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How to Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Schedule

By NIKKI SHARP

We all lead busy lives, and sometimes it can be hard to find the time or motivation to stick with an exercise routine. With my five simple tricks featured below, you'll find more time and be able to use it more effectively to finally shed those extra pounds in time for summer!

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1. Challenge Yourself
There are some great websites and apps that allow you to sign up and set goals and challenges in certain time frames. You can even compete against others to gain points or money, or you can just play against your friends for fun. My go-to app is Endomondo, which tracks all your workouts and allows you to see what others are doing for exercise as well. Freeletics is another great one. While challenging, it will really help you see results quickly.

2. Do Something, No Matter the Time
You've probably heard the quote, "No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping the people on the couch." This is true: Even if you're running a 15-minute mile, it's better than doing nothing. Consistency is the most important part when it comes to exercising, so even doing small bits here and there as often as possible will help you see results.

3. Work Out Efficiently
Ever heard the term HIIT? It stands for "high-intensity interval training," and it is the best exercise you can do. This means working out for shorter periods of time (no more than 30 minutes), raising your heart rate and then lowering it. My favorite type of HIIT training is Tabata, an exercise in which a person sprints for 20 seconds and walks for 10. Repeat this for four minutes. Check out this four-minute Tabata-inspired fat-blasting workout.

4. Meet Friends for Exercise Instead of Drinks
As a nation, we love meeting friends over food or drink. However, this hurts your wallet and your waistline. Make it a habit at least once a week to meet a friend at a fitness class, rather than to grab coffee, dinner or drinks. Or go for a walk to catch up. Not only will you feel more satisfied at the end of it, you'll realize that you're losing pounds much more quickly just by replacing drinks with exercise -- even if it is only once a week.

5. Find Exercises That You Like
You've been told to run, do CrossFit and the Bar Method. But do you actually enjoy any of those? The best way to maintain consistency with your fitness routine is doing something you like. Just because someone tells you how good something might be doesn't mean you will enjoy it. Try different forms of exercise until you come across two or three things you genuinely love. Maybe you're someone who would rather go for a walk than be inside a gym. Or maybe you like doing yoga with a class. Have you tried Zumba? There's always swimming, cycling, rock climbing and skiing. With so many forms of exercise out there, you shouldn't be scared to try out a bunch of fitness routines. Getting to the gym is great, but if you shudder at the thought of lifting weights in front of others, maybe you'll enjoy something different than the norm. Don't be afraid to branch out. By finding something you enjoy, you have a much better chance of keeping it up.

--Nikki

Readers -- Do you have a hard time finding time to exercise? At what time do you usually work out? What are some of the reasons that keep you from working out? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Nikki Sharp is an international model turned healthy-lifestyle expert. She runs Stay Sharp & Be Strong, an online health community based on providing as much free information as possible for clean and healthy recipes, workouts and motivation to become a healthier and happier you. Nikki is the creator of the "5 Day Detox ," which has sold over 30,000 copies worldwide and is transforming the lives of thousands in only five days.

Want more expert advice, healthy recipes, motivation and tips? Join her more than 230,000 inspired followers on Instagram. She can also be found on Twitter and Facebook

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