Tag Archives: habit

Starting a new habit–and keeping it up

12 Jan

I swear to you–I am lazy. I hate logistics. I don’t want to do things. BUT I do cardio 7 days a week and do strength training at least 4 days a week, and recently, every single day. I want to give you the tips that worked for me, because trainers are too crazy, people that love to exercise are the exception to the rule, and it’s hard to sustain it if done the wrong way (too much, too hard, too soon).

Go to bed earlier!

People need adequate sleep. Stop screening, and go to bed early enough to get 7-9 hours of sleep. Every night.

Lack of time” is actually a priorities problem.

There are 24 hours – lets give us a very good rest of 9 hours = 15 waking hours.

OK, you have a job, and have to drive to that job, shower, take care of the kids, all your logistics: 9 hours of work 3 hours (?) of logistics = 12 hours of time you HAVE to do stuff.

15-12 = 3 free hours

The Mayo clinic wants adults to get 30 min of exercise every day.

That 30 min of exercise is less than 17% of your FREE time. It’s 7% of your waking hours outside of work. I suggesst you do your own personalized math, and write down what percent of your day it is. My personal percent is 1% of my day is 10 min. So like, nothing at all! And when I’m feeling tired, lazy, or defeated–I remind myself it would be 2% of my day.

Write your goals down.

Be reasonable. Be specific. Have a realistic timeline and write that end date. You can have a big dream. But it’s better to write a goal or 2 with the big dream in mind. Have a plan of what smaller steps you need to take to reach the ultimate goal.

OK, now that you know it’s not that much time, think about WHEN a workout could fit in your schedule. Since you went to bed earlier and you’re rested–you could do it first thing in the morning!

Which I do recommend. Because:

-it starts your day in a productive way

-you don’t have to worry about dressing out & everything, or sweating at work/in public

-starting before your brain is awake gets the exercise done before you can think of excuses NOT to do it

-working out 1st thing wakes you up, and also sweats out in toxins. Get rid of that salt from dinner, that after dinner alcohol, and any sugar from dessert. SWEAT. it. out. It’s true, you’ll automatically feel better, endorphins aside even.

-do it before you’re tired or fatigued or have a bad day

So you have the time, you carved out a spot in your schedule to always do your workout, now TAKE IT EASY!

I don’t want you to go hard. Overdoing it is a sure way to have an unpleasant experience, get tired, be sore, and dread the next workout. Don’t burn yourself out! It’s difficult enough just to put on a sports bra and sneakers. Just do enough. You want to stair step your progress over time. And when you’re beginning a new goal-remember you’re just on the very first stair step. Don’t pole vault up to the top–because remember what happens after you clear the bar? You fall, fall, fall all the way down and land on your back. Instead, we’re looking to stand at the top of those stairs. Progress slowly!

The big, big thing to starting a habit is to do that habit every. single. day.

All days. As you know, I’m big on not breaking the chain. And I’m really gung-ho on it because it has worked for me. I have run every single day in a row for the last SEVEN years. I did it with flossing my teeth, because I was lazy-ing out half the time, and I’ve now accumulated 203 days in a row. It works because not doing the habit on one day isn’t just messing up that day, it’s fucking up a string of days, a record. And who wants to throw away a week for a moment of weakness? Or longer? This also works because people say a new habit is ingrained after 26 days of practicing it. So it’s science too.

In the past, it has helped me to attach my goal, let’s say doing ab work, to something I absolutely have to or want to do. I cannot shower until I do my crunches. That way, you’re putting your new goal on something that’s already a habit, so it’s likelier to stick.

Remember, it’s better to do a light or short workout rather than skipping. Just. do. something.

That means if you’re sore–don’t skip! Go lighter. Or shorter. Or easy.

One last thing–plan ahead. If you have a big presentation early in the morning, plan to do the workout after work that day. If you’re going on vacation–remember to pack your running clothes. Part of starting and maintaining a habit is planning ahead for those irregularities.

Starting a habit is more about training your brain than it is about training your body (at first).

