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How to Stay in Shape with a Busy Schedule

Updated on December 13, 2012

Essential Home Gym Equipment

Working out at home gives you just as many benefits as working out at a commercial facility. Sure you don't have the same array of equipment, but you don't need it either. Include one or more of the items from each list of exercise equipment below, or choose your own favorites.


  • Bike
  • Rollerblades
  • Jumprope
  • Stationary bicycle (spin bike preferred)
  • Plyometric boxes

Strength & Muscle:

  • Dumbbells (Bowflex Selecttech or standard adjustable are most space efficient)
  • Pull-up Bar or Pull-up Bar/Dip Bar Combo Station
  • Suspension Trainer (TRX, Jungle Gym XT, gymnastics rings, etc.)
  • Kettlebells
  • Weighted Vest
  • Barbell Set
  • Resistance Bands


  • Power Rack
  • Benches/Bench Press
  • Rubber Floor Mats
  • Foam Rollers (for working out knots in your muscles)
  • Medicine Balls (be sure to buy the storage rack with them)
  • Power Bands/Chains (for powerlifting/increasing strength through full range of motion.)

Make Time to Workout

These days, it seems like there are a thousand things to do between the time we wake up and the time we finally fall into bed. As busy as a day in the modern life can be, there are always ways to fit in enough exercise to stay in shape.

Make Working Out Easy

Make it easy get to your workout location. Join a gym, yoga studio or running club close to work or home. Many companies have on site gyms or offer fitness classes. Take advantage of these and re-energize after a long day.

Proximity is a big motivator to workout. Find a gym or set up the garage with exercise equipment and you are more likely to stay on schedule. Stay within 15 minutes of home or less.

Prepare your Mind to Exercise

If you workout in the morning, set your gym bag, running gear or what-have-you out the night before. Better yet, sleep in those clothes! Let your subconscious absorb the next morning’s activities by going through your exercise routine just before you go to bed.

For the same reasons, know exactly what you are going to do before stepping foot in a gym. You may even want to memorize and visualize your routine for a few minutes. Walk through your warm-up and each exercise. Think of alternatives to these exercises so you don’t have to stall your workout pace to wait for equipment.

What is EPOC and how do I Get There?

EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, is a dramatic increase in oxygen consumption after intense exercise.

During this time the body's metabolism increases, replenishing fuel stores, repairing damaged cells, replenishing the phosphagen system and sythesizing ATP for energy.

EPOC can be triggered by high intensiy intervals and will cause the body to increase fuel consumption and break down fat deposits at a steadily declining rate for up to 48 hours.

Although this effect can be triggered by anaerobic exercise (such as short, high intensity intervals,) as well as aerobic exercise, anaerobic activity causes a greater response.

Do Several Quick Workouts

Fast workouts can take as little as 2 or as long as 15 minutes. Don’t underestimate them though. To be effective, these mini-workouts need to be fairly intense. Research has shown that short, high-intensity, interval workouts can create an oxygen deficit that puts the body in overdrive for the next 24-48 hours to make up for it. Bottom line? More value for your effort and more calories burned.

Set your Workout Schedule Each Week

With all the technology available to us today, no important events should ever be forgotten, unless we forget to remind ourselves, that is. Plan to succeed in your workout program by scheduling your workout week down to the exact pathway, exercise or class you will be taking on. Then set reminders on your calendar, on the computer’s calendar and/or on your phone. Post sticky notes or a giant poster if need be.

Doing this every week not only keeps you engaged in the process, but it gives you time to review the previous weeks accomplishments. Use this time to identify lagging goals or areas for improvement, but especially to congratulate yourself on being a healthy, active person!

Great Places to Exercise in Major Cities

show route and directions
A markerSports Center at Chelsea Piers -
Pier 60 - 20th St. & Hudson River Park | New York City
get directions

Fully equipped gym facilities plus sports and full-sized rock climbing area.

B markerAesthetic Climbing Gym -
26794 Vista Terrace, Lake Forest, CA 92630, USA
get directions

Independent climbing gym in Lake Forest,CA with private facilities for team training. Located right next to Etnies skate park!

