First off – I understand that I can be crazy, but please understand that I have my reasons. I don’t do crazy for crazy’s sake. I do crazy (at times) because that’s what moves me toward my goals.
A few weeks ago, I was walking out of the bathroom at work when a coworker spotted me. It must’ve been quite a site. Those of you that workout know that feeling that takes place shortly after a good run. You’ve already taken a cold shower with hopes the sweating will die down, but it doesn’t. So now you have the awkward combination of wet shower hair and sweat beads on your forehead. Let’s not omit the towel around my shoulders, the untucked Polo shirt, and bare feet… (I had forgotten my work shoes at my desk and was hoping no one would spot me – miss. And yes, we have a shower in the bathroom at work – win).
Back to the coworker. “Man, I don’t know how you do it…”
I wasn’t 100% sure of what he meant, but eventually, the conversation led me to the answer as he continued, “I couldn’t workout on my lunch break like that. That takes some discipline that I don’t have.”
I just smiled and said something like, “Just trying to do what I can, man. Thanks.” It didn’t hit me at the moment but later in the day, I realized that the comment made me equal parts frustrated and disappointed at the same time.
Frustrated that my friend viewed the potential options as working out during my lunch break vs being a lazy fella, and completely ignored everything in between. Also frustrated with his, “Man, it must be nice to have that discipline,” attitude. As if having the mental toughness to workout in the middle of the day is an inherent attribute rather than the actual truth of I didn’t get up early enough to do it in the morning and I don’t have time tonight, so I’ll do what I can… When I can… And today that means making the tough choices that led me to work out on my lunch break. (More on this below)
More than the frustration, though, I was disappointed in my friend’s lack of self-confidence.
“…That’s some discipline that I don’t have.”
The quote screams of giving up before the battle ever starts. I know he subscribes to the blog so I’m hoping he’ll decide to check this post out because what’s below is the how that gets me to find a way to workout for some part of each day. It’s not easy… But it is simple… (Don’t hate me, man. I think you inspired a good post… Now get up and GET AFTER IT).
I don’t advocate waking up and deciding to lose 60 pounds as a productive and successful strategy, much like I don’t think that vowing to workout every day will change your life in the long-term. These battles are won on much more of a micro scale. I’ve fought each of them a few times. I’ve tested a few different strategies for each and I know what’s worked for me and what hasn’t. And are you ready for the wet towel of reality? Making the macro decision doesn’t get the job done.
“Hey, Mike – I’m going to save $500 / month for the next 6 months!” – Good luck with that, random person. Without a sound game plan, I don’t predict a high success rate for you. The actual way to make that $500 / month savings happen is a much less sexy, and more arduous approach of evaluating every budget item, determining where you can cut, and figuring out how to make more money.
Back to my lunch break
I have a secret for you… The path to me getting a workout in on my lunch break is a long and winding one that starts at least a day beforehand. It’s not a path full of Sunshine and Whiskey, either (that’s for my brother-in-law). It’s a journey full of obstacles, booby traps, and enemies. Lack of sleep, a slip in determination, and a lull in mental toughness are a few that can crop up. Not to mention a distraction, a quick phone call, or a simple desire to take a break on one’s lunch break.
Without the right approach, these foes will likely be insurmountable.
Do you want to know what it takes to get a workout in on your lunch break? It’s a series of a dozen micro-decisions that start the day before.
18 hours prior:
- I decided what tomorrow’s workout will be
- I decided to get some mostly appropriate workout attire out of my dresser
- I decided to keep put those clothes in my gym bag
- I decided to put my gym bag by the door
- I decided to put my workout shoes on top of my gym bag (as to eliminate odor within the bag…)
- I decided to put the bag and shoes in the car
- I decided to stretch out my snacks so that I’ll eat something around 10:30 which will give me the fuel I need but not leave me feeling too full to workout
- I decided that I WILL WORKOUT at lunch today and then eat at my desk after.
Later mid-morning of:
- I decided again that I WILL WORKOUT at lunch today because an enemy of doubt had breached the defenses around my thought process and the certainty of a lunch-break workout was in question.
5 Minutes till workout:
- I decided to put my clothes and shoes on, albeit reluctantly and all the while thinking, “Do I really need to do this today? Maybe I’ll get it in later… NO GET YOUR ___ UP AND RUN!! Nah, maybe I’ll take a nap, instead. Or I could go play cards with a friend or on my phone… RUN YOU LAZY ___!!!”
Then comes the most difficult decision of them all – eventually I close my eyes and take a deep breath in… Then out… And then I make the ultimate decision to commit. I simply get up and step off the proverbial high-dive as I put 1 foot in front of the other and start to jog over to the gym (yes, I’m lucky enough to work in a place that has a gym close by – another win).
Fast forward to 28 minutes later – I’m covered in sweat and topped with just-showered hair while a coworker spots me jogging back to my desk. I’m full of life and completely proud of myself for getting the workout in. No matter what else happens today, I will have won a portion. I fell the evil enemies that are laziness and sedentary behavior. I wasn’t better than anyone else that day, I just decided a dozen different times that nothing was getting in the way of my workout – and then I made it happen.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go get some gear out of my dresser… While we’re on the topic, why don’t you go and pack your workout clothes?
Thanks for reading!
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