If you were to break down everything I need to accomplish on a random, normal day—work, sleep, time with my son, cooking, dishes, laundry, other house work, taking care of my cat and the fish, time for myself to play and relax and talk with friends, time for workouts and dance—I have about 33 hours and 16 minutes of things to do and 24 hours to do it in.
Work, I can’t skip out on. Time with my son, I won’t skimp on. Housework gets a minimum of effort (or “forgotten”). Sleep gets cut short. Time for my guitar or my art sometimes just gets cut out. Dance gets crammed in where I can fit it, but strength training? Conditioning? An actual workout? What part of nine hours short in a day did you miss in the previous paragraph?
I Don’t Have Time For The Gym, Or A Run
I don’t have space in my apartment for workout equipment. It was hard enough finding a place for my pole, and there are still a number of tricks I can’t do or have to be careful with so I don’t topple my writing desk or risk spilling a fish tank.
But there are so many cool pole moves I want to do! And I’m not patient enough to accept “when I have time” for gaining the strength and flexibility I need to pull off what I want. So how do I fit more day into my time?
Ultimately for me, it comes down to three things: be creative, have fun, and move!
As a construction worker, I have the advantage and disadvantage of having a physically demanding job some days. It’s a boon in that it can be great for building upper body, and core strength, but it turns out there’s not a lot of call for inverts and thigh holds on a job site and at the end of the day I’m usually fairly exhausted. At least, I can always find places to work on pull-ups. It’s not uncommon to find me hanging in a doorway working my arms or doing leg lifts. And at least once, I had someone say, “Could you please keep your feet on the ground while I’m talking to you.”
At home, there are even more possibilities, and while I usually feel too tired to think something like an hour straight workout sounds like a good idea, five minutes here and there adds up. I’ll practice hand balancing and pushups on the edge of the kitchen counter while waiting to stir a pot, or work on pulling up from my center in the same motion used in a flag lift. My pole is set up on the path to my bathroom, so even on days when I have no time whatsoever, I can always throw out a few tricks and spins as I’m walking past. While checking Facebook or working on a Sudoku puzzle on my phone, I’ll try to hold plank or a sideways inclined plane for as long as I can. I haven’t made it through a whole puzzle yet, but I’m getting there!
Those of you without kids may have the benefits of “time” and “money”, but you’re missing out on one of the most entertaining workout tools ever invented. With a small child running around, I can not make more than one trip in from the car after shopping – which works on arm strength and endurance. My son “helps” me with my pushups, planks, and leg lifts by jumping on my back or clinging on to my legs. At the playground, it’s rare for me to take the stairs when I can go for the parkour approach to chasing my boy. And for hide and seek, I have been known to hide braced up against the ceiling of our hallway.
There are a million different tricks and tips you can find on the internet for incorporating workouts into your daily routine. What I’ve had to learn, at the heart of pushing myself to be a better dancer in the midst of a crazy schedule, is that I don’t need to make time for exercise and workouts on top of the time I already set aside for dancing. Maybe I’m not advancing as fast as if I were in the gym and on the pole every day for solid chunks, but every time I do step up to my pole, I see improvements. I can do more. I can hold longer. I don’t need more day in my time. I just need to get up and move, to be creative, and most importantly, to have fun.