Prep week: Exercise

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Yesterday we talked about backtracking our steps and preparing for a successful family week. Preparation is a superpower you develop. I told you how to do that with family meals. Today, I want to show you how backtracking your steps can help you when you want to exercise. 

The internet is full of "afters" when it comes to exercise. I know I'm a big contributor to this trend. You see a photo of my friends and me after we completed a killer CrossFit workout. You see a photo of my friends and me after we ran 18 miles. You are probably thinking: first of all, it's too early in the morning. Second of all who does that? Third of all, why? Fourth of all, how in the world... 

I completely understand the questions and the feelings. When you see the "after" you are veiled from the before. 

My goal today is to show you all the steps I took to exercise. I want you to be aware that I developed this habit over the past 16 years. I started sitting on my couch, sick with high blood pressure. So let's assume that you are in the same situation.

Backtrack your steps • I knew I needed a change. Well, a big change. I wanted to live a long and healthy life. My doctor encouraged me to exercise. I grabbed the prescribed blood pressure pills. I committed to changing the way I eat. Exercise was the only missing piece. 

The way to backtrack my step was to start with the end. The end is your vision. I asked myself, "what is my vision?" 

I grabbed pen and paper and wrote: "One day I will enjoy exercising." 

These 6 words were the start of what you see now. 

Full disclosure: I didn't start that day. I think that day I just went on with my life. Writing my vision helped my brain start the process of aligning my current life with my aspired life. 

The next step was to use what I had. I had some old tennis shows. I didn't know exercise clothes existed so I put on cotton pants and a cotton t-shirt. Off I went. I started in my neighborhood. Incrementally, I increased the distance I was walking. 

I didn't have a step tracker, running watch or anything fancy. I used what I had. I incrementally started increasing the distance I was walking. 

Nowadays, if you are a person hoping to walk 3 miles for example, you can download a couch to 5K app. These types of programs give you all the micro-steps that will take you from your couch to completing a 3-mile walk or run. 

What if I want to go to a gym? There's a micro-step for that too! You can start by gathering information. You can ask questions about programs. Gyms are good about helping you get plugged in safely so you can reach your goals. 

The important thing is to find an activity that works for you. Use what you have. 

Discover your minimum • one of the best things that happened to me was the day I find out what my "minimum" was. My kids were little. We had recently arrived in Texas. I was excited about exercising but either the kids were sick or my schedule just didn't allow for exercise. I decided to experiment with the least amount of exercise I needed in order to still be successful in my health journey. I knew that 7 days of exercise is too much for me. I needed to rest. I discover that 3 days a week for at least 10 minutes is my minimum. If life is busy and I completely can't keep up with my ideal schedule, my minimum will give me the results I want. 

Everyone has a minimum. I encourage you to discover what your "minimum" is.  

Once you know your vision, start with what you have, and discover your minimum, we learn about the practical step of backtracking your clothes. 

I was fascinated by the triathlon community. My friend Rita was an experienced triathlete and an excellent mom of two. I couldn't understand how she got all her training in. One day, she told me she kept a back with all her clothes packed in the back of her car. This way, she didn't have to start from scratch every time she had a training session.

I was inspired. While tris were not my thing, I decided I could prepare my running oufits ahead of time. 

Every weekend, I'd set aside the following: 

• Shirt

• shorts or pants

• shoes

• socks 

• running bra 

Times 5. 

No matter how much sleep I had the night before, I had one less hurdle to conquer because all I needed to do was to dress in an already assembled workout outfit. 

It seems so simple yet it is quite effective. 

I still do this every weekend. When I'm folding laundry, I go ahead and assemble my workout outfits. 

What if I don't know what the temperature is? Great question. I look at the weather when I wake up (I step outside, really) and I have a few options ready to go for extra cold days. 

Now that I do CrossFit, I have a bag ready with everything I can possibly need. No matter if we are climbing ropes or running, I have everything I need right there. 

Preparation is a superpower you develop. I hope I inspired you to be part of the "after" club!  

Action steps:  1 • ask yourself: "what is my vision for exercise?" Write it down. 

2 • What do I have? Think about your current resources and start with what you have. 

3• What is your minimum? Experiment with the least amount of exercise that works for your body. The results come in handy during busy weeks. 

4 • Go ahead and assemble your outfits for the week. It will save you precious minutes before your workout.

You can also backtrack other things such as chores. How so? Come back next time and I'll tell you.