You’re tired. You’re busy. You’re watching the kids. You’re on the road, and unfamiliar with the area. We hear you, and we know what you’re thinking: Skipping just one workout can’t hurt, can it? Unfortunately, it can: Missing even a single workout can initiate a downward spiral, increasing the likelihood that you’ll skip another one by 61 percent, according to British researchers.
So what’s a successful, time-crunched, modern day road-warrior like yourself to do? Exercise anyway. Even if you’ve skipped a whole month (or two) of workouts, you can regain most of what you lost in as little as 6 weeks, according to a study by Swedish researchers. Follow the tips below to bust five of the most common excuses and get your workouts back on track.
Excuse: You’re Too Tired at the End of the Day
The Fix: First, fuel up smarter in the afternoon. Swap out your high-carb, energy-spiking granola bar or yogurt snack for an energy-sustaining protein shake, or a handful of nuts or sesame seeds. Next, enlist some social support. “Find a fun, motivating group fitness class, or a workout buddy with the same qualities,” says Rachel Vaziralli, M.S., a master trainer at Equinox Fitness in New York. Science agrees: Exercising with a new workout partner can make it easer to stick a workout schedule, according to a recent study by Swiss researchers.
Excuse: You Don’t Have an Hour to Work Out. Ever
The Fix: Who says your workout has to take an hour—or even 30 minutes? Less than 10 minutes of high intensity interval training (HIIT) performed within a workout lasting less than 30 minutes can improve aerobic capacity and exercise tolerance (i.e., stamina) in just a few weeks, according to a recent study at McMaster University. Now imagine how fit you can get if every minute in your workout revolved around HIIT? Stop wondering and start benefiting by signing up for Beachbody On Demand.
Excuse: The Workout Seems Too Hard
The Fix: Now’s the time to listen to your body. You should feel energized after your workout, not defeated. “When you push and you’re not ready for it, you end up not performing the exercises properly, making them less effective and increasing your risk of injury,” says Vaziralli. Dial back the difficulty on your current workout by lowering the weight, reducing reps, or increasing the rest between sets. Many exercises can also be modified (e.g., elevating your hands on a box during pushup, or doing a quarter squat instead of a full squat), allowing you to work the same muscles without compromising your form.
Excuse: You Don’t Know the Area
The Fix: If you’re on the road in an unfamiliar city and want to break free of the gym, see if your hotel has an in-house fitness concierge. Westin hotels, for example, will not only hook you up with workout clothes and a fresh pair of running shoes for just $5, but will also take you on a group run if you’re interested. Rather head out on your own? Search MapMyRun, RunKeeper, and USA Track and Field for local, user-rated running routes.
Excuse: You Can’t Exercise and Watch Your Kids at the Same Time
The Fix: If your kids are young enough to require constant supervision (and you have a supportive spouse), you’ll likely need to transition to AM workouts while the little ones are asleep. “It’s going to be a grind the first couple days, but once you adjust, your body will be primed for morning workouts,” says Dr. John Rusin, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., owner of John Rusin Fitness Systems and the father of two young children. Older kids might allow you to carve out some exercise time in another room, but you’ll still need to be home. That’s where streaming services (like Beachbody On Demand) can be a lifesaver.