Has the steady slew of holiday events started to take it's toll on your workouts or eating yet?
While it's easy to believe that falling off the wagon is just par for the course this time of year and that you'll pick things back up in January- this doesn't have to be your story.
Benjamin Franklin must have had this in mind when he said, "Don't put off until tomorrow what you you can do today".
You have the ability to decide you will do with the moments you are given, and you are constantly making choices that either take effort to make happen, or that you allow to happen so that you don't have to make as much of an effort.
I became a dedicated exerciser when I was 13 years old and joined the cross country team. By that following summer I was hooked and was running consistently on my own...for fun.
Since that time I have had my ups and downs with my connection to consistency and workouts, so I have become a student of what makes my own ability (and that of others) to stick to their regimen remain a constant, even when life gets chaotic.
The number one thing I know for sure about what keeps me going back to working out even when I don't feel like it is that I appreciate workouts more for what they do to my heart and soul than what they do for my physical body. For this reason I pick workouts that challenge me, connect me to my heart, and that lift up my spirits. Tai chi has been a new thing for me and I absolutely love it!
Second, to ensure I get my time in to move I have to stay organized and intentional about scheduling time to do it. If I wait until I want to or until I might have time, the moment is never right or something always gets in the way. The additional benefit is that when you commit to a specific routine you know exactly what to do when, where, and with whomever you can find to hold you accountable.
Third, successful worker-outers follow a prescribed and specific routine. There's no guessing or wondering what might feel good that day. Here's an example of a great workout week: Monday is running and core, Tuesday is yoga, Wednesday is running and lower body body, Thursday is Yoga, and Saturday is a long run plus upper body.
Fourth, people who workout consistently identify with being an athlete or at least athletic. Movement is simply a part of who they are in the world, not just something they do. This is about their mindset or belief in themselves. They don't need other people to justify it, but they do love to be acknowledged for their dedication to move.
So what's the point twiddling your thumbs and waiting for one of the best parts of your day to begin?
Movement is more than exercise, it is a way to take care of your needs so you can share your love and overflow to create a ripple effect of generosity. (This is on the Restoration Fitness Manifesto you can access here or see below).
I challenge you to do some sort of movement every day for the next 5 days. Send me a pic of your activity on Facebook and I'll send you a workout video to do at home over the holidays!!
I'm with you every step of the way!
P.S. I am putting the final touches on my Holiday Gift to you. I promise you this one is going to a game changer!! Be on the look out next week for how you can get yours.
OK. The easy answer here is to simply tell you to bundle up, tough it out, get outside and do what you always do. Which is a great suggestion. However, here's a few ways to kick it up a notch:
- Find some hills or (even a mountain) and walk or jog up as fast as you can. Stop every 10 minutes to take some pictures of the beautiful snow. Or...drag your sled along and enjoy the ride back down!
- Revive your playlist. Nothing gets a person going more than a good ol' beat. Here's a great top 50 song list from 2011.
- Try something new. Your body has to work harder to try something it has never done. Find a new class, pull out that dusty workout video, find some great short workouts on YouTube, or perhaps test out some of your kids stuff in the garage!
- Use big movements that combine upper and lower body: When you perform and activity with both your upper and your lower body, one that we call "complex" it increases the demand on both your muscular and cardiovascular system. Things like a squat to an overhead press or a Lunge with a Bicep curl are great choice.
- Insert Power or Plyometric exercises into your circuit: Moving with high speed and force- especially when you have to get the weight of your body off the ground, requires a ton of energy and w ill get your heart pumping and your muscles burning! We love squat jumps, lump jumps, and bounding up the stairs!
- Turn up the sex appeal. This one may be a little out there for some of you- but rather than thinking of your workout as a way to stay slim, think of it as a way to help you feel more sexy. Dance a little, shake that booty, sing in the mirror, belly dance- heck...try a little pole dancing. You aren't on candid camera, so let it loose!
Most importantly , get your body up and do it. It's easy to use a snow day as an excuse- but why not reframe the cold temps as the perfect reason to turn up the heat on your exercise routine!
