Exercising while Dean-ing: Sam finds ways to make it work, #deanslife

A painted rock which reads “play before work’ nestled in the fall leaves

Since becoming Dean of the College of Arts at Guelph in January 2018, I’ve struggled a bit to find time for fitness things. It’s a demanding job. It’s not that regular faculty positions aren’t demanding but this feels different.

The schedule is certainly different. This morning I was at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the U of G table from 7-9 am. A surprising number of things take place in the early hours of the day. There’s also a lot of evening commitments. Twelve hour days aren’t that uncommon. And it’s not that I didn’t work long days when I was teaching and doing research full-time but that schedule was under my control mostly. Now I have an assistant who schedules my days and I have to look and see what’s on and when.

When I first started I imagined I could just book fitness-y things and stick with it. See Start as you mean to continue,

But the thing is emergencies happen often enough that I can’t commit in the way I used to. If there’s a faculty member in crisis I can’t really say, yes, can I’d love to meet with you but I spin then so I can’t. And the hours mean that the usual thing of working out before or after work isn’t working that well for me. I am a big fan of 8 hours sleep a night. After almost a full year as Dean I thought I’d share with you what seems to be working for me.

What does work?

There are unexpected chunks of time. I keep a gym bag packed in my office at all times. I workout on campus. And I don’t need a full hour to make it worth my while.

I schedule personal training on campus over the lunch hour. I’d rather do that and eat at my desk or in meetings.

On the days when things do end early, I head to the gym. This unexpected time makes the gym feel like a treat.

I also have my bike set up at home on the trainer. I rarely do admin work at home and my email seems to begin and end with regular hours not distant from the regular work day. Again, no chunk of time is too small. Twenty minutes on the trainer is just fine.

I bike to work and I walk around campus a lot during the day.

I do random fitness classes when time permits. Bike yoga? Yes! Advanced AquaFit? Sure!

I’m still not sure where this will all settle out. I’m still trying different things and seeing what works and what doesn’t. But being much more flexible seems to be key. I’ll report back soon.

Bitmoji Sam on a boxing ring. Caption reads ‘You got this.”

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