Guest Post: Finding Time to Exercise

Finding Time to Exercise | CorporetteA regular exercise regimen and an intense job are not easy things to reconcile – so how do you fit exercise into a busy day? We’ve talked about midday workouts, some of my favorite exercise DVDs, and generally talked about how to find time to exercise, but not in a while — so I’m thrilled to welcome today’s guest poster, the blogger behind Sweet Hot Justice, who is doing the impossible and balancing a busy job as in-house counsel with a pretty awesome exercise routine. I’ve known of her since we both started anonymous blogs Way Back in ’08 — but we only just recently met in real life, and she’s every bit as awesome as her hilarious writing would make you think she might be. Please welcome Maria de Cesare of Sweet Hot Justice, giving her own excellent pointers for fitting workouts into your busy schedule! – Kat.

I hate working out. Not “I hate working out” as in “Gyms aren’t my thing but I cherish my daily 5-mile jog.” No. I mean “I hate working out” as in “After working 60-hour weeks, I’d rather do almost any other thing in the universe, including sitting in a room and staring at my hands, than work out.” Also… I’m not exactly what you’d call an athlete. I have a job that involves lots of aggressive sitting. I hate sweating. You’ll never hear “Oh my god, Soul Cycle is the best thing on Sunday mornings!” come out of my mouth. You know what’s the best thing on Sunday mornings? A three-hour champagne brunch followed by not going to Soul Cycle.

So, why in the world should you listen to me for tips about how to make fitness fit into your life? Well, because if I can make it happen, believe me, you can make it happen. A few years ago, after leaving a Big Law job and ignoring my personal fitness for years, my body just felt off. My back always hurt. My clothes didn’t fit the way I wished they did. I just felt like a weak, disconnected mess.

But now, after stumbling through a few fits and starts and finally finding a fitness routine that works for me, I feel stronger and more in sync with my body than I ever have. And now, even when I’m tired and cranky and absolutely dreading the idea of schlepping to the gym, I know that I’ll feel 100% better after I do — and that keeps me coming back.

So, I know that you don’t have time to work out, I know that there are a million other things you’d rather do with your all-too-precious time and money — believe me, I’m right there with you. But, if you’re looking to jump on the fitness rainbow, keep these general thoughts in mind:

  • Find the F-I-T in Fitness. Fit is everything. There are roughly six billion fitness options available and you need to figure out which one fits not only your fitness needs, but also your schedule, budget, lifestyle, and most importantly, personality. Do you need to be barked at bootcamp-style, or do you prefer a more gentle, nurturing vibe? Is loud music and flashing lights your jam or is clean and sober your thing? Whatever your preference, spend some time making sure the culture of the venue is the right fit. Take a tour, interview the trainers, try a trial membership, or drop in on a class. Whatever your fitness destination, make sure you do some research before you spend your time and money — like any long-term relationship, if the fit isn’t right, you’re not going to stick around for the long haul.
  • Get the Most Bang For Your Buck. All workouts are not created equal. We don’t have time to waste, and if you’re going to take the trouble to show up to the gym in the first place, you want to make sure that you’re maximizing your efforts. Will walking on a treadmill for 45 minutes once a week yield better results than couch-surfing for 45 minutes? Probably. But not a hell of a lot more. Minutes are precious. Use them wisely. Which brings us to:
  • Know Your Goals. Why, exactly, are you at the gym? Do you want to lose body fat, gain muscle, improve cardiovascular health, build up strength after an injury, maintain status quo? “Get hot, feel good” are good long-term overall goals, but bite-sized goals are easier to set — and meet — and the more goals you meet, the more motivated you’ll be to keep setting new ones. Which now brings us to:
  • Bring On the Experts. Let’s say you just found out you have a weird bone disease, or have been arrested for murder, or need Botox — are you going to go to the first storefront clinic that pops up in a Google search, or are you going to try to find top experts in the field? Gurrrl, this workout s**t can mess a body up if you don’t know what you’re doing. Look for gyms with experienced instructors and certified trainers — and not the kind of “certifications” that your stoner out-of-work actor friend can get in a weekend. And if regular sessions with a personal trainer aren’t in your budget, at the very least splurge on a session or two so you can set a training program and make sure you’re getting your form down correctly. After all, if you find yourself working hard with no tangible results, or worse, get yourself injured, you’re not going to come back. No bueno.
  • Know Yourself. Does the idea of waking up before 7 and sweating for an hour before work sound like a fate worse than death? Can you hit the gym at lunch and head right back to work, or do you look — as I do — like a melted-wax bridge troll after working out and need a little more time to pull it together? If you’re going to successfully integrate fitness into your life, you have to keep showing up. So, be realistic about your scheduling needs and pick a routine that you can stick to at least a few times a week.
  • Don’t Sweat It. You’ve finally found a fitness routine that works for you. You’ve been nailing it and have noticed results. But suddenly, you have the work week from hell. Or get the flu. Or have four hot dates in a row after work. Sometimes life happens and you just have to skip a gym session or two…  or ten. Don’t think of it as a failure or a derailment. Just accept it for what it is and jump back in as soon as you can.

