Monday, September 19, 2016

To work out or not work out, that is the question.

Prior to today, I have had the opportunity to work out at FXB a total of 224 days since January 1st. Note: this is days and not workouts, so doubles and FIT Kicks are not included (but I will note that I’ve attended nearly all the FIT Kicks offered this year). Of those 224 days, I have worked out 217 days. Just in case you need help with this complicated math, that’s only 7 days I’ve missed since the start of the year.

Today was #8.

Before I get into why I missed today, I wanted to answer the question I’m often asked: “How do you attend so many days?”

Well, for starters, I don’t travel much. Of the 7 days I missed (prior to today), 3 were for vacation and I worked out in the hotel fitness room each day. Of the remaining 4 days missed: I was in Indy for 2 of the days over New Year’s, another was a Saturday when I had an author fair to attend in Madison, and the last was the day after my daughter had nine 10-year-olds sleep over for her birthday. It’s also important to note I haven’t trained for anything else. No triathlons or half-marathons or extreme obstacle course races. I don’t run or bike on the side. Basically, all my workouts are at FXB and that means I don’t need to keep any reserves in the tank for other activities.

Even so, how do I do it? How do I motivate myself to work out so often? Simple—from my first day at FXB I’ve had one condition:

If I wouldn’t miss work for it, I can’t miss my workout for it.

When I worked outside the home, I was a pretty dependable employee. I rarely missed a day of work, so I figured this would be a good metric for my workouts. As you can see by my numbers, it has served me well. It has forced me to stop and think each time I want to skip a workout. Because there are days I want to skip. I am human, after all. But the expectation I placed on myself since day one makes me stop and consider why I want to miss the workout and if it’s really worth it. It forces me to question whether or not it benefits my long-term goal. If you’ve been around my blog awhile, then you know that a key part of my long-term goal is being able to sustain over time. I knew I needed to draw a line I could stick to for when I could miss a workout. Otherwise, I’d find an excuse to skip every time my eye twitched.

The need to have a sustainable plan is what drove me to skip the workout today. Basically, I needed to acknowledge that my body needed a break. More specifically, my knee needed a break. I might be too stubborn to learn a lesson when I need to sometimes, but at least I’m quick to learn not to make the same mistake a second time. Last year I tried to keep pushing when I hurt my foot, thinking I could just ‘go easy’ during the workouts. That resulted in me having to sit out completely (from everything) for about two weeks. I know my bum knee well enough to know if I push it too hard I’ll be out for a lot longer than just two weeks.

I had to listen to my body and pay attention to the signs. When I had to leave the mat during FIT Kick this past Saturday, I knew it was time to stop being stubborn. So today made day #8 missed during 2016. I also adjusted a few things around the house. For example, I’ve stopped chasing our new puppy up and down the stairs several times a day. Now I just close all the bedroom doors and call to her from downstairs. It’s a good opportunity for me to work on some of her behavioral commands. It also helps that she is now almost fully potty-trained, and I don’t have to worry about her making a mess upstairs without my knowledge.

If you’re struggling with finding the motivation to work out on a regular basis, then here’s my advice:
  1. Understand your long-term goal.
  2. Acknowledge your weaknesses.
  3. Establish a set of realistic expectations to help you achieve your long-term goal.
  4. Commit.

Sounds pretty basic, right? Well, I’ve been around this fitness thing long enough to know it sounds a lot easier than it is. Most of us understand we need to eat healthy and work out regularly to maintain a healthy life-style. But that’s easy to forget when we hit a bump in the road. The bumps that say, “It’s OK to miss the workout, right? It won’t hurt anything will it?” Having a line drawn that’s built around your long-term goal and your weaknesses will help you determine if it is OK (or even necessary) to skip the workout. And do it now. Don’t wait for next week or tomorrow. Draw your line now and get to work.

Oh, if it helps you can adopt a motto. Personal mottos are always motivating.


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