Vail Daily column: Fit in fitness even when you’re busy |

Vail Daily column: Fit in fitness even when you’re busy

Ryan W. Richards
Make It Count

Everybody is busy. What is the most popular answer you receive when you ask your friend how they’re doing? You haven’t seen Randy in months, and you bump into him at City Market; his response is a resounding “busy.”

It’s a Vail thing. Everyone is always busy. I understand busyness, and often there is no end in sight. The first thing that should be sacrificed during hectic times in our lives is exercise. That’s right — I’m telling you that you should put it on the shelf; family, friends, spiritual well-being and work should be the priorities, not exercise when time is limited. Here is what you need to know.

SNEAK IN a workout

I own and operate two businesses. Owning a hostel and training fitness students 12 hours per day can be challenging. Exercise is not my priority right now. By the way, it rarely ever is. However, I always find a way to sneak in some training time.

A student of mine recently asked me how I find time to exercise during this busy time. It’s actually quite simple. I take a five-minute break in between training sessions to use the restroom, or to exercise. I often will perform a few heavy sets of barbell deadlifts or overhead presses during my five-minute break every hour. After eight to 12 hours, I can usually get a reasonable workout in. It just takes me all day to get it done. I know, I live in a gym and that’s not realistic for you. Fear not, here are some alternatives.


If you insist on going to the gym, pick one exercise per day. Make sure the exercise is a large, compound movement that maximizes muscle activity across several joints. The full squat, deadlift, overhead press, and power clean come to mind. A great approach is to warm-up for five minutes, and then train one of these aforementioned movements for a few hard, heavy sets. Hit the shower, and you’re out in 15 minutes. Even if you’re not busy, this a great approach anyway. These lifts deliver every time because they are fundamental movements that place a great systemic stress and demand on your body.

In a perfect world during times of busyness, you’ll opt out of a gym membership and practice something more realistic. Training at home is ideal because it doesn’t necessarily take time away from family and projects around the house. You don’t need any equipment, although a kettlebell or two, and a pull-up bar wouldn’t hurt. During times of busyness, I will haul out a few kettlebells into the living room and lift with my wife and son. This method gets the entire family into fitness. One of my favorite workouts is to perform kettlebell swings every five minutes or so while I’m doing laundry or cleaning the kitchen. Sometimes I will perform pushups during the commercial break on TV. Whatever works. Don’t complicate things and just get the work in without thinking too hard.

Another great approach is to block 30 minutes per day to walk. Take a break from the office and merely walk outside. It doesn’t sound like much, but walking 30 minutes every day will put a deposit in the fitness bank. Frankly, walking is all I typically do for “cardio.” Walking is underrated, and it will help you stay lean, and keep your heart healthy.

Lastly, refrain from trying to be all things, all year-round. For example, I know an individual whose active lifestyle overwhelms the important things in life; she pursues hiking, biking, running, yoga, swimming, and weight training every week. She rarely has time for other necessities in life. This is not good. To avoid this scenario, I have learned to outline my training into quarterly or bi-annual cycles that focus on one thing at a time. Typically in the summer I will focus on strength; I usually deadlift a barbell with moderate loads and press a kettlebell overhead a few times per week. That is it! In the fall and winter, I often focus on higher heart rate training and rarely lift weights. This approach will break up monotony and keep you focused on pursing a narrow goal.

Regardless of how you approach the busyness of life, understand fitness pursuits should enhance the quality of your life, not undermine it. Avoid letting fitness become the priority during hectic times. There is a way to pursue fitness that won’t rob you of the important things like family time. Lastly, remember that if everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. I’m signing off for the week to pursue the laundry that is piling up. Have a good one!

Ryan Richards has a B.S. from Ohio University and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is the personal trainer at the Sonnenalp Golf Club and the owner of R2HP, an athlete consulting and personal training company. Richards’ passion comes from overcoming childhood obesity and a T1-L3 spinal fusion. Contact him at or 970-401-0720.

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