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How to work out when you don't have a lot of time.

Updated on November 15, 2014
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Good Intentions

One of the biggest New Year’s resolution pledges is to lose weight. Most of us lose that track of thinking maybe a few weeks after this declaration. It is not that we want to, but you spend a bunch of money on equipment like exercise bikes, barbells, dumbbells, etc. (with every intention to use them), and the cares of life spring up and choke the passion out of most of us. Inevitably, all of that expensive equipment becomes catch-alls for coats, and hazards for anyone walking into the garage or spare room without turning the light on first. You may work, go to school, have a family (with small children), or all of the above. You go to bed late, you wake up early and work eight hours or more, cook dinner, help with homework, finally get to sleep and find yourself rudely yanked out of your peaceful slumber to start the process all over again. By the time you make it back home, just thinking of working out makes you tired. This is the case for a lot of people. It seems impossible, yet there is hope for the weary one who is tired but still desires to have her butt sitting up perky and worthy of admiration. Yes, there is hope for the man who wants to trade in his keg in for a six pack. The first thing the hopeful must do to achieve this feat is to take a look at the mistakes he or she might be making.

Common Mistakes

1. Not getting enough sleep

Sleep is crucial to your health, as our bodies rest and recover from the daily abuse we take on. Everything we do is physical, even being in an emotional state physically affects us. Not only does rest allow our bodies to re-energize for the next day, but it also contributes to muscle recovery. I.e. sleep gives us energy and helps our bodies to become more fit by helping to repair torn muscle fibers.

2. Not sticking to a schedule

Since most of us have so many daily commitments, it becomes easy to put off a workout. If we create time for working out, (by making a schedule,) we will have the time to workout and fulfill all other commitments. Going off of the schedule pushes everything forward and your workout out of the door (not to mention time out of your rest). Create a realistic schedule and stick to it.

3. Setting unrealistic goals

Working out can do wonders for your physique, but it is not going to magically change your body into a duplicate of your favorite celebrity. It’s not “morphin’ time”. No, you’re not going to lose fifty pounds in two days, and your end result may not make you look like Beyonce or Lou Ferrrigno. When you set unrealistic goals, you are setting yourself up for failure. Find inspiration in a celebrity who is fit, but still shares your body type.

4. Diving into Workouts that are too advanced

Let me tell you, if you haven’t worked out in a while, P90X may not be the best choice for you to get back to working out, if you want to keep working out. Often times, our desire clouds our good judgment and kills our motivation. Instead of feeling energized, you feel tired. Instead of feeling motivated, you dread your next workout. The best way to mess up your fitness progress is to make your workouts too hard, too long and too complicated. Doing so would result in a recipe for failure.

5. Eating… let’s be honest, you have to stop eating crap (or at least most of the crap you’re eating)

I know that title was long, but come on, this step should go without saying. Your body is a well-oiled, fearfully and wonderfully made organism. You get what you put in. Even though some people can eat bad food and not gain an inch, most people do not have this ability. You don’t have to eliminate all of the foods that bring you joy. Keep an eye on the serving size (usually located on the back of the packaging) and only eat ONE serving. Add veggies to most of your major meals, eat lean meats, and drink a lot of water.

The right path to looking and feeling great

1. Get enough sleep!

Adults need between 6-8 hours of sleep each day. If you’re going to bed at 1a.m. and getting up at 6a.m. you have a little problem on your hands. Be sure to schedule time to sleep. Your body and mind both need it!

2. Create a realistic schedule and STICK TO IT.

Make time for all of the things you have to do by allotting time for each and limiting the amount of time you spend on them. You don’t have to watch television or play an online game for four hours. Make sure there is time for all that you have to do. Cook less extravagant meals, put the kids to bed an hour early, it won’t kill them!

3. Setting goals you can achieve.

Examine yourself and determine your body shape (you can click here for a great way to figure out your body type). Once you have figured out your body type, find another celebrity that shares that shape and use her/him for your visual motivation. Next, start out nice and easy. Find a ten minute workout to get you back into the work out groove. As you get stronger, attempt more advanced or longer workouts. Youtube is a great source of workouts that vary from fitness level to the length of the workout.

If you follow these three steps, you will find yourself on the path to health and getting your “sexy back” without breaking your back. Remember to be realistic and honest with yourself. Realize that cheating on your diet means you’re cheating yourself. Be committed, be realistic, but above all: be encouraged!

- Tamara Plant

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