C markerUrban Flow Yoga -
1543 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
get directions

Urban Flow Yoga specializes in Bhakti flow, a mind-blowing balance between heart-centered devotional elements and Vinyasa flow poses. Taught in a warm

D markerSutton Racquet Club -
3101 New Mexico Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20016, USA
get directions

Sutton Racquet Club is a private three court tennis club conveniently located between Georgetown and American University in the heart of northwest Was

E markerChicago Area Runner's Association -
549 W Randolph St #704, Chicago, IL 60661, USA
get directions

The largest Chicagoland running association holding numerous events and training classes throughout the year. p: 312.666.9836

F markerEarth's Power Yoga -
7901 Melrose Ave #208, Los Angeles, CA 90046, USA
get directions

Billed as the "toughest yoga class on Earth." Founded by Master Yoga Teacher, Steven Earth Metz.

Schedule Travelling Workouts

Plan to workout during business trips and vacations. Seek out and evaluate the hotel gym, or use this opportunity to work on your swimming endurance or water dumbbell workouts.

If you prefer to stay in the hotel room, download some bodyweight workout routines or bring a suspension trainer with a door anchor in your bag. They weigh about two pounds and provide a great full body workout.

Yoga enthusiasts can do research ahead of time to discover the best local yoga studios. Ditto with pilates or mixed martial arts.

Forget Power Lunches and do Power Workouts

Exercise stimulates blood flow to all the body’s vital organs, which is good for the brain and helps you stay invigorated throughout the day. So instead of loading up with unhealthy snacks or a heavy lunch, schedule a fast workout during this time. You will still have time to grab a light lunch afterwards.

Schedule Workout Meetings

When possible, meet with coworkers or clients for a tennis or racquetball game, or go for a walk or run together. This is a great time to brainstorm and go over creative ideas, and everybody feels better at the end of the “meeting.”

If you try the two suggestions above, make sure you have a shower available!

Work Small Workouts into the Day

Home from work and the kids are all wound up? Do some bear crawls, crab crawls and spider walks with them. Or make up a game where you have to walk on all fours like your favorite animal.

You can also get a strength workout in by having one child get on your back while you do pushups or planks. Put them on your shoulders and you can do squats or stairs. It won’t take long to make them happy and for you to get a good sweat going.

If scheduling work/exercise meetings is impossible, look for opportunities to exercise on breaks, lunches, or better yet, both. During lunch go for a walk or find some stairs to climb. On a quick break, go outside and do pushups or squats. If you can keep a pair of dumbbells in your car, try a quick free weight workout.

Here is another tip: Many stairwells and parking garages have pipes, bars or beams that are sturdy enough to do pullups on. Get to work on these without shame (just be sure to wear gloves or wash your hands afterwards.)

Several small workouts throughout the day will keep your metabolism pumping and your energy levels up. Look around and you will find opportunities.


Consistency in your Workout Efforts

No matter how you fit exercise into your busy schedule, stay consistent. If it is your habit to go outside and do pullups or a walk on your break, stay with it. Maybe an early am workout works best for you. If so, schedule your day around it and stay with it.

A consistent fitness lifestyle is the key to staying fit with a busy schedule. By all means though, keep it interesting. Try new things, whether they be new free weight exercises, a fitness class or a new active hobby, and exercising will become synonymous with fun.


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    • MosLadder profile image

      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Thanks landocheese (can I call you cheddar?) It's true even for the most dedicated people. I love that I can set a reminder on my computer or phone so it's always with me and in my face, so to speak.

    • landocheese profile image

      landocheese 5 years ago

      All good advice Mos. I especially think that setting a schedule t workout and making sure it is on the calendar is important. Life just has a way to push the workout out of the way. That is also a good reason to do it early in the day.

    • MosLadder profile image

      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Thanks prokidwriter! I want to know how to get an avatar like yours!

    • MosLadder profile image

      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Thanks Dreamhowl, that actually works for me too. Not as good as sleeping in them though!

    • prokidwriter profile image

      KA Hanna 5 years ago from America's Finest City

      Enjoyed reading your hub!

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Marello 5 years ago from United States

      Good advice! I like the suggestion to leave gym clothes or a gym bag out at night before you go to bed to let it seep in. Voted up!