Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Making fitness a priority

I discovered Cassie's blog, Sage, several months ago and knew immediately that I liked her. She's down to earth, is passionate about her health, and has some killer wedding photos and inspiration. After discovering that we were both triathletes, we started talking about fitness in general and how tough it can be to make it a priority. So... we decided to put together a some tips/tricks/pointers for anyone who has thought about making health a priority in their life but doesn't exactly know where to start.

I'm too busy to work out-- how do I fit it into my schedule along with all the other things I have to get done during the week?

K: When I started to get serious about my health and working out, I realized I would have to make some sacrifices. If you continue to say you are "too busy" then you will always be too busy to make fitness an important part of your life. The most important factor was deciding to make fitness a priority. Once it was important to me, I was able to make time for it in my busy schedule. 

C: Change your perspective. Are you too busy to eat or sleep? No? Then you're not too busy to work out. I started seeing it as a necessity instead of just something I would do when I had the time. If I don't have time in my schedule, I make time by getting up earlier or going for a run on my lunch break. 

Cassie before a triathlon she competed in!

What little things can I do during the day when I don't have time to make it to the gym or get outside?

K: If you have a "desk job" then I highly suggest taking breaks. Set a timer for every hour and get up and take a walk - whether to the bathroom, the break room, or just around the office and back. It will (firstly) get your blood flowing and your metabolism going and (secondly) ease the monotony of the work day.

C: The most important thing you can do to incorporate exercise into your day is to make little changes. I always try to walk when when I can instead of drive (even if that means just parking further away to run into a store), take the stairs instead of the elevator, and stand instead of sit when it is an option. When the weather is nice, my husband and I commute to work on our bikes. It's a built-in workout that has a purpose!

What's the best way to ensure I have healthy meals even on the busiest of days?

K: For me, the most important step is to not buy the icky foods. If I don't have them laying around, I don't eat them. Additionally, when I cook dinner I usually try to make enough extra to take to work the next day. Some people "meal plan" and cook all their meals for the week on the weekends. This can be really beneficial, however there's a lot of time and planning that goes in to it. There are many resources out there for meal planning, prepping, etc, along with other tips and tricks for eating healthy, but I think the main focus should be to be prepared for each day. I try to do this by bringing meals/snacks so I don't find myself in front of the vending machine eying that snickers bar.

C: I don't even buy the unhealthy food in the first place because I know if I have chips in the house they will only last maybe 48 hours. My husband and I also meal plan for the entire month and try to make extra for lunch the next day. I would say 99% of the time we pack our lunches. Making your own lunch is HUGE; otherwise, it's too easy to go eat out which adds about 2x the calories to your meal if you're not careful. Preparation is key and that looks different for everyone. 

I'm tired of the treadmill and the elliptical machine, but I still want to stay active and do cardio a few times a week, what are your suggestions?
K: Get outside! Taking my workout to mother nature is one of my most favorite things to do. A simple change of scenery can work wonders. Other things to do for cardio: swimming, biking, or even an aerobics class.

Me and my husband after biking to the top of a mountain.

C: I would also suggest getting outside or trying a group fitness class. Even just grabbing coffee with a friend on Saturday morning and then going for a walk or hike can help get in some cardio for the day. I'm easily bored so I keep a constant rotation of HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts, swimming, running, cycling, and hiking. 

Cassie and her husband, Matt, doing some zip lining - I'm totally jealous, I've never done it! 

Do you go to the gym in the mornings or the evenings (or use a home gym, etc.) and why does that work best for you?

K: ​I go (almost) every morning before work - wake up sometime between 5 and 5:30 and go to the gym before I have to be at work at 8:30. When I first decided to join a gym I was working 12 hour shifts and I knew I would want to go straight home and to bed instead of going to the gym and not getting home until 9 or 10 at night. I just carried this on to my current job and now I have whole evenings free to do whatever I like.​

C: I know that if I don't get my workout in before work, I am FAR less likely to work out at all. Since it can be challenging to get up early, I try to make it as easy as possible by packing my gym bag and clothes for the next day the night before, having my lunch ready to go, and making sure my husband knows to harass me when I try to make excuses. If I can't get my workout in before work, I will try to go after or just do a workout video at home. Or just take the day off, because that's PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE.

How do you avoid "workout burnout" and keep yourself motivated to go to the gym or work out after the New Year's resolution phase has worn off?

K: I try to change it up! As I've mentioned, I go to the gym 4-5 times per week and usually I stick to the same routine, but as we all know, routines can get boring so I try to keep a few things in my back pocket for those days when I don't feel like doing my "usual" thing that day. I'll go to a class (such as cx works or zumba), do a fun HIIT treadmill workout, or even *gasp* skip that day. My theory is, if you continually do something that you aren't enjoying, you'll make yourself hate it so much that you never go again.

After completing my very first triathlon last spring.

C: Variety and perspective are absolutely key. I don't use exercise as punishment or to "earn" things (and I believe in moderation over restriction) and I am constantly switching up my workouts. Even though I am training for a half marathon right now, I am also doing strength and speed swim workouts, weight lifting, yoga/pilates, cycling, and basic hiking with my husband and friends. I try to remind myself of my goals frequently and not be too hard on myself if I fall short. After all, exercise should be fun!

What are things you do to keep yourself motivated and on track with your fitness and health goals?


Sarah said...

I'm lucky in the fact that I help run my college's brand new health & wellness center. But even so, some days it's tough to get motivated. I started doing my run in the morning and weights/classes in the afternoon and that's made all of the difference for me. :)

Tami said...

I find that once you get on a roll with a fitness routine, it's easy to stick to. Similarly, once you get on a roll with being a couch potato, it's hard to break the streak. The hardest part is making the initial commitment!

Macy said...

Love this post, thanks for putting it together ladies! I have stuck with basically the same routine for the last month, and I am hoping to keep it just like this until my wedding in June. I'll change things up some once I get there. I see a marathon on the hoizon!

Kayla MKOY said...

I just love this. You two are so great and I love both your blogs. You ladies are fitness inspirations ;)

Faith B said...

I love this, it's exactly what I needed to read today. Thanks ladies.

This is great motivation.

Cassie Lee @ Sage the Blog said...

Thanks for the sweet introduction! It was so fun collaborating with you and I can't wait to do it again in the future. I think we live fairly close too so maybe we could even meet up for a race sometime!!!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely LOVE this post! I'm completely agree about getting your workout "over with" in the morning. The couch is WAY too tempting after a long day at work. Thanks for the motivation!


Kels @ BlonderSide said...

All great tips and such good advice! I really like how you said sometimes making fitness a priority means making a few sacrifices. It's true and sometimes people think it'll be super easy or be a quick fix.

Kati Rose said...

I love this post! Ever since I started working full time and having the blog I've noticed exercise has quickly been forgotten because I make excuses feeling like I don't have time. Reading where other people have had successes and make it work encourage me to really do it.

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