Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Finding time for fitness

It's not easy.

Back when I first started working out at the gym, I was so desperate to stop gaining weight and to start feeling less exhausted and decrepit, that I was willing to revamp my entire life. The only way I could fit in exercise, what with the Stair-Step Brigade needing near constant attention, was to work out early enough in the morning so that I would be home before Youngest Child would awaken and begin clamoring for me. My husband, to put it mildly, is not exactly a morning person. The last thing he wanted was for his mornings to start any earlier than 8:00, especially if it meant having to deal with a ravenous toddler who wasn't always Mr. Sunshine upon rising.

The gym was a 20 minute drive away. I needed to get home as close to 6:30 am as possible. That meant I had to leave the gym by about 6:10 at the latest. If I wanted an hour workout, I had to be on the way to the gym by 4:50. After a couple months, I began showing up at the gym right around their opening time of 4:30, just so that I could get in a full workout (weights, cardio, etc.) and be home in time to spare my husband from Ravenous, Fussy Toddler.

I don't know how I managed it. For one, I went to bed much earlier than I do now. My life was a lot less complicated. Now, the idea of staggering out of the house at 4:10 am seems impossible and almost horrific. And do it three to four days per week? Ha!

These days, I struggle to get to the dojo, only 3 minutes away, by 6:00 am. I find myself making excuses for not getting out of bed when the alarm rings. Once I'm up, all sorts of things seem to beckon for my attention. I make excuses --- I'll just skip my workout this morning! After all, I already spend so much time at the dojo! Ah, I must remind myself, spending time teaching is not the same as spending time exercising.

This morning I arrived at the dojo over an hour later than I had planned. But I did get in a good workout, beginning with the dreaded push-up torture regimen. And, after tonight's classes, I even got in a mini-workout. So I'm feeling good.

Maybe tomorrow I'll actually get there on time!

Post contains minor edits to remove odd ambiguities.

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  1. Well, "desperate times call for desperate measures," and since you hardly qualify as desperate any more, I don't blame you for not wanting to get up during the pre-dawn hours.

    I was thinking of this the other day while swimming - AM and PM exercising. My husband and I have gone in the early evenings to do laps in this 50 meter pool.

    Since my problem is snacking after dinner as a means of reducing stress, I find that strenuous exercise, preferably from 7-8PM (after a light dinner finished by 6PM) provides the ideal means of substituting an unhealthy stress reliever for a very healthy one.

    Now I haven't found a pool open for lap swimming at this time yet, and our pool will be closing soon, but we have gone in the late afternoons, and I've seen a big difference in my ability to battle temptation on account of it. I also confess watching the Olympics (politics aside) has provided some encouragement and inspiration).

    My husband asked if the local YMCA could provide the same thing for us, after our Olympic size pool closes for the fall. I'll have to look into it.

    So I'm glad we've found something companionable in the evenings again, in addition to the evening time of exercise helping "burn off" the "stress hormones" so I don't feel like destressing in an unhealthy manner.

    In a word, I'm all for doing early evening exercises, personally.

  2. That sounds like a good plan. I also like early evening exercise, for several reasons:

    1. I sleep better. Not that I ever really have trouble sleeping, but it seems that I feel more rested after a good night's sleep following exercise.

    2. It ends the couch-potato and snack cycle that is all too easy to get into.

    3. It's a great way to wind down from the day!

    Back when I was single, I loved going to the gym after a long day of work. It was a great stress-reliever.

    But some years back, when I started working out again, it was important that my new lifestyle impact the rest of the family as little as possible, especially if I wanted to keep it up for the long haul. It would have been wonderful if this was something I could have done with my husband but he let me know that he had no interest in weight loss or exercise for himself, thank you very much, plus there were all the little kidlets the pretty much filled our evenings.

    Then, after a year or so, our family got into martial arts. First it was afternoon classes and then it was evening classes --- which I much preferred. I cut back on my morning gym times but still did them as supplemental training.

    My favorite thing now? Morning and evening workouts. A good workout in the morning keeps my energy level pumped up all day, and I feel much more positive about everything. And then the evening workout leaves me feeling so relaxed afterwards...