A few weeks ago I joined a new gym, had my metabolic rate tested, and had a cardio plan to follow. Over the years, I've followed various fitness regimens and can reflect back on how they meshed with my schedule, how I felt, and if they would fit in my life now.
Right now, back pain and the desire to lean out are having a tug-o-war with my body. I'm seeing my chiropractor twice a week, but also taking it easy. I would rather workout 1-2 times a week (instead of 5) until I rebuild some strength than overdo it and be stuck on the sidelines.
It's better to build up from where you are.
Part of me wanted to muscle through the pain. Part of me knew if I did that, it would hurt to just sit, let alone go about my day. But this back pain "excuse" (reason) was twisted by Hardcore Bailey into a wimpy bail-out for not going to the gym in the morning.
I was struggling with the evening giddies and morning moans. What's that?
You eat a healthy dinner, do the dishes, kick your feet up and pull up Pinterest on your iPad. The fitness pins catch your eye and you start pinning pinning pinning. You're going to do that new ab workout at the gym tomorrow. You've been
Fast forward to 7am the next morning. You just want to roll back over and go back to sleep. You would even rather head into work early. What happened to that motivated kid from yesterday?
The most important step of a fitness plan is DOING IT.
Planning is the first step, but even if you got into the gym to walk on the treadmill 3 days a week (sans planning), you'd start noticing changes in your motivation, eating habits, and interest in learning more about fitness.
At the foundation of your fitness plan, you want to look at
All three of these aspects can be revisited to modify and improve your adherence. Because again - the most important step of your fitness plan (not matter how well-crafted) is to do it.
Wake up earlier.
I was waking up at 7am to get to the gym by 8am. Every morning for about 2 weeks, I felt like I was depriving my body of sleep - I just needed one more hour. I got to the gym only 2 mornings in that 2 weeks.
Last Sunday, planning out my week, I felt stressed. I felt like I didn't have enough time in the morning to tackle my to do list before I went to work. I decided I would get up an hour earlier (Hey, I used to get up at 4am during residency, so 6am doesn't sound so bad...). To my surprise the next morning, I hopped right out of bed at 6am, ready to go. Zero grogginess. 100% motivated to start my day off with a sweat.
If you enjoy working out in the morning but feel like your body is crying out for more sleep when you roll out of bed - try waking up an hour earlier.
Strike a bargain.
My devil's advocate is Queen of Excuses. Which is ironic since I disdain excuses. However, when it comes to working out, I typically wake up mid-week (like for my base runs on Wednesdays) and think - I worked out the past 2 days. I can rest today. My back sort of hurts. My feet hurt. It'll be fine if I don't go. I'll still go tomorrow (By the way, once you break a habit streak, it's broken!).
Well, real Bailey knows how to bargain with the Queen. She says - get up, get dressed, and drive to the gym. Start your workout. If you don't feel well, you can hop off the treadmill and drive home. If you just don't want to be there, wrap it up and drive home. No one is keeping you hostage at the gym, saying "You've got to finish your cardio before you can go home." (If they are, you should find a new gym.)
You'll be surprised that 90% of the time, you'll fall into your fitness groove and enjoy the sweat session. For the 10% of the time you really don't feel well, or may be exacerbating a strain into an injury, you'll still be glad you tried. Mental strength is important, too.
What challenges do you face when it comes to following through with your fitness goals?
a blog about health, wellness, nutrition, and fitness from an epidemiologist / dietitian with personal trainer experience
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