Before we get started, I had the immense privilege of being asked to collaborate with Consumer Health Digest for the below article. You can find the article on Consumer Health Digest by clicking here. Full original article below. Enjoy!
*Photos in this article minus my head shot and the pin that will show up when you share to Pinterest belong to Consumer Health Digest. Enjoy!
“It's 6:00AM and you feel like you're crawling to your coffee pot, craving the magical drink that somehow makes you a decent human being. As you're making the uphill climb to the coffee pot you look over and see your workout clothes still laid out, untouched. You're upset with yourself because once again you've hit your snooze too many times and you didn't get a workout in. There are meetings galore waiting for you at work today. Not to mention everything else going on in other areas of your life.
When the coffee is finally ready, you open the fridge for some cream and realize the only thing you have is Orange juice. Orange juice doesn't exactly go with coffee. This means you'll have to go get groceries after work. Sipping your black coffee you realize how desperately you want to get back to working out and get back on your healthy lifestyle journey. You miss the activity and the way you felt when you ate good food and were active. There just isn’t time.. Or is there?
As a trainer and coach I hear this scenario over and over again: “I simply don't have time to workout”. Or “I miss my healthy lifestyle, I miss the good food and the way I felt after a good workout”. Or “How do you find time to live healthy? It seems the days are on fast forward and there is no time to eat let alone cook a good meal”. Trust me, I get it. I had a mentor tell me one time “You do what you want and everything else is an excuse.” Ouch, right? Well, before we get our feelings hurt, let’s back up and understand what he meant by that.
First, I don't think that he was trying to be rude nor mean, which obviously I'm not either, I'm here to help! Here's what he meant by that. There are things that are constantly bombing our minds pulling at our attention: work, kids, spouses, and all the random other things that are simply part of life. Here’s the beauty of it all, you have the power to decide what is important to you. This amazing decision starts to bring the balance and either gets you started on the healthy lifestyle journey or back on that track.
On my blog and coaching site, I am often talking about how being healthy isn't eating boiled chicken and kale every meal. Healthy lifestyles are a balance and it is how you bring those things into balance that truly defines your lifestyle. Is it going to be a life filled with stress and anxiety? Or is it going to be a balanced and enjoyable life.
You're probably saying “That sounds great and all, but how am I supposed to balance? There's too much! This is the real world and not a fantasy land. I've tried and it doesn't work.” I’m big on actionable items and step by step instructions. That said, let’s start with these three steps.
1. Learn to say no
You have the right and in fact the obligation to yourself to say no! How many times have you looked at your planner and thought, “How did so much stuff get on my plate?” It's because you're so kind and giving that you don't ever tell people no. Whether it's constant overtime at work, too many extra-curricular activities for the kiddos, or too many other random things piled up. It's time to learn to say no.
When my plate was the fullest, I realized that the things that were the most important to me were taking a back burner to less important things. Why? Simple. I was afraid to say no.
How do you do know when to say no? Here's how I started learning to say no. I made a list of the top 3-5 things that were the most important to me and worked backward from there. This really put into perspective what is important and it was a great start to cleaning off my plate. My top 4 in order of importance included my family, my career and my workouts for me time. Having them written down was extremely freeing. These four things give me a sense of direction and my boundaries for what to say yes and no to.
When my calendar starts filling up, which it inevitably does, I start looking at the things that fall under the top four and those are the things that stay on my calendar first. From there I have to make a decision. Is my calendar already full enough this week? Will I have down time with this schedule? If the answer is no, I start marking things off the list that I need to say no to.
Tip- if you have children and they are involved in many extracurricular activities, sit down with them and whittle back their activities. Chances are, they are overwhelmed and exhausted as well. This teaches them to learn balance and make their health both physical a priority!
2. Find Something You Actually Enjoy Doing
Going to the gym is not everyone's forte and that's totally fine! Finding something that you personally like to do is so important to sticking with the healthy lifestyle. Here's what I mean: if the thought of going to the gym and hopping on the elliptical for 30 minutes makes you groan with disgust then that may not be the best way to go for you. Guess what? That's totally fine!
There are many things that you can do that are great exercise. Ever wanted to learn how to dance? Take up dance classes! Zumba is also a great way to dance and burn some real calories. Do Martial Arts interest you? Martial Arts classes are fantastic exercise and they also teach you a skill at the same time. Need to de-stress and find your center? How about Yoga or Pilates? Both are great ways to exercise that are less impact and really build up your core.
Let's build on this thought topic of finding something you enjoy doing for exercise. I have always found that having an accountability partner (which I wrote about in this article on my blog) that will work out with you is a great way to stay on track. My clients have said to me that having me has made a huge difference in sticking with their healthy lifestyle journey. Someone there to encourage you to keep going and to just have a buddy while you workout is amazing. Plus, if you aren't sure where to start and don't know what you enjoy doing to workout, having a trainer make your workouts for you and be your buddy, even if it's virtual training relationship, is the best of both worlds.
3. Work With Your Schedule
There have been many folks that I’ve talked to that said they want to work out but keep missing their planned work out. First question I ask is “When do you schedule it?” This question is crucial because if you have to be at work early (7AM or earlier) then planning to work out before you go to work is pretty much setting yourself up for failure, especially if you’re not a morning person. I say this because if you already have to be at work early, trying to create a new habit while going completely against your schedule can set yourself up for failure.
Try this instead – think about your schedule and where there is a break, even if it’s a short one. Example, what time is your lunch and how long do you have? Head to a Zumba class at lunch, or take a jog around the property of your building. There is also the option to go right after work to do your workout of choice. If possible, choosing something on the physical way home from work is a great way to make sure that you stay accountable and you won't chance just driving by on the way home!
Make your workout schedule work for you, not you work for your exercise schedule!
You now have these three tips to help you get started, what do you do now? That's the beauty of how this article is written; you start with step one and work your way down. Find your top 3-5 things that always take precedence on your calendar. Then try several different activities to find something you enjoy doing and you can challenge yourself with. Then work with your schedule. In theory, once you get to step three your calendar should have some clearance in there to be able to put your workout into a few of the blank spaces.
One last piece of advice. Enjoy your journey. You have one life to live, don't waste it standing by the coffee pot wishing for what could be. Go make it happen, you have the power to do so! I believe in you.
Amber George is the founder, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Running coach, and blogger at Pounding Pavement with Amber. She grew up an athlete making All-State title and has gone through some health issues in her adult life with surgeries and a difficult pregnancy. Through these difficulties Amber’s passion became helping others through her writing and training services she offers through her blog and in her hometown. Be sure to follow her on Instagram where she posts pictures about health, fitness, fitness humor and success of her clients. You can also connect with her through Facebook by joining her brand new Facebook group. ”
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