Your Schedule And Exercise

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Meetings. School, work, volunteer groups seems like no matter what kind of group you may be involved with at some point they have meetings you attend. Some you may be able to get out of but something like, work, you really don’t get an option.

When you have a meeting with the boss you better make sure your happy little self is there ready to do what needs to be done.

A scheduled meeting with yourself to get your sweat on should be no different.

I’ve been asked how I manage to “stick with” exercise. I’ve been told that my “dedication” is to be admired. Often the person I’m talking with is wanting to know what the magic potion is that has helped me maintain my exercise regime for 8 years now.

I hate to tell you, but there isn’t any magic potion.

In the beginning it involved some whining and complaining ( to myself) but I made myself  go do it.

And those are accurate words… made myself.

No athletic clothes, no heavy sweating, no techie gear, no athletic goals dancing in my head. Just a decent pair of shoes, I’d dutifully walk off my 2 miles.

I wasn’t excited about doing it. I did it because I knew I needed to and if I wanted to live a healthy life I would move my body purposefully every single day.

I made a commitment to it. If I couldn’t do it in the morning ( my preferred time) then I’d come home in the afternoon, change shoes, and go get it done.

In time something crazy started happening….

I don’t remember exactly when the shift occurred. The shift from dutifully doing it and checking it off my list, to something I looked forward to and began to guard and schedule as anything else important in my life.

In a 24 hour span of time, my workouts sessions were my time I scheduled with myself.  I learned to view them as important as anything else I’d be doing in my day.

I learned to structure the rest of my day and appointments around my scheduled workout time, allowing for clean up and getting to my destination.

Some mornings are tight but I’ve become a wizard at transforming from sweaty, grime crusted athletic girl to someone who smells clean and looks respectable in an almost Ninja fast way.

Why? Because those meetings are important to me. They set the tone for my day. Workouts wake up my body, clear the night cobwebs and get my blood flowing. If I miss it, I honestly feel “off”.

I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process.

When you commit to something and faithfully follow through it turns into this crazy thing called… a habit. Once that habit is established it doesn’t cross your mind to make excuses to not do it.

I’ve spent a lot of time on the road and putting miles under me is a great way to learn things about myself.

I haven’t learned those things by not keeping my scheduled meetings to be there.

Over these past years I’ve seen what I’m made of when I have to dig deeper into myself for the challenge in front of me. I’ve learned I can continue to push past limits and head to new ones, and then push past those too.

In keeping those meetings with myself, fitness has taught me so much.

I’ve learned more about discipline, consistency, hard work, perseverance, sacrifice, goal setting, the strength of not just my body ( which at times I’m amazed at what it can do) but how it’s forged a fierce mental toughness in me which comes in handy for the rest of life. I’ve learned with training and determination I can do things I used to think were only for an elite group of people.

And in a cool way, I learned that I was pretty good at it.  Something else I would’ve missed out on not keeping those early morning meetings with myself.

So what suggestions do I give to people?

As mentioned above, that is one of the things I get asked mainly because I think people do find it so hard to stick with. They want ideas and help to get rolling (and hopefully ) staying with it.

They have a genuine desire but I hear them, it’s hard in the beginning! You have to fight back against all the things that come at you, especially yourself.

Excuses can be easily made to justify not getting it done. Work, family, school, other activities all clamor for our attention and we wonder if it isn’t easier to just let it go.

So here are my pointers, for what it’s worth.

~Determine what time of day is best for you. This will be a totally personal thing depending on the schedule of your life and if you function best in the morning or evening.  Find a time.

~ Start with something you enjoy doing.  You will stay with it if you actually like what you do. And why you’re doing that, be thinking of something else you can do. Having a couple activities keeps boredom from setting in.

~ Just start. Don’t wait for Monday or till after a holiday or your grandmothers birthday. Just get up and start.

~ There are days you’re gonna think you’re to tired. Do it anyway. You’ll feel invigorated I promise.

