Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Being flexible with fitness

You've all heard the recommendations.  Exercise regularly, pick something you like, mix it up when you get bored.

Everyone has their own particular things that they like to do, and their own personalities.  For example, I'm pretty frugal, and I'm a big fan of Mr. Money Mustache.  His fitness recommendations fall along the line of bike everywhere (or walk), and lift weights at home.  These are great ideas, and I love to do them!  But I have certain limitations that make this difficult.

I am a creature of habit.  I love to have a schedule, a plan, and stick to it!  I get disturbed and flustered when my plan doesn't work out, so I try to have Plan B (or C or D).

I have, at times, been a runner, a gym rat, a biker (to work).  I like group fitness - I love signing up for triathlon training groups.  I love taking yoga classes, aerobics classes, going for walks with friends.

But you have to be flexible.  At one point, when my older son was about 3 or 4, my husband started traveling a lot.  I would get very frustrated that I couldn't work out when he was gone - I couldn't go to the gym in the morning, and I'd have to do drop off and pick up at school, so I didn't have time to run at lunch.  So for Christmas one year, I asked for (and got) P90X.  Problem solved!  I had a good, solid 45 min to 1 hour set of DVDs to use when my spouse was out of town.

Then I had a second kid and the flexibility just had to continue.  For one thing, I cannot run anymore.  I've had piriformis syndrome, a sprained knee, and achilles tendonitis.  This makes it difficult - running is something that I can do quickly - throw on the shoes, go out for 30 minutes, get in a good workout.

I can walk - but 30 minutes burns only half the calories and isn't as good of a workout.
I can swim, but I have to go to the pool to do that.
I can work out at home but my toddler won't let me.

So there was a period of time starting earlier this year when I started using a lot more 30 minute workouts at home.  The benefit to at home workouts is time (of which I have little).  No driving to the gym, just get dressed, pop in the DVD and GO.  So on my husband's gym days (MWF), I would do this, at least 2 days.  I'd wake up at 5:30 am to do it (which is 40 minutes later than on my gym days).  The other benefit to a DVD is I'm working out "with a group" and "with a trainer".  On my own, I get bored.

But then life got in the way.  For one thing, my 2 year old would wake up early.  And he will NOT let me work out.  It's just his age.  At some point, I offered by big boy $1 to play with him in the other room.

In previous times, I would get incredibly frustrated by not being able to work out.  I mean, all I want is 30 freaking minutes!!  (The two year old is currently climbing on my back as I type.  I'm home with him today, he has a cold.)

Starting around October, it got so bad that I couldn't get a single workout in all week, aside from my swims on Tuesday and Thursday (45 GLORIOUS MINUTES).

That's when I joined a Facebook group in November that had a 30 day burpees challenge.  I hate burpees.  And I can't jump, so I just don't jump at the top.  The month started with 5 and ended with 100.  The advantage to burpees?  I can do them 10 at a time.

For December I moved on to a squats, pushups, planks, and crunches challenge (and kept up the burpees, at 50).

What does this give me?  A good workout.  If I can manage to do them all at once, it's about 15 minutes.  If not, well I spread it out.  As an example, today here is what I did:

20 pushups
20 sec plank
20 pushups
20 sec plank
25 squats
20 sec plank (toddler laying on my back for the last 10 seconds)
50 crunches (toddler discovered me at 37 and sat on me through the rest)
25 squats (holding the toddler for 10 of them)
50 crunches (hiding in the bedroom)
25 squats (hiding in the bedroom)

I still have to do 50 burpees, and shower, between now and 1 pm when I leave for work.  Oh, and eat breakfast.  And lunch.

The advantage to this kind of workout is that I can do it, literally, in 30 second chunks.  It's not ideal.  It's not a good 30 minute "burn", but it's better than nothing.

For this reason, I also like "Fit Yummy Mummy" workouts (I have her E-book), which are all generally 15 minutes long.  I think about buying her DVDs sometimes but honestly, they are expensive and I cannot even put in the ones that I have.

I do hope that in the next year, I can go back to using my DVDs.  But for now, I have to settle for my bits and pieces, lunch time walks, and 2x a week swims.

So when life gets in the way and you lose your mojo, or can't get to your  normal workout, figure out a way to "squeeze it in".  All with a 2.5 year old hanging on your back and giving you snotty kisses on your neck.


Biz said...

I remember exercising with my sister when her kids were little. If we had to do pushups on the floor, one or both of them took that as a sign to start climbing on our backs!

I think we laughed more than we exercised!

I need to find my routine - not sure what it's going to be yet, but I have ideas! Hugs!

Anonymous said...

youtube has a lot of exercise stuff - maybe not your intensity but seems like I've seem some really challenging stuff - I generally stick with Leslie sansone (which I can find there sometimes) and Jessica Smith has lots of stuff she posts
never dealt with kids so can't really help there