October 3rd and 4th – “are strong days, so see if you can exceed your normal effort.”

Who likes to do crunches? No one. Well, no one that I’ve ever known. I know people who like yoga, dance, running, lifting weights, boxing, but no one loves to work on their abs. It’s difficult, not fun, and takes a long time to feel or see any results. It’s like a bottomless pit of exercise.

For the last two days, I pretended that those challenges didn’t exist for me. Yes, sometimes I lie to myself into order to get things done. Don’t we all? Anyone who tells you that they NEVER lie, are DEFINITELY lying. We’re all imperfect people, so unless you’re a robot or a cat, it’s impossible not to lie (especially to yourself!).

I decided to get up extra early so I couldn’t make any excuses. To keep myself interested, I did a variety of exercises:

Standing Kicks

Standing Side Crunch

Lunging Twist Crunch

Planks and plank crunch

Full Sit Ups

I have taken ab classes at the gym before, so I know there are plenty more moves I can do next time.

At the end of the day, I rewarded myself with a couple of maple leaf cookies. They are REALLY REALLY good! I can taste the maple syrup in the super creamy filling. It’s AMAZING!  I hope to recreate these at in my oven one day.

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October 1st to 2nd  – “Do a short run or walk on the 1st. If feeling lackluster, know that the 2nd will be better.

I forgot to read my horoscope until the end of the day, so I didn’t get any exercise on the 1st. Ugh! I already missed 2 days before that which means I missed 3 days in a row! Noooo!

One habit I try to stick to is to not skip exercising for more than 2 days in a row. I count walking (at least 3 miles at a time) as exercise as well, so it’s usually not hard too follow. I find that when I do miss 2 days, it is more difficult to get back into the swing of things. It’s easy to start coming up a variety of excuses as to why I can’t make my work out happen, and I know that I’m not alone in this!

I know many people who struggle with getting into a regular exercise schedule. The most common reason I hear is, “I don’t have time.” The reality is that it’s rarely a real time issue, but rather, a commitment issue. Some days I do commit to exercise, other days, I don’t. I could use the time excuse, but it’s pretty hard to convince myself that I had to spend two hours binge watching The Real Housewives (I have a love hate relationship with reality TV that I’ll tell you about later).

Despite the 3 day break filled with afternoon naps and episode after episode of bad reality TV, September 2nd did go much better. My work horoscope instructed me to send out resumes that day so I spent the morning working on two applications. After submitting them it was easy to REWARD myself with a 5 mile jog and stretch my muscles outside. It’s amazing how quickly my perspective changed in the course of  24 hours and how well the 2 horoscopes worked together.

That’s another win-win for me and the horoscopes!

September 27th (part 1)– “motivation zooms” for your workout

Dare I say it? I’m not sure that I trust this horoscope! How can it guarantee that I’ll be motivated?

This is what I’ll do TODAY to get motivated for tomorrow:

  1. Leave my car at work and take the train. From the train station, I’ll walk 3.5 miles (or more). Tomorrow morning I’ll walk another 3.5 miles back to the train station. The cold air will wake me up!
  2. Do some extra stretches before going to bed
  3. Schedule a jog for tomorrow with my running buddy
  4. Sleep early so I can get up EXTRA early.

If you’re wondering why I am preparing for my work out tomorrow by doing extra exercise today, it’s to get the momentum going. If I go home, eat a big dinner, and lay around on the couch, will I really be motivated to get out of bed early the next day? Probably not. It sounds like a lot of effort to have to do a pre-workout before working out, but that’s actually what gets me excited to start the next day. If a little exercise can make me feel good, a more serious workout will make me feel GREAT!

This is also another variation of the small steps that life coaching advocates for. Once we remind ourselves that, “Hey, this isn’t as bad or difficult as I imagined,” we’re likely to give it another try. Expecting to achieve your goals without taking the necessary steps to get there is the equivalent of running a marathon without training for it. You’re very likely to fail!

You might think that I’m totally nuts with my exercise theory, but it has worked for me for over 20 years.  I didn’t grow up doing sports nor did I join any teams as an adult, but I’ve been lucky to have been able discipline myself. Throughout the years, I’ve had long periods (even months) where I didn’t do much, but I knew I would get back to it and I did.

The biggest challenge is to really want to do it. Sure, work out buddies and fancy gym memberships are great motivators, but what happens when that friend is sick or the gym is closed? If you have experienced addiction personally or know someone who’s gone through it, I think you can understand this: YOU have to want to do it. No one can change the way you feel or convince you to get help. It might be a time when you hit rock bottom, or just a day where you are tired of being tired. I know, I know, that’s not helpful if you can’t relate to that. However, the thing to remember is that once you do decide that exercise is important in your life, there are plenty of people and resources out there to help you.

If you are curious, I’ve shared some of my tips below. I eat, drink, and get sick just like anyone else. What I’ve come to learn is that it’s all in the timing. The key is to set myself up for success the day before. This means that when I commit to 1 day of exercise, I am really committing to 2 days.

  1. START EARLY – the earlier the better. The only people I know that can get a fitness routine going are people who do it at the beginning of the day, before they get distracted with the rest of life. That means you must PRIORITIZE fitness. On some weekends, I’ll even wake up, work out, have breakfast and go back to sleep.
  2. SLEEP and REST – If you haven’t gotten enough rest or are sick, DON’T push yourself. It puts extra strain on your body and will prevent you from recovering! This morning ,I slept in my car (outside my job) for 40 minutes because I didn’t get enough sleep, so there is no shame!
  3. EAT WELL the night before. Yes, I know, you should eat well all the time, but it’s especially important at night because your food is digesting while you sleep. Chocolate cupcakes makes it so hard to wake up the next morning!
  4. NO ALCOHOL OR DRUGS the night before. Do you honestly think you can get up tomorrow?
  5. AVOID CAFFEINE as a stimulant to boost your exercise. A caffeine high can help you feel energized and run like the speed of light, but you will pay for it the next day. It pushes your body beyond what you’re really capable of and you might injure yourself. It’s happened to me and it sucks!

You’ll notice that I don’t mention anywhere that you should deprive yourself. If you want to drink, go drink. If you want pizza, have pizza. It’s just not wise to do it the night before you plan to work out. =)