~View it as important as anything else in your day and don’t allow it to not get done. ** I will say here, sometimes life just happens, even for me. If things go beyond your control and it just doesn’t, just regroup and get at it again the next day.**

~ Zealously guard your time. In the beginning when I started exercising I kept at it because I felt like the alcoholic who, if they had a drink would fall off the wagon. Only I worried if I made an excuse one day, then it would lead to another day, and I’d find myself in the land of excuses again for dropping my exercise habit. Honestly, it scared me enough to make me stay at it. Sometimes a little fear doesn’t hurt.

~ Consistency and discipline have payoffs. Not just the side effects of helping you lose weight or how your physique may change with it, but you will build that discipline into a new habit, and new habits have this crazy way of sticking.

~ Be kind to yourself. Remember an unexpected set back or off day isn’t a reason to forget the idea. Several years ago I hurt my knee, and no, not from running. It was from learning to ride a motorcycle 😛 the doctor wanted me off running for 6 weeks. I was devastated. But I was more terrified with that much time off I’d be out of my routine and not want to go back to it. Not true. I counted the days and when I got back on the road for the first time, I literally cried. ( something I do not recommend as running with a snotty nose hinders your breathing a bit haha 😉 ) I cried to be back out. I cried that my desire hadn’t gone away. I cried for the pure freedom of doing something I had been learning to love.

That’s when I realized that exercise thing really had stuck.

Yes, there are days now I wake up and as my brain is focusing on my training for that morning I think am I gonna have all I need to do this ? Of course that’s my “foggy, I haven’t had coffee yet to remind me that, yes I do” brain speaking.

I do have all I need. I love what I can do and am thankful to be able to do it. I’m thankful I pushed on in those early days and didn’t quit.

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This is what happens when you stick with exercise. You’re snapping a selfie after finishing your first round through the entire duathlon course. #runbikerun

 

If you’re struggling to get started understand we’ve all been there. Just make a commitment to yourself and get rolling with one day at a time. Schedule your meetings with yourself and before you know it, you’ll be eager to show up for them.

Tell me have you overcome the lack of exercise in your life? How did you do it? Or is this an area you still struggle with ?

~

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Common Weight Loss Questions

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I get asked a variety of questions when it comes to health, exercise and weight loss. For the record though,  let’s establish I’m not some “professional something or another” .

I am however, a normal (ish) middle aged woman who has had 8 years of plugging along on this journey.

I’ve lost my weight and kept it off.  I’ve gone from being non-athletic to doing more than people half my age consider doing.  I get asked often “who I train with”… I train myself and I guess I’m fairly motivated to keep pushing harder and working towards new goals.

I’ve learned a lot about food and more importantly nutrition and how important that is for us in the context of living active, strong, healthy lives.

I experiment on myself, if it works, great. If not I toss it. I read tons and am always trying to learn.

I don’t buy into hype and commonly pushed weight loss products, supplements, enhancements etc.

My take on things in regards to weight loss and health is that it should be sane and sustainable… meaning you can keep at it for a lifetime.

I never assume that what works for me, works for you. Mainly because biologically, we are wired differently and secondly our daily activities and exercise will greatly vary.  Put all of that together and it will have a different impact on our weight loss and fitness goals.

All of that being said…

People still ask me questions 😛

I thought I’d field a few of them here ’cause they are pretty common to most people.

Here we go … buckle your seatbelts boys and girls….. ready ??

I’ve been exercising but I’m not losing weight.

Here’s the deal. Exercise is great. I love it. I highly endorse it for a wealth of reasons. Please, keep doing it no matter what. If you’re exercising you’re well ahead of a lot of people who haven’t gotten to that point yet. But if you aren’t losing weight it simply means…. you are eating to much. A negative people get with the exercise idea  is that they can eat (more) or have (treats) ’cause they walked some that morning or hit the gym for 30 minutes.  It means, you greatly over estimate your actual calorie burn. Without creating a deficit at the end of the day, you won’t lose weight.  Eat good food, in moderation. Know the calories you need to operate on in your day.  To lose weight try reducing them by maybe 20%. For example if you can eat 1800 calories a day ( this includes calories for purposeful exercise and just being alive) that means you’d subtract roughly 360 calories.

