How often do you plan to work out after work and end up sucked into the vortex of your couch instead? Or the reverse… How often do you set a 5:15am alarm for that 6am cycle class and snooze your alarm until it’s too late?
The final segment in this series, on understanding your time tendencies, is about my 3rd coaching pillar of MOVE MORE. In addition to moving regularly throughout your day, it is healthy to find a time of day that works best for your workouts. Some cannot fathom running or lifting a heavy weight at 6am and others can’t imagine having to muster up the energy to do so after work. Think back to the question in my first post of this blog series that asked, “If you could choose any time of day to work out when would it be?”
Consider your answer to this question along with your schedule. I know, I know. Your schedule is busy. Let’s go back to that list of priorities you made in the second post of this series (if you didn’t, now is a great time to click here and check it out). Did you include a desired priority that has anything to do with your health or your physical fitness? If so, allow your schedule to reflect that. Prioritizing your physical fitness means that sometimes you have to make small sacrifices – dry shampoo needs to do the trick, you have to skip happy hour, etc. – but I can promise you that none of these sacrifices are bigger than feeling uncomfortable in your own skin, only wishing you could run that 5k but never doing it, or hearing words from your doctor that you don’t want to hear.
So you’re on board to prioritize your workouts? Great, let’s game plan.
Depending on your preference of workout and time tendencies, check your gym’s class schedule or simply choose the time the you will go for a run, take a long walk, lift weights at the gym, etc. If you are someone who struggles with accountability, find a trainer to work with at your desired hour or a regular class to attend. Better yet, make friends in class who will encourage you to show up for your sweat session!
Once you have your workout time chosen, determine what you need to have prepared to make that work with your schedule. Do you need to pack a bag so you can get ready for work at the gym or leave it in your trunk for after work? Do you need dry shampoo to make your hair look decent for a quick turnaround to the next thing on your agenda? As silly as these details may sound, think through them! Preparing for your workout will give you no excuse to skip out.
Understand that the first week or two of settling into a new workout schedule is an adjustment. Know that you will have days when the last thing you want to do is break a sweat. You will have days when your alarm will go off and it will take every ounce of motivation to keep yourself from hitting the snooze button. You will get off work and just nearly miss the exit to your gym, debating if you really havveeeeee to goooooooo. It’s ok to experience these things. It’s not ok to give up. This is for you.
My best motivator is sometimes just thinking of the feeling of endorphins washing over my body post-workout, knowing I did something good for my health. Give it a try 😉 Another great motivator is to treat yourself after 3 consistent weeks of sticking with your workout regimen. That means you first must determine your plan with specific details, such as, “I will strength train 3 times a week for 30 minutes”, “I will attend yoga class 4 times a week,” etc. Make sure the details are clear, so you cannot cheat yourself in favor of rewarding yourself at the end. If you stick to 3 consistent weeks, treat yourself to that over-priced workout tank you’ve been drooling over, have an evening out with your friends or whatever else brings a smile to your face 🙂
Finally, have a back up plan. Things won’t always go as planned, no matter how detailed you calendar is. Some mornings you may have to prioritize a work presentation or a sick family member over running in the crisp morning air. Prepare for these moments by remembering that all the little choices add up, so opting for 10 minutes of stretching that evening may be the movement that is right for your body and schedule that day. Something is better than nothing, so choosing to do something short and sweet is a far better option than throwing in the towel. On days like these, I always like taking my dog for an extra long walk, foam rolling in my apartment or fitting in a quick workout in what I refer to as my “baby gym” aka my apartment gym.
Your body will thank you for prioritizing it through the chaos and the calm of this journey called life.