Who even has time to workout?
Well… everyone! The trick is being smart and strategic about approaching each week’s workouts.
Wait… I don’t even have time to workout and now you want me to do WORK for my WORKOUTS???
Chill out! Keeping a stress-free weekly workout routine that you can actually follow is as easy as 1 2 3 MTWRF!
M is for… Always workout on MONDAY
Monday is by far the most important day of the week. Monday sets the tone for the other days. If you screw up on Monday, you have the rest of the week to feel like you are “behind” or have to “make up” something.
Don’t do that! Whatever it takes, make sure you get your fitness in on Monday!
Something magical happens when you workout on Monday – you feel good! You feel like you accomplished something.
Know what happens if you miss Monday? You’ll be mad at yourself. You’ll spend the rest of the week playing catch-up.
Think about if you have a really unhealthy meal when you are trying to diet… you’ll come up with an excuse to “wait until next week/month/after Christmas” and you won’t make any positive changes.
Ensure you get a workout in on Monday to prevent all those negative thoughts!
T is for… Add your workout to your TO-DO list
It sucks to reschedule an appointment. It’s even worse when you flat out miss something. You wouldn’t just stand a friend up for drinks would you? Well don’t stand yourself up with your gym!
If you’re like me, you like Siri reminding you of all your daily events when you wake up in the morning. Have her remind you of your workout at 5:30 too.
Seeing your workout on your calendar makes it more REAL, more concrete, and might just give you that gentle nudge to commit if you feel yourself wavering on if you should go to the gym or not.
W is for… WORKOUT when you workout
Look, I get it. My mind is always going 50 different directions at once. I’m constantly thinking about something else while I’m doing whatever. I tend to drift and not stay present in the moment.
This isn’t always a bad thing, but when working on your fitness, this could be a huge issue!
Don’t think about all those emails you didn’t respond to, don’t think about what you’re going to cook for dinner, don’t think about all the hundreds of other things that you need to take care of.
Be present during your workout. Focus on your training. Visualize your running and weight lifting and yoga and then try to replicate your mental image. If you are too busy thinking about that spaghetti you need to prepare, you won’t maximize your workout time. And let’s be honest… we don’t have enough time in our days for anything less than optimal output!
R is for… RECOVERY
The first three letters all dealt with go go go – this fourth letter is all about slowing things down! Sometimes the best thing to do for your body and mind is to rest and recover.
Muscles are made in the gym, right? No! They are made at home while you are resting! The growth stimulus is supplied in the gym – make sure you do the recovery at home as well!
Schedule in at least one rest day a week. Now a rest day doesn’t have to mean a do-nothing-day. Make it active recovery if you want!
Sit down in front of the TV and do some gentle yoga and stretching. Grab your foam roller and make all kinds of pain faces as it hurts so good. Slather on some w.o.d.welder hand care product (which you should be doing anyways) or, my favorite, soak in a bath with one of their amazing bath bombs!
And then, while active recovery is good, sometimes you do need to go 100% rest and just give your body and mind the day off. If you’re busting it while you are working out (see W) then proper rest and recovery is vital to achieving your maximum fitness potential!
F is for… Be FLEXIBLE
It’s Monday night, you’re sitting on the couch winding down from your day and workout earlier (because you got your Monday workout in like a good person) and your favorite movie comes on. It’s late but you sit there and watch… and watch… and soon it’s 1 AM and you aren’t going to get much sleep.
Or maybe you have an infant that kept you up with their crying and screaming. The point is, you wake up the next morning and you are TIRED. This is when you have to seriously ask yourself if a workout is in your best interest today… or should you make this a recovery day?
I know what you’re thinking. This F goes against the T for maintaining your workout schedule. But let’s be honest – life happens. We aren’t professional athletes – we are professional professionals and working parents and people who are just trying to fit everything in.
Yes, try and keep to your schedule but there comes a point of diminishing returns regarding extra stress on your body. Fitness should be about eliminating stress, not adding it! If you have to swap a rest day with a workout day… do it. I’m not saying make a habit of this… but for myself I know if I get less than 6 hours of sleep multiple nights in a row, I would be better served with taking that next day as my rest day rather than pushing my body even further when it is already in an energy deficit.
So when life happens, remember to stay flexible. Even the best plans are subject to modification. Having a fitness routine in the first place means you are doing better than most!
Follow the 5 MTWRF points above and I promise you’ll reap the rewards! You will improve your fitness, reduce your stress… and you might even start looking forward to your time spent working out!
About the author: Chris is from a town that favors a particular shade of orange in East Tennessee. His day job is mechanical engineering for everything ranging from nuclear power to making paper. Chris is an avid CrossFitter and tries diligently to adhere to the points above. You can get more Chris on his blog ifailedfran.com.