As long as we’re on this topic…. you won’t lose as quickly or much if you eat crappy food…to put it bluntly.  You must not only learn to listen to your body and eat in moderation, but stop when you’re hunger is satisfied, not till you’re stuffed. Learning to eat healthier foods is definitely going to put you on a faster track to weight loss. Exercise alone will not do it.

I’m not losing weight, so I must be gaining muscle.

Oh boy. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble here… but….if you’re starting on your journey or even if you’ve been at it for a little while.. you probably can’t count “muscle gain”.   If you’re a guy reading this, yeah, you have an advantage over your more feminine counter parts ’cause you’ve got all that testosterone roaring through your body helping the process. If you’re a woman, you still have the ability to gain muscle. But here’s the deal… very few people are going to work with the all out intensity required and eat in the manner necessary to accomplish muscle gain that fast. At best, even if you are committed to actively lifting heavy stuff and eating well, it could be a solid 6 months ( and longer)  before you could think you’ve “got gains” that affect your weight.

Consistency to it is key. You have to work and stay with it several days a week.  The next part of that is working your muscles to the point of fatigue ( meaning you cant do another rep).  And then of course, feeding your body adequate protein and enough food to build muscle. You have to eat plenty of food to build serious muscle.

Yes, long before that happens you will start to see a difference in your body, but to claim weight gain as gaining muscle when you either a) don’t lift enough/do enough strength training consistently b) or  haven’t been at it long enough is well, just lying to yourself.

But for heavens sake. don’t stop what you’re doing! You’re exercising and that is great. If you’re working at it, the muscles will show up, in time.

I don’t really like veggies/ green foods. What do I do?

This one, I always want to say, I’m sorry! Why don’t you??? I mean seriously, I think veggies are the cats meow.  They offer fiber, vitamins, minerals, are low in calories ( there are tons even referred to as “zero” calorie foods) and you can eat so many of them and not have to even worry about it all the while, staying full and satisfied. How can you go wrong with that??

Usually, there are a variety of reasons what I’m told.  Everything from ” I just don’t THINK I’ll like them”, “I never had to eat them (bad mom)”, “I’ve tried some and they are gross” and the list  goes on….

First, if your idea of “good” veggies is from a can… you need to expand your horizons to the real, fresh produce department where there is a plethora of tasty things.

Or, if  your veggies were always steamed to death until they were totally unrecognizable, then again, you need learn about cooking them in tastier ways.

I’m telling you… nothing.. is better than roasted veggies with some olive oil, and cracked pepper and sea salt.

Bottom line: you’re going to have to be willing to experiment and open yourself up to new things.  You’ve learned and trained your body to eat junk food, you can train it to eat good food.

Start small. Find what you like. Look for new recipes. You might surprise yourself at what you come across and actually enjoy. But, you have to be willing to try or it will never happen.

I don’t have time to exercise. How do I do it?

OK. This one. We’re all given the same amount of time in a day, it just comes down to, how do we use it? Obviously, we have necessary things in our days that demand our attention.

Jobs, families, house keeping, shopping etc.

But then, you have free time as well. If you have time for computer play, surfing the internet, playing games on your phone, watching shows on TV etc… then… you really do have time for some exercise.

It just becomes a matter of where your priorities are.

Exercise is work so I get that it just seems easier and more relaxing to just lay on the sofa instead of heading out the door to sweat. Exercise takes a bit of will power and intentional determination in the beginning to make it happen until it becomes a habit to you.

I always suggest making your exercise time a daily appointment with yourself. Schedule it like anything else. You know your day and you know what times you have that there are lesser demands on you to get it done. I’m up in the morning, my workout clothes on, my brain is already preparing for what’s about to happen ( although now it’s simply something I do and look forward too) I figured out a long time ago what time worked best for me to get it done. Doing it in the morning is a great way to clear my head, get my blood moving and my body warmed up for the day.

Do something you like and will stick with. Find your time. Schedule it. Make no excuses to get it done.

I know I need to drink water but….ewwww! Ideas on doing it?