Happy exercising, ladies! You’ll be happier for it, trust me.

(Pictured: swimming, originally uploaded to Flickr by Jim Bahn.)

Readers, how do you fit exercise into a busy life? What tricks have you discovered over the years for jumping back in and recommitting? Which workouts have you found that fit your lifestyle — and what are your tips for hiring a personal trainer?

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Comments

  1. Love this article – and particularly written from the perspective of someone who really dislikes exercise! Only way I’m able to fit in fitness (and actually remain motivated to do it) is to do it first thing in the morning (like 5:30 a.m. first thing). I joined a gym called Iron Tribe (more prominent in the South), which is sort of like CrossFit – I’m not going to offer any pros and cons of IT or CF because I’ve noticed that people have really strong opinions, but I do know that for me, it works because I need the structure and accountability to make myself go. Plus, I’m done in 45 minutes, so home in time to get my chidl ready for school. Part of what’s kept me motivated is the cost of the gym membership – I want to get my money’s worth, and I know if I don’t go, I’m wasting money. I shouldn’t need that external motivator, but that’s what it takes to get me out of bed that early.

  2. Ekaterin Nile :

    I bought an elliptical machine for my basement several years ago, and I work out when I get home from work or over the weekend. My reward for working out is that I read a fun (not work-related) book while on the elliptical. I try to do this 3-5 times a week. I love the short “commute” to my “gym.”

    I wish I had more time to do things like Yoga, weights, etc. at the gym, but it’s rare that I can fit that into my schedule (and I just don’t seem to be able to commit to Yoga, weights, etc. at home). This works for me. Occasionally, I get to CorePower Yoga on Sunday. But for me, the in-house elliptical machine is the way to go.

    • Gym equipment at home is the only way I’ve ever been able to regularly work out. I am just too lazy to go to a gym every day.

    • I workout at home in the mornings. I don’t have to prep much and it’s harder to come-up with excuses. I’ll switch it up between elliptical while watching the morning news, T-25, or games on the Kinect (Zumba, boxing, or strength training).

  3. I too go early am — 530-630, back by 7 to get kids up nd ready. Mine are now old enough to leave alone at that time if hubby isn’t there. Then no matter what, I’ve gotten my workout in. The trick is to go to bed early. I’m usually in bed by 9, lights out by ten. Also for me, another key is eating healthy food. (Which I haven’t been doing lately.) When I take care of myself by sleeping enough, exercising, and eating healthy food, I feel so much happier and more in control of everything else in my life. Ridiculous that I need to keep re learning that lesson, but I do.

  4. I think I hate the gym more. But I’ve recently decided that I need to start being more physically active so my solution is to walk more and try to figure out a work-out I can do in my office with the door closed for 15-30 min., once or twice a day (I cannot seem to get to a gym or class, ever). The first part is easy enough in the summer – I just wear comfortable shoes & get off the subway a few stops early or on weekends just avoid the train altogether. The second is harder; right now it’s just a bunch of very light cardio but I feel like it’s probably healthy for me, if nothing else, to move around in between all my sitting. But if anyone has any recommendations for videos I can do on my phone, that’d be awesome. I downloaded a yoga app but it’s very so-so. I think I need to keep looking.

    • I was going to suggest yoga — but try looking for yoga workouts on Youtube, etc. When I was getting back into it, I did several “classes” in my living room from youtube tutorials before going back to the studio, because I needed a refresher on alignment and needed some time between sun salutations to catch my dang breath.

      Of course, if you’ve decided yoga isn’t your thing, disregard!

      • Youtube is a good idea. I don’t have a problem with yoga on its own, I just think the app wasn’t for me. It was either too easy or impossible with no middle ground. I’ll look into videos on youtube. Thanks!

