If you are running a business or building a career working 12+ hours a day, staying in shape can become challenging. You’re stationary for most of the day, you eat out or order take-away for almost every meal and you simply don’t have time to go to the gym. If you have to travel a lot, you also deal with unhealthy airport food, late-night arrivals and constant jet lag.
In this article I have come up with 10 tips that will help you lose weight and stay fit, even if you have minimal time and are surrounded by unhealthy habits and food.
- Do 15 minutes of HIIT at least 4 times a week
If you work hectic hours, then it’s likely that your gym membership card is gathering dust. The good news is you don’t need to spend hours on a treadmill to train effectively. Try HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training – fast-paced workouts that have been shown to burn more fat than normal cardio, and can even be performed at home or in a hotel room without any special equipment.
Here is an example of a HIIT work-out:
2 min: Warm-up – Jumping Jacks, Dynamic Stretches
1 min: Squats
30 sec: Rest
1 min: Fast Feet to Push-Ups
30 sec: Rest
1 min: Mountain Climbers
30 sec: Rest
1 min: Reverse Lunges
30 sec: Rest
1 min: Burpees
30 sec: Rest
4 min: Cool-down – Static Stretches
Short, intensive work-outs will boost your metabolism, ensuring you’re burning more calories throughout the day.
- Work out first thing in the morning
Late meetings, evening events, dinners with clients—so many things can get in the way of your work-outs. Make it a habit to train as soon as you wake up, and remember, even 10 push-ups are better than nothing.
- Include Lots of Lean Protein and Vegetables into Every Meal
Since you may not have time to prepare healthy meals or track the macronutrients of everything you eat, you need to make the best choices with every meal. Fill at least 40% of your plate with green vegetables and 40% with lean protein, such as chicken breasts, tuna, egg-whites, tofu or beans. You will eat less calories and feel full much longer than if you were to go with things like pasta, pizza, fried rice etc.
- Don’t Drink your Calories
Say no to fruit juices and avoid adding sugar and milk to your coffee or tea. A few of my clients who used to track calories were surprised to learn that their few coffee breaks were adding 500+ calories to their daily intake. Ordering an espresso instead of double chocolate mocha might seem boring at first, but your waistline will definitely thank you for that.
- Try to Decrease Your Sugar Intake
Consuming sugar in large amounts will give you a burst of energy that will very soon end in a sharp drop in energy levels or “crash.” With vending machines on each floor, birthday cakes and cookies laying everywhere avoiding sugar at the office is easier said than done. Keep some healthy snacks at your desk, such as rice cakes, almonds or green apples, in case you need a quick sweet fix.
- Never Sit when You Can Stand and Never Stand when You Can Walk
Seriously, this old saying should be a mantra for anyone with a sedentary job. Even small changes, such as taking stairs instead of lift, or walking around instead of sitting when you talk on the phone will help improve your body shape and general health.
- Avoid Plane Meals
Our taste buds and sense of smell are impaired at 30,000 feet, so the food served on the airplane needs 20-30 percent more sugar and salt to make it taste like it would on the ground. Not to mention the preservatives, trans fats and other unhealthy stuff that plane meals are rich in. You can always avoid plane food by bringing lots of healthy snacks with you and / or buying a healthy salad at the airport. As an added bonus, you will feel far less tired and grumpy after your flight.
- Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is essential to maintain all of your body processes, including your metabolism. Dehydration can also influence your mood, energy levels and the ability to think clearly. Make sure you always have a large bottle of water on your desk that you finish by the end of the day and drink a glass of water after every caffeinated beverage. It might seem hard first, but soon it will become a habit.
- Decrease Your Alcohol Intake
In addition to contributing extra calories to your diet and possibly changing what and how much you eat, alcohol interferes with metabolic processes in your body including fat burn. If you can’t go cold turkey on alcohol, try to minimize the amount you drink and avoid beer and anything with a lot of sugar, like cocktails, at all costs.
- Be Active During the Weekend
After a busy work week, sleeping until 12 PM and heading to a brunch on Friday might sound tempting. In fact, weekends are a great time to practice healthy behaviours because you usually have more time to do so. Find an active hobby, e.g. tennis, golf, kite-surfing, etc. that will allow you to spend time with your friends or family and burn some calories at the same time.
Start slowly. Don’t think about how many kilos you need lose and how long it will take you. Think about how much better you’re going to feel after every healthy choice you make.