I get it. If you’re used to sugary drinks, this will be a big jump for you. I’ve lived off it for so long that I actually crave it now. Do you know we all have a natural thirst? Over time, it’s quenched by the other things we feed it ( i.e. sugar filled drinks). Start by drinking some water when you wake in the morning. Try and keep it with you at all times.. you will drink it. If you drink sweet stuff, it will be an intentional practice to drink water.  Start with reducing one sugar drink a day with a bottle of water.  With a little practice, you will be increasing your water intake in no time. If it helps, you can add fresh lemon or lime to give it some flavor. Again, this is something you will need to be intentional about doing until it begins to feel more natural to you. With practice, you’ll be drinking more water in no time 🙂

 

Ok that’s it for today! I’ve used up my word allotment.  ( well just kidding on that.. I never run out of words 😉

If you have any questions or comments feel free to add them or contact me 🙂

Building Your Own Workout Plan

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Let’s talk a little about building your own fitness plan. It should be easy, right? Just decide you wanna lose some weight or gain some muscle or train for a race and do it.

Ah if it were only so cut and dried!

The best way to success is to have a plan, something that you develop, that will work for you, your life, your schedule and your goals.

Let me outline a few things that may help you

  1. Goal setting. I know this sounds cliché but if you don’t know what you want or how to go after it, how will you achieve it?  Whether you want to start walking, running, training for an event, lose some weight, or get into a schedule for the gym… whatever it is… your choice… It’s old school now days but I just love having a basic calendar to outline what I need to do. When I’m marathon training I sit down and mark out the mileage for each day, as well as days I strength train and have active rest days.  There’s something satisfying about blocking off each day when I get it done…and it gives me a visual tool moving me closer to my goal.
  2. Be real. No one knows your life better than you do. Don’t plan to train for a big event if you work full time, have a family and other obligations that won’t let you do what’s necessary to prepare. Or don’t set a to lofty goal to lose a big amount of weight in a short time. Better to be realistic and maybe overshoot what you have planned than be frustrated you can’t get it done.
  3. Know where you are. If your intentions are to lose weight, you’ll want to gather some measurements so you have a baseline from where you start from. I know it can be rather…sobering… but if you want more than the fickle scale to give you feedback you’ll also want some starting measurements. Be honest and be real with yourself.   Also, you might consider taking a “fit test”. This again, will give you a baseline for your strength and cardio abilities.   A.  Record time it takes to walk a mile. B. How many push ups can you do in a minute? ( knees on floor if needed) C. How far can you reach to your toes, seated on floor and leaning forward?  D. Pulse rate before and after test. You won’t need to reassess but every 4-6 weeks.
  4. Commit to exercise, most days of week. No matter what your goals are, exercise should be a part of them. Start small, but start. Get  a partner if you need accountability. Again, you use your planner to track your activities.
  5. Finding balance. Rest days are just as crucial to your success as time in the gym, or out on the road.  I’ll freely admit to chafing at rest days. I feel..lazy… or like I should be doing something. Until I got that rest days aren’t about being lazy but should be active…as in… feeding my body good food, and doing things like stretching, or yoga to keep my muscles in working order.  Having a rest day also gives you some time to be more mentally focused for when you’re out again.
  6. Speaking of stretching. This is something I’ve really learned the value of and have tried to be much better at doing it before and after a work out. I use a variety of things from the standard foam roller, to a pvc pipe to roll out on. A lacrosse ball is also awesome for feet or really getting into a tight knotted muscle.
  7. Mix things up. I learned early on that having several activities would keep me from getting bored with always doing the same thing. Later, as I learned more, it just made sense to incorporate a variety of things because it worked my body differently to make me strong all over and not just good for one sport.  Not only that, doing things like strength training if you love running or cycling will hopefully keep your body from injuries.  Find things you love doing and then make a rotation in your week with them. For instance my week might look like: run, cycle, strength train, run,cycle, rest day. Sometimes I put my rest day midweek.  Other times I might have an extra strength training day if the weather is really awful and I cant get outside.  Sometimes I have two rest days if my training has been more physically demanding. Making your own plan is flexible!
  8. Listen to your body! I’m not talking about that part that is encouraging you to skip your workout… tell that part to shut up and get after it. I mean if you feel “off” or not well, are running a temperature or something is really hurting you take a rest day. That is far more beneficial than doing it to just “get it done”. Chances are, a day off, you’ll come back stronger the next day.
  9. Make a commitment to consistency. I won’t lie. It is crazy hard in the beginning to commit to anything new, especially exercise! I would encourage you to make a daily commitment to it, not make any excuses for not getting it done, and challenge yourself to systematically take one day, one week at a time doing it.  Habits take a few weeks for form. Give yourself time to develop exercise as a habit… once it is… you will not be able to imagine NOT doing it!
  10. Finally, have fun! Yes, I said have fun….exercising… have fun. Find things you love and commit to becoming the best student you can of it. Enjoy how you feel and the things you will learn and accomplish. Enjoy new strength and energy and being fit.

