Photo: Getty Images
Working out when you're busy can be seriously tough — or straight-up nonexistent. But even if your schedule is always jam-packed, that doesn't mean your fitness routine has to go by the wayside. Celebrity trainer Mark Jenkins can relate — not only is he crazy busy, but his clients don't exactly have a lot of free time, either. He's worked with Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Mary J. Blige — basically, his client list is full of badass entertainers and entrepreneurs that need their workouts to be effective and efficient.
Here are six tips from Jenkins on how to actually find the time to train, then what to do so that you're making the most out of each minute.
1. First, build exercise into your plan.
This means scheduling your workouts like a meeting or dinner reservation, and penciling it into your long-term plan, too. "You have to write fitness into your business plan," Jenkins tells SELF. "You have to write it into your spiritual plan. You have to write it into your life plan. Your health impacts all of those." Remember, a regular workout routine can help you manage stress and sharpen your mind — all of which can help you at work, at home, and everywhere in between.
2. And map out your workout before you get to the gym.
"You don't need to be in the gym looking around at what's next, because then you're wasting time that you don't have," says Jenkins. So walk into the gym having a clear idea of what you're going to do. Print out a SELF workout ahead of time, have a fitness app open to the routine you're going to do, or sign-up for a class and let the instructor do the planning for you. By eliminating the guesswork of what you're going to do means you'll have more time and energy to actually do it.
3. Work cardio into your resistance training.
A great way to combine strength and cardio training is to keep your heart rate up between sets. "[Keeping] your cardiovascular level up... can streamline your workouts," says Jenkins. So crush some intervals on a cardio machine, bust out a few minutes of jumping rope, or do whatever gets your heart pumping between resistance-training exercises, he explains.
4. You can also hit up a class for structure and time limits.
Classes can also have a place in your busy week. "They give you structure, they give you a time limit, you know when it's over, and you're not wasting time in the gym," says Jenkins. Whether you're all about Spinning or like to hit up kickboxing classes, group fitness is fun and streamlined. Just go in ready to work!
5. And have portable workouts ready to go for when you're traveling or can't make it to the gym.
If you can't make it to the gym or a class all is not lost! Spend some QT with bodyweight-only workouts or invest in some simple and portable equipment. Jenkins is a fan of the jump rope from his military days — he's now working with Smart Rope (available at StarShop), which displays your jump count mid-air using LED lights (fancy, right?). Jumping rope is great for improving coordination and getting your heart rate up quickly. He also likes the workout because it's not mindless cardio — lose your focus and you just might trip. He's also a fan of resistance bands and TRX suspension trainers, which are lightweight and easy to pack into a suitcase if you're on the go.
6. Most importantly, consider fitness an investment.
The key to making time for a workout when you're insanely busy? Make it a priority. "You're never too busy to take care of your own health. You can't be too busy to invest in yourself. You have to make the time," says Jenkins. Easier said than done, sure, but let's face it — the guy's got a point. #UpNOut!