No time for a workout? No excuses!

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

muscle yoga
Working out is great, but sometimes it’s hard to find time in a busy schedule.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting an hour of exercise a day, but sometimes it’s not all that easy. Juggling school, homework, and chores already take up just about all the time we have! Thankfully, there are a few tricks you can do to build up muscle and burn fat without needing your P.E. uniform!

One of the first steps is so easy, I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do it: drink cold water right after the morning alarm goes off. According to researchers from Germany and Sweden, a chilled cup of H2O at the start of your day can increase your metabolism – the process your body uses to take energy from food – by around 30%! Apparently, the boost can last up to an hour and a half after the last cool gulp is taken. Just be sure to eat the right morning cereal in the meanwhile, because it can be the difference between lean muscles and pudgy arms.

Instead of filling up on bowls of sugar, stock up on the cereal Fiber One. Add half a cup of Greek yogurt and the same amount of berries. The combination is only about 260 calories, but it contains a colossal 25 grams of filling proteins and 16 grams of fiber to keep your stomach satisfied for hours at a time.

The next time you do eat, spend extra time chewing on food. According to a study published in the journal Appetite, spending an extra 30 seconds chomping down on bites will give your body more time to feel full. That way, you’ll consume less!

“Fill your plate with lean meats, vegetables, and gluten-free starches like rice and potatoes,” says Nate Miyaki, the author of Intermittent Feast. “It’s a simple way to feed your muscles without packing on fat.” It can definitely be a time saver if you need to skip an exercise session to complete homework.

If you do manage to find at least 15 minutes of time, don’t be afraid to steal a quick snooze! “Napping reduces the stress hormone cortisol and promotes muscle-building growth hormone,” says W. Christopher Winter, M.D., a sleep medicine expert. “Taking a nap, even for just 15 minutes, creates an environment in your body that builds muscle and burns fat.” I knew I loved sleep for some reason.

Featured courtesy of ShawnHenning on Flickr. Image of gym workout courtesy of familymwr on Flickr