I grew up playing soccer for years. When I retired from the fields, I quickly found my place on the cross country and track teams. I adored the challenge of hill courses and the timed trials of track while thriving in the community of the teams. College brought struggles -both nutritionally and without a team to train beside- that came with an accompanying twenty pounds.
It was at nineteen-years-old while on my summer break that I realized I needed to find a new normal in my exercise routine. And now, eight years later, I'm so thankful for the small tricks I've learned to keep my head in the workout game.
1. HONOR YOUR OPTIMUM TIME.I am a morning person. I am especially a morning work-outer. If I don't run (or head to the gym) as soon as I wake up, I will skip the workout completely. I blame this partially on my love to shower and be ready for the day by 8:00 am.
Jason, on the other hand, works out every afternoon in lieu of a PM cup of coffee. He skips the caffeine and hits the gym because mornings are not his time or place. My brother is my opposite and works out before he goes to sleep. Literally, he heads out to the gym at night when I'm sporting pajamas and winding down for the day.
All of our routines work for us, but WHEN is the key.
2. FIND YOUR FAVORITE GEAR.You've heard this before because everyone says buy yourself some nice workout gear and you'll be more consistent. BUT, I adore my Target quarter-zips. They're perfect for ninety percent of cold-California weather (there's a few weeks of FREEZE that require a heavier layer), affordable, and come in a whole spectrum of fun colors.
I can't just run in long sleeve shirts. So, here's what else I love:
Nike Pegasus Running Shoes: This is the fourth generation I've bought of these and I'll just keep on keeping on because they're my run or die.
Asics Running Capris: I hate full length running tights because they're usually too long on my short legs so I get capris. They're mid-calf with a wide-waistband which doesn't make my stomach feel squished while running but does hold the pants up nicely.
Champion Workout Tank: These are sold at Target and Sports Authority. They're affordable, slightly loose, and fit well under my favorite long-sleeve running tops.
Nike Tempo Running Shorts: Sometimes these are ridiculous in price. It makes me cringe to think of spending $45.00 on a single pair of running shorts. BUT, when they're on sale, they're amazingly on sale. Nike seems to be really consistent in releasing them, so sale prices are pretty constant.
3. MOTIVATE YOURSELF WITH CHALLENGES.It's a lot easier to push myself to run further when I have a race coming up. My preferred length is a half marathon, though my mom and I just signed up for our second full marathon. The new challenge of longer lengths has brought us to the next level in our training. We've missed the hours of running on the weekend and the interval training of Wednesdays. So, we're working hard because of the challenge.
Find some way you can compete. Push yourself in a new, further direction. Maybe try something completely different than anything you've done before.
4. FOCUS ON LONGEVITY, NOT IMMEDIACY.When I started running again in June of 2009, I couldn't make it through three miles. I was shocked at how far I'd fallen from the runner days of a few years prior. So, I made a promise to myself: this new exploration in exercise wasn't just to lose weight, but to fall in love with whatever routine I found.
This promise meant that I wasn't going to hit my target weight loss and quit or sprint myself into an unsustainable regimen. And it's a promise I continue to make to myself today.
5. IF YOU WANT TO BE A RUNNER...Or a walker, Get a Fitbit (there's a new one on the market that's on my birthday wish list). I've raved about these before, but there is nothing as motivating as a quantification of your day's activity. On days when I don't run, it can be simple to get less than 3,000 steps. It is recommended to take at least 10,000 steps a day
Now your turn: what are your favorite workouts and accompanying gear?