Working Out: Finding Time Is Half The Battle

Now that I’ve started working again, I need to be more organized with my time. Knowing myself, I will fit in exercise no matter what. Working out is my main source of stress relief and feeling healthy and strong (when matched with good eating habits). I also know that I workout best and feel best when I don’t have a workout hanging over my head the entire day. I decided that waking up early and fitting it in then will give me a fresh start for the day, feeling productive and energized.

With the short holiday week, last week I only had to do this twice. Monday morning, I woke up after not a great night of sleep because I went to bed earlier than I am used to and felt the nervous jitters and anxiety of waiting for something new to begin.

It helped that my friend Nouha agreed to meet me that morning because it may not have happened if either one of us said we were going to skip out. But we didn’t. After eating a quick breakfast, cup of coffee, and guzzling a few cups of water, I headed out to meet Nouha. Neither were happy that I started our exercise plan with burpees. Once we got going it felt good.

I took us through a workout incorporating medicine balls and the stability ball. After, we hopped on the treadmill and went between running and walking for half an hour. I was nice and sweaty by the time I hopped in the shower and readied for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, I got to the gym and went through a quick body strength workout, including squats, lunges, kickbacks, dips, and push ups before jumping into the pool and swimming laps. I’m not sure if it was the holiday week or normal, but the pool was nice and empty.

I didn’t have quite as early a wake up call on Wednesday because it was my rest day. On Thursday, I woke up with a deadline because the gym was closing early that morning (as it should). I fit in a strength workout using dumbbells, six sets of eight reps each. All the machines were taken, so I did a Plyometrics circuit, including jumping jacks, for my cardio. To finish off, I did a core circuit that I had to finish at home because I ran out of time. After lunch, we walked the dog for about a mile or so.

Before trying out the whole Black Friday thing, I fit in a kettlebell workout before finishing up with a few minutes on the elliptical. I had a very special concert to watch on PBS that night, so I jumped on the bike we have at home while watching part of it.

It was hard to psych myself up for the long run I had in the cold on Saturday, so I took it slow. My first plan of attack was a body strength workout, followed by a Yoga sequence to loosen up the muscles. As I went out for my run, pillowed in layers, I told myself to try to get three miles done, but I was feeling strong once I started and did my usual 4.2. I’m hoping I can extend that to an even 5 before I have to take my run into the treadmill full time (hopefully that never happens because Bo-ring!). On pure flat land, I could do 5-6 miles easily, but with all those hills, which I do have to go up quite a few times, it’s much harder. Persistence and practice!

Sunday, I headed to the gym for a strength workout using barbells. I performed each move in four sets of ten. My workout included the usual bench presses, bicep curls, deadlifts, high pulls, snatch and presses, squat presses, leg presses, and whatnot.

It was back to the early morning workouts starting not so bright and early on Monday. It was the same routine as the week before, at least for another week or so. This time, I was able to run on the treadmill for the entire time, save for the 5 minute walking warm-up. I credit this to getting enough sleep the night before because last week my body was tired and running on not much sleep at all. Sleep is medicine, people!

Tuesday was a tad more difficult to wake up on with my warm blankets and the cold outside, but I did it and I am glad I did. Nouha and I went through a quick body strength circuit that really worked the legs, then jumped in the pool for some laps.

This morning, I fit in a brief kettlebell strength workout, but kept it light because my shoulder has been bothering me a bit the past few days. I followed this up with a run on the treadmill and the knowledge that tomorrow is my rest day and I can sleep in for a lot longer than usual!

Here are a few tips for waking up early for that workout.

1. You need to be organized. I happen to love organization so this is my strong suit. The night before, I pack my gym bag with all necessary shower stuff- towel, toiletries, and flip flops; fancy clothes and shoes for work; all gym equipment- headphones, gloves, workout plan; my work bags; and of course my gym clothes folded and laid on top of my bags ready to be worn.

2. Plan of attack for food. In the morning, I need to eat first thing or I will have no energy for my workout, which goes the same for water and coffee. I either have an already made breakfast in the fridge or an idea in mind that comes together quickly. Sunday is the day for planning, so I chop up a ton of veggies, wash lettuce, and can throw together a healthy, delicious salad at my convenience. Leftovers are also another great option. I also have pre-packed snacks of fruits, veggies, nuts, and yogurt so I stay full and don’t reach into the candy bowl or vending machine with blind hunger.

3. Turn it into a positive. Workout out, at any time of your preference, is a choice. It’s already a great one because you have committed to leading a healthy lifestyle. It is quite difficult to fit in when you have so many responsibilities. You may hate every second of your workout, but if you try to see it in a positive light, it will be easier to get done and get through. I could do this after work, but I prefer to fit it in so rather than complain, I am going to view it as a necessary part of routine.

Let me tell you, it is very hard to wake up and do anything of substance when the sun still hasn’t fully risen two hours later. I guess you just have to decide what time works best for you!