 

Now… get busy… grab a planner… your ideas…. and get started on your own personal fitness plan!

The Wonders Of Walking

This mornings athletic adventures had me out on foot…. and no… not running. I’m still refraining from that.

Walking though does give me that same sense of being out on the road… the preparation and the feel. The excitement of being out and…going…

Mind you, I don’t just stroll like I’m with my grandma…

My walking speed usually throws me into what is a “slow” running pace so needless to say I’m breathing hard, my heart is working and sweat is free flowing which I love.

Chatting with my big kids over the weekend about various athletic adventures my oldest son throws out at me….

“Don’t you ever like just… walk?!?”

 

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This particular evening walk was actually for my son… he was playing that crazy Pokémon game and needed a 10K distance. The things I do…..

 

 

Haha that made me laugh,   I mean I do, it just seems so tame to me now days compared to you know, running forever, or flying down the road on my bike like a demon.

Not just that.. it’s the miles.. mentally it’s hard to not want to go long….

However, if you’ve read my beginning story, I started off as a walker. I did my “token” 2 miles a day and that was enough.  I never envisoned doing more or running or anything like that.

I walked 2 miles and it seemed adequate. And it was… for awhile.

(Side note….  never stay doing the same thing forever. Your body is an amazing and adaptive machine and you stop losing ongoing benefits or changes in your body. Always look to add or change things up in your workouts)

Anyway, obviously my walking mileage did increase and it did eventually turn into running.

You know the biggest reason why? As I mentioned in the beginning, I walk fast. It just became easier to trot along than trying to maintain a constant fast walk pace.  When I tried it for awhile and realized the wheels didn’t fall off and running wasn’t so hard, it was just a natural progression to keep increasing my running time to the time I was actually walking.

Great was the day I celebrated I could run a mile without stopping.  Of course, after some time, it seemed crazy I could run miles. That my friends, is just disciplined training to get to that point….

The rest is history.

I turned into a lover of running. At the top of the list is the fact it makes me feel so strong and empowered. It shaped me up physically and became a way to clear my head, unwind, let go of the things bothering me and I often do my most creative thinking out on the road.

I get running isn’t for everyone. Heck, even my doctor gives me a hard time about it ( but freely admits he isn’t a runner and doesn’t get the whole “runners high
thing so there’s that….)

Some people want to run and have physical limitations as to why they can’t. Others just don’t want to.  Some think they can’t, but the reality is, our bodies are made for that kind of movement and they really can.

It’s just hard and in the beginning people don’t like it ’cause that’s when they realize they are really cardiovascularly out of shape and they hate it. In time though, as those internal muscles are consistently worked out, they get in shape too and you can put out more effort and feel amazing and not like you’re dying 😛

However, if there is one thing that doctors get behind is that anyone, and I mean anyone, can get out and start walking.

Coach potato to athlete, walking has benefits.

If you’ve been sedentary walking is something you can very much taylor to your needs and abilities. You can then add on a little more distance at a time as your body adapts and handles the new stress you’re putting on it. ( this isn’t a bad thing) with consistent effort walking is a great tool to help with weight loss. Just be reasonable in the beginning and set realistic goals for yourself. Having aching muscles from to much over use will only sideline you… and you don’t want that.

As an athlete, it’s a great recovery workout allowing your muscles to work, stretch and move but not overly tax them . I’ve found it helpful after my marathons to just be out stretching my legs to keep any soreness from setting in.

