Making time for fitness and health in a busy schedule can be hard for entrepreneurs on-the-go. Entrepreneurs often don’t have a steady 9 to 5 schedule, or even predictable hours. They may even work late into the night, early morning, or weekends. Without a set schedule, it can be difficult to plan for things like meal preparation and working out. But, having a healthy body is also a foundational part of having a healthy mind, which is essential to running a business. That’s why it is vital for every entrepreneur to take care of their health, keep up with good nutrition, and set aside time for a solid fitness routine.
In this article, I am going to give you a simple but effective fitness routine guide which you can easily apply in your busy schedule. I have done most of the heavy lifting for you (pun intended), so that you can get started right away. Feel free to adapt this guide in the best way to meet your personal fitness goals and needs.
This Fitness Guide Will Include:
- Tips on how to make your own home gym with minimum investment
- A list of equipment needed for your regular workout
- A overview of the most important and most effective exercises
- Some simple but essential nutrition tips
- Tips on how to approach your fitness routine and how to make it a part of your lifestyle
Step 1: Forget the Fads, Find Your Focus
As an entrepreneur I recommend that you DON’T go with just any weight loss or beach body transformation program. Not only will they be hard to stick to if you have an irregular schedule, but they are also notorious for having you fall off the wagon once the program ends. Understand the difference between fitness and aesthetics. So, what should you focus on? You should focus on functional training, performance enhancing workouts, and mind power. You want to improve your work capacity in everyday life. Your goal should be to feel active, take more workload easily, and increase your overall productivity by improving your fitness and reducing your stress level.
Step 2: Get in Your Fitness Element
Decide where you will be most comfortable doing your exercises every day. Perhaps this is at a nearby gym, at your home, at your office, or in your neighborhood. If you find yourself especially pressed for time, I suggest you buy some simple equipment to be used at your home so you can work out at any time during the day. This will also save you time and money on commuting to the gym. The below equipment suggestions are applicable for building your own at-home gym, and for what to look out for at a community gym. Don’t feel like you need all the bells and whistles in order to get an effective workout.
Suggested At-Home Workout Equipment:
- Pull up bar (wall mounted): $130 to $150
- Adjustable bench: $150 to $200
- One Olympic barbell : $150 to $250
- Some weight plates according to your needs
- Some dumbbells according to your needs
- Jump rope and/or Thera band: $50
- A wooden box for box jumps: $65
- Yoga mat: $10 to $20
With this equipment you can do almost any exercise from the comfort of your own home. Your own home gym will come under $1000. This is your one-time investment for approximately 8 to 10 years! We will go into the suggested exercises in the next section.
Step 3: Utilize These Exercises for an Effective Workout
As a fitness professional, I have grown to know which workouts are effective, and which are a waste of time. If you are an entrepreneur, or working full time, you don’t have time to waste. Finding exercises that give you the best brawn for your buck is really the key. Here is the list of the most important exercises you should incorporate into your routine to get the best results.
- Back squats
- Front squats
- Over head squats
- Dead lift
- Shoulder press (strict, push press, push jerk)
- Clean and jerk
- Farmer’s carry
- Lunges ( static and walking)
- Pull ups ( assisted for beginners)
- Push ups ( kneeling for beginners)
- Surya Namaskara
- Bench dips
- Crunches, leg raise, plank etc. for core strengthening
- Running, cycling, swimming, sprinting for cardio (HIIT)
You can find tutorials of most of the above mentioned exercises here.
Step 4: Choose a Method that Works for YOU
All the exercises above are compound movements. This means they use more than one muscle groups and joint to perform the move. These types of exercises will improve your metabolism way better than isolated movements like bicep curl or triceps extension. With these exercises, you are using multiple muscle groups at once and getting the most out of your routine.
There are lot of methods for designing your own workout ( reps, sets, time etc.) I will suggest some of my favorite methods here.
1. Three-Part Rep Range Method
Make 3 Rep Ranges
- high rep (30 to 50 reps)
- mid to low rep (8 to 20)
- heavy weight ( 1 to 5)
Give a week to each rep range. Select the weight that you can hardly do your desired reps. For example if you want to do 30 reps, you need to select a weight in which you can do 25 reps easily. Remember, the last five reps are the most important for your progress. Maintain this intensity level. Gradually increase load.
2. Timed Workouts
This method is generally used by the Crossfit community. Decide on 3 or 4 exercises, sets, and repetitions of the exercise. Then, Start a timer and go. Your goal is to complete the workout as fast as possible. Apply this method according to your own capacity. If you think you can’t do more, just stop, take some deep breaths, and continue. Your capacity will increase with time and practice.
You will shock your metabolism with this type of high intensity workout. This may take only 15 to 30 minutes. That’s completely fine. Don’t forget to do stretching after the main workout.
