I've been pondering on what to share here on my...post this week, and I decided that since this is the beginning of a new challenge, some of you may be struggling with putting together an exercise plan. You may even be wondering how in the world you can fit 45 minutes of exercise into your already over-scheduled and busy day. I want you to know that you are not alone. Making the time for exercise is hard - and sometimes it's much easier to say "there isn't time," "I'm too tired" or "it's selfish to take that time for myself." I have said those things before (I almost convinced myself of the "too tired" one last night). It's all about priorities and making the decision ahead of time that you WILL workout - no excuses!!!
I have a real LOVE-HATE relationship with exercise. I LOVE how I feel after a good hard workout. But, for the most part, I HATE actually doing the workout. I know, it's a little counterintuitive. You would think that the rush of endorphins that relieves my stress, clears my mind and fills me with self-confidence would be enough to get me springing out of bed at the butt-crack of dawn eager to "feel the burn." And, that used to almost be true. A year or so ago, I could set my alarm for 5 am, get up and really enjoy the peace of working out with NO ONE bothering me. Lately, that's not happening. I'm not sure if I'm just getting older, lazier or if it's because I now work at nights, but I can barely roll out of bed in time to throw some bread in the toaster, butter it and shove my kids out the front door to catch the bus at 7:35 am. It's a little ridiculous, and I've had a hard time convincing myself that doing it later in the morning while my 2 year old watches Yo Gabba Gabba is okay (this may have something to do with having to listen to that most annoying of children's shows for 45 minutes!)
The other problem with working out later in the day is…I have soooo much more time to make excuses for why I am too busy or too tired to do it. In order to combat that negativity, I've made a list of the reasons why I HAVE to find the time and the energy to make it happen AT LEAST 5 days a week. Here are my reasons…
1. I like how it makes me feel (see above, stress relief, mental clarity, self-confidence).
2. It gives me energy to face the responsibilities of running a household, helping to raise 4 kids, working nights and being a wife. It must be those awesome endorphins I mentioned earlier!
3. It improves my mood - DRASTICALLY. Don't tell my husband, but I know it's not completely selfless when he says, "Hey, Valerie, I've got the kids under control here, do you want to go for a run?"
4. I feel the need to contribute to my team. I'm motivated by guilt (which is why these competitions work for me) and I can't handle the shame associated with losing 7 points for my team due to personal laziness.
5. I signed up to run a half marathon in April, and I'm planning to do a sprint Triathlon in June and an Olympic Tri in July. I've also been researching a 60 mile bike race in Boise this summer. When there is an entrance fee involved, I want to feel like I've made the most of my money - so I train.
6. It makes me feel STRONG! I like the feeling that, "if I can run 10 miles today, I can do ANYTHING today (or tomorrow)!"
7. Sometimes it's FUN!!! I started biking last summer, and I LOVE IT!!! Apparently a good bike makes a HUGE difference. (Now if I could just get it off the trainer and back outside). I also really enjoy playing basketball, and occasionally I find a little joy in a good long run.
8. It simply MUST be done.
One of the best ways to ensure I get my exercise is to plan to do it with a friend. I exercise with someone else (Dianne) at least twice a week (sometimes 3 times a week), and I play basketball and volleyball on Wednesday nights. That really only leaves me 1 or 2 days a week that I have to force (motivate) myself to do it alone!! Those are the days I use "the list!" I highly recommend you make your own list for those days when you need the extra incentive to hit the gym, the treadmill, the pool, etc. Feel free to share your motivators below!! How do you work it into your busy schedules? When is your favorite time to exercise? What are your ideas for putting together a fitness plan for this week's bonus? I'd LOVE to hear your suggestions!!
P.S. My husband reminded me that one of my personal goals (not his) is for me to feel confident and comfortable enough with my body to wear a bikini. (I chose not to include that in the list above because it's more of a perk, not a motivator).
Article originally posted on March 14, 2013