Shaking things up outside the gym

By MarthaFitat55

A couple of months ago I decided I wanted to shake things up on the exercise front. It’s been a bad winter and my trail walks have not been on the schedule due to the impeccable timing of storms and the subsequent blockage of said trails with snow and ice.

Also, to my distress and annoyance, the new fitness centre the city just finished building near my home has not yet opened (soon, they say, soon, but so far the Image shows the word Flourish in capital letters against a dark background of flowers.doors are still shut!).

There are only so many times going up and down the stairs in my house can offer an effective number of steps before I am bored to tears. My trainer, bless her, offered to create a program that I can mix and match from to ensure variety and coverage in between sessions.

Now while there are times I feel like I am in my own real-life version of a Choose Your own Adventure storybook, creating my own routine by choosing one to two options from each of column A, column B and column C really works for me.

The exercises are simple as my dyslexia often causes me to reverse positions, choose the wrong direction consistently, or just make a complete hash of something I have learned to do multiple times. Even now as I think about doing a series of bird dog repetitions, I have to think very, very consciously which arm to lift and which leg to push out.

The exercises also do not require any special equipment. I have lots of tubing thanks to physio, and I did buy a couple of bands to avoid falling over knots in bands I made myself. My laundry room provides useful bottles to serve as goblets for squats or wonky looking kettle bells, and my stairs offer leverage for split squats and stretches.

So I have a program, I have a way to implement it, now I need to fit in the routine into my daily schedule. Experts say forming a habit requires at least 30 days of practice to develop and maintain. I was interrupted in my new habit by overseas travel but I made up for it by getting a whack of steps in and getting a new Fitbit badge.

I am back now and have set up a spreadsheet. I even found a cute star jpg to mark off the days. I have set an alarm on my Fitbit to act as a reminder. I work from home as a writer and researcher, which means I do a lot of sitting. I know I should move more, but I often get lost in my work when I am on a roll. The Fitbit alarm is a vibrating one and it is annoying as heck, but I’ll take whatever works to jolt me back to the here and now.

However, despite my plans, I know I need an incentive to aim for. I have decided once I reach 30 stars, just like Starbucks, I’m going to get a little treat. So yes, I am a little detailed in my plan, but as I say to my clients, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I’ll let you know how I make out next month.

I am curious though what you FIFI readers do to ensure you keep fitness on schedule in your lives. Is this something only women worry about because of competing demands from work, life and family? Or is this a gender neutral consideration? And what incentives do you use to keep yourself going? Or is a fly by the seat of your pants approach one that works for you? Share in the comments!

— Martha enjoys getting her fit on by lifting all the heavy things in the gym.

6 thoughts on “Shaking things up outside the gym

  1. I used to struggle with this a lot, but now I keep what feels like both a strict and flexible schedule. I have runs on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, with distance dictated by whichever race I’m training for. Everything else is flexible around my week. Some days I do yoga, sometimes I go for a walk, and I like to bike on Fridays. But the runs are my only scheduled activity time. The others come as I feel I need them & can fit them into my week.

    There are downsides to that plan–I lack strength training, for one! But it’s the first plan that has worked consistently for me, so I try to add to it very carefully.

  2. I get some of my fitness by cycling to work in most weather, and walking at least partway in bad weather. It started out as less of a fitness thing as a loathing the local public transit thing, but now I enjoy it. The rest comes mostly from signing up for lessons or swimming with friends. I have great access to three indoor pools and a swimmable pond in walking distance, but friendly peer pressure (whether from classmates, lane mates, or coaches) is much more effective than trying to do lane swims on my own.

    I admire your discipline and ability to develop a fitness routine inside your house. At most, I manage a few minutes of stretches every few days.

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  4. I have to be flexible because we have winter in these parts. It affects both my ability to go out and run/walk and my ability to drive places – ice is not your friend no matter if you have 4WD and studs. Sometimes life gets in the way of working out, too.

    I don’t think this is a function of being female. The guys in my life also struggle with keeping a routine because of their work schedules, family issues, etc.

  5. I have a few things I can do and enjoy (lifting is # 1, yoga, and jogging). I’m happiest when I lift 3 x a week and build around that. It’s not always possible, so if I can’t, I try to jog/walk far 3 x a week… but, it’s about being gentle with myself too. And reviewing what works, what doesn’t, and why.

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