A couple of weeks ago we got to work with the wonderful Liz Earle and the great people at Brita water on a wellness day designed to leave a bunch of lovely journalist and bloggers feeling ready to take on the world with an altogether healthier lifestyle.
We were there to give out inspiration, tips and advice to help kick start a manageable and effective training routine, designed to fit in around the busy working day. The holy grail of exercise.
Whilst many people see exercise as an escape, a hobby, or even the thing that defines them, many people still see it as a necessary evil… Something they need to do to stay healthy. And that’s fine, we’re not designed to all like the same things. It is unlikely we will ever get to a point where the whole nation is exercise mad, no matter how hard the media and government try to push this. So for those who will never get ‘high’ on those sweaty endorphins – exercise needs to be quick, convenient and effective. And absolutely not another arduous thing they have to do after a long day at work.
From talking to everyone throughout the day I found myself saying the same three things… Use your commute, do short intense bursts and make the most of the lunch break. (I have explained these in full below… For any of you looking to get fit on work hours… And frankly so you bloody should, your own precious time should be spent with your loved ones and in the pub).
I learnt a lot that day too though. A load of excellent stress busting tips from Nina the mindfulness expert… I’m feeling calmer already. How to look a billion years younger from Amanda the expert on hand to give out tips on looking after our skin… I’m already deploying a nightly ritual that is a big step up from my 25 year routine of soap, water and whatever free hotel moisturiser I have on the go at the time.
My big learning from the day though came from Liz herself and left me feeling pretty bloody guilty and now adamant to change my ways.
Ok, here goes… 🙈 We Brits go through 7.7 BILLION disposable plastic water bottles and cups a year… Straight to landfill. 7.7 BILLION!!!!!!!!!! (Loads of exclamation marks for you… Deal with it). That is fecking ridiculous. And I reckon a good half of that must come from us exercise nuts. Blimey I’ve run a million marathons (mild exaggeration) and god knows the amount of bottles I’ve gone through during training and on the races. I’m mortified that I have contributed to such a high figure.
Brita have sorted me out with a fill & go now though. It’s the new equivalent to a bag for life. I won’t leave home without it. And given we’ve used 6 billion fewer plastic bags in the last year, let’s hope it catches on like the bags for life too…
Tips for getting fit on a time budget.
1) Use your commute
Don’t underestimate the power of walking. It burns the same amount of calories mile for mile as jogging… It just takes a bit longer. The beauty of walking is that it’s low impact so less chance of injury but it still conditions your body. You don’t have to get into your PE kit either, just slip on a pair of comfy shoes or trainers and go.
The best way to get a walk without eating into too much time is to find a route in your daily commute. You might even be able to walk the whole way to and from work a few times a week, saving you money, getting your exercise in and also using the time to catch up with people on the phone, listen to podcasts, learn a language or simply just switching off for a bit. Much nicer that bending rammed under someone’s armpit for 30 minutes. Make sure you carry water with you in the hotter months and stay hydrated.
2)Use your lunch break.
Sitting eating a sandwich at your desk isn’t a lunch break. You can do that whilst your working. So use your lunch break to actually do something that gives you more time to yourself after work. If you can do an exercise class, go for a run/swim/ walk /gym session in your lunch you’ll have more time to go to the pub in the evening. Many workplaces now offer exercise classes on site and free to staff, if yours doesn’t then make it happen yourself. The benefits to a company where staff exercise in the middle are very compelling… Increased productivity and concentrations and decreased absenteeism. Out your case to HR and make it happen.
3) Go short and hard once a week.
In order to look after your heart and keep progressing with your fitness goals you’ll need to get uncomfortable (and I mean very uncomfortable) at least once a week. We’ve been saturated with the benefits of HIT training in the last few years for a reason… It works. They build muscle, burn fat and increase your CV fitness. But you need to push yourself really hard in the short time. If you can’t do this, team up with a mate and act as each other’s trainers. Anything from insanity to tabata are all short, intense work outs that work. They hurt, but they are over quickly, so tell yourself that when you want to stop. Your muscles should burn and will get a good sweat on so make sure you fuel and hydrate properly before and afterwards.