It may be a struggle to balance a workout routine when you have a lot on the go, many responsibilities to fulfill; but the truth is, making time for your fitness will have a positive impact on other areas of your life. One of Canada’s most engaging media personalities, Sangita Patel is no stranger to what hectic living is all about. As a mother with a busy work and family life, as well as time-demanding career aspirations, she juggles it all but admits that it’s not always easy to take care of herself at the same time. One of the most essential solutions to sticking with a fitness routine that will produce results is to change the stimulus by varying your routine regularly and ensure that your fitness approach is interest-driven. If your workouts become repetitive, monotonous, and predictable, they will become unsustainable and you will allow other tasks to supersede your personal health and fitness.
Fitness has become such an integral aspect to Patel’s daily routine that it is truly part of her overall formula to enhance her entire life. She lives her life with passion whether it’s in the media, with her family, or inspiring her followers with her love of healthy living. “Fitness came to me at a time in my life where I was losing it, I was emotionally not ok and I said to myself that I wasn’t going through this again. That one hour that I would take to myself became so much for me. I also now exercise so I can eat cake!,” she jokes.
Scheduling is critical to maintaining a strong routine, it is important to treat your workouts as appointments in your week, just as you would business meetings and other important appointments. Your fitness and health should be one of the most important aspects of your weekly schedule, as it will pay dividends in your work life, family life and social life. When time is tight for Patel this doesn’t mean her workout is overlooked, in fact it’s the opposite. “Now, I don’t even call fitness a priority it’s just part of my schedule, something I do, like brushing my teeth in the morning. I don’t even have to think about it. If I miss a workout, I feel like something is off. Exercise has such a positive impact on my career and family life,” she explains.
Another key factor to a successful workout routine is focus. Remember that the time you schedule for exercise should be of high importance and treated as time for working on yourself. Leave social media, phone calls, and distractions of out of the equation. Allow yourself the time you deserve to focus on your health, whether that’s 30 minutes or 60 minutes, this is your time. Having worked with Patel as her fitness coach, I have seen first hand how she not only ensures exercise is infused into her hectic schedule, but also the complete focus and effort she gives during her workout sessions. A true inspiration for many women, Patel is definitely not the type to back down from a difficult exercise or fitness challenge because she is a strong and focussed woman, she attests her well-rounded fitness to “always changing the stimulus” within her routine by incorporating new and difficult exercises. Weight training with compound movements, Olympic lifts, challenging core exercises and boxing all fall into her wheelhouse of activities.
One of my go-to protocols is to ensure my clients are implementing a functional strength and conditioning approach that incorporates compound full body movements with minimal rest between exercises. This is an effective way to challenge your whole body to improve overall performance. In addition, the aerobic and anaerobic requirements help improve cardiovascular endurance, stamina, and positively impact metabolism. Although there are also well-needed, lower-intensity days where focus is more on bodyweight training and mobility, this winning formula has been an integral component of Patel’s training regimen for years.
Typically, after movement prep and mobility work for the warm up, we move into a series of exercises that progress both in complexity and intensity, with the direction from mobility and strength to speed and power. Patel enjoys a challenge so it’s always fun to add a new exercise into the routine to challenge her both mentally and physically, and provide a new benchmark from which to progress. The following exercises are some of the moves that I have formulated to suit Patel’s interests and to challenge her abilities. These exercises can be easily integrated into a busy lifestyle and modified according to fitness and skill level.
“Fitness came to me at a time in my life where I was losing it, I was emotionally not ok and I said to myself that I wasn’t going through this again. “
– Sangita Patel
Pike Hold and Plate Plank
In these isometric core exercises there is a large demand for all of your joint stabilizers and intrinsic core muscles to contract and stabilize your spine and joints. These are definitely considered more advanced versions of the abdominal plank.
Boxing can be one of the most effective conditioning exercises requiring both mental and physical focus. Aside from improvements in overall stamina and cardiovascular health, boxing can help improve muscular endurance, coordination, speed and power. Not to mention, it can be a great stress release. There’s nothing quite like boxing to make you feel strong and powerful.
Depth Sumo Squat
Strength training through full range of motion is a great way to increase muscular strength and balance, improve joint strength, reduce injury risk, and improve overall performance.
With the foundation of proper form, adding a new stimulus like the tire flip to your routine can provide a unique way to work on full body functional strength and power. With this exercise you are working your entire lower body, upper body, and core in each rep.
An advanced version of the tuck jump, the pike jump adds a greater requirement for power, timing, and dynamic flexibility, while placing an increased demand on the core and hip flexors.
Sledge Hammer Chop
Strength training doesn’t have to involve traditional weights. Pick up a 15lbs sledgehammer, swing it repeatedly and you definitely feel how demanding this exercise can be. This exercise takes elements of strength, endurance, and coordination, while working the entire body as a functional unit.
When you focus on your physical health purposefully and consistently, there’s a natural crossover effect to eating healthier, improved mental focus, emotional stability, stronger relationships, and overall productivity. Whether it’s 20 minutes or 60 minutes, there’s always ways to find time to focus on your health and fitness within a busy lifestyle. Dedicating this time to yourself is essential to living the best life you possibly can.
“Another key factor to a successful workout
routine is focus.”
– Brent Bishop
Photo Credit: Elaine Fancy