Of course your pace should be brisk, making you breath hard with your heart beating strong too.  If you sweat, that’s a total bonus 😉

Walking not only conditions your body but it’s also good mental therapy  as well. Not surprising that some articles I’ve read talk about how walking ( or exercise in general) can help reduce depression and negative feelings.

Of course it can… I think exercise is the least under-used drug out there. But that’s just my opinion….

If you are looking for something to get you out the door walking is free and all you really need are a decent pair of supportive shoes and a willingness to explore.

Then the only one who will limit you is well, really, you.

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I was out of town here. I was actually walking this huge mountain in the area I was staying. The added bonus? All the signs telling you to watch for snakes 😉

 

 

 

So You Hate Exercise

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I’ve heard it all now at this point. The exercise jokes. The good natured teasing. The “hey can you do this?” as friends share crazy exercise stunts with me. My son calls me when he needs muscles for a project. If I mention needing something from the store I’m told “well, run and go get it” Recently with the Pokémon Go games going on my sons are asking me if I want to walk 5/10K’s  to “help them out” …..

Ah yes… and you know what? I love it.

Exercise has made me strong and fit and able to do things in the rest of my life when I’m not exercising. When I’m jokingly told to run to the store for something, I honestly know I could do it. When I’m asked to help lift heavy things, I know my body has been trained and I can respond and do the task at hand.

I haven’t always embraced the workouts or been excited for the new  adventure for the day.

Oh no.

I grumbled. I  whined to myself. I found excuses. I pondered ways to wiggle out of doing it. I hated how hard it was.  I didn’t like how my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest or my legs felt like rubber.

No, I wasn’t a huge fan of working out.

And from what I’ve gathered, a lot of you aren’t either. You cite many of the same reasons.

I’ve talked to so many people, trying to encourage them, that if they just start, just take the steps to do something every day they will be on their way.

It isn’t easy. I won’t lie. You have to intentionally get your body dressed, up and out for whatever fun activity you have planned.

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You have to determine that your workout is just as important as the breakfast your going to eat, or the job you will go to, or the grocery shopping you will do or anything else.

That, is a very intentional move my friends.

I talked to a young friend recently whom I hadn’t chatted with in awhile. He told me he had gotten into a routine, going to the gym, and that weeks on vacation had derailed him. But, as he was eager to tell me, “I could hardly wait to get back to it. I know you always told me I could get to that point  ( of wanting to do it) but I had to get started to understand that”

He was a former ” I hate exercise” person.

I know others who were in that club and who have come to the other side 😉

I think, there are some common threads that the former “I hate exercise” club members have in common ( I included myself in this club too)

  • There is a desire, a wish, to improve and be better.
  • The individual learns to ( daily) power through any excuses and go get the job done.
  • They are realistic and start with small goals and gradually increase their activity.
  • They select something they enjoy doing, want to do, and look forward to doing.
  • They understand they are in a competition with no one but themselves.
  • Set backs can happen and you just get right back at it again.
  • Strength isn’t built in a day and you learn to appreciate your body for the amazing machine it is as it adapts to the demands you put on it.
  • You recognize that giving your body purposeful movement isn’t to be viewed as a negative, but rather, a way to show love to it.
  • You begin to love the changes and all the energy you get from your exercise.

Perhaps even now, you are still in that club, but you have the desire to change.  Awesome!

Consider these things as you make that move:

Be patient with yourself.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Commit to the process. Make no excuses. None. ( unless you are honestly ill or injured )

Pick an activity you WANT to do. Heck, pick a couple. I think variety is what keeps you from getting bored. Not only that, multiple activities work all of your body.

Buy the right gear or equipment for your new activity. Even now nothing makes me more excited to get to my activity than knowing I have something new to wear 😉

Focus on the day you are in and just do that day.

Celebrate yourself when you are done. It’s ok to tell yourself “good job!” I mean, honestly, when I come flying back in from a run or miles on my bike, I have no one standing there cheerleading my efforts. It’s ok to be proud of yourself for getting out and getting it done.

