It seems lately that I plan workouts and then blow them off, typically coming up with a fancy excuse for not working out. “I’ve had a hard day and resting would be better for me than working out.” “The plantar fasciitis in my right foot is acting up, so best to rest it.” “I have been so productive doing x, y, z instead of working out, so it was worth it to skip my exercise time.” You see where I’m going here. I am quite good at coming up with perfectly reasonable excuses not to work out, and sure, everyone makes the choice to not workout from time to time, but my workout avoidance has been more consistent than my workouts have been lately, and that’s just crazy.
In my last post, I talked about how I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately, and, if I recall correctly, the stats show that women in particular will start to dump their workouts out of their schedules when they’re busy, prioritizing their kids, homes, work, before their workouts. Totally understandable: that’s the life I live, too. It’s not easy to put your fitness first, even when logically you know that you will have more energy, a healthier (and likely longer) life, and are setting a good example for your kids. Maybe, for me, it’s like yoga: workout consistency is a practice.
I’m not going to make some sort of delayed New Year’s Resolution and vow to nail my workouts from this day forward. That would be adding to the overwhelmed feeling I’m been dealing with. My strategy instead is this:
- Continue with my daily yoga practice. Since January 1st, I have practiced yoga daily, varying my practice to fit my schedule and needs. I’ve gone to hot yoga classes, yoga’d along to Yoga with Adriene You Tube videos, and sometimes simply spent time in a couple of poses in my bed when that’s all I felt would fit into my day. I have listened to my body and mind and I’ve done what felt good to me.
- Set aside time in my schedule for my workouts. Easy enough to do. The execution is what I’ve had trouble with. Still, just because I’ve had trouble following my schedule doesn’t mean that I should give up trying to make time for exercise. This is part of workout consistency as a practice.
- Prepare alternatives. The daily yoga has been working for me because I’ve been listening to my mind and body and going ahead with what feels right to me. It’s January in Saskatchewan, and while it’s been absolutely lovely lately (above freezing, even, which is a far cry from the usual -30 with the wind chill), mornings are dark, evenings are dark, and the sidewalks alternate between icy and sloppy. Going out for a walk/run has been less than appealing. Still, I have been professing that I want to run, and for me, running doesn’t happen easily. It requires a walk/run approach and slow progression. And, yes, consistency. Having said that, I am officially giving myself permission to stray from the schedule I set out, listen to my mind and body, and do what feels good, whether that means fitting in a 15 minute run/walk instead of a 50 minute workout, or jumping on the stationary bike in front of Netflix instead of going outside. Part of the deal, though, is that I still have to do something, and yes, my daily yoga practice counts.
- Be curious. What excuses am I making for not working out? Why did the time I scheduled for my workout not work? What workouts am I choosing to do? What’s working and what’s not? Take the opportunity to listen to what’s going on in my mind and body.
- Mix it up and make it fun. Sure, routine can be good, but my same-ol’-same-ol’ playlist is getting old and my running route is getting boring. It’s time to shake up my iPod, find a different direction to run, and maybe download that zombie running app that I’ve heard about. I will watch The Walking Dead yet again while I stationary bike, because I love it and for no other reason, and I’ll keep trying different yoga classes. I will remember to smile at the sunset or whenever I feel joy rise in my heart during a workout, and I will sing along to my playlists if I feel like it.
- Be prepared for workouts. Sometimes the hardest part of starting a workout is getting the gear together. I will do my best to pick out my gear and lay it out or pack it up the day before, especially if the time I’ve set aside for my workout is in the morning or right after work.
Practicing workout consistency is going to take planning, a willingness to be curious about what’s going on in my mind, and a commitment to listening to my body. Basically, it’s all about me.