to work out. Decide which activity you want to do, and make sure you’ve got all the gear (water bottle included!) ready to go.

What it might look like…
- If you’re working out indoors, you’ll have less gear to prepare; but, don’t forget the details! Think head-to-toe, so you don’t leave anything out - hair elastic, top, bottoms, socks, water bottle, etc.

- If you’re heading outside, you’ll have a few more items to think of. The head-to-toe rule works here too: hat, neck warmer, layers for top and bottom, winter socks, winter footwear and gloves (do NOT forget the gloves!).

- Laying out your clothes the night before can also help solidify your commitment to get the workout in. You’ve taken the time to prep for it, so you have no excuse not to get it done. 

Woman getting ready for training at home
Mom and daughter preparing food together

PREP YOUR FOOD

Sure, you want to fit a workout into your day, but not at the expense of eating proper meals! Food fuels your body, so skipping a meal for the sake of being active just doesn’t make sense. Making sure you have time for both takes a little planning. Once you’ve decided the time of day that’s best for your workout, you can plan and prep your meals accordingly.

What it might look like…
- If you’re doing a morning workout, you may want to get your breakfast ready the night before. Try overnight oats—they literally prep all night so they’re ready when you are!

- If a lunchtime workout is your thing, decide ahead of time what you'll be eating afterwards. Salads are easy to prep in the morning, or the night before. Just make sure to include some good fats, carbs and proteins to help your muscles recover post-workout.

- When doing an evening workout, you’ll want to get dinner started before you start to sweat. Take 20-30 mins to do the chopping, marinating, etc. so your meal will come together quickly when the workout is done. Sheet pan meals can even go in the oven just before you start, that way they’re piping hot and ready to eat once you’ve finished. 

FIND YOUR SPACE

You don't need to have a dedicated workout room in your home to find a good spot that makes you feel inspired to move. Depending on the type of workout you do, you shouldn’t need too much space—often just enough for a yoga mat and a few accessories will do. Pick a spot that doesn’t get too much foot traffic from others in your home. Natural light can be motivating, and try to find a clutter-free environment so you won’t be distracted with thoughts like, “I should really tidy up in here”.

What it might look like…
- You may find a small, quiet space in the basement, attic, or even the family room (when it’s not being used). Find a creative way to store your equipment, so it’s ready to go when you are. Roll up your yoga mat and slide it under the couch, store small dumbbells and bands in a decorative basket or storage box, etc.

- With minimal accessories, you can set up your very own at-home “gym”. A mat is handy for most workouts. Dumbbells are useful, but resistance bands take up even less space and offer a wide range of muscle toning options. Gliders are great for core, legs and upper body moves; and since they’re small and flat, they require virtually no space at all. 

Finding ways to fit your workout in is about recognizing your own rhythm and preferences, then making a commitment to make it happen. Try a few different ways of doing it at first; you’ll quickly see what works for you and what doesn’t. The good news is, once you find the method that works for you, it will soon become a habit and you won’t even have to think about it. A little planning goes a long way, and your body (and mind) will thank you for getting it done!