"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philipians 3:13b,14

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Get Moving- Creating an Exercise Routine That Works

I think it is obvious from reading my blog that I am passionate about food. I love food.

Therefore, it is a VERY good thing that I am also passionate about exercise. It makes me feel good- allows me to set and accomplish goals, improves my energy levels, helps me sleep better...... I just enjoy it!

Over the years, my routine has changed many times, based on what my life situation looks like. When Christopher was a baby and I worked full time, I worked out (very early) at the gym 2 or 3 mornings per week, and walked on the weekends. As Christopher got older and I quit my job, I would work out at the gym 5 days per week in the late afternoon/early evening with Wade. When I was pregnant, I walked and did exercise videos at home mostly.

After I had Nicholas, and all the dust settled, I was a solid 40 lbs overweight. (Don't you just love that?! NOT) I had spent the previous 8 weeks convincing myself that once I hit the 8 week mark, all that extra weight would just be magically gone. Yeah. That didn't happen. (Of course, that didn't have a thing to do with all of the sodas and chocolate chip banana bread I was consuming. It was the BABY that did it I tell you!)

That's when I started running. Before that, I had run a little bit, mostly to warm up for weights, or every so often with my mom. But never much and never regularly. So when I took up running, it was with a rickety baby stroller (I eventually bought a jogging stroller) and a 10 year old trailing on a bike. I had a program that started with 1 minute of running and 1 minute of walking.

So at that time, my routine was 3 days per week of running, and 3 afternoons per week at the gym (I would hit the gym before dinner when it was usually Nicholas' "fussy time"- he wouldn't fuss at the gym child care so it made the afternoons go by so much more quickly!)

Now, when you're setting up an exercise routine, here are the things I like to consider:
(This is where I give the obligatory disclaimer- I am not an exercise expert, nor am I a doctor. These are just my own opinions. Take them or leave 'em...)

Where/how are you going to exercise?
This is a really important thing to determine. You need to consider a few things. If you're going to work out from home and by yourself, are you a self-motivated person? Will you force yourself to do the workout you have planned even when you don't feel like it? Do you have ample room in your home to accommodate the workout? If you aren't a self motivated person, I would suggest doing group classes at a gym or finding some workout partners. (And, for most people, please don't tell me you can't afford the gym. There are membership sales all the time for $29/month, which is less than $7.50 a week. Think for a minute about all of the things you spend $7.50/week on. Your health is worth it.)

When will you exercise?
This, I believe, is the most critical factor to your success in setting up an exercise routine. YOU NEED TO SCHEDULE IT! Get out your calendar (You know, the one that's filled with all your kids' activities) and schedule your workouts. Put it on your calendar. Do NOT schedule other things during that time. Get used to saying these words, "I have plans during that time, perhaps x:00 would work instead." If you have a family, let them know that this is important to you. Ask for their support. Most of all, know that it is OK to take time to do something healthy for yourself. It sets an awesome example for your kids. There is not one single, solitary thing wrong with you scheduling a reasonable amount of time into your week for exercise.

What are your exercise goals?
Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to gain muscle? There are all kinds of different workout plans and classes at the gym for meeting all kinds of goals. Most gyms offer an initial consultation, that would be a good time to ask questions! Set goals and feel proud when you accomplish them!

If you have a tightly packed schedule, set a realistic plan for you life. If you are doing zero days of exercise per week right now, and you can schedule two days per week, that's good, great even!! That's 200% more days than what you're doing now! Look at what will work for your life. PLEASE don't set yourself up for failure by planning to work out 5 days per week when you don't have the time for that. Make a plan that you can stick to, so that you have NO excuses.

Finally, just start doing something!! Don't keep waiting for the "right time" to begin exercising! If you can start on a Wednesday, for heaven's sake, you do not need to wait for a Monday to begin! If you feel like you want to start today, go for a walk! Do some push ups or sit ups, or dust off an old work out video and pop it in the dvd player (or the vhs player, or the beta player.....) (This reminds me of a VERY unfortunate Jane Fonda pregnancy workout video I had when pregnant with Christopher... in the era of leotards and tights and leg warmers....lovely)

I have made this point before- we make time for the things that are important to us. If exercise is important to you, spend some time thinking through and creating a workable routine. Then start!!

If you do, I'd love to hear about it!! Email me or comment below!

Happy sweating!


  1. "just start doing something." I couldn't agree more! Once you get doing it, its a lot easier to keep doing. great advice.

  2. :) Doing something is always better than doing nada.... ;)