Do you know what percentage of your week is equal to 3 half hour workouts? 0.9%.
Let’s go bold and say we’re going to tackle four hour long workouts. Throw in 15 minutes a piece for drive time. That’s 5 solid hours devoted to exercise and your overall health. Ok, 5 hours is a huge chunk of time, right? We couldn’t take that away from the kids, work, cocktail hour, Facebook, election coverage, or The Bachelor. That’d be ridiculous. What if I told you that is only 3% of your week? Could you sacrifice 3% – for you? Let’s come back to this.
I equate achieving some level of fitness to pushing a boulder up and over a hill. Standing at the bottom looking up seems daunting, insurmountable, and like a waste of time, I get it – but it’s possible. Also, once you reach the top it’s much easier to keep that boulder moving. You can do it. There are a few tools I used to shed weight, get fit, increase my energy level, and achieve physical fitness. So can you. Here are a couple:
Never Miss a Monday.
What’s so great about Monday? A couple things. Monday carries such a negative connotation, is the traditional start of the workweek, and – depending on your ability to quote movies – is the only day I know of that you can have a terrible case of. Not too many people look at Monday on the calendar and smile. My thought: what better stigma to kick in the teeth? I look at Mondays and say, “This is the day I use to start my workout week off strong.” For me, Monday is the day where I know I’m going to burn some calories and work toward fitness.
Another thing: If you’re on some type of workout program that prescribes some number of sweat days per week, you only have so many days. Working out is so much a mental game that you cannot afford to put yourself behind the 8-ball. What do I mean? Say you ‘need’ to exercise 3 days each week. You only have 7 days to get in those 3 workouts – 3 in 7 doesn’t sound terrible, right? Say you skip Monday… 3 in 6. It’s not the end of the world but the mountain just got a bit steeper.
Conversely, if you wake up 30 minutes early on Monday and get your workout in, you’re left with 2 in 6. That just feels better. You take whatever additional burden off your shoulders and head into the week ahead of the game. Not to mention your blood is pumping, you feel more alert, and you have higher amounts of endorphins running through your veins… Could this actually make you more productive at work? I digress. You just won Monday. Good work, keep it up.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 300 pounds overweight or looking to put on weight in muscle. It doesn’t matter if you have kids or are a college student who can’t get out from under the keyboard… You can make the time and you can do something.
One thing they don’t tell you on the infomercials is that walking can be considered ‘working out.’ You don’t have to pack the bag, crank up the iPod soundtrack, and move metal around to get in a workout. Depending on your starting point and your level of fitness, hiking, taking the kids to the park, or riding your bicycle to the store all burn more calories than their respective alternatives. That’s fact.
Just take yourself outside for a walk, try out 1 vinyasa (if you don’t know what a vinyasa is yet, that’s ok, we’ll get there), or drop down right now and do 5 pushups. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you… I’m serious, go ahead.
Nice work!! You just did something. That’s exponentially better than nothing! We’ll build on this ahead but for now we need to get this boulder moving.
Chunk the Mountain.
‘Chunking’ is a term I adopted from reading a book about Navy SEALs. If it’s good enough for them it’s definitely fine by me. This is basically taking one huge problem (our mountain to fitness) and breaking it down into many micro challenges (each day represents an inch up that mountain).
You can’t drop 30 pounds and fit into that swimsuit today, but you can cut 50 calories out of your daily intake and go for a walk. Take your gaze off the overarching goal and focus on the now. Focus on today and set up smaller victories along the way. Did you drop 1 pound this week or cut 5 seconds off your mile time? If so, you won the week’s challenge which will help you to build toward your overarching goal. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your 6-pack. Keep at it, you’ll get there.
Take Before and After Pictures. Inevitably there will come a day when you tell yourself this is nonsense. You’ve been busting your butt for weeks now and nothing’s happened. You weigh about the same (which is probably true) and your clothes don’t fit any different. Don’t do it!!!
If you’ve stuck to a program and worked hard, there are changes happening that you don’t notice. You probably weigh the same because you’re replacing fat with muscle. Do you notice any extra endurance during your workouts or an ability to lift heavier weights? Can you walk farther, run faster, or go for longer? It can be so easy to overlook any of these things that you need to make yourself an insurance policy. You need to stop, turn around, and look down the mountain to see how far you’ve already climbed. You need to look at your ‘before’ picture.
The only way you can look at your ‘before’ picture – to realize you have made improvements and your body is changing accordingly – is if you took a before picture. This has helped me more times than I can remember. It has helped Monica and many more of my friends too. You live with yourself everyday which makes it more difficult to notice gradual change. You know what they say though? The film doesn’t lie. If you’ve been disciplined and worked hard, you can compare the before and after to see you have made positive changes. This may be the point of reference needed to keep your boulder from falling off the cliff. So take the before picture – it makes the after so much sweeter.
One last thing. That after picture is so worth the 3% of your week. Go ahead and make that investment – you’re worth the time.
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