This method is reverse of above method and also from the Crossfit community. It is called AMRAP (as many reps/rounds as possible). For example, if you decide on two exercises (say pull ups 10 reps and squats 15 reps), you may choose to do AMRAP for 12 min. Your goal is to do as many rounds as possible of both exercises. Again, if you get tired, stop, take some deep breaths, and go again.
Keep your focus on intensity. Without proper intensity, you won’t progress further. You have to challenge your limits every time you do your workout. But, listening to your body is also important. You have to identify the difference between a challenging workout and over-training. Take a low intensity week every month; Lower the loads, reps, and sets in this week. This will give a boost in your recovery process and you will be able to improve more in coming weeks.
This type of routine will not only keep you in the best shape, but will also increase your awareness, work capacity, and fitness. Make a goal of working out 4 to 5 times per week. If you can do 6 days per week, great, just take a day off so your body can recover.
Step 5: Focus on Nutrition
Nutrition is hugely important, and I could probably write a whole post on the topic (perhaps I will soon!). But, to get you started, I am giving you few simple tips which are easy to follow and will help you to reach your fitness goals, even with a busy schedule.
Tips for Managing Nutrition as an Entrepreneur
- Make your meal timing fixed. No matter how many meals you eat per day, it should be consumed at a fixed time every day. This will help your body to secret digestive enzymes at opportune times so you will be able to digest your food nicely.
- Do NOT count calories. Please, stop counting calories. Instead pay attention to macros and micro nutrients. You can use a nutrition management app to help you out.
- Keep balance in all three macro nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
- For micro nutrients, have plenty of green veggies and fresh fruits.
- Don’t go for juices. Eat whole fruit for all the nutrients in it. Juicing removes more than 50% of the nutrients from fruits even if you have it fresh.
- Eat whole food. The less it processed the more nutrients it has.
- Do not have tea or coffee with your breakfast. Caffeine of tea or coffee will make it hard to absorb the nutrients like iron from your breakfast.
- Best time for a cheat meal is either morning breakfast or after your workout. Remember, your cheat meal should be only once a week.
Step 6: Schedule Time for Exercise and Nutrition
This next section is the most important for all entrepreneurs. It’s easy to make excuses about time and procrastinate on what keeps us healthy. But, as any entrepreneur knows, it’s all about priorities. If your main priority is your work and earning money, then you have to prioritize your health even more.
If you give 1 hour per day to your body, your body will make your 23 hours easier, and work more efficiently.
Make a schedule of your all day activities and include exercise and nutrition in that just like your daily habits. Pencil in “gym” or “meal prep” in your calendar, and set a reminder. Pretty soon, you won’t even have to think twice about making time for health, because it will already be part of your routine. Including health and fitness in your daily schedule will take some time. However, once you include these habits in your lifestyle, you won’t be able to live without it. It will continuously make you grow in all aspects of your life.
Step 7: Find Your ‘Motivation Factor’
A train can’t run without its engine. What makes your engine run every day? That is, what is your motivation factor? Just like your business, you need a goal in your fitness as well. This fitness goal can be anything, like to run a mile, or being able to do a pull up. Remember, your goal should be performance oriented NOT weight scale oriented. Weight loss and good looks will be a byproduct of strong and fit body. Make fitness as a part of life and your life will change completely. You will be more confident, happier, and healthier. Your personality will change inside-out. You will attract good people into your life with your positive and vibrant personality.
Step 8: Meditate for Optimal Results
Practicing meditation will help set you up for success in your workout and in your business. You don’t have to go to a meditation class every day, but try to spend 5 minutes my yourself. Find a clean space in your home. Sit there for just 5 minutes with your eyes closed. Keep your cell phone and other distractions away during this time. After closing your eyes, your mind will fill with random and useless thoughts. Try to pass those thoughts by ignoring them. Don’t go deep into any thoughts. This is one of the methods of ancient Indian meditation:
Don’t get attached to your thoughts and let them pass.
You may not be able to do 5 minutes on your first day, but that’s ok. Keep doing it every day. Your mental peace will increase, and that will increase your work capacity over time.
Step 9: Repeat and Adjust
Once you get into the groove of scheduling out time for fitness and nutrition, you will want to stay regular with your routine and adjust when necessary. Slowly increase the amount of weight and number of sets in your workouts when you feel up for the challenge. Listen to your body and take breaks when necessary. There is no one-size-fits-all regime when it comes to fitness. That is why I have outlined some suggested exercises for you to try and implement into your lifestyle. As always, seek out a licensed fitness or medical professional when it comes to addressing specific health concerns, pain points, and more.
Have questions or comments about implementing a solid fitness routine into your schedule? Let us know in the comments below!