How to Simplify Your Workout in 5 Steps

I want to start this post about MOVEMENT by talking about MEDICINE.

What do you think about when you visualize that word?

Doctors?

Pills?

Surgery?

Tests?

Clinical “diet plans” ?

Don’t get me wrong. Modern medicine is amazing. But it doesn’t always have to be the first line of defense.

Food is medicine. We’ve talked about this before. In fact, it’s the most powerful form of medicine because it is something you give yourself EVERY day.

There’s another kind of medicine I want to talk about today.

Exercise!

Unfortunately, many of us (yeah, me included!) are lazy and want to have things done FOR us. Medicine is easy, right, because you just have to pop a pill.

Exercise depends on YOU. Not a pill. Not a doc.

You must make the time, the effort and the consistency.

You can’t rely on the doctor or pharmacy to help you with this one – and that’s likely why it becomes the form of medicine you are less likely to prescribe to.

 

OK, now think about your childhood.

Did you play? I’m assuming you did – and you probably weren’t unhappy about it!

Were you worried about food as much as you are now? I doubt you even cared if you ate dinner. In fact, you probably fought dinner in order to keep playing!

I want you to keep that in mind and TAKE THE ‘WORK’ OUT OF YOUR WORKOUT.

Make it fun.

Make it something you enjoy during (and after – a “man I feel like a million bucks. Why would I want to eat french fries?” kind of day).

Cool, Jess….buuuuuuuuuuut…..how do we collect enough motivation to even get started?

I know, right?

Electronics (bless ‘em) help us do any and everything. They are also a total curse.

We have elevators and escalators to move us around and are often not able to take the stairs.

We drive everywhere.

We’re addicted to our phones.

We work ridiculous schedules that don’t allow for the time to produce enjoyable movement.

We balance family and job and school and social life.

Obligations. Exhaustion. Little energy for anything but…Real Housewives.

And takeout.

And a few cookies because I had a killer day and I deserve it, dammit.

Yeah… it’s not easy to get started.

But the time you spend in making this major life adjustment WILL BE REWARDED.

 

Daily movement, in some form, will make you feel better each and every day. Your body CRAVES movement. It was built to move.

That means, we need to find a physical routine (big or small) and we have to do it more than once a week if we want to see results (mental and physical).

Otherwise, it’s like watering a plant with a few drops and expecting it to stay healthy that way.

(It won’t happen)

EXERCISE IS

·      Effective

·      Free (can be!)

·      Abundantly available

·      Tailored to you – you can do whatever you want

When you compare that to modern medicine – drugs, surgery, more drugs – I’m sure you will find a long list of risks to sign off on before your treatment begins. Is the “reward” worth the risks? I can’t help but laugh at some of the drug commercials on now, with the full 30 seconds spent on telling you how much they are going to mess up your body or lead to death. ?!?!?!?!

 

ANYWAY, here are my tips to get started (and stay there):

1. First, you need to recognize that movement is essential to health. No amount of kale can replace daily movement (big or small).

Be more aware of signals your body is giving you. What excuses are you making? They are likely signs that your body is craving movement, not fighting it. Try to reverse this thinking. This looks like “I am feeling achy and sluggish. That means my body NEEDS movement and flexibility. It does not mean I need to rest more on the couch eating ice cream.”

2. Attitude is so key. You need to be positive, as cliché as that is.

“Can’t” = won’t. “Try” = nope, lounging with Netflix will win. You need to tell yourself that you are doing this for the good of your body and you are taking CARE of yourself. This positive attitude will go so much further than the negative thoughts and associations with the gym. Treat the gym the same way you treat happy hour or advancing your career.

3. Commit to movement. Figure out what it is that you enjoy so that you don’t totally hate working out. You don’t HAVE to spend 30 minutes on the elliptical. You don’t HAVE to run. You don’t HAVE to do yoga.

Try a bunch of shit and see what sticks.

What you actually wake up saying you are down to do. What you feel good doing and when you feel amazing all day after. Do that. And commit to it. That means you need to schedule your workout in the same way you schedule the rest of your life and it has to become a non-negotiable.

