3 Ways to Squeeze Fitness into Your Busy Routine

Fitting in a workout in a busy schedule is already hard work — but somehow, that always gets more difficult as fall approaches. Laura Crump Anderson of Hidden Heights Fitness has some great tips to make it easier to start — and stick to — a healthy routine:

With summer coming to a close and school going back into session, a lot of people’s schedules are getting ready to get a lot more fixed and less flexible. Though I don’t have kids and I’m not currently working on a degree, I feel the shift of school starting with clients beginning to pick more fixed times, vacation season coming to a close, and Stanley (my four-year-old event horse) starting a more consistent program to prepare the fall season. During the summertime my schedule is more a “habit tracker” approach, where I check off the things I need to get done in the day.

There are three things you can do to implement a new routine that focuses on rider fitness, even as things ramp up for the fall.

1. Have a schedule that you review every morning

My schedule gets a lot more rigid in the fall with set wake-up times, set client times, set ride times, set working times. I know what a typical day will look like and in the morning I will sit down with my electronic calendar and put pen to paper as part of my wake up process. This way, I have a clear map of where I need to be and when I need to be there. It helps me keep my day organized when I have a lot of moving parts. Every day may look very different from the previous day for me, so I take a picture on my schedule when I am done and use it as a reference throughout the day to make sure I am staying on track.

Practice this: Write down the time you plan to exercise and stick to it. No excuses or wavering here! If you intended to work out that day when you woke up, it is important to stick to it, and not let the business of the exertions of the day outweigh your morning intentions.

Photo courtesy of Hidden Heights Fitness.

2. Use a buddy system or Accountability Partner

This is something I really miss about working in a gym: I had someone that would notice if I had gone a week without exercising and they would call me out on it! I have recently started working out with a colleague again and it has made a huge difference in my consistency. I know that I’ll get a workout in. However, I also will book a yoga class if I’ve noticed it’s been more than five days since I’ve worked out. This way, someone is counting on me to show up and if I don’t, I’ll be out some money — which also helps me stick to a time.

Practice this: Meet up with a friend and go to your local community center to exercise. Have a friend that you text every time you work out and have them text you every time they work out. Try pairing up with your spouse to do workouts together (this does not work for everyone!). It can be worthwhile to have an accountability partner as studies have shown this increase your chances of sticking with a program. Consistency is the key to making any exercise program work.

Photo courtesy of Laura Crump Anderson.

3. Write down your routine or workout plan before you start

If you’re exercising with a personal trainer or taking a class, this is already done for you. However, there’s nothing more likely to make you quit exercising then not having a plan for your work out before you start. Walking into a gym can be intimidating, and working out at your house means you can easily become distracted if you don’t know what you’ll be doing next.

Practice this: Think of this similarly to how you would plan out your ride for the day. Do you have goals or certain things you want to practice? Apply this logic to your own workout plan.

You’ll want know what part of the body you are going to be working. Is this a full body workout or are you targeting the hips? Write down the program you’ll be doing before you start, so know what you’ll be doing before you start. Read through your routine first so you have a rough idea what movements you’ll be doing before you start exercising. Make it as straight forward as possible. You can even take the extra step of choosing your Spotify playlist or podcast ahead of time, so when the time comes to begin you’ll be ready to hit the ground running (literally, in some cases!) with no distractions.

Laura Crump Anderson is a certified as a personal trainer by the American College of Sports Medicine and is a Registered 200 Hour Teacher with the Yoga Alliance. She specializes in working with riders of all ages and disciplines through her business, Hidden Heights Fitness, and is also the author of Ultimate Exercise Routines for Riders. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science, and has evented through Training level. You can read more of her fitness columns on our sister site, Eventing Nation.