elliptical

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?

I’m No Rooster

A friend of mine wrote a post about trying to get back to the gym and how she’s just “no rooster.” I totally agree with her. So well-put! While I feel like a major success when I work out in the mornings, it rarely happens. I’m just not going to get up at 5 a.m. to work out. Ever. Even on the weekends when I work out in the morning, I’ve slept in a reasonable amount of time.

The other day I had an appointment in the morning so I went to the gym first thing. It wasn’t quite as difficult to get out of bed at 6:15 and go to the gym. But I realized that working out in the morning, I don’t burn quite as many calories. The reason? I’m slow. Tired. Lethargic. There’s very little pep-in-my-step first thing in the morning.

I struggled on the elliptical and skipped the weights because I just had zero motivation to that. My calorie burn was decent:

Gym Stats:
Time: 1:19
Calories Burned: 617

Before I went to the gym I had half a serving of plain Cheerios. When I got home I had my normal breakfast (2 scrambled eggs, 1 turkey sausage, beans and salsa). I had a mid-morning snack of coffee. For lunch I had 2 pieces of leftover pizza for 500 calories total.

By the the afternoon I’d nearly 1000 calories of food and still had over 1200 calories leftover for the day.  I had an afternoon snack (apple, 90 calories) and was home with 1000 calories leftover for dinner.

The reason I bring this up is because I realized that my mentality CHANGED when I worked out in the morning. Normally when I work out at night I look at food as numbers that I want to keep “in check” until I work out at the end of the day. I always feel like I’m restricting myself when I work out at night. This is definitely the opposite for morning workouts.

When I work out in the morning, I feel like I’m trying to catch up all day long. I feel like I have to eat, eat, eat to catch up on nutrients. Instead of looking at food and thinking restriction, I look at food as fuel. I need fuel for my body–I eat a bigger lunch. I need fuel to repair my muscles from the morning fitness–I eat a bigger dinner.

Is that mental shift unusual? I wonder. I wonder if that shift in mental thinking is more positive and healthy than living a life of restriction and numbers. I’m just musing out loud, really. The reality is that I’m 32 years old and for my entire life I’ve hated mornings. I just wonder if it could be changed.

Please chime in!

And a quick update: I finally went in and got that blood test for my thyroid. I’m glad I did! It was normal. I can go back to normal life without worrying about “What if?”! Until I find something else to be neurotic about, of course. 🙂

QUESTION: Is your mentality toward food/calories/tracking different when you workout in the morning versus the evening?