A lot of fitness and nutrition advice out there is geared towards people who have a ton of time to dedicate to their training and nutrition.
Unfortunately, this isn’t most people.
Most people, like you, have a million other responsibilities to take care of. Family, job, social life, hobbies, and many other time commitments.
So what do you do? What if you have a busy or inconsistent schedule?
Well, first you need to realize that these responsibilities aren’t excuses to not take care of your health. It’s just an obstacle that you must work around and overcome.
Taking responsibility here is key. If you use these as excuses then they will continue to be and transforming your body probably won’t happen.
From there its important to find strategies that work for you.
In this blog, I want to go over how we work with online clients who have a busy or inconsistent schedule.
Before I dive into these, it’s important to note that you dont have to do all of these.
Pick the ones that you struggle with the most and/or are easiest for you to fix.
Take 5-10 minutes to look ahead and plan your week based on your schedule.
It all starts here.
Pick one day at the beginning of the week where you do this.
Too often a client will mention that their schedule changes every day and because of that they can’t get consistent. Or they mention that they didn’t have enough time to plan their week.
Most people have some idea of what their week is going to look like. And all it takes is 5 minutes to see what days/times are going to work best to get a workout in, meal prep, or whatever else you need to do.
You dont have to plan out every minute of every day but if you dont sit down and see what days are busier than others and what days will be better to get a workout in then it’s going to be hard to stay consistent over time.
You might not stick to this plan perfectly, but if you know the challenges that are going to come up in the week are better prepared to work around them.
If you cant take 5-10 minutes to look ahead you’re going to have trouble with consistency.
Too often people think they need to spend hours in the gym for it to be a good workout.
But you actually dont need to spend that much time there. You can have fantastic muscle-building workouts in 30-45 minutes.
In fact, I made a blog that you can read HERE that goes over this.
Having a program to follow or a plan for your workouts certainly helps with this.
You can see where if you dont know what you’re going to do where that can add an extra barrier to getting your workout done.
You can use things like supersets, drop sets, myo reps etc.
Timing your rest and making sure you aren’t wasting too much time talking or on your phone can be helpful too.
The biggest thing here to be efficient is to having a plan for the workout.
Work out an amount you know you can stick to each week
Stop trying to be a hero and trying to work out more than your schedule allows.
A common misconception is that you need to work out every day for it to be effective.
But you can get away with 2-to 4 properly programmed workouts per week and see amazing results.
If your schedule changes at some point and allows for it, then you can totally do more in the future.
Something is always better than nothing. 2-4 workouts seem much more doable and more flexible in terms of getting your workouts in than trying to be on a program that call for 5-7 day of training per week.
Read this blog HERE for popular training splits.
Aim for a step goal
I am a huge advocate for step goals. Read this blog HERE and listen to this podcast HERE.
Since your schedule is so busy and incosistent, getting to the gym for cardio may not be a viable option.
Aiming for a step goal so you can incorporate it in your your day can help you keep your energy expenditure up throughout the day.
The best part is that a high level of physical activity has been shown to help regulate your appetite much better than if you were sedentary.
You can accumulate steps throughout the day by doing things like:
- Parking further away
- Going to the furthest bathroom
- Walking and talking on the phone
- Taking walks throughout the day.
A good amount to aim for is 6-10k per day.
Meal prep basic foods
Meal prep doesnt have to be this 3-5 hour long process.
You can get it done in 30-45 minutes prepping basic foods like:
Protein: Chicken, steak, ground beef, ground turkey etc.
Carbs: potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.
Most people get themselves in trouble and spend too much time prepping when they try to meal prep gourmet meals for the week.
You would benefit greatly from eating more protein, so if you have to pick to meal prep, make sure you prep your protein for the week.
If you want more info on simple meal prep, read this blog HERE.
Have handy meals available
I personally use these all the time.
I have lableled them “handy meals”
They are meals that dont require any prep time and you can make it within 5 minutes.
- Protein oats
- Tuna packets paired with rice packets
- Sandwhiches with deli meat
- Protein sources with tortillas
Use these for the days when you are slammed for time.
You can have handy meals that are completely different from this. Just make sure you have a source of protein with them!
Have go-to meals at a take out/fast food place
Have a go-to meal and restaurant you eat at when you are strapped for time. Preferably one that you know is macro-friendly.
My favorite is a Qdoba/Chipotle burrito or burrito bowl.
Another favorite is the Chick Fil A grilled chicken sandwich.
Again, you can have your own, but these are my personal favorite.
Pick a number of meals you know you can stick to each day
Just like with your workouts, pick a number of meals you know you can stick to each day.
This way you have some structure with your nutrition from day to day, this is very helpful if you dont track your calories/macros.
The main goal here is to ensure you get protein in throughout the day. For example, you could tell yourself that you will get 4 meals that have 20g or more of protein per day.
The big thing here is it provides structure and foundation to your nutrition and can take a lot of the guesswork out.
Get a coach
Often people think that they should get a coach for when they aren’t busy, but having a coach when things are busy might be the best thing you can do because you can really see how to make things work for YOU.
A lot of times it just comes down to trying to do too much and then it leads to you feeling like things are unsustainable, but you just haven’t found what works for YOU during this particular time.
If you are interested in grabbing a coach, fill out the link HERE to see if you would be a good fit!
There you have it.
Being busy and having an inconsistent schedule certainly makes things more challenging but you cant use it as an excuse, otherwise, it will be one.