if only we could tack an extra hour on to every day. Those extra sixty minutes – even thirty would suffice! – would without a doubt answer the age-old question of how to possibly cram our entire to-do list into one day and still log eight full hours of shut-eye. An extra hour would surely get us fitter faster…or would it? Do we really need more than the amount of time we already have?
As the holidays swiftly approach, the days seem shorter than usual and we find ourselves strapped for time. In this season of big plans, cool parties, important projects and major prep, something’s gotta give. And no, that something should not be your self-care.
We’ve mapped out a set of fifteen-minute runs, we’ve taken our planks to the park – but any fit aficionado knows that an efficient workout is only one part of the equation. When you’re strapped for time, planning is everything. Here are our tried and true workout shortcuts to get you in, out and on with your day when you’re in a time crunch:
Before: Divide And Conquer
If you’re anything like us, you’ve got a whole wardrobe’s worth of activewear – all styles, prints, cuts, colors. When you’ve got a slew of clothes to sweat in (or even just a few staple pieces), it can be an unnecessary extra task in your day to choose what to wear. What’s a gym-lovin’ gal to do?
Just like you’d organize the rest of your closet, the way you organize your workout wear is everything. Instead of organizing your workout gear by type (ie: pants, tops, sports bras, etc.), try organizing by activity type, coverage, or support. The sports bra you wear for yoga might not provide enough support for a run. You might prefer long leggings for Pilates, but short shorts in yoga. And that flouncy top that lets your bod breathe while doing hill sprints is just not gonna cut it in Crossfit. Identifying what makes you feel like a badass in each workout you do helps you perform at your best. It also makes your morning routine a no-brainer.
Lay your clothes out the night before, or pack your gym bag the night before. Take into account the rest of your day too if you will be hopping into a class post-work or lunch date – if your outfit gives you a reason to feel even the least bit uncomfortable in your workout, there’s a good chance you’ll skip out. Set yourself up for success!
During: Timing is everything
Get that timer out! Back in the day, gym junkies used to have to tow along timers in their totes or fumble with their watches in order to make each second worthwhile. Thank goodness it’s 2014, when it’s as simple as pressing a button on your phone. Only have 20 minutes to cram in a circuit-training session that counts? Pull up your timer app (usually found in the same place as your alarm) and set to 20 minutes – simple as that.
Experts in all fields swear by countdowns to generate momentum (case in point: Christmas countdowns. Need we say more?) – why not use that momentum-building mentality to help you get the most out of the time you do have? Having those descending numbers right in front of your eyes helps keep you on track every step of the way, ensuring you’re taking the right amount of rest periods and pushing through the high-intensity bursts on your journey.
Our top-secret tip that takes your time one step further? Set an alarm for 5 to 10 minutes before you anticipate your workout being over, so that you can make your final push one to be proud of.
After: Less Is more
If you’re heading straight from workout to work (or lunch, dinner, errands, meeting, etc), you’ve got to be able to move seamlessly into the real world without worry. If you’ve got a shower available to you, skip the heavy duty conditioner and close shave – your goal right now is to de-grime in record time, not plan your own mini spa day. Tie your hair into a loose bun as you shower, then utilize our secret weapon: dry shampoo.
An all-natural dry shampoo like Klorane’s version can be a total game changer. Turn your head upside down, spray the dry shampoo on at the roots, then blow dry for a few seconds to distribute. Finish off with your best Little Mermaid impression and flip your hair over, tousle with your fingers and you’re done.
Skip the mass of makeup and opt for a loose mineral powder to absorb any lingering shine. Add bronzer or blush and you’re good to go. If you have an extra 90 seconds, curl your eyelashes and add mascara. Your post-workout glow will take care of the rest.