February 19, 2012

Partners in Fitness

We all have a lot of time constraints.  Some days I’m challenged with trying to factor in bathroom breaks once or twice during the day, let alone exercising.  That being said, I have transitioned myself from a person who wondered if she would exercise to one who plans out when she will exercise.  Something that has really helped me with figuring out when I will exercise is that I have a small network of workout friends/buddies with whom I can run or bike.  It makes long workouts more bearable and much safer.  It also builds in the accountability that one might need to ensure a workout actually happens.  After all, if you tell someone you will meet them at 7:00 am for that 3 mile run, you are much less likely to bail out when the alarm goes off.  I have also signed up for different group sessions at the YMCA not only to learn more about a particular event or workout routine, but also to meet other adults that are interested in a fit healthy lifestyle.

My wish for you is that you find at least one other like-minded person with whom you can run, bike, swim, aerobicize, kickbox, etc.  It helps if the person is not only like-minded, but also “like-bodied”….not that you look alike physically, but that you have similar abilities and physical goals.  Try to find someone that you will feel comfortable running with (e.g. not too fast, not too slow, not too chatty, or not too silent) or that has similar goals (wants to exercise to lose weight or wants to run in her first race this summer).  I have met some really great people and enjoy meeting up with them to train now – I have learned a lot from every person that I have met.
When you are looking for a buddy, it doesn’t have to be a friend that you are coercing to exercise….I’ve actually found this approach to be less successful.  One of the best ways to meet people is through a running group either with an organization like the YMCA, a fitness center, or a running club in your area.  It seems really intimidating at first, but the reality is that all sorts of people are runners.  You don’t have to be really fast or able to run long distances to be in a group.  Many of the groups cater to Newbies and will have beginner training sessions to ease you into the group.  It’s a great way to get started and to meet other people.  Even if you don’t stick with the particular group, you might meet someone or hear of other opportunities in the community.
It may take awhile, but you will find the right person or group…..whatever you do, try to build yourself a network.
Walking the (active) Talk:  Here’s my small, but growing, network (names have been abbreviated to protect the innocent): B – running buddy in my rural neck of the woods, early AM/weekend motivator; K – fellow triathlete, swimmer, and mom on the east side of town; G – fellow triathlete, running buddy on the north side of town; T and L – for out of town training (especially in VA J); B and L – haven’t actually trained with them, but great role models/sources of info for fitness; S – cyclist on the east side of town; YMCA – running group, spinning classes, TRX; CNY Triathlon Club – a great resource and endless supply of opportunities to train and meet other athletes.

February 1, 2012


I have to challenge myself all of the time not to make excuses for my choices.  Battling excuses is practically a full time job….in addition to the paid one that I have and being a mom and wife.  You know the excuses I mean, right?  It’s cold outside – I can’t go running in this cold weather.  It’s hot outside – it’s too hot to run.  I’m too tired, exhausted, drained, stressed to think about exercising today.   I don’t have time for anything other than a quick stop for fast food for lunch, and if I don’t eat anything I’ll probably pass out in the middle of that presentation I have to give at 1:00.  You can give me any scenario of not doing what’s right for my health and I can come up with a perfectly reasonable excuse for my behavior.  You probably have no idea what I’m talking about……well, maybe a little idea…..
So I ask myself “Why do you not want to do what’s right?  Why make excuses for not eating better?  Why make excuses for not exercising or not getting enough rest?”   Because….it’s HARD.  Because….what’s right is not always what’s easy.  Because deep down inside, I want to eat chocolate cake and lay on the couch.
But instead of giving in, I work really hard to combat myself/my excuses on a day to day basis:
·         I try not to have chocolate cake in my house very often – if it makes its way into my home then I have an automatic excuse to eat it: I can’t let it go to waste.  
·         I figure out what I’m going to do for the week,  I write it down, and make a plan with my family ahead of time to work it in to our schedules…..swim on Monday, run on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday, volleyball on Thursday, strength training on Wednesday and Friday.   Then I’m less likely to say that I don’t have time and I’m less likely to overbook myself once I’ve already made a plan.
·         I set the alarm on my Smartphone to wake me up on the days I need to workout in the morning.  When the alarm goes off it reads “Get your a__ out of bed!”.  It always makes me laugh at myself a bit – at 5:30 am, that message is from me to me…..my healthier self from a more sane time of day telling my slovenly half-awake self to get a move on – I always get up out of bed when I read that.
·         I have a variety of healthy food/snacks stored in my desk at work and I try to bring lunch with me every day  – then when faced with a bagel, doughnut, or chocolate cake – I can’t use the excuse  that I had to eat a doughnut because I didn’t have anything else to eat with me that day.
·         I don’t let myself blame anyone else but me for not doing what I need to do.  The worst type of excuse would be to say that it was someone else’s fault that I gained 5 pounds, didn’t exercise enough, or ate a monstrous burger with fries.  For me, it’s usually bad planning NOT another person or event that results in my not following through with better eating or exercising.
Challenge yourself to not make any excuses – or at least make fewer excuses for not doing what you need to do.   Acknowledge that it’s not easy and make a plan to head off some of the excuses.  Hold yourself accountable and don’t blame other people, circumstances, your kids, etc.  I know you can do it!
Walking the (active) Talk:  I realized awhile ago that one of the biggest excuses that I had for not running more was that my kids are still too young to be left alone at home by themselves.  It was a legitimate reason for not running when my husband wasn’t home, but I didn’t let it be an ongoing excuse – instead, I bought a treadmill.  Now, I can’t let myself off the hook for not running – I can run 5-6 days a week and even hang out with the kids while I’m getting a workout in…last weekend I helped my daughter write an essay and practiced spelling with my son while getting in about 7 miles.  I can get up early before work, the kids are still sleeping, it can be snowing and pitch black outside but I can still do my run.  Excuses eliminated.