I don’t know if you guys were aware of this, but law school is time consuming. When you add in keeping up with this blog (kinda!), and trying to maintain personal relationships, I have to be very intentional about how I allocate my time. If I’m not careful, sleep and exercise tend to get squeezed out as time becomes tight.
Here’re some tips that I’ve found help keep me on track.
1. Commute Actively
Running or biking to work or classes is a great option to stay in shape. Unfortunately my bike ride would be about an hour, but I know several people who live closer that bike to school or work on a regular basis.
2. Write it down
When you’re busy it’s important to schedule time to work out. I like to give myself 20 minutes, 4 days a week to workout (plus time to get ready and clean up afterwards) and to do one somewhat physically intense activity (like play Ultimate Frisbee).
3. Short intense
I actually only work out for longer than 20 minutes once a week when I add cardio in. The other days, I do a weight lifting circuit with no rest between exercises. That makes my workout really efficient.
4. Exercise study break
I like to study for 45 minute increments and take 5 minute breaks. Some of these become my tea time, but during others I’ll do burpees (and ignore the stares if I’m at the law school library) or other short circuits.
5. Work out first thing in morning
I usually work out at night, but when I’m particularly crunched for time I work out first thing in the morning instead. This saves me time by streamlining the process. Instead of getting ready in the morning, then changing to work out in the evening, then showering and getting ready again, I can just work out, pop in the shower, and get ready for my day. It doesn’t save a ton of time, but sometimes those 10 minutes count.
6. Avoid peak hours at the gym
Working in a squat racks or weight machines wastes a ton of time, so if your gym tends to become over crowded consider finding out when the gym is less busy. My gym is busy 7:30-8:30 a.m. and 5:30-7:00 p.m. during the week and 10:00-2:00 during the weekend so I do my best to avoid those times.
7. Learn while working out
Read on the treadmill, listen to audio lectures while lifting. Bonus points if you find a workout partner who can quiz you between sets.
8. Socialize with exercise
Having a workout buddy is a great way to stay motivated, but it can also be a way of working in quality time with a friend. A light jog allows you to hold a conversation and having a partner for a weight lifting session comes with the benefit of a built in spotter.
9. Use your veg time
I like TV. I know watching a bunch of it isn’t great for me, but Netflix makes it so darn easy and entertaining. I try to make the process a little less negative by adding a work out into the mix. Since Netflix doesn’t have commercial breaks, I like to do unobtrusive exercises while watching, like squats, wall-sits, bridges, and various yoga poses. If I’m binge watching I’ll also pause between episodes and do some more intense exercises like jumping rope.
These tricks help make sure that my hectic schedule doesn’t get in the way of my fitness. Hopefully some of them will help you too!