Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday Tip: How to fit in fitness

 It’s 5:47AM.  It is dark outside and warm under the covers.  The alarm clock goes off.  I hate it.  I’d like to hit snooze until tomorrow.  But I don’t. I get up, put on my shorts, sneakers and a shirt that just might be backwards because I’m so tired.  Then I head out the door.  Why?  To run.
Why?  Because it’s good for me.  It keeps me in shape, let’s me eat cake and is as good for my head as it is for my body.  But really why?  Why don’t I hit snooze and plan to go for a run at lunch or maybe after work?   Two reasons.  First, I know if I don’t go now, I won’t go at all.  Second and more importantly, because my friends are waiting.  And they are tired too.  And while I might leave them hanging for a bit when I’m late for book club or the occasional girls night out, I will not leave them hanging in dark at 6AM.  
Over time, I've learned how – and when – to fit in fitness and since I was just recently asked how I do it, here are five simple tips that will hopefully have you lacing up your sneakers and heading out the door… ideally with your shirt on the right way!
1.    Set a goal.  I’m sure you’ve heard this before but I’m here to tell you that it works.  Having a goal to work toward is a great motivator.  Maybe you’d like to run a 5K or lose five pounds or fit into your favorite pair of old jeans.  Whatever it is, pick your goal and get started.  For me, it was running a half-marathon this past March.  Training wasn’t easy during a winter of record-setting snow and ice storms but I did it; knowing that I had 13 miles to contend with kept me going.  It wasn’t always fun but, the sense of pride when I crossed the finish line was well worth it… as was fitting into my old jeans!
2.    Grab a buddie.  With a kindergartener, 2nd grader and three pre-schoolers at home, the notion of a buddy system is near and dear to me. When you have a buddy by your side, you’re less likely to give up, more likely to show up and have a built-in support system.  Whether it’s running, Zumba, walking, weights, Step or Spinning, it will be more fun with a friend by your side. So go grab a gal pal and if you’re as lucky as I am, you can combo your exercise with some girl talk and just might find that you have “solutions before sunrise” – something we recently realized is an added perk of our early morning runs.
3.    Mix it up.  I used to belong to a gym.  I used to take classes at lunchtime and on Saturday mornings.  Now I usually eat lunch at my desk so I can dash home in time to make dinner and Saturday mornings are for soccer practice.  When I had the luxury of a gym membership, I’d take different classes all the time; it was challenging and rewarding, mentally and physically.  Now that I’ve lost the luxury of time (and the money I spent at the gym is now spent on PullUps and soccer cleats), I have to find other ways to keep it fresh, to prevent the burnout that can lurk around the next corner.  This fall, I hope to find time for a weekly yoga class (wish me luck!) and I’ve started to explore new terrain with new tunes when I’m running solo.  Small changes can keep a workout interesting and ensure that when fitness fatigue sets in, you resist the urge to hit that snooze button!
4.    Put it on your calendar.  Ideally with one of those annoying 15 minute reminders you can’t ignore.  You wouldn’t miss a dentist appointment, pre-school conference, soccer practice or ballet lesson, would you?  Well, treat your newfound commitment to fitness the same way – as an important obligation that’s not to be missed.  After all, that’s exactly what it is. 
5.    Just do it.  I hate to say it, but the good folks at Nike had it right when they came up with this one.  Stop making excuses, get off your rump, get up and go! No matter how tired you are, you’ll always feel better, never regret it and will undoubtedly be pleased with the results!

1 comment:

Tragic Sandwich said...

I find that accomplishment goals work best for me, whether big or small--it can be competing in a specific race, or it can be snowshoeing to the summit on that trail we always go on.

Time is my issue. I have a one-hour commute in each direction, so I'm already getting up at 5:30 to get me and Baguette out the door by 6:45.