stairmaster

Fridays

I find it interesting how predictable the gym is. The weather gets bad, the gym gets crowded. Summer and nice weather, people are on vacations or doing their fitness outside. Hood to Coast comes and the treadmills are empty. Most holidays–empty. It’s nice that it’s pretty predictable.

I recently noticed that my gym is insanely packed on Mondays. Like it’s full. The parking garage and parking lot has been 100% full–which I’ve only seen on Thanksgiving morning when everyone and their brother is trying to counter-act the day’s eating.

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And it’s not like I was getting to the gym super late on Mondays; I was getting there just before 5 and it was still packed. What was going on? I started to think it was everyone trying to “fix” their weekend indulgences. Then a twitter friend said that Mondays have always been packed at her gym because everyone is trying to start their week off right. That makes sense. And it’s a slightly more positive twist on it.

But as the week goes on, the gym thins out. That’s why Friday nights have always been my favorite gym night of the week. When I started getting fit and losing weight I swam on Friday nights at the nearby community pool because it was usually pretty empty. Instead of fighting over a spot in a lane, or competing with the swim team, swim lessons and water aerobics, I was able to get my swim in and actually enjoy it.

That habit continued over the years. In some ways I kind of disliked working out on Friday nights. The work week would wind down and I’d be itching to get out of office, get my workout in and then start my weekend off right! So even though I disliked having to wait a few extra hours to start my weekend, it was really nice having the gym/pool mostly to myself.

I’d get home after my workout and finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief. WEEKEND! Yay! Michael and I would open a bottle of wine, relax and have a movie night with some pizza.

Since I’ve been back to work part-time I’ve switched my gym schedule. Now Wednesdays and Fridays are my rest days. I just didn’t want to go to the gym or pool after work after being away from the baby so long. And so I get home from work earlier and it’s kinda nice to get to enjoy my Friday nights and relax.

I’m not sure yet what my workout schedule will look like in the future. But right now I swim on Sunday mornings, walk or go to the gym on Mondays and Tuesdays nights, go to the gym on Thursday nights and then gym Saturday morning. (Back in the day I’d get to sleep in on Saturdays and Sundays… a really really really nice, long sleeping in session…I barely remember those days!)

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My goal is to be more efficient when I am in the gym–especially when it’s crowded. The Monday thing is kind of annoying. So when I get there and it’s really crowded, instead of being frustrated I try to be flexible. If what I intended to do isn’t available, I usually have an idea of other things I can do. It’s good to have options–and look at this as an opportunity to switch up the fitness routine–or try a class you’ve never done before. It’s really easy to get into a rut and do the same thing every time you go. You have favorite machines and activities and before you know it, you’re working out the exact same each time and that’s not going to get you anywhere.

So this past Monday when it was packed and there wasn’t a lot of places to work out how I wanted, I switched things up. I did my stretches, ab work and PT exercises first and then did some free weights instead of using the weight machines I wanted to use. And by the time I was done with that, the cardio machine I wanted to use was available. I still got a good workout in, even if it wasn’t what I intended to use.

I’m sure at some point when I’m back to work full time I’ll go back to my old schedule and hit the gym on Fridays. Calm, quiet, relaxing Fridays. A little swim, then home for movie night!

What does your gym schedule look like? Any favorite (or hated) days of the week?

How to Exercise Regularly

It is so easy to make excuses not to exercise. Tired. Busy. Kids. Partners. Work. Not motivated. You can focus on your diet, do Weight Watchers or count your calories and see a few pounds come off but really, if you’re not doing the exercise component as well, the weight isn’t going to come off or stay off. It takes work to lose weight. We can do the bare minimum of each but we’re cheating ourselves of our health.

I made a lot of excuses as to why I wasn’t losing weight (or why I was gaining so much) but in reality it was because I laid on my couch instead of moving my body. I hated sports, I disliked exercise, but eventually I found that I loved it. I loved how it made me feel. I loved feeling strong. It gave me energy I never had before.

There are a lot of evenings when I’m burned out, exhausted; I didn’t sleep well the night before, I had a crappy day…lots of things that wear me down and make me NOT want to go to the gym. But I always always feel a million times better going!

How to Exercise Regularly

1. Pat yourself on the back for your small efforts. You may not run a marathon your first day running, but celebrate the small achievements you make in your journey to become fit.

2. Exercise on Mondays. Starting your week out right gets you in the habit of going to the gym. And it makes it harder to make excuses NOT to go if you just get it out of the way.  (I rarely exercise on Mondays because I’ve usually worked out all weekend long.)

3. Set up a workout schedule so that you are exercising at least 3 or 4 days a week to start. Getting into the habit of this will make is easy to stick with it. Eventually add another day.

4. Don’t take multiple Rest Days in a row (unless you are injured). Taking a few days off leads to another few days leads to…no more sweat sessions. And it is HARD to get back on that wagon.  Stay consistent!

5. Join a group or class that meets once or twice a week. It also helps if you have friends in the class with you. Social time + sweat time = a fun workout.

6. Pick a sport that you like and will enjoy doing. Mine was swimming!

7. Exercise in the morning. Sometimes getting the workout done right away is a better schedule to have. It’s often easy to make excuses why you can’t exercise after work — laundry, you’re tired, it was a hard day at the office, you want to see friends, happy hours…(I am so not a morning person and I prefer to workout at night, that works for me.)

8. Train for something. Sign up for a 5k and start working toward that goal. It’s so much easier to stay on track with something specific in mind with a specific date.

9. Do it with a partner. Having a significant other or friend workout or train for an event with you makes it fun and easier to stay committed. Choose your partner wisely–someone who motivates and pushes, not someone that convinces you to go out for Starbucks instead of going to the gym!

10. It doesn’t have to happen in the gym. Just because you don’t have a gym membership, doesn’t mean you can’t be active! There are tons of ways to get fit at home.

There is always time in the day to find a way to be active, we just have to be smart and efficient about it. You will be amazed to see what kind of progress you can make with consistent exercise.

QUESTION: How do you exercise consistently? Any tips?