    • Wildkitten :

      Nike Training Club

    • AIMS, my comment to you ended up below.

    • I really like the popsugar fitness videos. I’ve subscribed to a daily email which is a nice reminder, and I catalog my favorite videos to use later–they have some good ones that don’t require equipment other than maybe some 5 pound weights.

    • anon-oh-no :

      The Bar Method has an on-line version you can get on your computer/ipad/iphone etc. YOu can pay by the download or its like 30 bucks a month for unlimited. I think regular videos are 45 min-1 hr, but you can just do portions of it and they make a few shorter ones too.

    • Look for 7 Minute Workout apps. Apparently it was designed for researchers to get you lots of benefits in the shortest amount of time. It’s intense, you will sweat!

    • OklaAttorney :

      You should look into the online Barre3 program. They have workouts available in 10, 30, 40, and 60 minute time increments. It is $15/month for unlimited access if you do it on a month-to-month basis (a little cheaper if you pay for 6 months or a year upfront).

    • You may try mat2mat.com – I think that’s the cite. Try Albina Rippy’s videos. She’s the favorite instructor at the studio I (try to) go to in Houston. She’s a great teacher. In full disclosure, I haven’t yet tried the app – keep meaning to but haven’t made the time. However, I have heard good things from those who have.

  5. This is interesting, thanks. I’m struggling to find a workout routine that works for me. I did a competitive sport through the end of high school but haven’t worked out consistently since starting college. I’ve been practicing law for several years now and I’ve definitely noticed that my clothes don’t fit as well as they used to. I live in California and am usually pretty active on the weekends (we normally hike and/or swim each weekend) but that’s not really practical to do during the week and any gym-type workout I pretty much despise. We have a gym in our apartment complex that I go to once in a blue moon but I’m a night owl so going in the morning is impossible and when I get home from work I’m too exhausted to do it, especially since I hate the gym so much. I bought a barre package before my wedding several years ago, but I really hated it (the teachers/fellow students and excessively loud music more than the workout itself) and only managed to get to about 10 classes over 3 months. I’m thinking it might be time to try exercise DVDs so I don’t have to overcome the post work hurdle of putting on shoes and socks and walking to the gym. I used to love pilates so I might try that. I also have a friend that does hot yoga regularly and I’ve been meaning to go to a class with her.

    • Orangerie :

      Which barre studio did you try? While the workouts are generally similar, the vibe at each major studio (Bar Method, Pure Barre, Dailey Method) varies quite a bit. If you liked the workout but hated the teachers/clientele at one, that might not necessarily be true for the others.

      • Can you explain more? I’ve been considering trying a barre workout and would love thoughts on the vibe at each option.

        • I think this varies by city and even location within the city. From my experience, I prefer the locations that are downtown/business-oriented as opposed to the locations that are in the more youthfully oriented neighborhoods. Also depends on time of day, as well.

          • A Nonny Moose :

            Loved my d.c. Barre classes that were downtown. I agree with this.

            I also just got a barre3 membership (online classes) on gilt city. May be worth a shot if you liked barre but not the other classmates. I haven’t tried it yet so I don’t know how well it would work if you have no base knowledge.

          • Orangerie :

            Agree that your experience will definitely vary by city, and probably by location within the city (if the studio has multiple locations).

            I live in San Francisco, and have done both Pure Barre and Dailey Method. Between the two, I found the teachers to be much more friendly and welcoming at DM. There are a lot of affluent SAHMs at both locations, but for some reason the clientele at PB just felt more clique-y and, to be honest, obnoxious.

            Vibe aside, DM is a much more effective workout for me than PB ever was. Something about the constant “tucking” they make you do at PB made it really hard for me to stay in proper form and get an effective workout. DM’s emphasis on neutral spine alignment works much better for me, but this may not be true for everyone.

            I’ve never done Bar Method, but the general consensus from people I know who have gone think the vibe is a little snootier. In my area, it’s also significantly more expensive than the other two options, and I can’t quite figure out why.

          • Orangerie :

            Oh, one more thing: Dailey Method also offers an advanced level interval class, which you can take after you’ve completed a number of their mixed level classes. I haven’t tried it yet as the times it’s offered don’t fit my schedule, but I’ve heard it’s a great cardio workout.

            Additionally, there’s a principles/beginner course that is slower-paced and often very empty, so you get much more personalized attention from the instructor. Great for when you’re just starting out.