If you had an interview – would you skip it? I hope not. Your gym date needs to be of the same priority. Literally put your workout days into your calendar so that nothing can be scheduled over top of them.

4. Movement can be whatever you need it to be. You don’t even have to go to a formal gym or class each time. Movement can also be some stretching in your room when you wake up. It can be a 30-minute walk at lunch-time. Or it can be a run with the dogs after dinner. You can literally find everything (some free) on the internet – I’ve done Blogilates 6 minute workouts for free, Yoga Glo streaming yoga for $18/month and the 7 minute workout app for free on my phone. Or I’ve taken the kids for a walk during the day. There is always time to do something. Find the something that works for you. (for the record, I am mostly walking right now!!)

5. CHOOSE to do more. Every day we are faced with something more active and something where we can be lazy. Examples: take the stairs; take the elevator. Walk to work; Uber to work (within reason, obvi). Walk during lunch; scroll through Facebook during lunch. Grocery shop; have groceries delivered. Whenever you are faced with something where you have the opportunity to be active – do it!

Remember – keep balance and find the joy.

You don’t want to be 100% working out everyday to the max, especially if you’ve been rather sedentary for a while. It’s important to move and it’s important to rest as well.

Find that joy you had when you were little. Enjoy the movement you are doing. Don’t worry about the million other things you have to get done. I promise you will feel so much better about ALL of those things after you are done (and you’ll probably be better at completing them, too!)

Easy Workouts for Moms on-the-go!

I am not a huge lover of exercise, if I’m being totally honest. Pre-kids, I DID it but mostly because it fit into my routine, I’m big on routines, and I felt great after. 

I’ve had gym memberships, Private Pilates lessons (my fav), and the last thing I did BK (before kids) was a 7am barre class 5 days a week.

Fast forward to now and young kids just make my mornings a bit too unpredictable to get a workout in right away. Once they are older, my goal is to get back to a 6am workout. But in the meantime - I try to fit something in, usually later in the day, when typically my energy will start to slump too.

I also have to make a disclaimer that when I’m pregnant - I “work out” just about 1-2x a week and otherwise I shoot for 3x. Nothing crazy!

Let me share what works best for me. And please tell me what you have found to work for your schedule, too!

Keep in mind - this is all about finding about 20 mins, whenever and wherever, to move my body in whatever way you see fit.

WALKING

I like to walk everywhere. Everywhere. This is obviously made easier because I live in the city and like to work and meet in my local coffee shops… but walking is a game changer for me and how I get in most of my activity. Granted, I don’t do this when it’s raining or cold - so this is just for fall, spring and summer. But 30 minute walks into the city center not only help me with activity but also to clear my head from what’s going on that day. Oh, and vitamin D!

AT HOME YOGA

Even if you don’t have a mat, if you have a rug or carpet…. it works. Honestly, sometimes a mat is an barrier for me (“ugh I don’t feel like getting out my mat and changing my clothes...”) - so most of the time I do some stretches and sun salutations IN my pajamas on the carpet of my bedroom before I change my clothes for the day.  20 minutes, max. And if you want something more structured - there are a million youtube “classes” or online classes you can look up for free - or you can pay for a subscription to a streaming service like YogaGlo. After, I will often lay on the floor to a 5 min meditation too.

PELOTON

This at-home spin bike with classes is more pricey up front - but in my experience - WORTH IT. Plus, over time it is actually cheaper than most gym or studio memberships. I have had mine for almost two years and love it, still. I get bored rather quickly but I’m still going strong with my love for this one. Peloton gives you different levels of classes, different times, on demand vs live, and instructors of varying styles to help you find something perfect. I can take a low intensity spin class in my office in my pajamas. I can take a 10 minute hill ride between calls. I can take a 20 minute class with *NSYNC playing after the kids go to bed.

Amazing for me. 

I don’t have to *think* with this one because I don’t have any excuses. If I pass by it and I have the time - I do it.

(Ok SOCKS. Only barrier to entry here. I don’t always have socks on.)

If you’ve been thinking about getting one for your home, I highly recommend. Makes working in a quick workout (when you get 30 minutes to yourself) much easier.


So tell me- what are your tips for fitting in movement? Especially with kids?!