I get asked this question a lot. “When should I workout?” “What time is best?” The truth is, exercise at any time of the day is better than none at all. But what if you are short on time?
As a busy woman, the best strategy for you is to fit it in when you can. Take a look at your schedule for the week ahead. From there, you can figure out when you have free pockets of time. If there is no free time, you will first need to work on your schedule to free up some space. That might mean shifting activities around, planning and preparing food in advance, or ensuring your laundry/tidying is done twice a week and not four to five times. We are in charge of our schedules, so work on freeing up at least 20 minutes a day to begin with.
I find that the best time to exercise that works for me (and for many of my clients) is first thing in the morning. The reason this works so well is because this is usually the time when there is a good chance I won’t be interrupted, and it’s when I have the most control over my time. The longer in the day I wait, the more likely it is that unexpected things will come up and my exercise plans will be derailed. That is why I recommend getting up 20 minutes earlier in the morning and completing a quick and easy 10 to 15 minute workout.
However, if you are getting up first thing in the morning to do your workouts, this means you do need to go to bed earlier. So, when you set your alarm for, say, 6:00 AM to get up, you should also be setting an alarm to go to bed. We’re aiming for between seven and eight hours of sleep per night and it can take some time to get used to this new routine, so be patient.
Even if you’re a night owl who struggles to get up in the morning, I recommend that you give it your best shot for a week or two and see how it feels. It will be tough to begin with but you’ll soon notice the benefits of that early morning workout and the knock on effect it has on the rest of your day. It’s also a great way to set your productivity for the day. If you accomplish something first thing in the morning, you are more likely to be motivated to accomplish other activities during your day, rather than procrastinating.
Why not give it a go? Over the next five days (or Monday to Friday if you prefer), set your alarm for 6:00 AM and for the night before so that you are going to bed on time as well. This means you should be heading up to bed around 9.30pm and lights out by 10pm. Lay out your workout clothes the night before. When the alarm goes off in the morning, swing your legs around the edge of your bed, put your feet on the floor and stand up. Once you’re standing up, you’re going to do it. Make your bed, get dressed (or workout in your PJs!) then get your mat ready and do that for five days in a row.
It might feel incredibly painful! But once you’ve done it for five days in a row, you’re going to really notice the difference and hopefully start to find enjoyment in having this secret time for yourself first thing in the morning.
If mornings are not your thing, pick another time of day that suits you better but schedule the time into your diary. If 15 minutes isn’t doable yet, do 5 minutes, or even 1 minute. Some plies while you brush your teeth or a couple of press ups each morning. Something is ALWAYS better than nothing. Start small and carve that time out for yourself and you will reap the rewards, I promise.