Editor’s Note: We had a chance to sit down and chat with former NFL football player and current television star, Michael Strahan, who was kind enough to share with us his tips on balancing fitness, nutrition and motivation while leading a busy life. We’ll be sharing his best tips in this ongoing series, “A Minute with Michael.”
Between television appearances, media events, constant travel and time with his kids, Michael Strahan has a lot going on (to put it lightly!). But despite a jam-packed daily schedule, Michael knows that it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to keep up with it all. When we asked Michael how he manages to fit exercise into his full days, he had some great advice for us.
“I have to be creative and fit in workouts whenever I can. No matter how busy I am, I still make the time to do some kind of physical activity because it’s important to make my health a priority. Think about it–if you’re not strong, if you’re not healthy, if you don’t feel good, you won’t be able to accomplish all the things you need to do. Even if you start with small changes like getting up from your desk to walk around the block, you’ll start feeling the difference… you won’t know how good you can feel every day until you try!”
No matter how jam-packed your schedule is, we think you’ll find in your heart of hearts that you can fit at least 10 minutes of exercise into a 24-hour period. Remember that there is always someone out there who is busier than you, who still finds the time to work out on a regular basis. And the more you consciously try to fit in exercise, the easier it will become to make room for it in your busy life. Take it from Michael: “Take the stairs. Park a little bit further away from the store and walk. The little things add up—doing something simple every day will become a habit that could have lasting effects.”
Here are some of our favorite ways to sneak in fitness—even when it seems like you have no time (trust us—you do!).
1. When you wake up in the morning, roll out of bed and pump out a few sets of push-ups, sit-ups and squats. Do it every morning and see if you can go for one more rep than you did the previous morning! A little self-competition can really help fuel your motivational fire. Michael says, “I compete with myself. I’m always trying to beat my own times and set new records for myself—especially on the rowing machine. I have a love-hate relationship with that thing.”
2. Power walk through the grocery store, and unless you absolutely have to, use a handheld basket instead of a cart. As the basket gets heavier, you can build some serious muscle carrying it around the store!
3. At lunchtime, make it a habit to take a walk around your building. Ask your co-workers if they’d like to join you; conversation will make the time go by faster. And while you’re at it, make it a goal to get more out of lunchtime with both your fitness and nutrition choices! Michael is a fan of fiber and says, “Sometimes after a walk, I like to mix Metamucil with my water to help me feel less hungry between meals.*”
4. When you’re pressed for time, set a mini goal to burn 100 calories at a time. Try doing this three times a day to rack up those calories burned!
5. Get your loved ones involved. When it comes to family time, don’t just sit there! Instead of watching TV after dinner, take a family walk. You’ll be getting exercise, fresh air, and quality time with your spouse and kids all at once. If your family isn’t big on walking, try another outdoor activity. Michael says, “My kids are all different ages and all really active in different ways, so when we can get together, we really like to spend time outside. I make sure to have all different types of games and sports equipment for them to use.” Follow Michael’s lead and toss a football together, or play a friendly game of soccer!
6. Check out one of the thousands of short workout videos on YouTube, or try a SparkPeople workout video for a quick burst of cardio or strength training.
7. Got four minutes? Try an interval workout! This short (but intense!) technique will get your heart pumping surprisingly fast, helping you torch more calories in less time.
8. Make a point to never passively watch TV. During commercial breaks, do some jumping jacks, run in place, or jump rope.
9. Kill two birds with one stone by cleaning your house and getting in a workout at the same time. Time yourself to see how fast you can mop the floor or carry the laundry up the stairs. Now, that’s an efficient workout!
10. Turn your office into a gym: Use your desk for incline push-ups, do curls with packs of printer paper, or just do a few sets of lunges next to your desk every hour or two. Get more ideas here.
If you have trouble getting started on your own, Michael also recommends finding a fitness buddy who will commit to work out with you for at least ten minutes per day. You don’t even have to do it together; simply check in with each other every day to make sure you’ve both done your ten minutes. It’s a lot easier to squeeze in exercise when there’s someone holding you accountable, and you’ll be more likely to carve out the time to get it done if there’s someone else counting on you. Michael says, “I used to love working out with my friends and teammates. You can’t slack off or you know everyone’s going to call you on it immediately. It was awesome motivation!”