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Staying Fit When You’re the Boss

A common misconception of the self-employed is that they have the flexibility in their schedules to do whatever they want whenever they want. Although this is partially true, it’s an unfortunate assumption the self-employed make for themselves as well. While there are greater freedoms and more flexibility in their daily schedules, those who work solo depend solely on themselves to get the job done.

Personal time is often sacrificed for last-minute projects, client meetings, and tight deadlines—all at the expense of your physical and mental well-being. If you’ve been struggling to find a way to fit regular exercise into your schedule, here are a few tips to make fitness the norm and not the exception.

Make It a Priority

The most important step to take is treating your workouts like any other appointment. You’re not going to break a commitment to a client, so don’t break a commitment to yourself either. Schedule each workout into your day and make it non-negotiable. You don’t owe anyone an explanation of why you’re unavailable during that time.

Wake Up Earlier

Squeezing in an extra hour in the morning is one of the most effective ways to fit a workout into your day. The best part about working out at this time is that it sets the tone for the rest of the day. There’s also no chance that a last-minute client request will get in the way.

Not a morning person? Gradually condition yourself to wake up a half-hour earlier every day. It’s best to start this practice in the Spring or Summer, as more daylight will make the process easier.

Don’t Turn It On

Before you start your workout or drive to the gym, refrain from turning on your cell phone or computer. Whatever messages or tasks are waiting for you will still be there after you finish your workout. Postponing your desire to check your inbox immediately will prevent you from getting sucked into returning calls and emails, which will consume too much time and make the morning pass before you know it.

Exercise at Your Desk

It should come as no surprise that sitting is bad for your health. Spending a good chunk of your day behind a desk or driving your car could shave years off your life.

Aside from investing in a treadmill desk or standing desk, there are easier ways to stay active while working.

Stand up every 10-15 minutes to stretch or perform a few squats.

Walk around the office every time you make or receive a phone call.

Do a few push-ups after every bathroom break.

Engage your core muscles while sitting to force yourself to sit up straight.

Get Social Support

Hiring a professional trainer or finding others who are also interested in improving their health will help you stay motivated throughout the year. Consider forming a small club, such as a walking or bike-riding club, that regularly meets a few times per week.

Make Lunch Active

It’s not always convenient to take an hour-long lunch break, change clothes, and do an intense workout. Add in the time to refresh yourself afterward, and a full mid-day workout takes up too much of the day. Instead, opt for a brisk 30-minute walk at lunch. It will save you time and provide a break from the office.

Conduct Business over Fitness

Instead of indoor meetings, opt for a low-key fitness activity, such as golf, to discuss business matters. Obviously, this might not work for every meeting, especially if the weather is foul. However, sharing a mutual interest could also foster a stronger business relationship.

Work is a Workout

Being self-employed is a lot of work but can be very rewarding and invigorating. If you’re self-motivated and driven to be your own boss, you already have the skill set to take charge and make things happen. With focus and commitment, you can take control of your health and make fitting physical activity into your day a priority.