How to Take the Work Out of Working Out


Get motivated with these tips to get your work out in even when you don't quite feel like it.: Photo Credit: adamkaz/iStock/Getty Images Plus collection/Getty Images

Traveling may help satisfy your sense of exploration (or help you connect with an important client), but it can disrupt your workout schedule. After all, when life get super-busy, usually something’s gotta give.

What happens next? You find more excuses to skip that workout. You have a cold. Your knee hurts. You didn’t sleep well last night. You’re too stressed to even think about it.

“Work can get in the way of working out,” says Martin Bjergegaard, author of Winning Without Losing: 66 Strategies for Building a Wildly Successful Business While Living a Happy and Balanced Life. But we really can’t afford not to do it, he says, since exercise is “integral to sustained success in the workplace;” and really, integral to success in our everyday lives, too.

While you might come up with a million reasons not to work out, it’s better to focus on why you should. Exercise can help control weight, keep your mind more clear and alert, increase your energy, reduce stress and increase your chances of living longer, among a host of other benefits.

Here are some surefire ways to bust out of excuse mode and burst back into workout mode:

Excuse: I Don’t Have Time

Working out doesn’t have to take up a huge chunk of time, says Bjergegaard. “Some exercise is always better than none, and you can squeeze in fitness wherever you are.”

One way is to use your own body weight to strength train, says fitness expert Joan Pagano. “Things like chair squats and wall push-ups are very efficient exercises that work multiple muscle groups, and can be done virtually anywhere,” she says.

When you stay at an EVEN Hotel, you can get a quick workout, without even leaving your guest room, by rolling out the provided yoga mat and tuning into some in-room videos. It’s like having your own personal trainer, and you save time, too.

And remember: You don’t need a lot of time for exercise to be beneficial. Studies show that just 10 minutes of brisk walking is enough to boost your health.

Excuse: My Schedule is Too Unpredictable

Make an appointment with yourself to exercise, and put it on you calendar, as if it were a business meeting. “Note the time, place and what you’ll be doing,” says exercise physiologist and registered dietitian Samantha Heller. For instance, “6 a.m.; Monday; spin class.” If you put it on your schedule, like other appointments, you’ll be much more likely to do it.

Excuse: It’s Just Another Thing on My To-Do List

Change your mindset. Much of the “work” in a workout comes from our own perceptions of what we are doing. “Create a positive mindset by telling yourself things like, ‘I love how I feel after exercising,’ or ‘I’m so fortunate to honor my body and health by running today,'” Heller suggests.

Excuse: I’m Bored with My Workouts

You have your routine, but day after day turns it into a rinse, repeat cycle. If that’s all you ever do, boredom will ensue. Travel gives you the perfect opportunity to change things up. Check out local gyms, and enroll in one of their classes; many offer one-day or multi-day passes. Or, go out and take a walk or run – EVEN Hotels .

Excuse: I’m Too Tired

Sometimes it’s tough to muster the energy to work out after a long day of travel or meetings. “Overcoming inertia is often the hardest part of getting started,” Pagano says.

If you convince yourself to just give it five minutes, you will probably end up doing a complete workout. “In most cases, that provides the kick-start you need to keep going,” she says.

But if you do a high-intensity routine, try a more gentle workout like yoga or floor stretches, good for releasing tension from your muscles, relieving aches and pains and energizing your body.

Instead of reaching for a cup of Joe to stifle your yawns, seek out a stairway: Research published in the journal Physiology and Behavior found that a brief bout of stair-climbing beats coffee for its energizing effects.

Excuse: I’m Hungry

If you rely on coffee for an energy burst, you may want to reach for a glass of water, because you could be dehydrated after flying or back-to-back meetings. “Drink a glass of water, or eat a water-rich piece of fruit like watermelon or an apple,” says registered dietitian Amy Gorin.

To keep your energy buzzing throughout the day, don’t forget to bring snacks, according to registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix. “I never leave home without some go-to snacks I can rely on. I usually pack a sandwich of almond butter on whole grain bread — it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and it’s a great source of protein, fiber and energy.”

About the Author

Sheryl Kraft is a health writer and blogger whose work has appeared online and in print  in AARP, Chicago Tribune, Prevention, Family Circle, Weight Watchers, Woman’s Day, WebMD, Lifescript, PBS Next Avenue, and many more.