Fitness Diaries: Tight for time? Work around it

Amber Brammah is a personal trainer and founder of Lovefit, Cambridge. Mum to Milo and a pre and postnatal specialist, she helps women get back into bodies they love. This month she shares her top tips for staying fit and healthy when under time pressure

We all know exercise is good for us; whether that’s to improve fitness, to lose weight, for mental health, or for aesthetic reasons. Yet many of us feel we’re not doing enough, and when asked why, the most common response is lack of time. Despite the pandemic forcing some of us to slow down, for others it has meant feeling more pressured than ever.

I’ve definitely found myself more time-strapped these past 18 months, between moving a business online, my husband changing jobs, home-schooling a young child – and the small matter of building a house. But even if you (sensibly) haven’t tried to manage a build project during a pandemic, I am hearing so many people say that they are already feeling more busy than they’d like: Stressful attempts to get away on holiday (hello umpteen covid tests), trying to see family and catch up with friends, and essentially do all the things you couldn’t do for so many months. This newfound freedom is wonderful, but how do we maintain our boundaries and avoid being sucked back into a life where our diary is permanently filled?

With September often signifying a fresh start – perhaps this year more than ever – here are my suggestions on how to ringfence time for yourself.

1. Change your mindset about what constitutes a workout. Many people think that it’s only worth doing if it’s an hour’s hard slog. That’s simply not true; it ALL counts! Rather than doing nothing, maybe you commit to do five minutes every morning before breakfast, maybe you jog the school run, perhaps take a post-dinner stroll while the evenings are still light. Whatever it is, no matter how small, it adds up. So do something. Anything! You’ll feel better for it, and the more you do, the more you’ll notice the benefits, and the more you’ll want to keep at it.

2. Make yourself a priority. Easier said than done, I know, but the people who regularly workout / practise yoga / meditate, do so because they have opted to make it non-negotiable. It’s very easy to prioritise work or housework or TV (chilling out in front of Netflix is totally valid downtime), but you’ll never find the time to fit in things that nourish you if you don’t schedule them. September is a time of change and fresh starts, so spend a while in front of a planner now and block out that time for you!

3. Train in front of - or even with your kids, if you have them. Once upon a time I would ensure that workout time was sacred, but if you’re a mother to young children, you might not have the luxury of alone time. I’m not going to lie – working out with your kids will be full of interruptions: Requests for snacks, people hanging off your legs or climbing on top of you every time you get on the floor, but there are a number of benefits:

- Something is better than nothing (see point 1).

- You’re setting a great example for your children.

- They might even join in and burn off some energy! #winning

4. Find a workout buddy. The accountability of having another person involved will hugely increase the chances of you keeping at it. It’s very easy to skip training because of a lack of time. But when your absence means letting somebody else down, you’re far less likely to pull out.

5. Embrace online! If there’s one bonus of the pandemic, it’s that it opened our eyes to online workouts. From live Zoom classes, to paid subscriptions, or free YouTube sessions – working out at home is the ultimate time-saver.

There is time for you to work out, one way or another. I hope you can make it happen but do get in touch if you need a helping hand.

Amber Brammah of Lovefit (49846610)
Amber Brammah of Lovefit (49846610)

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