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Q & A: How does a busy professional squeeze working out into a hectic schedule?

Q: As I age, I've noticed that my metabolism isn't what it used to be. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted without having to exercise at all. But now, as I watch my meal portions shrink and my meetings with grilled chicken and steamed vegetables increase; somehow, my waistline continues to increase, as well! It's not that I'm lazy or don't see the importance of working out and exercising, it's just that I am a busy professional with a very hectic schedule. I simply can't find the time after working a 10 hour day that oftentimes spills over into the weekends, as well. How do I find the time to workout!!?

A: Let me first say that, as a person in their mid-forties working a 50-60 hour work week, I not only empathize with you but also know your pain. I thought I was reading about myself in your question! So here are some tips that might get you well on your way to a consistent workout schedule and regimen.

But let me first address the necessary mindset in order for this to work. You MUST place working out, and your general health, on the same level of importance as going to work every day. If you're a person who manages to make it to work every day, then this mindset will definitely work for you. Just like you don't make excuses to skip work, you won't make excuses to skip completing at least a 20 minute workout on a busy, hectic day. For those of you who can’t seem to make it to work consistently, I have nothing for you. You might want to consider liposuction. And since you can afford to miss work, you obviously can afford the plastic surgery. Okay, moving on—reprioritize working out and saving yourself from poor health. The next step is to remember that even a short workout is better than no workout at all. So even if you feel pressed for time, try to get at least a 20 minute workout into your 1,440 minute day. It doesn't sound like much once you put it that way, does it?

The next step is to incorporate work into the workout so that you don't feel as if working out is reducing your work productivity. You see, a good mobile phone is really a mobile computer. So take that thing into the gym with you, get on an exercise bike or other piece of stationary equipment that leaves your hands free and start killing 2 birds with 1 stone. As a therapist, who is currently answering your question from the gym right now, I know that this works. Before leaving this gym in 2 hours, I will have burned 800-1000 calories (running a 5K only burns about 450 calories), worked on this article for my Examiner column, worked on an article for Diezel magazine and answered work emails and texts. My only problem is making sure that sweat doesn't drop on my cell phone.

Now my personal preference is a large phone that also comes with a stylus so that the writing can be easily and quickly done, but use what suits you best. But whatever phone you use, make sure you get the job done! And you will surely be walking out of that gym guilt free because you will have been physically, mentally and professionally productive.

Thank you for your question and do take care.

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