Triathlete Nikki Bartlett, recently crowned British and Scottish Middle Distance Female Champion, explains how it is possible to fit a little exercise into a hectic schedule:
I am currently training full time as a long distance triathlete, working around a part-time job to go for my dreams of becoming a professional athlete. I have written training programmes for working mums and dads in high end jobs, working 40-plus hour weeks, with busy lives and long commutes. I can assure you that it really is possible to fit in exercise and reap the benefits of leading a healthier lifestyle, without sacrificing time with friends and family. Here’s a training plan you could try:
Monday: Step into the week on a positive note, with a light 20 – 30 minute walk before work. Break this down into ten minutes of gentle and easy walking, followed by five minutes slightly faster so that your breathing becomes a little heavier and then 5 – 10 minutes of easy walking again.
Tuesday: Day off
Wednesday: 15 – 30 minute core and weights circuit. You don’t need to spend big money here: a few kettle bells and dumbbells, plus a fitness mat and Swiss ball will be more than enough to create a great circuit – you can get good deals from high street sports shops and supermarkets. I do mine in my hallway!
Thursday: Day off
Friday: 20-minute interval run or walk, changing pace with recovery in between. You can either do this as a run or a walk. Start with a five-minute easy run/walk, then do three lots of one-minute ‘pick up’ pace sessions: whether you’re walking or running, pick your pace up so that your breathing is a little heavier. Then between each lot of one minute, come back to an easy run or walk for one minute. Do the same again but 3 x 30-second, with 30-second recovery. Then either repeat, or do an easy 5 – 10 minute cool down.
Saturday: Fitness class: there are so many great fitness classes; they are enjoyable and sociable – and so can be a great way to start the weekend! My personal favourites are Boxercise, body pump, spinning and yoga – these are all great workouts, and you can push yourself to your own limits.
Sunday: Day off – or as an optional extra, head out on a leisurely local walk. Find a walking guide book for your area and discover walks that you never even knew existed! Take friends, family or next door neighbours, and explore the natural beauty of your surroundings. Or if you have children, head out for a steady walk or jog alongside them whilst they are on their bikes. Fit in physical exercise with family at the weekend if you can.
How to stay motivated through the week:
- Have a goal: Exercise in order to improve your fitness levels for a specific event, whether that be a local charity walk, 5k run, or to be able to do 3 – 5 training sessions every week consistently.
- Work out with friends to your favourite music!
- Set out a realistic structure to suit you and your lifestyle; you may find that you can only fit in 3 x 15 minute sessions in a week, so do that instead of trying to fit in 4 – 5 x 30 minute sessions. Consistency is the key.