When I say "strategic" things like accounting, business development, or college planning come to mind. What doesn't come to mind is when I will work out, what I will do, and for how long will I commit to the workout. Still, most of us plan our vacations better than we plan the day to day things that could have more meaning and add more fun to our daily existence. Too often we drudge our way from one to do item to the next without stepping back and really thinking about what will make our lives more exciting and meaningful. We regress into a state of just getting by and letting life happen. Unfortunately, entropy will only ensure that if we allow ourselves to constantly go with the flow, our health may just flow right out the window. Never in my life have I had to engage in so much planning to get anything done. That includes my workouts, or even just a quick stroll with my 4 month old twins. Last Friday I had the liberty of rejoining the morning Fitness Fire classes that we offer at Restoration Fitness. All I could think the whole time I was there was, I feel so incredibly privileged to get to workout out, and OMG, am I gonna be sore! It felt incredible to be back in a high energy atmosphere working out with people I love. I was motivated, inspired, and energized. I was also sore for 6 straight days. It would be easy for me to complain about the soreness, the time it took, how out of shape I feel, how I would rather have had more sleep, but to tell you the truth- it doesn't even occur to me. I showed up anxious to finally get to do something for MY body. The hard part is committing to do it again and again when a schedule constantly changes and my energy ebbs and flows.
It just so happens I also just finished reading an exceptional business book by Chuck Blakeman about strategic planning. It got me thinking- What if we all strategically planned our workouts so they actually got done and we could really look forward to them? One of the reasons I believe in fitness coaching and training so much is that it helps you do just that...just like a financial planner helps you with your financial assets, we help you with you health assets.
So, in a nutshell, I thought I would give you a little tutorial about how to strategically plan your workouts based on how we do things here:
1) Get a clear picture of WHY you are doing this. You won't get far if the only reason is to fit into your jeans. One of my underlying reasons is that I am simply a better person when I workout. Everything about me is better: my mood, energy, attitude, physical appearance, stamina, and much more. I can tell within days if I haven't worked out because I get crabby. I am no fun to live with if I am crabby. Just ask my husband (or my mom for that matter).
2) Choose some specific goals and put a date on when you will achieve them. Nothing sets your body and mind in action than a deadline you can see in the not so distant future.
3) Get accountability. This step is probably one of the most crucial. Tell everyone about what you are doing. Spread your excitement by talking to people, asking questions, blogging, logging your workouts and food (Get a free copy of our food and exercise log sheet here), workout with a friend, or get accountability with your trainer. The regular conversations and opportunity to trouble shoot where you are and what is going on will help you in the day to day grind of making changes.
4) Get your workouts planned and on the calendar. You can find workouts online, or you can make them up...but the preferred and easiest method is to simply have the experts write them for you. We make sure you are doing balanced exercises that keep you pain free and progress your exercise so you don't have to go through the 6 days of soreness like I did (and I did it knowingly and willingly!) Once you know what you are going to do between weight training, cardio, or yoga, put the specific times on your calendar and treat them like a sacred appointment. It's not just you whom you are letting down when you skip...you are letting down your accountability group as well! Here is a sample of how we change up our sets and reps every 4-6 weeks to progress our clients and keep their muscles growing!
Month 1: 1-3 sets of 15 reps
Month 2: 2-4 sets of 10 reps
Month 3: 2-3 sets of 12 reps
Month 4: A combination of 2-4 sets of 10 reps and 1-2 sets of 20 reps for speed.
As for cardio: Consider doing intervals for 15-30 minutes starting with 1 minute hard. and 90s easy. Then start reducing your rest time. Once you get better at these, start reducing your effort to 45 or 30 seconds hard, and give yourself equal rest. Remember to push yourself to a high intensity for maximum benefit!
5) Check in regularly for milestones along the way: Re-time your mile, get your circumference measured every 4 weeks, see how many more push-ups you can do. As long as you choose something that can be measured, it will help you see how far you are coming even if when you look in the mirror you are not seeing as much change as you thought you would.
Most of all, remember that your body is not to be taken for granted. Keep yourself a a priority, and your health will reward you!