A question I get very often is how do I plan my gym time around a full work schedule? Waking up early is the answer. I wake up at 4 a.m. each morning and by 5:30 a.m., I am in the office. The roads are empty, so I get to the office in under 15 minutes. I start my day with a working breakfast. The first 5 hours of my day are the most important. By 10:30 a.m., most of the important work is complete. This is the time when most people are just getting started. At 10:45 a.m., I hit the gym. My gym is only a 3-minute drive from the office, so works out well. The gym is literally empty at this hour. I try to work out for just over an hour and then head back to the office for a working lunch. The workout gives a good break in the middle of the day. Once back in the office, I start my second half of the workday. I usually head home by 5 p.m. I have plenty of time in the evening to spend with my family, catch up on some reading or even do some Instagramming. Easy right? Key is to wake up early and go to bed early. The day overall is a lot more productive and your body gets a good night’s rest.

Here are some more tips which I feel will be helpful in planning gym time:

1. Fitness should be made into a priority

You always make time for something that is important. Your health is important. Eating is important. Sleeping is important. So is fitness. If you do not give importance to fitness, its not going to happen. Your mind must recognize the importance of fitness and to make it a priority.

2. Be Realistic

Don’t tell your mind, you will work out 7 days a week and then 5 days out of 7. Don’t overpromise yourself. If you have a fitness wearable, don’t set unrealistic expectations like doing 25000 steps in a day. If you don’t meet your goals, you will be discouraged and that will be the end of your fitness plans. Go slow, set a schedule and stick to it. Start with one workout per week, then two, mix it up with some swimming, cardio, weights and group classes.

3. You have to time it right

If you had a long day at the office, most likely you won’t work out in the evening. Similarly, if you did not sleep well at night, the morning workout is not going to happen. Try working out at lunch. As explained above, this works for me. It may work for you.

4. Everything Counts

I go to the gym for an hour and half each afternoon. You don’t have to go that long. Even if you put in 20 or 30 minutes of workout time each session, it counts. Every little bit counts. I know some people in my gym who come for a 15 minutes HIIT session and go back to working or back home. Do whatever works for you as every little bit of fitness routine helps your body.

5. Your diet is important

If you don’t watch your diet, you can say goodbye to your fitness routine. Nutrition and fitness go hand in hand. If you start your mornings with a chocolate donut or you finish half a tub of ice cream in the evenings, you are not going to want to hit the gym. Eating right will prime your body with the right kind of fuel to perform well in the gym, but also keep you from getting set back if you need to miss a workout. You’ll find yourself in a better state of mind, too; and, besides, mix a crappy day of eating and no training session, and you’re setting yourself up to derail your efforts.

6. Gyms are empty sometimes

I use this one to the fullest. When I go to the gym at 10:30 a.m., there are barely 15 people in the gym. Now, if you do the same thing at 7 a.m. or even 6 p.m., there will be over 200 people in the gym. So, the lunchtime workout may just work well for you. You won’t have to wait for machines or free weights to open up and trainers will be more available to answer any questions.

Bottomline, do whatever works for you but try getting in some workout as part of your daily routine. Your body will thank you later on.

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