        • Thanks all! This is very helpful as I evaluate.

        • I’ve done Bar Method and Pure Barre, but by far my favorite barre class is CardioBarre. It’s much more ballet-based than the other two (it emphasizes larger, more graceful movements rather than tiny contracted movements, which feels more natural to me) and it has more of an emphasis on cardio (hence the name), so I feel like I’m getting a full body workout. Also, the classes tend to be less expensive, which is even better.

          Unfortunately, it’s not as widespread as the other two yet (it’s mainly in CA, with a few studios in Utah, Texas, and TN). However, they do have a DVD and a “home barre” you can buy. I have friends who have moved away and purchased the DVD/barre for use at home and have had good results. And no, I don’t work for them – I’ve just been doing the workout for 3+ years now and it’s been the only workout I’ve ever stuck with (relatively) consistently.

      • I did Pure Barre which I had heard great things about from many people. About 95% of my fellow students were stay at home moms with full-time nannies (and in many cases, butlers, chefs, private jets, etc). I work and have no kids and also don’t have millions of dollars. So I couldn’t relate to them at all and I found their conversations obnoxious. The teachers were condescending and, I thought, a little mean. I guess for some people that works but I think I do much better with positive reinforcement, particularly with respect to things I’m not naturally talented at (like working out). And the music was insanely loud, it gave me a headache every time even after I wore earplugs. I guess it would be worth trying Bar/Dailey method at some point. I think the students would be similar, since I’d be in the same area, but the teachers/music might be different.

        • Orangerie :

          For what it’s worth, I did Pure Barre for several months and didn’t love it, mostly because of the teachers. Switched to Dailey Method and it made a world of difference in how much I enjoy the workout and how often I go. Even though both studios are in the same neighborhood, the clients are a bit different, too. Give it a shot!

        • Anonymous :

          I’ve tried all of the major ones and I haaaaaate Pure Barre with a passion. The workout is boring–they do the EXACT SAME arm and ab choreography for every single class, every single day, for an entire month. There’s also little variation in the thigh and glute sections. It’s not hard if you’ve gone more than 5 times, as they pride themselves on being a class you can go to without mussing a strand of your blowout. And in my town, it’s 95% undergrad sorority girls in each class (nothing against them generally, I was one once, but at 30, I don’t really want to be crammed into a small room with the current actives jamming out to dance remixed versions of Taylor Swift songs).

          If your city has an Exhale, try that–it still gets some younger students, but for the most part the crowd is older, and the SAHMs don’t go to the early morning, noon, or late evening classes so if you go to those classes, it’s largely young and mid-career professionals, with a few older women in amazing shape. Because the crowd is older, the music is not as loud or selected for the Bieber generation. It’s also not as crowded as Pure Barre, which really knows how to pack ‘em in there, and they have barre+cardio and boot camp style workouts in addition to the standard barre classes that you can try to mix it up on the days you just feel bored with barre.

          • In NYC, I love Physique57. I usually go to the UWS location, but have been to the other studios (mid- and down-town) and found all to be great. Unlike at other barre studios, I find the staff always to be nice, friendly – totally not judge-y. I HATE exercise at least as much as the guest poster above (did I mention, I HATE exercise?!), but Physique57 has kept me going back. The music is fun, and although the structure of the class remains the same (15 mins of arms, 15 mins of thighs, 15 mins glutes, 15 mins abs), the specific exercises within each segment vary from class to class. I’ve been doing it for four months now and have seen quite a few people join the beginner classes — and stick with it — when they are starting to exercise after not having worked out in a long time (that was true for me too). Highly recommend, even if other barre classes have been disappointing.

          • Anonymous :

            @lindanyc,

            Anon @ 2:01 here. I am SO jealous you have Physique 57! I did the DVDs for a while and have been to classes a few times while traveling . It truly is the best! I feel so incredibly strong after a long weekend in the city having done 3 classes plus some hilly runs in the park–with Exhale, I feel like I’ve gotten a good workout in after class, but I don’t have that “wow my thighs could crush a watermelon” feeling that I get from a P57 habit. I definitely consider this the #1 barre option to try if it’s available.

