I’m not an athlete by nature. I never excelled in any sports and I wouldn’t know my way around a gym to save my life. I admire people who have skills on the court and stamina on the treadmill, but neither of those things have ever truly been a desire of mine. However, being healthy yet balanced is a goal of mine. In certain areas of my life, I tend to be all, “Go big or go home,” but in the arena of food and fitness, I’m working on being more mindful and balanced while also increasing my strength and enriching my health. With all of that being said, here’s what has been working for me. I think when we make a goal to be stronger or healthier, it’s tempting to look all around at others to see how they are getting those results. We will often so desperately want to try to mimic them, but I think it’s important to remember that we are not them. We can get results too, but the steps to get there have to be steps that make sense to us in our lives. Below are some ways I make it work for me.
- I work out at home. I knew that in order to gain strength and have a healthier lifestyle, I would need to exercise. The problem is that I don’t always love to exercise. When I look at others on social media, I see people going to Orange Theory, joining a gym, hiking outside, running 5k’s and marathons, doing Cross Fit, etc. All of those things are great, but none of them are practical for me in the season of life I’m in currently. I’m learning that what is ideal for someone else might not be ideal for me in my situation, and that’s totally ok. It doesn’t have to keep me from reaching my goals. My “gym” is my living room. It’s ideal for me because I can throw in a load of laundry right before I work out and I don’t have to include travel time in to my daily workout time. I researched a lot of different work outs to do at home and there are waaaaay more out now than ever, with great results to back them up. I chose to do P90X3 in my home. I don’t have to find childcare to get to a gym, I can work out in my ugliest, nastiest state and not a soul sees me, I don’t have to pay big money for a membership anywhere (I purchased P90X3 on eBay for around $25), and I like that the workout has variety. The last time I did this, I followed the “Classic Schedule.” I lost 20 pounds in 6 months with this combined with macro dieting. Right now, I want to maintain (or even increase some of) my weight through building muscle. I’m doing the “Mass Schedule” and I’m loving it. I’m currently in week 3.
- I wake up early. This one is going to be dependent on personality. I have friends who love to run on their elliptical or treadmill while watching a show after their kids are in bed at night. I have other friends who do group classes at a gym right after work. For me, I don’t have the time to go to a gym consistently and my evenings are usually crazy. Each week in the evenings, Ike has speech, Isla has gymnastics, Adia has dance, I teach both girls piano, I lead professional developments, I have faculty meetings, etc. Add on top of that a full time job and you’ve got yourself a busy mom. I can’t imagine being able to consistently fit in a workout each evening while still allowing time to make dinners, spend time with my kids and my husband, clean, and get ready for the next school day. I also have no energy at night because I’m so tired from a full day’s work. I find it difficult at times to wake up at 5:30 AM, but once I’m up and I’m doing it, I enjoy the peace and quiet. I also get that workout knocked out early so that I don’t have to worry about when and where to squeeze it in to the rest of my day. If waking up early is unimaginable for you, then when is your prime time? I don’t suggest that we all wake up at 5:30 AM to exercise, but I do suggest finding your best time within your schedule and devoting that time to your own fitness and well-being. I don’t think you will regret it and it does not have to be all or nothing. Personally, I value progress over perfection. A few years ago, I rarely worked out at all. My body will never be perfect but I’ve had progress and that motivates me. Just working out 3 times per week for 30 minutes a session is 78 HOURS of time you are committing in a whole year to take care of you. 78 hours is way better than 0. (Look at that math! I amaze myself!)
- I count macros. I’ve talked about this before, but it’s the easiest and most efficient healthy eating I’ve ever been able to stick with long term. I’ve done Paleo and though there were parts about it that I loved, I found it hard to navigate with so many foods having to be off the table. I love counting macros because I can eat what my kids eat and I can eat whatever I want as long as it fits my macros. A lot of people call this “Flexible Dieting,” and that’s exactly why I like it. Most of the food I eat is really healthy, but I can enjoy a late night donut with my friends or a scoop of ice cream with my kids and maintain my weight and results. I’ve just learned how to balance what I eat so that I CAN indulge at times. The MyFitnessPal app makes it incredibly easy to adjust your macro percentages and then plug in the foods you eat each day to track how much protein, fat, and carbs you are consuming. I have goals for each (protein, fat, and carbs) and I try to reach those goals by the end of the day. I’ll link more about that here, but I highly suggest contacting Kim Waits to help get you started if it is something you are interested in doing. I owe the bulk of my health and success to her wisdom and assistance.
So, there you have it. 3 tips for how I make it work for me. Please understand that I’m not suggesting that everyone out there ditches their gym membership or wakes up at 5:30. What I am suggesting is this: have a goal, decide on what behaviors you’re going to change/continue/or begin in order to meet that goal, and make some commitments so that you can actually do the behaviors you need to do in order to meet your goal. Maybe you’re going to take a kickboxing class and you’re going to commit to plan out your schedule each week so you can attend. Maybe you’re going to run a 5K and you’re going to commit to laying out your running clothes the night before and waking early to run. Whatever it is, have a system and hold yourself accountable to your system. Reflect on your system and do what you need to do to make it work.