Not everyday is going to go as planned.
You forget your gym clothes.
You have to work late.
The new lasagna recipe you tried for supper upsets your son’s stomach and you get to see your masterpiece for a second time.
These are not the circumstances I’m talking about.
I’m referring to your weekly, monthly, and yearly routines.
You know, the amount of times you intentionally move the body. How would the last 6 months look on an exercise audit? Be honest with yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty here. I know the knee jerk reaction is, “I should be doing more.”
Maybe. Maybe not.
I’m trying to get you to stand back and give a honest, fair and accurate evaluation of your fitness level. Is that level improving, declining or staying consistent? For now, leaving out the other aspects that contribute to health ( food, rest, personal fulfillment, etc.)
If you are trying to shave 60 seconds off the marathon time of 3 months ago then you can stop reading now. This is not meant for you. I’m not talking about the pro athletes who walk or glide amongst us. Sure, you guys are missing workouts too but pro and semi pro athletes tend to have systems in place which help with compliance.
I’m referring to those of us (and that includes me) who will skip a workout because they don’t “feel like it” today. This may not be a legitimate reason – but it is an excuse. Sometimes its an appropriate excuse, but many times it’s not, especially when habitual.
Lets try this little quiz: Yes or No answers
- You missed planned workouts in last month
- Missed 3 or more workouts in last month
- You found an excuse to miss a workout in last month
- Your fitness level has declined in last month
- Was there less than 8 intentional exercise sessions last month
If you answered yes to 3 or more of these then its may be time to shift gears and some motivation may be needed. Checkout out this article I wrote that should give some guidance.
If you scored 3 or less on that questionnaire but feel you miss too many workouts then what is plan B?
Need an Option B
Having an option B in your back pocket is resourceful. Option B doesn’t have to be a guided exercise class or a treadmill facing concrete in the garage. Option B could be walking your dog for the second time that day. Finding a grassy hill near your house to do a few sprints. Just doing part of your program at home would be sufficient. You don’t always have to do your prescribed program of 30 sets for example. Take half of those exercises and perform them in your living room. Just do body weight exercises. Go to the local pool. Walk around the block. Ride your bike. If you’re travelling and you need weights then stack rocks.
“Waste of Time”
If you do take a pass on the gym or whenever your regular workout happens don’t try to necessarily replicate the intensity. Its not a “waste of time” if you aren’t soaked in sweat and unable to walk. Don’t fall for the assumption every workout needs to be Olympian in nature. Every workout doesn’t need to make you sore. Every workout shouldn’t make you feel exhausted (actually very few if any should).
I tend to ask clients what they did as kids for activity or enjoyment. I get answers like riding my bike, skating, swimming. There’s no reason not to use those same activities as an adult for the purpose of movement. Reverting back to activity and a time period where responsibilities and stressors were much less can be very therapeutic. Usually you’re not watching the seconds tick down like being on cardio equipment.
Write it Down
Writing your goals down has been shown to improve success rates by 42%!
Write up a contract with a workout partner/friend preferably one who is more motivated than you. Put a reward in place with that person. “If both of you get xx amount of workouts in before this date then you will take that trip you’ve talked about or movie without the kids. You see my point. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or pricey but it can be a friendly competition and very rewarding (even to the loser).
Hire a trainer. Speaking first hand I know a number of my clients who have me solely for motivation and accountability. If you have an appointment in your calendar you are more likely to make it. Make it like you would a hair or dental appointment.
Use a fitness app. These apps are truly beneficial. They give reminders when you should be exercising and you can track calories easily.
Make a bet with someone or yourself,
“I promise myself that I’m going to exercise _____ per week for a total od ____ in month. I f I don’t accomplish this I send an already sealed cheque of ____ dollars to ______ political party.
This self contract works well with substitution of ex spouse or disliked sports team. You get the idea. Make the amount enough to legitimately make you cringe if you have to send.
I’m not the type of trainer that thinks an occasional missed workout is sinful. Sometimes throwing the anchor out on the couch is exactly what’s needed. But like I mentioned earlier – be honest with yourself. If you feel mentally and physically that the tanks are empty then it is time for a modified version of side planks on the couch. However, if it’s a case of, “I don’t feel like it today,” then a little more resolve may be needed.
Lets be honest, not everyone likes exercising. Truthfully, most people don’t. This partially explains why roughly only 22% of people of actually exercise routinely. This is why I mentioned do something you enjoy.
I can’t stress how important movement is. Watching clients the last 23 years I can honestly say those clients who move the least have the most tightness, pain and /or discomfort. I don’t care how big your bank account is but if you live in pain and discomfort – life is not as fun.
My guess is the majority of those reading have jobs where sitting is commonplace. These are the people who need that movement the most. I’m not in the group who thinks sitting is the new smoking. However, If you are a nurse or construction worker or similar where its physically demanding then a walk or stroll may still be beneficial but likely on a mental level primarily.
Just move. Start small if needed. Get you heart rate elevated somewhat, or a lot and move.
Enjoy the journey.