Work it out, even while you work

by Alicia on April 17, 2014

Last summer when I started running, I did it for solitude. This winter I added a couple layers to my running practice, for much the same reason: I needed it. I don’t need to lose weight, truth be told if I lose more I’ll be worried. Worth noting: Being thin isn’t simple either, folks. I start to look emaciated pretty quickly if I don’t keep up with eating. The more I work out, the more attention I pay to the food I eat, the water I drink and the way my body feels about those two things. It’s not lost on me that I’m only just now, at nearly 32, learning to listen to the cues my body gives out about what it needs…and actually doing something about it.

Part of my problem before was time. The devil, when you’re a working mom. Or is it? Because I’m telling you…I had the time all along, I just thought too deep about it. I don’t need to put in an hour at the gym to work out. If your goals are more drastic, perhaps you do. And you’ll make that work for you. I have three kids, a job, a house and a very active social life. And here’s what my workout week looks like:

workout timetable for the week

Per day = 10mins – 1.5hrs

Running| 20-45 minutes: In general, having the time for a 5K run (45 mins from running gear to sweat pants) only happens when the girls are in bed, certainly must happen after work. When Ryan works late, or is gone for business or we have plans, I run on my lunch- this means I do like 2.5K or juuuuust until I start to sweat. Usually I can get changed, run 2.5, and make it back to my desk back in my work clothes all in 35 minutes. I get an hour for lunch, and am able to eat at my desk, so I have it pretty good in terms of flexibility. When it rains, I run the stairs. Takes me like 20 minutes (including a dance routine at the top because I lack shame and I like to dance and I have an awesome playlist) and then I usually stretch in a cool area so I can calm down and cool down before I get dressed.

Yoga | 5- 75 minutes: only happens on days where Ryan doesn’t work late. Or at 7am Saturday mornings…seriously. Classes are mostly 1 hour long. I will do my own practice at home occasionally, but I lack the focus to go for an hour. There are some great YouTube videos that are all around the 20-30 minute mark. Sometimes I follow an app I have on my phone (<- it’s boring and limited in terms of poses, but when I’ve got 15 mins and need some guidance, it works well). Yoga is my running antithesis. It’s low impact, keeps me stretched and toned and mentally focused. The best part about yoga is you can make it your own, in fact that is the point of yoga, your practice is yours. Only have 5 minutes? Sit down in a comfortable position and breathe in & out through your nose, focussing on your breath. Congratulations, you’re a yogi. ::wipes hands::

Plank | seconds or minutes: Seems so simple, when in reality is damn hard work. Basically, you are your own clock, just hold it for as long as you can. Then the next day try to hold it for longer. C’mon, a few seconds longer. I want some abs, I’ve never really had any, so planks in my office (with the door closed and hiding around the corner from the window) seem like a good place to start. Now, I have done a 2 minute plank and I have done a 6 minute plank. Brandy and I have a little challenge going on to see how tough we are and so far we keep trading places. My trick for longer planks is simple: change it up. I go as long as I can up on my hands, then switch to a side plank on my right, switch to left side plank, back to up on my hands, then finish down on my elbows. My abs are screaming by the end, my lower back is usually about to give out and I lay around on the floor deep breathing like I’m in transitional labour. It’s so attractive. Brandy gets pictures. Not you fools.

three styles of planking

Wall Sit | seconds or minutes: same deal as above, but make like you’re sitting on a chair only you’re not, you’re leaning your back against a wall. I have strong legs, so this one is easier for me than planking. Brandy and I have added it to our “how long can you hold this nonsense?” routine every day at work. Both the planking and the wall sitting together take me like 10 minutes tops- and that’s on my best day. I don’t even have to change for those, I’m usually not sweaty.

Other| up to 15 minutes: sometimes I can’t run or get to yoga. We have a stationary bike in the basement and I’ll ride on that occasionally, but I find it hard to get motivated. Ryan and I have been competing a little which makes it more fun- when he does 5K, I outdo him with an 8K…then he blows me out of the water with a 10K and I mope about it because he just had knee surgery and how can I not beat a guy with holes in his knee??! Sometimes I count a swift walk around campus as my “other” workout for the day. Sometimes I stop halfway up the stair run and do 30 pushups against the wall. Give yourself a break- if you’re trying, that’s more than most.

Some days all the workout I can get in is a plank & a wall sit. Guess what? I’m pretty proud of that. I’m taking the time and making myself important to myself. If you think you have like 4 minutes to stand and flip through your Twitter timeline while you’re waiting for toast to pop? Park your back against the fridge and do a wall sit whilst flipping. Challenge your husband to a planking contest…and win. Or when he beats you, figure out how that can be the last time that ever happens. You’d be surprised at how far a little competition can motivate you to go. Need companionship? See if someone in your neighbourhood wants to walk for 15 minutes with you, it doesn’t have to take all night. You have time. You’re worth 10 minutes, right? I am. And I’m gonna get me a cute butt instead of this one that looks stupid in a pair of jeans. BOOM.

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