By birth, I am not a Millennial and I struggle to call what I’m on a “fitness journey.” Journey has such a whimsical tone to it, like I’m frolicking on the mountain side of fitness or rambling with entitlement through the bubbling stream of fitness. No, like a true Gen X-er (didn’t you see my sarcastic drag of Millennials? Cmon, you knew that already) I pick up rocks and impediments along the endless switchbacks of the ever-growing fitness mountain then complain that I’m not farther along. What I’m on is a full-out, long-term, sometimes-you-win-sometimes-you-lose, intermittent couch-potato kind of deal…I need to call what I’m on a fitness trek. Because it’s mostly uphill, sometimes I need to take a pick axe to it, it requires a lot of gear, and sometimes it’s just me falling down a field of scree. Damn this mountain.
Anyway, standing in the shower this morning which was technically 2pm, like so many other mornings (in quarantine, also all 2pm), I started to realize the small, very sneaky ways I might be sabotaging this trek.
I’m so very aware of the really obvious, uber-talked about maneuvers like continuing to buy shitty food so everyday you have to talk yourself into good choices or not scheduling workouts, etc. I know those. I’ve got those down. I literally don’t buy peanut butter anymore, ever, and I’m okay with that. No these are the super-sneaky ones that fly just under the radar but make it much harder to get up off the couch or eat what I’m supposed to. So here you go:
Five of My Sneakiest Fitness Trek Sabotage Maneuvers
1. Not putting in my contacts when I wake up.
Yes I wear glasses and have my whole life. But by the miracle of science, I can see perfectly perfect with soft contacts (a glorious improvement on the gas permeables I used to wear…that’s a horror story if ever there was one). But if I continue to wear my glasses all day long, I’m less likely to work out at all. I notice as soon as I put in my contacts, working out becomes an option that didn’t exist before that happened. This is especially tricky now when I’m working out in my home and not necessarily externally scheduling a workout. No more. Contacts in. I see better with them anyway.
Plan of action: put in contacts before I get my coffee going. No contacts, no coffee.
2. Not shaving my legs.
Like I said, these are mine and maybe not yours. I hate that this one is true but you can’t deny data. I only have a couple pairs of tights that I want to work out in and I wear pants every day of my life. Most of my workout clothes are either capris or 7/8 tights so…you can see hairy ankles…and by you I mean me. I can see them and it just makes me feel like sloth. It’s not right but it’s true. If you look at my data, and I have, the number of days that shaven legs and workouts correlate is nearly 1:1.
Plan of action: Keep ’em smooth.
3. I procrastinate about going to bed.
This became very real and observable especially during this time at home. Especially if I don’t have an external meeting to wake up for, I know I can sleep later…and therefore I push back bedtime…sometimes to the extreme. The issue is that if I’m waking up an, oh, let’s say 11am (hypothetical example, of course…) it means I have way fewer daytime hours to get anything done. If I have to prioritize my work work, working out often gets pushed to as late as 9 or 10pm which only increases my inability to fall asleep. I’m all screwed up on this one and taking steps to gradually work that time back to a more normal midnight as opposed to 3am bedtime.
Plan of action: establish a better nighttime routine and reset my light timers to turn off progressively earlier until I get to 10pm.
4. I put delicious things into my coffee and act like they’re macro-free.
Once again, especially because of this time in history, I’ve decided over the long haul of quarantine to start indulging in more exciting, sweeter creamers and additions to my
morning 2pm coffee. Especially since I made the switch to decaf because I think my adrenals needed a break, this has become much more common but, because I’ve always been a cream or milk only person, I haven’t been keeping track of those in my macros. Big mistake. I just started retracking macros, particularly dialing in on my fat intake…good goddamn. No wonder that Quarantine 15 happened. It could have potentially been on coffee additives alone. My response is not to stop them, but to be vigilant about tracking them. This makes it so much easier to be a choice based on data. If that little schliss of whipped cream is that important than sure…but write it down.
Plan of action: Write. it. down. Account. for. it.
5. Using a credit card mentality for inspiring movement.
I’ve been on the true strugglebus when it comes to movement lately. I don’t want to do it and I actively resist it. The problem is that I’ve slipped into the same thing that once got me in trouble with the credit card: I don’t have enough in the bank? That’s ok, I’ll just pay it down at the end of the month. Don’t want to move today? That’s okay, I’ll just do double tomorrow. What in the world makes me think that if I’m struggling today that somehow tomorrow I’m going to be able to tackle double? In reality what happens is that I get so snowed under with the expectation of moving so long and so hard by the end of the week that I am paralyzed into inaction, admitting failure I’ve set my very own self up for. No, no, no. I’m starting to implement now a “choose to move for 10 minutes today.” What I know about myself is that once I get going, I’ll work out for at least 30 minutes. It’s getting over the hump of getting started. And if after 10 minutes I’m ready to throw in the towel, no judgment, no problem. That’s my contract with myself. I’ll get back to you on how that goes.
Plan of Action: “Move 10 minutes today” mentality
If I spent as much time and energy trying to get fit as I do trying to subvert it and then having to right the ship, who knows where this trek would be by now. But never too late to have these insights and get my actions back into line with my goals. Carpe Diem…or as one of my brilliant Latin scholar peers said in high school latin class, “Seize the fish.”