            Do some extra thigh dancing for me at your next class :)

        • Interesting. I’ll look into Dailey Method. It’s farther from work though and I think their last class is 7 pm so getting there will be a challenge (the last class at the others is also at 7 but they’re closer to work). Also PB is a bit cheaper than the other two for me ($22 for a single class at Pure Barre vs $24 for Dailey/Bar Method). Exhale sounds great but it doesn’t look like we have it in Northern CA.

    • I would not recommend hot yoga if your goal is to get in shape. The heat only causes you to burn marginally more calories than regular yoga, and it’s pretty much counteracted by the fact that you won’t have as much energy/it can be uncomfortable to move a lot when you’re super sweaty. It can also cause dehydration. Yoga itself is great for muscle toning and flexibility, but it also isn’t really a calorie-burner (unless you’re doing hybrid classes, like yoga sculpt, which I find to be more enjoyable than barre with comprable results).

      • Oh, I know yoga isn’t a calorie-burner. I was thinking it might have some of the mental benefits of exercise. Plus its a healthier way to socialize than going out to eat, which is how I normally see my friends. I’ve done yoga but I have no idea if I’d like hot yoga. I want to try it though.

      • Hot yoga is literally my least favorite thing that I’ve ever done. I think it’s that I really, really dislike being hot, but I just absolutely hated it. I also felt like I was going to pass out the whole time.
        For the record, I love regular yoga.

      • AnonLawMom :

        I love hot yoga. Love. But it is just way too much of a time commitment to be realistic now that I have kids. I was in the best shape of my life when I did hot yoga 3x per week (and zero other exercise).

        • canyouwink :

          I love hot yoga too – but the classes are 90 minutes long, and you really must shower after and preferably before too, and you have to be well hydrated and eat a few hours before so you aren’t hungry but also don’t have food in your stomach. It’s just too much of a time commitment for me when I am working.

    • Wildkitten :

      It’s definitely time to try other things! I have found there are things I love (yoga, boot camp, running, pilates), things I think I would love (crossfit, trx) and there are things I HATE HATE HATE (hot yoga, barre). So it’s FINE to not like a certain exercise. Find something you love, or at least that you like enough to do it in exchange for wine, french fries, and your health.

      • Wildkitten :

        Zumba should also be on my list of things I hate. Anything dance-based or left-right. Kickboxing. So, I don’t do those things.

        • I’m with ya. I’m usually a pretty sportsy pro-exercise person and can get into most forms of physical activity…but I LOATHE Zumba/kickboxing/dance-based cardio.

          To the original post, it’s helpful for me to do whatever it takes to just get myself out the door, or down on the mat. I’m good about running in the mornings, but I can’t seem to pry myself out of bed 40 minutes earlier to get in cross-training. So I do pilates when I get home from the office, typically by telling myself that I can quit after 5 minutes if I’m really that miserable. I usually end up clawing my way through 30-40 minutes two or three times a week, which for me is a win.

    • Anonymous :

      FWIW…I’ve really enjoyed Pure Barre where I live. I’ve also tried Barre 3 and had a much better workout at PB. Barre 3 workouts varied a lot from teacher to teacher (some great, some not worth the time) and I felt like a lot of time was wasted in transitions. With PB I’ve found you really have to work on doing the movements correctly and using the targeted muscles vs. just doing the movements. I like the scripted nature of the PB classes, the consistency of the workouts so I don’t waste much time trying to figure out what to do and being able to judge my progress based on what becomes easier, when I can increase weights, do movements better, etc. The crowds seem to be pretty mixed — skewing young, but I’m there to work out not meet a BFF!

  6. mintberrycrunch :

    The key for me is working out at home. I’ve wasted so much money on unused gym memberships through the years, and it was such a huge relief to finally admit to myself that I’m just never going to go to another location to work out after a 10+ hour workday. The other key for me is what I’ve dubbed “quick and dirty” workouts – I like to get in and get out in 30 minutes or less, so I choose HIIT or weight lifting DVDs. Currently, I’m loving the 21-day fix workout DVDs, but I also have T-25 and Insanity (which are admittedly longer, but are good for a push on the weekends). I try to plan out when I’ll work out (before or after work) on Sundays and stick to it (although the snooze usually wins at least once a week).

    • This is me, too. Also, I’m clumsy and my face looks scary when I sweat so I don’t like to do it in front of other people! I’m in biglaw but I’d say I can often still put in 30 minutes, so I don’t give myself excuses when it’s AT HOME and one sitcom’s worth of working out.

