Once upon a time, I worked in the city and went to the gym at lunchtime. So easy and people always thought I was amazing, which is nice. I always had a better afternoon after a visit to the gym – no 3pm slump for me!
Then I got sick of the gym I was going to, and switched gyms to one closer to home. I started going after work. I’d scoot up Adelaide Avenue on Bianca The Scooter, do a 5.30pm class and be home in time to cook dinner. Sensible Sister Jude had a similar routine, and even though I’m not one for workout buddies it was nice to see a friendly face and it probably did keep me a bit more accountable.
Then I moved jobs. Suddenly it wasn’t so easy to get to the gym in time for a 5.30 class, even though I was now closer to the gym. So I bit the bullet and began morning workouts. Now that’s something people will give you a sainthood for. I’ve never been a morning person and it was a struggle but I loved the fact that it was done for the day, and also my hair looked awesome for work because I did it in the morning after the gym rather than the night before. My first class I remember being amazed how many people were there. I thought I was doing this amazing superhuman thing but there were 100 other people at the gym doing it too. There are tricks to making this work, including putting out your clothes the night before, figuring out what to eat/drink beforehand (for me, nothing), going to bed at a reasonable hour, and obviously not using the snooze button.
Once I was pregnant and extraordinarily tired most of the time, I just tried to get to the gym, somehow, sometime. Then once I was back into exercising after Emma was born I fit it in where I could, usually during the day – when Emma was sleeping, with her in the pram, or when I could get a babysitter or Toby was around on the weekends. I didn’t do early mornings because I figured I needed all the sleep I could get. I still feel this way even though Emma has now been sleeping through regularly for 9 months.
This phase has passed now I’m working more and Emma doesn’t sleep for long periods in the pram, and I’ve had to get creative again. One of my new year’s resolutions for 2014 was to re-prioritise exercise. It totally dropped off the radar by the end of last year – we had a run of illnesses and other dramas and stresses, including a death in the family, not to mention the usual holiday busy-ness. Re-prioritising exercise means that every Sunday when I write out my to do list for the week, I include my workouts. What will I do and when – and then I try to stick to it. Most weeks, I won’t stick to it completely but I’ve always believed it’s worth aiming for more than what’s achievable. If you aim to work out 5 days a week, you should actually do it 3 or 4 times. Whereas if you just aimed for 3 times, you’d probably only achieve one or two. In an ideal week, I use Emma’s nap times on the days I’m home. Then I go before work on 2 of my 3 work days, because I need a sleep-in on the day between. I sometimes do something during lunchtime of the third day, and I try to do something once or twice over the weekend depending on what else is going on.
The workouts at home during Emma’s nap time are the biggest struggle. What to do? Toby’s got a reasonably well equipped home gym but it’s buried in the depths of man land, under piles of laundry and upended tool boxes and papers that need to be filed and I do not find it an environment conducive to a good workout. Sometimes I use the p90x DVDs, sometimes I’ll pull out an old 12wbt workout or use the strength workout in the book ‘Run Less, Run Faster’. But lately I’ve discovered something that probably other people have known for years. Working out via YouTube.
That’s right, YouTube is not just videos of cats playing with wool and ‘how to make gnocchi’ and bloopers. There are full-length workouts in there too. Yesterday I did a 25 minute HIIT workout – perfect for something that needed to fit in with a nap time (along with vacuuming, lunch and my favourite part – ‘doing nothing’). I’ve done dance workouts, stretches, abs, and so on. The biggest annoyance is probably the lack of music, due to copyright issues I assume. So you can play some tunes on your laptop or iPod or TV – if you have a Playstation you can use the Vidzone like I’ve been doing and then you get to watch the video clips of the music too and you might as well be at the gym.
My final tip is to close the blinds while you’re doing it, or else you might find the dodgy neighbours are getting an eyeful while they sit on camping chairs on their front lawn, as dodgy neighbours are wont to do.
Sorry for a very self-indulgent entry but I am always interested in how people manage their time and we could all do with more chocolate cake (refined sugar free, naturally), which means we could all do with more exercise.