Share your accomplishments on social media. Not only do you have accountability, whether you realize it or not, you will be an encouragement to someone else.

Finally, learn to view exercise as a way to love your body and to celebrate all the amazing things it can do.

What motivated you to start exercising? Has it been easy to stay with it?

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Time Management And Exercise

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Life. There are lots of things we all have in common, and some we never will share with one another. There is one thing though that we all have each and every day.

Time. The gift of time.

24 hours in a day,  1440 minutes in that day, 7 days a week.

Sometimes, our time is already plotted out for us…work, sleep, travel, kids, cooking, eating etc.

However, I’d be willing to say that for all of us, we do have a measure of time in our days for random things we choose to do. You know, things that helps us relax or unwind…our leisure time.

Yet, do you know what the biggest thing is I hear from people when talking with them about their health and fitness goals?

I don’t have time for exercise.

I mean.. I’m not gonna argue with them on that…but… let’s think through things that are time guzzlers…

Hanging out on Facebook or any other computer activity

Video games

TV or movie watching

Going out for drinks or to the club

Hobbies or other personal activities

Shopping

Now hear me… there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of these activities. I’m just saying… you really do have time in your day… for what matters to you.

We will always make time for things we want to do, enjoy, or have fun with.

I speak from a place of experience and a place of having once not prioritized exercise in my life.

There was always something else to do or more important than exercise.

I learned I had to be as disciplined about scheduling it as I do my dental and doctor appointments and coffee meetings with friends. Truthfully, when making appointments now, I mentally balance the timing to see if I can get my workout in, clean up, and arrive on time.

Seem crazy? No more so than trying to balance another appointment or activities in the workings of my day.

What I had to learn in my (personal allotted 24 hours) was where could I best place my workout time in that day so I could get it done?

For me,  during early mornings, people are less likely to be making demands on me and my time. During marathon training, getting up in the early dark morning hours ensured I got my very long runs in. I also learned that even though my intentions of doing it “later” or “after supper” were good, the probability of it happening was small.

There were to many demands later in my day. People were awake and needing things. I didn’t feel as energetic ( yeah I know, weird. I can be on the road at 6 a.m. and have a decent energy level, but not so much so at 6 pm. haha)

After taking a look at how my days rolled, what my obligations were, it was easy to start placing my workouts into my allotted time.

Morning was it for me.  I rolled out of bed and into my exercise clothes.  For years it was getting kids off to school, then getting after it. Many mornings, I was up earlier to get it done while people were still sleeping. Now everyone is bigger and gets off to work and school without my help, I can adjust my time back a little more.

funny-exercise-quote

Not only do I get it done, I feel so energetic and SO accomplished getting a good workout in. It sets the tone for my day. When I don’t get to do it, honestly, now it makes me feel “off” and out of sorts.

I guess that’s a good place for me to be now haha

Has it taken discipline to do this? You bet it has. Has it taken time and consistency to train myself into this new “habit”? That goes without saying. But that discipline has also carried over into other areas of my life so I view that as a win/win thing.

So, my challenge to you dear reader, is this.

If you find yourself in this place I’d encourage you to sit down and really look at your week, your activities, appointments etc.

Then consider your daily strengths. Are you a morning person or do you hit your stride more midday or does the evening bring you to life?

Based on your strengths and your daily activities, where do you need to put your “you time”?

Some days might require a little more creative planning. That’s ok. That’s life.

There are occasional days in my life that feel like a runaway train and it just doesn’t happen. I will tell you though, those days are very rare. Again, it all comes back to the fact this has become a disciplined habit for me now.

You have the same 24 hours every day. You really do have time for purposeful exercise to support your busy daily life. It’s up to you to creatively plan and make it happen.

You can do it… and will feel so accomplished when you do =)

Tell me, have you done time management to get your workouts in?

 

The Delicious Habit Of Exercise

Hello World !

Wow.. I can say that and mean it literally =)  Ok so I figured I’ve been posting this week on habits and how important they are to our success in living a healthy lifestyle, I figured I’d end the week talking about another important habit we need to build in our lives.

Exercise.

OK stop… I hear your collective sighs and groans and gnashing of teeth.