      • Haha. Yes! I just do not have the rhythm to do these types of workouts, at least not in front of people. I have a bunch of DVDs that I need to get back into the habit of doing (or, lets be honest, take out of the cellophane), but it’s pretty tough to find motivation with a demanding work schedule, a 2 year old, and extreme first trimester fatigue. I need to at least start doing them on weekends and committing to milder exercise during the week. Maybe dust off the elliptical, too!

  7. AIMS, I’d check out the Daily Burn app. It’s a monthly subscription service that offers a lot of workout options, and it has apps for various tv systems and tablets/phones. I did the free trial last fall but am considering starting up again. If you have Hulu Plus, there are some classes you can do through Yoga Zone or Gaiam.

    My recent goal has been to just do 10 minutes or so five days a week. I figure if I can fit in that 10 minutes regularly, it’ll be easy to add on time and I won’t have to carve an hour out of my day all of the sudden. So far I’m just doing a daily walk around my office building block, which is a solid 12 minutes or so, and I’ve been able to do a couple segments of yoga DVDs in the evening.

    • Thanks! I’ll look into it.

      Speaking of, has anyone tried Classpass? I think it’s only in NY & Boston, but the idea is you pay $99 and can go to 10 classes at all their participating studios per month.

      • Anon in NYC :

        I tried it for a month and then canceled. I am a frequent group exercise person (like 4-5x per week), and I joined specifically because there were studios that I wanted to go to on there. My two biggest complaints with them is that 1) a lot of my top studios (and a big part of the reason that I joined) were either fully booked or they didn’t release prime times to Class Pass, and 2) the 3-class limit per studio meant that I’d have to buy additional classes at my favorite studios. That said, I did have fun trying new things and studios I’ve never been to. And the $99/mo price is fantastic because if you go to only 4 classes per month (depending on the individual price of each place), you’ve made your money back.

        • Anon in NYC :

          Just wanted to add – I think it works really well if you have flexibility in your workout schedule. I prefer to work out at 7am most days, with the occasional evening workout. I couldn’t maintain my normal schedule with ClassPass so it wasn’t going to be sustainable for me.

      • deliciousd :

        LOVE Classpass. While I echo the sentiment that a lot of my favorite studios (namely Barry’s Bootcamp) are booked at times I usually go, I found new studios that I love as a result of branching out. For example, I never would have tried Tone House before ClassPass. But I did and I haven’t been this sore in ages….it makes Barry’s look like summer camp. I should add that although I am a busy big law attorney, I am flexible with my workout time – I don’t mind workout out at 6am one day, 8am another day or midday during the weekend. You need to be somewhat flexible with Classpass.

        • Anon in NYC :

          Everyone has been raving about Tone House lately! I need to get on that, but I’m a little intimidated!

          • deliciousd :

            After the “warm-up”, I knew I was SCREWED. I think I will need to go several more times before I am not intimated either!

    • Miss Behaved :

      I actually tried Daily Burn on Hulu Plus and didn’t like it. I use the NetFit channel instead.

  8. I too am in the working out at home camp. I spend $18 each month for a Yogaglo.com membership – the teachers are reputable/well known, and the classes are great. Same cost as one in person class in my city. I also like the (FREE) workouts from fitnessblender.com. Having hand weights is helpful but not essential – they have plenty of HIIT and body-weight focused workouts.

  9. T. McGill :

    Just curious Guest Poster Maria, what is your routine? I hate working out in general, plus I am not a morning person and by the time I get home at night I usually don’t have the energy to do anything. Lunch work-outs are not an option either. I’m interested to hear what other like-minded people (i.e., those who don’t really enjoy working out) find stimulating/motivating — if I have some alternatives to consider, maybe I can make it work.

    • I could not agree more, T. McGill, on the morning person front, and lunch is out of the question — I just don’t have the time during the workday…and see “look like a melted wax bridge troll” above. So, I work out after work and on weekends — I aim for 5 days a week, but sometimes it falls to 3 or 4. I generally aim for classes or personal training sessions around 7:30, give or take depending on how busy work is. And schedules aside, I can’t reiterate enough how important it’s been to my sticking to it that I actually like the culture of the gym I chose. My gym is a boutique gym in NYC called Mark Fisher Fitness and they refer to themselves as the Ninja Clubhouse of Glory Dreams, with a gym mascot of a glitter-covered rainbow unicorn. The training itself is fantastic, but the trainers and fellow clientele are also key — there’s such a fun, warm, open, crazy energy there and that’s 100% what keeps me coming back. If you can find that, I have no doubt you can make it work! Good luck!!!

