Sunday, October 6, 2013

So You Want to Follow a Health Plan

I recently started following an exercise plan. A full blown this is what you do every day scheduled agenda. This was my first time ever tackling something that involved commitment and accountability in terms of fitness.  Usually my attention span fails me once I get a week in and I'm on to the next thing. I'm sure this tendency is linked to some deeper trait that reflects qualities in personal character, but for now I'm choosing to look at it for face value.  It is just such a foreign concept. Usually my decision to either go to the gym or run outside is decided on a 5 minute walk in between classes where I gauge the weather and/or how enjoyable it would be to run outside. I have run half marathons and never followed a strict race schedule, and I rarely know what I weigh (the universal agonizing number for most gals). I am quickly realizing that my "fitness routine" is more like a trip to IKEA you never know what you'll be walking home with.

This method has benefited me in numerous ways, primarily though keeping everything guessing from my body to running buddies; it's all just up in the air, non-committal and pressure free. For some reason I have always disregarded the 90 day shred, or whatever intense daily commitment a lot of people choose to make. It's not that there is any issue with doing something every day, but more so attempting to avoid the stress that comes with accountability. The thought of analyzing every single day's work is intimidating, especially when the last time you paid this much attention to your personal daily life was coping with the emotional aftermath of the Dexter series finale.

some of the lovely fitplan participants

 When it comes to workouts, finding what works for you can be hard enough on top of keeping track of the fit schedule you willingly registered for.  Here are a few things I felt the need to write out in hopes of motivating others who are wary of things with a specific time of commitment.  

Adjustments a non-commiter must make towards commitment:

One commitment doesn't need to turn into 5: It was like once I successfully accomplished a few days of the plan I had these adrenaline induced muscles that allowed me to be in 5 places at once.  Once you are productive in some aspect of your life, you suddenly find this motivation to start giving 150% at everything you do. While this is a really amazing thing, one day of power yoga isn't going to give you the ability to seamlessly rehab your entire life resist the urge to spread yourself too thin.  

Change IS stressful: This workout just asked me to go into the weight room. Like the room that has the bar and the sweaty dudes slinging weights around. It is a place where neon Nike frees and Luluemon tights are like having an extra limb coming out of your chest.  I have always been amazed at people who can just move to a new place, transition into a new job, break up with their boyfriend, and go on like all is right with the world. Tackling a workout regimen will challenge you to accept change both with your body and routine. It may feel a little stressful, but a little change can go a long way.
Routine is a good thing: Non-commiters are no stranger to chaos. In fact a day filled with simultaneous failed plans, spilled coffee, and forgotten exams is almost expected.  Once you avoid commitment for so long the idea of a routine can seem daunting.  Let your new workout plan help bring you back to some semblance of a schedule.  Just when you are feeling too overwhelmed by the day, your daily workout can help ease the stress. 

No 'do this to do that' mentality: The beautiful thing about a fitness plan is that it is solely focused on producing change for YOU. None of that SHAPE magazine run for an hour to burn off the two cookies you had at lunch, or swimming a bazillion laps equals the calories in your sliver of cake.  "Motivators" like that can make anyone turn towards a pack of Oreos to avoid all of the calculations.  Your fitness plan is meant to be an aid, not a tool through which you continue to over analyze your life.  

Let go of control: I have run a for half hour on the treadmill every day since you were in the fourth grade.  Your fitness plan is going to challenge that need to control your routine.  Whatever it is about working out it seem like once you find what you enjoy the thought of missing your squat reps can seem downright insane.  A fitness regimen will help broaden your interests as well as reveal new opportunities you may not have considered. 

It doesn't mean you are doing it wrong: Now you didn't get to do your squat reps and some other weird rep came and took its place. I found myself  going back and doing my 'comfort zone workout' after completing the new plan's daily routine.  It took a few days for it to sink in that whatever plan you are following is called a plan for a reason.  The new workouts may not be the same, but they still count!

Thank you Share it Fitness for challenging us to step out of our comfort zones and try something new. It will be exciting to see the changes!