You hate to exercise. It’s hard. You sweat. Your heart beats fast and your muscles protest. Your thighs rub together in an uncomfortable way. You have sweat trickling down in areas you don’t think it belongs. You think you’re dying.

Good. You’re doing it right.

I’d have to say when I talk with people, alongside wrestling with food choices, exercise is a hard thing for people to develop a habit for.

Why? ‘Cause it’s hard and almost everyone will find something else to do besides that.

I think personally, the most important thing you can do to guarantee you stay with it is find THE thing that you love to do… then become an expert on it.  If you are passionate about what you do, you will stay with it.

I usually hear… ” I can’t run” or ” I hate running” because people know it’s what I do and what I’m passionate about. I remind them it’s fine to run… if they want to… if they don’t.. then please… don’t.

I also think it’s great to have a couple things you enjoy that keeps you from getting bored and allows you to change things up.

Being injured these past few months has kept me from running much, therefore, I’ve spent lots of time on my bike. I have loved it and it’s given me an outlet for not being able to run. I have days I’m inside and do strength training. I love having choices and enjoy them all.

Each one of these activities have developed because 1) I enjoy them 2) I’ve repeatedly practiced them.

Exercise isn’t just a weight loss tool and shouldn’t be viewed as just such. Yes, when we eat right with exercise, the natural outcome is weight loss.

But our bodies need movement for overall health and wellness. Exercise offers mental clarity and can reduce blood pressure and improve other health issues.  Not only that it can produce overall feelings of well being.

Why wouldn’t you wanna make that a life habit ??

Like anything, it requires persistence, and a certain amount of stubbornness to make it happen on a daily basis.

In my opinion, habits are built on a determination to change something in our life… good or bad.

The common “reason” I hear for people not exercising is … time. Listen, if you have time to do anything in your day, you have time for exercise too.

I know that mornings are my best time to get it done for a variety of reasons. First, nothing feels better and more energizing than having a workout done and tackling my day. I also know mornings will be my most successful time to make it happen for sure. If I say ” Oh, I’ll do it after dinner” I know there’s a huge probability it might not happen. There’s to much going on. People are awake and want things from me. I don’t feel as perky. The list can go on….

I do have a HUGE amount of control on when I get up in the morning to making that happen.

When my husband was unexpectedly hospitalized several years ago, I’d get up at 5:30, head out to do some strength training, finish up by the time the kids were waking up for school, get cleaned up, put them on the bus, and head to hospital.

I needed that time for myself. It helped keep me sane in difficult days.

Exercise at that point was a need and a habit for me. It’s more so now.

I’ve gotten up at 5:30 midweek to knock out a 10 mile run before the critters had to get out for school. Yes, I had to make adjustments and schedule it, but hey, I do that with anything else in my life too.

I read an interesting comment in a running article I was reading. Although it was talking about running I immediately identified it as applicable to exercise in general.

“It takes about three weeks of running at least three days per week to get to the point where missing a workout triggers a sense of withdrawal, which increases desire to be more consistent. ” (emphasis mine)

I get that. I get twitchy if I miss a day, and it’s worse with two. But sometimes, life happens.  I don’t mind feeling that sense of withdrawal because it keeps me hungry for doing it. But what those three days in article means is, they are making it a habit they can’t do without, conditioning themselves to making it feel normal.

So how do you begin to build this in your life ?

Identify what  your best time of day is to get it done. Morning? Evening? Early afternoon before kids descend on you again ? Figure it out.

 Now….put it on your planner. I literally make appts around my workout schedule. Make it fit in your day.

Mark a starting day ( soon!) that you know you will get it going.

Perhaps you go buy some new shoes for your activity with the plans to start the following week ? Some new clothes ( I always look forward to the next run when I get new gear 😉

Start small and keep it maintainable. As you keep those commitments look at how you can challenge yourself and increase what you’re doing.

Allow yourself no excuses (other than valid ones like injury or a day that goes wildly out of your control)

Reward yourself in non-food ways.

With a little planning, a positive attitude, and a determination to make exercise a part of your life, it will become your new favorite habit =)