And seriously. Just keep your appointment with you and if you do only 8 min of biceps–that is A-OK–congratulate yourself for accomplishing another day. Don’t get all down on yourself and quit. Just keep swimming.

How to Start Working Out

13 Jan

We (maybe you did also) made the goal that we want to incorporate strength workouts into our fitness routine as much as possible.  But how do you actually make that happen?

kelly coffee-meyer

start with this video

We got Kelly Coffee-Meyer workout tapes.  She is great because she pushes you without being annoying, or mean.  She is feisty and funny.  Her tapes are designed to be done in 30 minutes.  There are two full length workouts on most of her DVDs.  Also, she provides “pre-mixes” that are shorter and target certain areas.  To us, the premixes are everything!  They tell you what you’ll be working, how long it will take, and are 8-17-ish minutes long.  So you can just do one or you can do a combo.

piyo-live_orig We also have Celine Johnson’s Piyo, a combination of Pilates, yoga, and it uses your own body weight to work on strength.  She is slightly annoying, but not to the point I have to mute it.  There are several DVDs that have names like “Drench” and “Lower” and it’s a nice change of pace.  The Piyo is good because it sneaks up on you.  You’re doing a yoga-type sun salutation, stretching (I’m breathing, though she’s not all pesty about the breathing/mantra stuff), then you’re like out of breath a sweating.

My point is find something you like, some short/abbreviated versions of it, that target different areas.  The pre-mixes or different discs target specific areas of the body.  So we do upper body one day, lower body the next, abs the third, than back to upper body.  Then you can do strength every day without fatiguing any one muscle group.  Each group has two days to recover. Have a plan and schedule out which days you want to do what.  Or mix it up sometimes to fight boredom.

Once you have your workout in mind, make a space in your day for it.  Really fight to keep this time for your workout.  Make the time a priority.  It doesn’t have to take long–sometimes we literally only have (or are willing to do) 10 minutes in a day.  If you are awake for 15 hours in a day, 10 minutes in literally 0.9% of your entire day.  Which isn’t much.  That’s not really an amount of time I can make excuses for.

Part of blocking out (even a short) time is making it a routine.  This is key!  Every day honor that time to work out.  Start by trying to go 5 days in a row.  Every day get up there and at least do some working out.  This is the whole thing when trying to start and stick to a workout.  We start small.  You know, during holidays when we’ve fallen off the wagon, or if we reverted back to couch potatoes and we want the workout goal to be a thing again…

I always feel like I have to be doing 30 other things, and don’t have time.  Sometimes I feel tired and lazy.  Just do something.  It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, a lot of reps, or a lot of weight.  Do any little thing.  When we re-start this goal, we might do 1 or 2 sets.  It’s not about being superman, it’s about making your brain know that this is a routine.  Any little thing is better than nothing.

And I promise, it gets easier.  Nobody wants to get off the couch.  Nobody starts out an in-shape expert.  That first 7-10 days (the out-of-shape phase, I call it) is horrible.  Nobody likes feeling like they can’t do it, they’re getting winded early, they are sore the next day.  Everyone would rather be sitting.  Push through!  Just tell yourself to get through the first week, and it DOES get easier.  A lot of people never feel the joy or happiness from exercise, because they don’t realize everybody goes through an out-of-shape phase that totally sucks for the first 7-10 days.  That goes for running too, but that’s for another post.  Get through that 7-10 days of a new program and that’s when you start to feel it get not quite as difficult, not as sore, and you feel a bit happy.

Also, if you force yourself to adhere to your workout for a week in a row, your mind settles down and actually enjoys establishing routine.  Once you get into the second and third week, it’s a whole different feeling.  And when you start being about to do all the reps, increasing weight, and noticing some tone–it’s a major  morale boost.

And nobody ever regretted working out.  Even on the days I was most hangry and fatigued, very stressed and busy–after the workout, ahhhh.  I felt accomplished.  And more importantly I didn’t feel the guilt for not sticking to it, the regret at lazy-ing out.

That’s my best advice on getting started.  Nike has a point.

Good luck and let me know if this helped, and if you have any additional tips for getting fitness going in your life.