    • BigLaw Refugee :

      I used to be “not a morning person.” Big time – I routinely stayed up until 3 AM and slept until 11 or noon on weekends. Getting up for work (or anything else) was a huge challenge.

      Then I got a light box and started sitting in front of it in the mornings. It really helped. Recently I read a book called “Chronotherapy” that recommends specific boxes, as well as light blocking glasses at night. It’s not working quite as well with the long days of summer, but in the winter I was popping out of bed at 6 AM! And having no trouble getting a workout in before work. Like you, I can’t make lunchtime work, and after work I just feel too exhausted.

      Also, for a while I had a yoga teacher come to my apt at 7 AM. That made it easier to get up!

      Find a way to do at least one workout during the week, in addition to weekends. I let BigLaw make me pudgy and weak, and now that I have more time I’m so old that it’s much harder to get rid of the extra pounds….

  10. TO Lawyer :

    Anyone find it harder to work out regularly in the summer? I always have the best intention of going to the gym after work but I end up getting sucked into patio drinks and there goes my workout. I think the mornings are probably the only way it’s going to happen on a regular basis but I’m the worst morning person ever so that doesn’t seem to be happening…

    • I find morning workouts a bit easier in the summer because it’s lighter so much earlier. Patio drinks after work are my siren song as well…

    • Anonymous :

      I find it harder to work out in summer, but for a different reason–it’s so d@mn hot out. Even at 5am I’m a sweaty mess with no energy because it’s 85 degrees (before sunrise! gross!) and ridiculous humidity. I basically want to watch Netflix naked while laying under the A/C vent all summer long because it’s so hot and disgusting outside. It takes until late October when the temps drop below 90 for me to even think about putting on leggings for yoga or going for a run outside without making a lemon face.

  11. I am not a morning person. when I was single, I used to work out after work and it worked well. DH moved so that we could live together but his commute became extra long and all household chores (cooking dinner, cleaning etc) are on me. So I have absolutely no time in the evenings as I come home at around 6:30 – 7:00 PM. I gained a lot of weight not being able to work out in the evenings . I started working out in the mornings from last two months and I have been very regular. I have realized that it is the best time for me as I have total control over that time. I work out from 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM, so have to be up by 5:30 which is definitely not something I thought I would be okay with. But now that I have lost 10 Lbs (of the total 25 Lbs target), I have started enjoying my gym time.

  12. I would caveat finding the right Fit extends to more than just the workout type, but also what fits into your current life. I’m 4.5 months post partum, and between work and the baby, I have about an hour to either workout, or spend time with my husband. So, the solution for us as been “family walks”. Is it the most efficient workout? No, but the pace is somewhat brisk, I focus on engaging my core the entire time, and I’m able to chat with my husband through.

  13. I try to work out 4 days a week at home. 3 days during the week and one on the weekend. During the week, I get up at 5 am and I’m in my basement working out by 5:15. Yes, it is not fun waking up that early but if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t work out. (I have 2 small children and a demanding job.) I run on a treadmill (or outside, weather permitting) and I also do the free HIIT workouts on FitnessBlender.com. I created a spreadsheet to keep track of my workouts. It’s very satisfying to look back and see what I’ve done – and it also keeps me accountable if I start slacking.

  14. Chi-town Lawyer :

    I used to be a morning person (before my son was born) but now I cherish every extra moment of sleep that I get. Hubby and I splurged on a treadmill, a rowing machine, various weights, kettlebells, etc. and have dedicated a room in our house as our gym. I put a TV in there (with a DVR) and use working out as an excuse to catch up on my favorite no-brainer shows (I’m looking at you Real Housewives). It’s nice because even when my husband is traveling for work (which he does fairly frequently) I can work out after my son goes to bed. Even when my husband is home, I work out after my son goes to bed. While I would love to be back in the gym (not because I love it but it made me more motivated) this is what works for me. I tell myself that if I give myself 20 minutes to work out, then I am good. Some days I have time for more…some days I don’t have time at all. I rely on Pinterest to find great cross training workouts that incorporate both strength and cardio so that I can get everything done quickly. Occasionally I’m lucky enough to make it outside in the evening for a run along the lake but those days are few and far between. I think the biggest thing is just to find time to do something. Exercise is not something that I particularly enjoy, but the mental and physical benefits definitely outweigh the annoyance. I am a better mother, wife and employee when I treat myself well — a lesson that took me a long time to learn.

