Getting Back to Exercise (Again)

After being fully invested in my personal fitness for most all of 2013 so far, I have a confession to make.  I have completely fallen off the wagon.  Since returning to school and work, I have officially been to the gym twice in the past 5 weeks, and both times were certainly not for my normal hour plus workout.  

At first, it was ok.  I felt like I deserved a little break, and then promptly fell ill within one week of being around children.  Once recovered, however, I still found myself making excuses and my inner voice saying “I’ll start next week”.  Honestly, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal if it weren’t for the toll this kind of self talk was taking on my self esteem.  I felt like I had let myself down.  I felt like I could see and feel my muscles dissipating and slowly Miley butt was setting in.  I needed to find energy to get into an after school workout routine, but as much as I wanted to and packed a gym bag every day, I found myself too exhausted to actually do it when the time came around.  This is the week I finally started to exercise again and it took a major adjustment in my thinking.

A while back, I told you what I do on days when I am lacking motivation.  It works really well when you’re having a bad day.  Swear.  When you’re in a long slump, however, it’s a little bit tougher to get started.  You may need to temporarily modulate the exercise plan.  

Cut yourself some slack.

I felt like I didn’t have the energy to make it to the gym in the afternoon, and maybe I don’t yet.  Perhaps my body needs time to readjust to waking up at 5 a.m.  My mind needs to readjust to not only satisfying work demands, but getting a weeks worth of cleaning and meal planning done on the weekends as well.  It’s only natural for a schedule change as such to cause flustered feelings.  If I have to cut out exercise temporarily to ensure I keep my other ducks in a row and sleep at night, so be it.  It won’t last forever.

Start small.

Even though I may not have enough energy for my normal hour long routine, I can probably do 30 minutes.  And after 5 weeks of non-exercise, I realize that 30 minutes is certainly better than no minutes.  Let me tell you, I’ve been sore after those 30 minutes too.  Yesterday I only lifted legs on a very light weight compared to what I was doing and today I settled for 25 minutes on the stair climber followed by stretching.  No, I didn’t even pick up a weight today.  Until I get my stamina back, I’m doing only what my body feels willing to do, and I’m not feeling guilty about it.  

Find a support buddy.

I’m usually NOT a social gym goer.  At all.  In fact, I hate working out with other people because talking gets me out of my zone.  However, desperate times call for desperate measures so I’m giving it a try.  I’m participating in a “Couch to 5K” running group at my school (Starts tomorrow!) and am looking forward to a switch in routine.  Sure I’ve run many 5Ks and even a 10K with no problem, but considering how sore I was from 30 minutes of light lifting, I’m certain I’ll be huffing and puffing and breaking a worthwhile sweat.  Want to do it with me?  Check out the link and follow along!

Do it for leisure.

If you look at exercise as a way to relax your brain and have some “me” time, it really makes it a lot more appealing at the end of a long day at work.  Again, push only as hard as you are willing.  After all, a little exercise is better than no exercise.

If I start back up by following these 4 principles, I am positive that I WILL wake up one morning with my fitness motivation back in earnest.  Until then, it’s not something I can force.  So here I am enjoying this little light to moderate exercise life..... at least for a week for two ;)  

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