Monday, 9 July 2018

Fitness Goals For Someone Who Loves Nachos

I've been thinking about this post in my head for months. Mainly because I've been thinking about my lack of fitness routine for months. A small part of this is about weight. I have gained weight in the past 4-5 years, but, mainly, this is about health.

I'm tired of feeling sore when I get up off the bed after sitting there cross-legged for a bit.

I'm tired of feeling disappointed in myself for going up a pant size (or two!).

I'm tired of feeling like I "should" be exercising.

My hope is by writing this post is twofold:

1. I hope that by writing this all down, it keeps me more accountable to my intentions.
2. I hope that maybe others feel the same way about fitness and can relate.

Last year, when I had my annual physical with my doctor, I told her I knew I had gained weight since my last visit. She said that I was still well within the normal range, and that it was more important that I exercise than worry about a number on a scale.

Since then our scale broke, and I haven't replaced it. A bit out of fear of what that number is now (I'm certain it has not gone down), but also because I don't want to obsess over a number. I want to go by how I feel.

What makes me feel strong?
What am I doing to keep my heart healthy?
What stretches help my body feel at its the best?

I consume books like I breathe air. I set reading goals, I complete reading challenges, I track what I read, I reflect on what I read, and I keep a journal of books I've read and books I want to read. I talk to others about books, I have bookish apps on my phone, and I feel like I've learned so much about literature and publishing as I've immersed myself into that world.

I don't know if I'll ever be the person who wakes up and says, "Yes! Let's workout!" I will always prefer a book to a run, and I love carbs, Netflix, and caramel macchiatos, but, for my own health, I need to move my body. I need to create a plan and a goal that work for me and go for it. I need to try and apply to fitness the same habits and diligence I apply to reading.

As a teacher, I have a gift of time over the summer, and I'm hoping the next two months will give me the boost to get my fitness life back on track, so I can decide what parts will continue to work as I begin a new school year in the fall.

Finding time to exercise, especially as a mom, is not easy. I have to schedule it or it won't happen. Rachel Hollis has this amazing quote where she says, "Hope is not a strategy. You need to have a plan." I can't just hope myself a finished workout. I can't hope myself the time or willpower to go exercise. I need to take a the first step (pun intended 😉).

Maybe that first step is writing down "run" on your calendar for Saturday morning. Maybe the first step is letting your partner know that you want to do this, so he/she needs to know they will be watching the children for an hour. Maybe the first step is browsing a fitness class schedule at a local gym or yoga studio. Maybe your first step is getting a new tank top for working out! Whatever it is, do it. Then, decide what's next.

You won't see before and after pictures here, and I am not going to try and sell anyone anything. Below are the current ideas in my plan, and maybe a piece or two sound appealing to you as well. We can cheer each other on!

Helpful Apps

Couch to 5K

Cost: $2.99

What it does: Provides you a 9-week training program to running 5K (or close to it).

Why I like it: This app is for beginners. Rob and I are both working through it right now. It starts with run/walk intervals and slowly builds up your endurance to eventually running 30 minutes. But don't be scared of the end. The first few weeks are actually more walking than jogging!

The training plan is scheduled for 3 runs per week, but you can work this app at your own pace. Do it more often or less. It's up to you! For April and May I did it once a week. In June, I didn't do it at all. The past two weeks, I've picked it back up and am going out every other day. The pace is very reasonable, and it is fun to watch your progress.

Carrot Rewards

Cost: free (only available in certain Canadian provinces)

What it does: Carrot connects to your phone's pedometer or your Fitbit to track your steps for the day. It sets a personal goal for you and gives you rewards to a loyalty program of your choice on the days you meet your goal.

Why I like it: It feels like you get rewards for just doing whatever it is you normally do in your day. Everyone has their own personal step goal based on their average daily steps, so your goal is really just for you. I chose Scene as my loyalty program, so I earn 2 points each day I meet my goal. You also have the opportunity to earn bonus points if you complete your Step Up Challenge (meet your goal 10 times in 14 days). After 14 days, the app re-evaluates your step goal and will raise or lower it depending on if you slayed your goals or not.

My friend and I also like the Step Together Challenge. If we collectively meet our goals 10 times in a week, we both earn bonus points! The top row is me, the bottom row is my friend on our current challenge.

Sometimes at work we'll walk and grab a coffee to help meet our step goal if we're feeling like it's a low step day. I joke that we're not using the app properly when we do this, but it was recently pointed out to me that the mental health break of going for a walk with a friend is just as, if not more, valuable.

Find a buddy and run a fun race

I have noticed I keep up with my exercise when I have registered for a race or event. 

I really like obstacle courses, because it's a little bit like interval running, which I prefer. You can read about the first time I ever did it here. That specific event doesn't happen in its current form anymore, so last year my friends and I signed up for Tough Mudder - Half. It was tough but we did it, and it felt so amazing afterwards. We've signed up again this fall. And we are not superhuman athletes at all. We are regular people who love nachos. The Tough Mudder - Half event is perfect because it's the fun and crazy muddy obstacles of Tough Mudder without the electrocution or fire obstacles. Tough Mudder also has a 5K, that I'm sure is a blast. You can check it out here

The other event I've signed up for (in a few weeks, which I why I need to get my butt in gear right now) is the 5K Foam Fest. I've never done this one, but it looks like a crazy amount of fun. 

I also really want to try the Color Run, and a friend of mine does a Chocolate Race every spring. There are so many fun way to achieve your goals.

Find a fitness class

This one is trickier for me, because Sebastian doesn't love being dragged to the gym daycare, but finding a fitness class and/or instructor you love is great way to stay motivated and accountable to your workout. My favourite is BodyFlow at Goodlife Fitness, and I'm determined to go the mornings Sebastian is in camp this summer.

Read to get motivated

If you're a reader, the perfect book can be excellent encouragement.

It Takes a Tribe by Will Dean is as much about mental grit as it is about the history of Tough Mudder. I really liked this one. You can read my review here.

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis is my next read. It's about the lies we tell ourselves that end up keeping us from reaching our goals and how to overcome them.

Confessions of an Unlikely Runner by Dana Ayers is a memoir of an "average" person who decided she wanted to participate in athletic events like the ones I described above. She shares her mishaps and adventures in this book.

So that's it! That's what I'm going to do. Finish the Couch to 5K app, run two fun obstacle courses with friends, try a handful of fitness classes, and read an encouraging book.

I won't be able to sustain all of this in the fall, so I'll reassess where I'm at then and decide on a new plan.

What about you? Anyone want to join me?

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