Making Your Personal Fitness A Priority
I've been talking a lot recently about making your nutrition a priority (See my two part blog on 'Why Diets Fail' & 'Why Diets Fail Pt.2'), so I feel like it's only necessary that I talk about making your fitness one as well. Life is busy. Life is also hard and complicated at times and we don't always understand why. But, in all of this chaos we can find a little bit of solace in the idea that you can control your destiny when it comes to working out.
"Your life can only change to the degree that you accept responsibility for it."
"I want to get fit, but I don't want to work for it." Those are some of the most common words that I hear. People always are looking for the quick fix, the magic pill. Well, unfortunately for you, I'm here to tell you that those things don't exist. There is no easy way out; if you want to change, you have to work for it. The same goes for your fitness. If you don't want to make time, you won't make time. So, how do we ensure that we make time?
Schedule your workouts.
This might sound like one of the most simple things to say, but put it on the calendar. Block out that time to get away from your office, your desk, your busy day. Set yourself reminders on your phone to stand up and take a lap around your office if you have to. Even better, sign up for a class that has a late cancellation policy. For me, when it comes down to deciding if I should go to a workout or not, I'm heavily motivated when I feel like money is on the line. $5 for a missed class? Well, I'm going then! I can guarantee you that I'll go because there's nothing worse for me than when I feel as though I've wasted money. Now, I understand that not everyone can afford to do this, and life does happen, but if you are someone like me, try it and see how motivated you truly are. I have never been disappointed in a workout that I went to.
Get off your phone.
This is a big one for me. With a hectic schedule, I find that if I'm not actively working on something, my first habit is to grab my phone. And check my email. Then, check Instagram. Then scroll through Facebook. Then suddenly, that hour that I had "scheduled" in my day to work out has suddenly been reduced to 15 minutes and I've completely wasted it. So, put the phone down. I know it's hard and it's a sickening compulsion that we are all addicted to our devices, but breaking away from the chains of the cell phone (and texts and emails and work related stressors) is going to be one of the best things that you can do all day. You owe it to yourself to treat yourself to an hour free from all of the hassles that our cellular devices bring.
Workouts don't have to take hours.
"I just have too much other stuff to do." This goes back to my point about if you want to do it, you'll make time, but I understand this reasoning, too. I fight this same feeling often. Sometimes I only have 30 minutes between clients and it feels like I just don't have enough time to do anything before they get here. That isn't true!
You can have an incredibly effective workout in under 30 minutes. Focus on one area of your body that you want to work on and cycle between 3-4 exercises. Want to work on your legs? Do three quick rounds of squats, lunges, and bridges.
Or, if you don't have a block of time during the day, set yourself a goal for the day. Say you want to do 100 squats throughout the day. You can do them in increments of 10 without even breaking a sweat and, before you know it, you have knocked out the entire 100 repetitions. You can make yourself daily goals and change the exercise each day. Alternate between upper and lower body exercises and, at the end of the week, you've done a whole workout without even realizing it!
You also don't have to go to a gym or a fitness class. Sometimes the biggest factor with getting a workout in is that I think it will take too much time to drive there. Maybe it's rush hour, or maybe it just took me too long to get home from work at night. Keep some easy, multi-purpose fitness equipment in your house. No matter your level of fitness, you can always benefit from a set of 5lb weights. I feel like they are the universal weight size if you don't want to keep a lot of equipment lying around. Don't believe me? Try this little workout on for size:
12 bicep curl (holding opposite arm at 90 degrees)
15 overhead tricep extension
15 bent over row
15 dumbbell fly
Rest 30 seconds
If you only want to buy one piece of equipment, then it would be these super durable Hyperwear sandbags (You can also use code 'SWIFTFIT15' for 15% off!). You can use them for upper body exercises, lower body, or as a complete standalone workout! They're a great non-threatening option if you're looking for one item to keep in your house!
I don't have any equipment/I don't want to buy equipment.
Don't have the money or don't want to buy equipment? That's fine. There are so many exercises that you can do without having to use any equipment at all! Squats, lunges, and deadlifts are so easy to do without having to use any weight. They are highly effective exercises to work the lower body. Looking to get some work in on your upper body? You can do pushups, tricep dips, and even walking planks regardless of where you're at. Don't let not having equipment derail your goals.
And did I mention that running takes no equipment at all? Not a runner? Take a long way. Plug in a podcast that you're interested and walk until it's over. That's an easy way to get in 30-40 minutes of cardio, as well as being able to unplug from your day.
Exercise is a form of self-care.
Here's the thing. Fitness, as much as nutrition, is about taking care of yourself. We talk a lot about self-care (See my blog 'Me First') in terms of getting your hair or nails done, a massage, or spending time doing things you love. But, equally as important, is the time that we put in now for our fitness in ten years. It's easy to say, "I don't want to end up like..." but we also have to actively work towards motivating ourselves to prevent that. Strength training now will prevent osteoporosis later on in life, as well as the eventual weight gain that tends to happen as we age. Put in the investment now for a healthier future you.
Exercise gives you endorphins.
And endorphins make you happy. And happy people don't shoot their husbands, they just don't! Elle Woods said it best. Exercise just makes you feel good. Maybe not necessarily in the moment, but how many times have you finished a workout and said, "I'm so angry I did that!" You don't because that after-workout feeling is one of both accomplishment and satisfaction! And of course, those endorphins don't hurt! Exercising can be a game changer in terms of helping with your mood. Give it a try! I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
Photos by David Lemon Photography