  15. This advice might come a bit late to most readers, but one of the *best* things I did in college was take a couple of 1 credit classes in weight-lifting. Probably has saved me a fortune in personal training fees, not to mention inspiring me to make weights a regular part of my routine yielding terrific results. I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit due to an international assignment and crazy work hours but astonishingly my overall shape hasn’t changed much. I think that is due in large part to the muscle I had in reserve before sh!t got real.

    These days I try to hit the gym for weights 3x a week and dance for cardio 2-3x a week. In the last month, I’ve been able to do *something* a max of twice a week. This post is inspiring me to go for the gym tonight.

    Oh and I also found a reserved locker at the gym to be a great investment. I keep a towel, gym clothes, and running shoes in there. Means that if I get the opportunity to hit the gym at an unexpected time I always have the right shoes/clothes:)

  16. BankrAtty :

    The key is getting the most effective workout you can in whatever time you have. In other words: intensity. You can work out for a lot less time if you really bring it–even if only for 15 minutes. (And I know you’ve got 15 minutes!) I really like turbofire for this reason. I bought it used on ebay for like $40, and the workout routines vary from 15 minutes in length up to one hour. You can combine them if you have more time (ie, do a 15 min HIIT + 30 minutes lifting with resistance band) so it’s easy to customize.

    • EduStudent :

      Not picking on you specifically, but I dislike when people say, ‘oh of course you have 15 minutes’ because sure, your workout is maybe 15 mins, but add in the shower and the changing before and after and it’s definitely not 15 minutes.

      • Depends on how you do it. If you work out at home before you shower, then 15 minutes is really close to 15 minutes.

  17. Barry's Bootcamp? :

    Anyone a fan here? I want to give it a try but the whole sprinting on the treadmill in front of other people thing has me a bit hesitant…

    • Anon in NYC :

      I’ve been and I like it. Don’t worry about sprinting on the treadmill – I’ve never felt judged in a Barry’s class. Also, if you tell the instructor that you’re new to running they’re not going to ask you to hit insane speeds (which I can’t do anyway).

    • deliciousd :

      I’ve been going to Barry’s somewhat regularly for almost a year. I rarely notice anyone else’s running because I’m too focused trying not to fall off my own treadmill. Also, the lights are low.

  18. Anonymous :

    Putting in a recommendation for the GymPact app. This app has been instrumental in keeping me working out regularly. Turns out I’m just too cheap to pay to NOT do a workout.

  19. Clementine :

    What helps me workout is just deciding ‘okay, this is what you’re going to do.’ The hardest part for me is the should I go/should I skip dilemma. Once I figured out ‘okay, you’re going to work out 5 days a week,’ it got easier. I also have found that signing up for something to train for (for me- half/full marathon) helps motivate me.

    Disclaimer: I don’t yet have kids; however, in anticipation of having children in the future, my gym offers free childcare for up to 2 hours/day. I also am a fan of the fitness blender workouts- when I absolutely need to work out but can’t make it to the gym, I can get a solid workout in 21 minutes in my living room.

    • Wildkitten :

      Me too. I have to give myself a pep talk “Wildkitten, the fact that you don’t want to go to the gym is not an excuse. An excuse is being physically ill or having another obligation at the same time, an excuse is not going home to watch abcfamily in bed because you are lazy.”

  20. Coach Laura :

    I hate most gyms and refuse to pay for them so I usually work out at home or outside. In a previous job, there was a fantastic, cheap ($20/mo) onsite gym for employees with at good vibe and I miss that terribly. That was where I learned most of my yoga practice but I also lifted weights and used the treadmill regularly. Lunch hour workouts really were fun then. I have real trouble working out in the morning before work so now most of my workout is done after dinner.

    Right now, I’m trying to get more regular weekday exercise in. Weekends are cycling (on the trail or touring but I’m not a spandex type, so more like picnics and biking to the winery or museum), kayaking or walking/hiking with the dogs. So a few days a week, I’ve started cycling to work (it’s not very far) -takes about 30 minutes each way. If I could do it regularly it would help my fitness. I’ve also started HIIT on my stationary bike and rowing machine, both of which reside in our basement.

    I’ve also re-started a yoga practice at home. I like the flow and/or (not very intense) power yoga.

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