Nine to fine: Your back-to-work fitness guide

When you return to work after the holidays, exercise routines can sometimes slide – here’s some tips to help you keep it up when your back in the nine-to-five grind.

For some it’s easier to maintain a good exercise routine during the summer holidays, particularly if you’re lucky enough to get a long break. 
But how do you keep the momentum going when you return to work and sometimes struggle to find the time or motivation after a long hard tiring day? 

Here, are some tips to help you stay on track when balancing work with fitness and self-care. 

1. Make exercise appointments

Schedule workouts in your calendar just as you would with work meetings and other appointments. “Write it into your calendar and make the commitment to yourself to exercise at least three times a week,” advises Diana Johnson, fitness trainer and co-founder of the Base Body Babes.

Busy day? Make the most of your lunch break. Sign up to lunchtime exercise classes at a gym near your workplace or go for a quick 20-minute walk or jog outside. 

Increasing incidental exercise is also a great way to fit some exercise in to your day with minimal time out. Skip the escalator or lift and instead take the stairs and, if you catch public transport to work, get off a couple of stops earlier and walk the rest of the way.

2. Covert ops

Help minimise excuses and make it a little easier on yourself by getting organised. “Lay out your running or workout clothes so they are easily accessible and ready to step into as soon as you get up,” advises former Olympian and Can Too ambassador Melinda Gainsford-Taylor. “You can also lay out your keys, drink bottles, – whatever you take on your run – by the door for a quick getaway.” 

3. The buddy system

Find yourself lacking motivation to exercise? Try making it social and less like a chore.

Swap dinner and drinks catch-ups with friends for a takeaway coffee then a walk in the park, or a swim at the beach. 

Or “find a workout buddy and set goals. Get a plan in place or get on a program,” says Johnson. The social aspect of exercise is also what keeps Dr Philo Saunders, running coach at the Australian Institute of Sport motivated. “For me, it’s social. A lot of the people I train with are my best friends so it makes me look forward to training. I’m not doing it on my own.” 

Two girls walking together in their lunch break

4. Find a purpose

Sign up for an event like a fun run, half-marathon or ocean swim. Having another goal in mind – such as raising money for charity – will help keep you focused when you’re doing whatever’s required to prepare your body for the fitness challenge. “Knowing you are training for a bigger cause can give extra incentive,” says Gainsford-Taylor. “Having lost my mother to cancer, I know the devastating impact it can have and find it so motivating running for a cause that will help stop cancer from taking more lives in the future.” 

5. The reward system

Break your training down into month-long blocks and, when you complete the amount of sessions set (for example, exercising three times a week), reward yourself with something like a massage. The good news? It may even help your training. “Massage is a useful recovery tool to keep your body in order. It doesn’t have to be super-regular but if you can fit it into your schedule, it keeps tightness at bay and helps get everything back into order,” says Saunders. 

So, get that diary out, make yourself some exercise appointments and start 2017 with a plus. 

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