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10 Fitness Tips for Busy Professionals
Written by Ashleigh McIvor DeMerit   

1. Get there:

The first step is getting there. Whether ‘there’ is your local fitness centre, the Seawall, or the Grouse Grind, the hardest part is often making the time and actually getting yourself there. Make it a date, or have a plan with a friend to go. If honouring your commitment to someone else is the only thing that will actually get you there, pat yourself on the back for figuring that out, and then ease into it by doing something like hopping on a stationary bike to muster the motivation up to dive into whatever exercise your heart desires at that point. Once that heart is pumping, it will likely desire a really good workout!

2. Fitness tips:

If you aren’t sure where to start in the gym, watch my weekly fitness tips on Global’s noon news. Archived segments can be found here:

3. Circuit training:

If you are short on time, circuit training is a great way to get a full-body workout in, efficiently. Orange Theory Fitness ( is the best place to go if you’re interested in a guided, fun, high-energy routine that only takes one hour, and is different every time. Circuit training typically includes a set amount of time, maybe a minute or two, doing each exercise as opposed to trying to complete a certain number of repetitions, and going straight from one exercise into the next. (Think: 1 min of lunges, 1 min of bicep curls, 1 min of squats, straight into 1 min of cable row, some jumps, and then rest.) If you get creative, you can do it pretty much anywhere, but I prefer to do it at the Club 16 Fitness Centre I go to because I like mixing free weights and cable/pulley equipment into my routine. They actually have a red light/green light system, and equipment specifically placed in a Roc-It circuit formation to help with self-led circuit training. The beauty of circuit training is that no time is wasted. You are continuously switching between muscles groups, so that you are resting your upper body while your lower body is doing the work, and vice-versa. All this while maintaining a high enough heart rate to burn fat and boost metabolism, even after your workout ends.

4. Mini-workouts all day:

Fit mini-workouts in everywhere you go. Park just a bit further away (maybe at a cheaper lot?). Take the stairs, instead of the elevator. Remember to style your hair accordingly – some ‘dos’ improve with a little sweat, some do NOT.

5. Set realistic goals:

You don’t need to go straight to everyday workouts off the couch. Club 16 Trevor Linden Fitness ( and the affiliated ladies-only fitness centres, She’s Fit (, offer memberships at $14.99/month! Even if holding that membership just gets you to do one proper workout at your local fitness centre each week, or once every two weeks, that’s still good value. Chances are, if you set achievable goals like that, once you get into the swing of things, ramping it up will be easy.

6. Mix it up:

Aim to go for more walks or light jogs, with your once-a-week gym routine and other fun activities like hiking, biking, tennis, soccer or swimming mixed into your workout regime. Then it doesn’t feel like any single exercise has taken your life over.

7. Find friends who are into healthy living and fitness:

If your regular crew doesn’t play a role in motivating you to get fit or stay fit, put some energy into becoming friends with those who do. Hint: you’ll find them doing all of the activities discussed here.

8. Turn your daily commute into your daily exercise:

Invest in a bike. It’s incredible how liberating it is to feel the wind in your hair twice a day, and with the speeds you can travel on a bike, that wind is like a built-in cooling system so you don’t show up to work all sweaty. Those bike lanes in Vancouver are amazing. It’s often faster to bike than it is to deal with traffic and parking.

9. Go see a physiotherapist:

Even if it’s just once, it’s important to establish a set of stretches and exercises that you should work on daily to improve posture or any other aches and pains that have developed over the years. I do my physio exercises (almost) every day, whenever I have a spare minute or two. Sometimes in line at Starbucks. Yes, I get some funny looks.

10. Plan your days off around fun, adventurous activities that are so exciting they don’t even feel like workouts:

I am much happier running through a forest than I am running down a street inhaling car exhaust. This is the most gorgeous place to live in the whole world. Get out there and #exploreBC! Hiking or biking to a spectacular mountain lake to camp for the night doesn’t even feel like fitness work when you are able to focus on the scenery.

Bonus Tip:

Dance! Nightclubs aren’t just for unhealthy party animals – and sometimes the middle of the night is the best time to fit a good workout in. I’d bet you’d be amazed by how quickly you become comfortable dancing without alcohol, if you just give it a try. (An easy way to force that realization is to just get pregnant!) ;)

Ashleigh McIvor DeMerit -

Ashleigh McIvor DeMerit won a gold medal in ski cross for Canada in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Now that she has retired from competitive skiing, she trains to stay fit and healthy. Ashleigh grew up in Whistler, and when she is not on the mountain hosting guests as part of Whistler Blackcomb’s “Ski with An Olympian program,” she spends most of her time in Vancouver where she is busy working as a keynote speaker for corporate functions, a brand ambassador and as a model.

She and her husband Jay DeMerit, former Vancouver Whitecaps FC Captain, have recently started the Portmanteau Stereo Co.—a bespoke, handcrafted custom stereo company repurposing vintage suitcases into portable sound systems. They have a new line coming out, with a Pacific Northwest flare, high-end speakers embedded in spectacular slabs of wood and log rounds, which double as music-playing furniture or wall art.

The couple has another business in the works which will be based in Pemberton, BC, as well as a foundation that will send underprivileged kids to camp.