Friday, October 5, 2012

I'm Not Special: 90 Days of Fitness

Note: This post was written about a month ago and sat in "draft" status until today. I'm not sure exactly why I didn't want to post it right away, but reading it a month later, I know it needs to be shared. 

My name is Veronica and I worked out every day for 90 days.

And I'm not special.

But I am so very, very tired.

Over a year ago, I thought it might be cool to work out every day for 30 days. I even put it on my Vision Board for June of 2011. That didn't happen. After staring at that little post-it note of failure, I wondered if maybe that was too easy. So in May of this year, I decided that my Summer would be quiet enough that I could probably go for 90 days. And so, on June first I very quietly started my journey. I didn't want to tell anyone because I was afraid I wouldn't follow through and then I'd look silly (not that anyone would hold it against me...). After about a week I realized I could do it and started sharing my goals with others.
I read somewhere that if you're going to set a goal like this, you should keep a calendar and mark off each successful day with a big red "X" that way it's painfully easy to see missed days. I considered the fact that both July and August had 31 days so I could potentially skip 2 days and still get 90 days within the summer months. I'm far too much of a rule-follower for that, though!
I managed to overcome some obstacles like having our niece and nephew here and going out of town a couple times. By working out in the early morning hours I was able to avoid the extreme heat (but not the humidity) and I got it out of the way so I didn't have to think about it. You'll notice one day in July I did "abs and pushups." I had put off my workout until the evening hoping to run/ride bikes with the kids. Well, the atmosphere had other plans and we were stuck indoors. So I just did a small workout at the house.
So why am I not special? Because this could just have easily have been you. OK, maybe you're not ready to log 6 mile runs or 1000m swims, but can you take a 30 min walk? Do you have access to a pool where you can walk laps? I'm sure there's a Yoga DVD collecting dust somewhere in your home. Shoot, if you have a Netflix subscription you have access to hundreds, probably thousands, of hours of fitness videos. Here are a few things I noticed were required for this challenge, none of which are "being in shape."
  1. Commitment to yourself - Promise yourself that you'll allow 30 min each day for you. Even something like meditating is healthful! 
  2. Plan ahead - I was always looking ahead and asking how I would get my workouts in. When we were travelling I made sure I had everything I needed to go for a run. In Wichita, I forgot my toiletry bag at home which contained my hair ties and barrettes, but I made do. Planning is so very key to health. From meal planning to scheduling workouts, it's what keeps me on track. Google Calendar does wonders.
  3. It's not about the distance/intensity - The last two weeks of the challenge were particularly rough. It was clear that I was getting burnt out and when I looked at my calendar it wasn't hard to see why. I was starting to think that every workout had to be direct training for a couple upcoming triathlons and a marathon in November. Turns out, rest is also very important!
  4. Do it first thing in the morning - I laughed out loud when a friend of mine said how impressed she was that I "got up in the middle of the night" to workout. Ok, so 5:30 am Bodypump classes aren't for everyone, including me, but if you go to bed a little earlier and set the alarm 30 min earlier, you can probably squeeze in a morning walk, yeah? Being summer in South Texas, it's a great way to beat the heat. Also, it's an awesome feeling to get off work and know that I have the whole evening to do whatever I want!