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Entries in The Houstonian Hotel and Spa (1)

Monday
Aug302010

Fitting In Fitness: It’s Tricky, Even for the Pros!

By Jennifer H. McInerney

As we all know, one of the most common—if not the most common—excuses people give for not working out at the club is “not enough time.” It happens: Life gets in the way. Schedules fill up. Deadlines encroach. Meetings or appointments run long. Time runs out.

I barely made it to the gym on Friday. I basically ran through the door and directly onto the treadmill—but, hey, a 45-minute workout is better than nothing, right? As I was catching my breath, I noticed one of the club’s staff members walking leisurely toward the locker room, which made me think: it must be so much easier to fit in a workout when you work at the club…or is it? 

To find out, I checked in with a broad spectrum of busy fitness professionals, and guess what? It’s not as easy as it may seem…

Their biggest obstacle? You guessed it—time! Even though these folks are already physically at the club, transitioning from “work mode” to “workout mode” takes a major strength of will.

“The later it gets in the day, the harder it is to get my exercise in,” observes Bret Fitzgerald, vice president of corporate communications and a certified trainer at Las Vegas Athletic Clubs.

His solution? “Getting one hour of cardio in before 8 a.m.—no matter what. I set my schedule to start my work day a little later and work a little later to accommodate my morning training.” 

For 37 years, Paul Richards, CEO of Club Physical in New Zealand, has put early-morning workouts first, and it’s always served him well.

“Sometimes I lose sleep thinking about business or concerns, but I get up early and work out anyway because the workout always blasts away tiredness and brings me out on top!”

But starting the day with a planned workout can sometimes backfire, notes Simone Shepley, co-owner of Xanadu Health Club in Ontario, Canada. “When I walk into the club, I’m bombarded with questions that need to be answered, or the phone is ringing, or I need to respond to e-mails. Obviously, the business running properly is of great importance, so my workout gets interrupted. If I do make it onto the cardio deck, then usually I start looking around and notice things that need to be taken care of and I can’t focus.” 

 For Shepley, one of the most effective ways to ensure a disturbance-free workout is to attend a group-exercise class. “I go in and shut the door and, usually, I’m not interrupted. Another thing that helps is that we have a great staff, and they try to handle all situations before disrupting my workout.”

Another option Shepley often employs is to schedule one-hour training sessions with a personal trainer at least twice a week. “That helps because I can’t let anything get in the way when I’m paying for someone to train me. The trainer also makes sure that we’re not interrupted. 

Similarly, Linda Griffeth, water fitness coordinator at The Houstonian Hotel and Spa in Houston, comes face-to-face with workout interference on a regular basis.

“I frequently run into members who want to chat in the middle of my personal workout,” she says. “I’ve found that, if I work out outside and at a very early hour, I really don’t have that problem. My workout starts every morning at 5:30 with a boot camp—that’s my time because nobody else is up!”

For Meghann Koppele, owner of Premier Pilates and Training in Hoboken, New Jersey, flexibility is key. “Most days, I space out my workouts throughout the day, depending on my schedule, such as a run in the morning, and then Pilates, boxing, or weight training mid-day or in the evening,” she explains. “Personally, I love to work out first thing in the morning, but that’s not always possible since I start teaching at 6 a.m.”

Another tactic Koppele uses to avoid missing a workout is to block the time out in her work schedule as a training session, so that her entire day doesn’t get filled up. “Clients cannot book at that time, and I’m guaranteed a workout. Obviously, I do make occasional exceptions but, in order to do my job well, it’s essential for me to stay healthy and happy, so carving out ‘me time’ for exercise is vital!”

Beyond finding the time to work out, an additional challenge is “eating at the right time, between clients, to provide the energy I need for my workouts and to replenish after workouts,” points out Robyn Dalton, a master trainer and lifestyle and weight management consultant for Beacon Hill Athletic Clubs in Boston, Massachusetts. Otherwise, she adds, she “might not have the energy for my own workout after teaching one too many classes!”

Yet, despite all of these issues, the amazing outcome is that all of these fitness pros manage to work out five to six times a week for an hour to an hour-and-a-half. Pretty impressive!