12/14/15

Me time: Exercise

I saw this quote and it instantly took me back to the two busiest times in my adult life:
Graduate school (2004-2006)
Dietetic internship (2011)

When I was in graduate school, I was dipping my toes into the sport of triathlon but mostly because I was fresh out of college and missed competitive swimming. I thought of myself more of a runner during graduate school as it made the most sense as I didn't have a lot of time or money (and didn't know much about the sport of triathlons). 

Throughout my 10-month dietetic internship, I found myself in the middle of two Ironmans - IMWI and Kona. Talk about time and stress management! Sometimes I failed miserably at both of these, often at the same time. 

Thinking back to these two very busy, expensive, stressful and emotionally draining times in my life, I certainly had to make some extreme sacrifices with my lifestyle.

It wasn't just that I didn't have flexible time to train due to 10+ hour school/interning days but sleep was also a big issue (or lack thereof). And, my priorities were in my education.

However, even through those two busy times, I managed to still exercise. Grad school and my internship both required a major adjustment as my life revolved around school. My teachers did not care that I was training for a marathon or an Ironman so I never put more energy into my training than school. School was temporary and a great investment to my future.

But, I never let my schooling interfere with my health. This one was a non negotiable. Healthy eating, good sleep (as best as I could) and exercise were part of my routine...I just had to define a new "normal" routine.
Sure, training goals were modified but I made sure I didn't compromise on my health. 

'Tis the season of being busy.
Between work, family and travel, it's likely that you aren't going to be able to stick to a normal routine of training or working out over the next few weeks. Maybe that has been going on since October.

Don't let a busy time in your life keep you from making time for you.

Perhaps some days you just don't have the time and it's not possible to workout. So be it. Move your body however you can and focus on a new day tomorrow.

But there are likely days when you can find the time, you just need some creativity, motivation and focus to get it done when there are distractions everywhere.

As athletes, one of the hardest things that we often struggle with is adjusting to life. We strive for consistency and hate being thrown off a routine. Many times, we do whatever we can, even at the expense of a short night of sleep, to get in a workout.
But this isn't always a healthy approach.
When life isn't allowing us to be consistent, don't take an all or nothing approach.

Certainly, consistency will help you in your development as an athlete but there are times when you will have to settle for less and be OK with it.

During this holiday season, identify your priorities.
I believe this starts with you before anything else.
This isn't a hall pass that nothing else matters and you should prioritize your 3 hour bike ride when you have family in town, not finishing work assignments because you want to get to master swim practice or skipping a holiday party because you want to get in a run workout.
Life, in general, is making time for what's important.

Diet, sleep, exercise.
I don't think you would argue that these three things are extremely important to making you a better, healthier person. It's not about being extreme or feeling guilty.

It's all about doing the best you can with the time that you have so that you put yourself on a priority list.

There are seven days in the week.
Thinking ahead to determine what your exercise priorities are every day.
Don't try to be perfect. Do the best you can with the time you have.
(remember - walking counts as exercise!)

Write down your daily workouts so you make sure you that you have your me-time this week.

                                  DAY          WORKOUT
1.

2.
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4.
5.
6.
7.