I've always had a pretty good relationship with exercise. Growing up, I swam on the swim team in the summer and played soccer in the spring. As a teenager, I learned that if I kept up a routine of jogging in the off season, the conditioning at the beginning of the soccer season would be less painful. My dad has always been a jogger, and it was fun to be able to spend time with him when we jogged together. I even played one season of tennis, and quickly gathered that just because my mom was a great tennis player (and still is!), I didn't necessarily follow suit. I did have fun though. In college, my friends and I would frequent the gym on campus, for aerobics classes, or to run on the indoor track. As an adult, my husband and I made it a point to visit our apartment's gym, and I kept up with my running.
It's amazing when I look back and realize how easy it was to make time for exercise, as a kid, then a teen, a college student, and eventually an adult. I had all the time in the world, it seemed, and exercise was happening all around me. If not as an organized sport, then as a club, a group of friends getting together for a pick up game of soccer, or lifting weights with my husband. I look back on that time, pre-kids and wonder why I didn't have abs of steel and glutes of glory.
Now, as a busy mom of three, I have a plethora of excuses for why I don't have time for exercise. Why I can't fit it in among piles of laundry, the daily shuttles to and from practice, and balancing the checkbook (yes, I still do that). Yet, even through all of these seemingly endless distractions, it seems my exercise game is the best it's ever been.
Want to know why? SURVIVAL.
You see, exercise is for ME, and only ME. It is the one thing I do all day that is unapologetically, unwaveringly, undisputedly for me. And while I love my little people, I really do, they require so much from me, that at the end of the day, if I have not done something for myself, I can be left feeling empty, used, and defeated.
So, I have compiled a list of seven things I do to keep exercise interesting for me. Because I will tell you one thing: If I ever fall out of love with exercise, you may have to come peel me off the floor of my kitchen, give me a stern talking to, and put me back in the saddle. Exercise is what makes me tick, keeps me going, and gives me the courage to tackle each day. So, without further ado...
NMAM=Never Miss a Monday. Period. This one is pretty straightforward but super important and super EASY to make happen! Plain and simple, Monday is your day to get started on the right foot. Make it your day to set the tone for the rest of the week.
Exercise is self care. Think of it that way. Self care is a big buzz word for many of us. Life is crazy, we overcommit, we have news coming at us at all hours of the day, seven days a week. Add on to that the insanity that is social media and the comparison trap that comes along with it, and we're overworked, overanxious, and overwhelmed. Many of us think of having a massage, or getting a manicure as being self care, but I think of exercise as the ultimate self care practice. There is no other practice that makes me feel as good about myself, gives me such a radiant glow, or tones my body quite like exercise.
Mix it up. I get bored when I do the same moves every day, so I like to be creative in my exercise endeavors. I belong to a gym, Arsenal Athletics, where I lift weights and have access to several cardio machines (rower, ski erg, bike). I have a membership to the Momsanity Sisterhood, which not only allows me access to new and exciting workouts every month, but connects me to other mommies who have busy lives and still make exercise a priority. I have a home gym with a bench, a pull up bar, and a variety of free weights. And I will never give up my love of running. I enjoy running outside the most, but a few years ago we broke down and bought a treadmill for those days that are just too rainy or too cold to venture outside. Music is a major motivator for me. Check out my running playlist-- 10 Pump it Up Songs For Your Running Playlist.
Do it early. I can pretty much promise you that if my workout is not complete by lunch time, it is not getting done. By the time I have to start thinking about what's for dinner, shuttling the kids to practices, and helping with homework, there is little room left for a workout. So I get my workout done early, and bask in the exercise glow the rest of the day.
Do it anyway. It is the times when I least want to work out that I often get the most out of my workout. Like the time I didn't want to run on a Sunday morning before church, but I did it anyway and ran the fastest two miles I have ever run. It's always the moments we push through the pain (and the laziness) that grow us the most.
Sign up for something. A 5K. A Spartan Race. A Walk. Anything!!! Better yet, get a group together to sign up and keep you accountable. Sometimes having that date written on the calendar is just what you need to spur you on toward the goal of being able to run a mile or climb that rope. The first time I completed a Spartan race, I ran right on by the rope obstacle, thinking I'd never in a million years be strong enough to climb to the top of a 30 foot rope, much less have the guts to try. Now, I can honestly say that climbing the rope comes as easy to me as riding a bike, and that is thanks to my trainer, Jason, at Arsenal Athletics, and the personal workouts he wrote to help me conquer that rope. You can read more about my Spartan journey here.
Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep. Rest your muscles when they need time off. And nourish your body right. I take my shaker bottle of BCAAs (Cherry Lime is my fave) with me to the gym every day, and sometimes use BCAAs as a pick me up in the afternoons. And almost every day, I snack on a filling shake, fortified with Momfuel protein powder (vanilla or dutch chocolate) and chock full of veggies. It is the easiest way I know of to make sure I am getting enough muscle building /repairing protein and servings of veggies per day.
So, how about you? How do you keep exercise interesting? I would love to hear from you. As a side note, I included links to the BCAAs and protein powders I use, but am also excited to tell you that Momsanity is now selling BCAAs in single serve packets. SCORE! I can't tell you how many times I have left for the gym with only my water bottle, and arrived being so sad not to have my BCAAs to give me that boost during my workout. Well, no more will I have to worry, because I can just stash a few packets in my purse or my car, and Voila! I'll never be without my beloved BCAAs again. Please message me if you want more details about BCAAs or Momfuel protein powders. I am thrilled with the response I have had lately when I have shared samples with interested friends. It can be difficult to find a protein powder that contains the ingredients you want, without the junk you don't, while maintaining a great taste, but this is the ONE! Follow the links above for more info.