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Maximise health and fitness if you’re short on time

Who isn't busy? Is it just me, or does anyone else desperately need an extra four or five hours in the day? Seriously, some days I don't know where the time goes.

So I completely understand when I hear people say, ‘I don't have time to spend hours in the gym trying to workout' or ‘I don't have time to prepare healthy meals every single day'.

Finding the time to be proactive about your efforts to be fit and healthy can be a real struggle in the hectic world we live in. So today I wanted to share with you a few simple things that don't take up a ton of time, but will have a positive impact on your health.

1. Blend up a power smoothie

I'll be the first to admit, some days I don't stop moving and can't even find the time to sit down and have a proper breakfast or lunch.

On these days I am beyond grateful for my blender! In five minutes I can blend up a nutrient-dense smoothie that will pack a powerful punch of energy to keep me satisfied until my next meal.

My go-to ingredients for my power smoothie: a large handful of green leaves such as spinach or kale, one scoop of vegan protein powder, one scoop of super greens, half a banana, one tablespoon of nut butter, one tablespoon of chia seeds, a good sprinkling of cinnamon, a handful of ice and one cup of unsweetened almond milk. Blend it all up and enjoy!

Super time-saving tip: If you're a fan of power smoothies and make them quite regularly, you can save yourself even more time by prepping some of the ingredients beforehand. Pre-portion the fruits and veggies into Ziploc bags and chuck them in your freezer. Then when you come to make your shake you have them conveniently ready to throw in the blender.

2. Incorporate compound exercises into your workout

It really doesn't take long to get an effective workout in, and when it comes to exercise doing something is definitely better than doing nothing.

When I'm really pushed for time I tend to pick exercises that are compound moves, meaning they are multi-joint and incorporate more than one muscle group at the same time.

This way you get the biggest bang for your buck as multiple muscles have to work, meaning your energy output is higher and thus your metabolism will be forced to kick into a high gear, which in turn means maximum fat-burning. Some of my favourite compound moves include dumbbell thrusters, burpees and lunges with a shoulder press. Keep your workout intense.

Just ten to 15 minutes is sufficient time to get your body moving, increase your heart rate, get a little sweaty and have an effective workout. Check out one of my full-length videos here for some inspiration on how to get a great workout in less than 15 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41GiEx Wwb-Q

Super time-saving tip: Are you really pushed for time? Some days, even 15 minutes is hard to find, so try to throw in a few sporadic push-ups, squats and burpees here and there throughout your day — for instance, while you're waiting for a file to upload on your computer, or you've been placed on hold while on the phone, or you're waiting for something to cook. I guarantee you there's two to three minutes in your day that could be used to get moving instead of sitting around waiting.

3. Walk and talk

Do you spend quite a bit of time on the phone? If so, take your calls outside and get moving while you're chatting. Similarly, if you're meeting up with a friend why not suggest you go for a walk together or do something else active, rather than just sitting around at a coffee shop.

4. Maximise your NEAT

NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis and is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise.

It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, typing, sitting down and getting up out of chairs and fidgeting, etc.

In essence, the more NEAT you can do throughout the day, the more you will be positively impacting your health. So don't be afraid to fidget in your seat or pace around your office at work; make the effort to take the stairs rather than the elevator and park your car a bit further away from the grocery store so you have further to walk when carrying your shopping. You'll be surprised how all this extra movement adds up. We can all make excuses about not having enough time to lead fitter and healthier lives, but hopefully I've shown you it doesn't necessarily have to be a massive burden on your time. Just a little effort is required.

• Becky Wright is a qualified personal trainer, nutritional therapist and international bikini fitness champion. Contact her at www.inspirefitnessretreats.com or becky@inspirefitnesscoaching.com

Smart and healthy: prepping smoothies the night before will save time and help you stick to your goals

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Published March 02, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated March 01, 2016 at 10:16 pm)

Maximise health and fitness if you’re short on time

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