YES - I've found two easy solutions.
So far my life has gone:
7 years of primary school
7 years of boarding secondary school
6 months TA-ing in a primary school.
4 months in Mexico
3 years of Uni to qualify as a primary teacher
2nd year of teaching...NOW!
Up until the last two years of my life I have had many hours of the day spare. When I started teaching I quickly realised that I really don't know what I spent them doing. There are not enough hours in the day anymore. During my first year of teaching I was planning a wedding and moving house as well as trying to complete my NQT year.
For the wedding, I wanted to tone-up and look my best. In order to achieve this I needed to do some exercise - and therein lay the problem.
There already weren't enough hours in the day to do my work, how on Earth would I find the time to exercise? I was leaving home at 6:30am, arriving at school at 7:30am, leaving school at 5:30pm and getting home at 6:30pm. My evenings were spent assessing, planning and preparing for the next day(s). But the choice was between not toning up and continue as I was or toning up and finding the time. I went with the latter. When deciding how I would tone-up, there were a few things I took into consideration.
My form of exercise had to be: cheap to start, high impact, low preparation, quick to complete and sustainable.
This ruled out gym-time (cost), team sports (time restrictions), long workout DVDs and anything that involved kit. This is when I came across the first solution to staying fit as a teacher.
The Couch-To-5k Plan
I had heard about this plan a few times before but this time I actually bothered looking into it. I found out there were apps that pulled you in by giving you weeks 1 and 2 for free. Then I saw you had to pay for the other 7 weeks. That wasn't for me. Then there were free apps which just had talking over your own music but I had no idea where to start with that. After some digging and reading some forums, I discovered the NHS Choices Couch-To-5k Podcasts. (Available for free on iTunes in the Podcast store).
All you need is an mp3 player. I was well equipped with my iPhone. With the 35-minute Podcasts downloaded and the mapping service MapMyRun running, I was ready to head off on my first ever run. The C25K plan starts you off slowly, with 1 minute of running at a time. I quickly began to love the podcasts and the programme. I could feel myself getting fitter and really appreciated the voice of "Laura" encouraging me along the way with gentle tips and advice. In July I ran my first ever 5k race and got a time of 35 minutes. I was so pleased, proud and happy but most of all I was grateful for the podcasts - without them I would've quit very early on.
A year down the line, I am using the C25K plan once again as I'm booked into the local Race For Life again, this time I'm hoping to come in under 30 minutes - we'll see!
During an earlier health-kick in life - some time during University, probably after putting on the Freshers Fifteen (pounds!) - I had purchased, read and enjoyed Jillian Michaels' book called Master Your Metabolism. I won't go into too much detail about the book here but if you click on the link and read the Amazon review, they speak for themselves. The main thing I picked up from the book is that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS or called Glucose-Fructose or Sugar/Glucose/Fructose Syrup in the UK) is a killer and is what is largely to blame for us getting fatter! Since then I've tried to avoid the stuff as much as possible. Another thing Jillian always mentioned in her book was a hardcore fitness programme she made called:
The 30 Day Shred
This time around, I took the plunge and ordered the DVD. Jillian wasn't lying when she said it was hardcore. At one point during the DVD she yells this:
The workout consists of 3 circuits of 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs work. Combined with a 2-minute warm up and cool down that's only a 22 minute workout. You do each level for 10 days and there are 3 levels.
10 x 3 = 30 Days of Shredding!
The 30 Day Shred is fast becoming another solution to the "how can teachers exercise?" problem. Not only is it high impact, low time and low maintenance, it also has amazing results. A quick Google search of "30 Day Shred results" produces some impressive transformations.
Whilst surfing the Pinterest waves, I found this amazing don't-know-what-it's-called and it definitely made me chuckle so I immediately added it to my Fitness Board along with inspiring quotes and photos.
I'm desperate to find out if there are any other programmes out there like Couch-To-5k and 30 Day Shred which are proven to work but don't take ages to complete. If you know of any, please do stick them in the comments - you never know who you might help out!