As I inch ever nearer to having to do active physical therapy for my shoulder, the specter of actually having to exercise again looms large. Sure, I’ve been doing household chores, stairs, and stuff like that for a few weeks, but in general, I’ve been trying to take it a bit easy and let my body heal. That alone is a first for me. In the spirit of firsts, then, I present exercise excuses and some ways I plan to deal with them, once I am given clearance to actually resume exercise.
Excuse: I am hungrier when I exercise.
Excuse Buster: If I was exercising rationally – like walking briskly – this might actually lessen my appetite. I might also have better luck if I make sure to eat a light snack and a heavy-duty protein drink right after a work out or walk, to give my body recovery fuel. I can probably do this for 150-200 calories with skim milk and a protein powder plus a piece of fruit. This might also help me feel full until meal time so I don’t just waste my workout binge eating.
Excuse: I don’t have time.
Excuse Buster: As long as I am off work, that is just baloney. I have nothing to do BUT work out. Once I return to work, however, things get dicier. I work afternoons and evenings, and often overnight as well. In addition, I do this blog thing and freelance writing on the side, have a house to maintain alone and five pets. I even have vague aspirations to have a social life occasionally. The American Heart Association says I need to get about 75 minutes of vigorous exercise in per week. By my bad math that is about 15 minutes 6 days a week of hard exercise on top of my personal goal to walk an extra ½ hour most days of the week.
Hard exercise for me is something like doing a brief plyometrics, cardio or ab killer workout from my P90X DVDs, or doing what we called a “burn out” workout from the police academy. The burn out is this: Do 1 minute of pushups as fast as you can, rest for 30 seconds, do another minute then another rest, then another minute. Rest for 1 minute then do the same routine with sit-ups. Rest for another minute then do it jogging in place, running steps or sprinting. Total time actually working out = 12 minutes, not including the 30 second rest breaks or the 1 minute rests between exercises. Just for fun, keep track of your number of push-ups, sit-ups and distance on stairs or running during each 1 minute burn, and see how much you improve. This one was a killer, but it worked and it didn’t take much time. We did this about every other day in order to give the muscles time to repair before the next killer session with lighter stretching and walking on the in between days.
Excuse: I hate to get sweaty.
Excuse Buster: I get sweaty doing many things. Get over it, whiner, and take a shower after you work out. You know perfectly well the warm water will make you feel better. In addition, it is not good to just crash on the couch right after a workout. The body needs time to get blood pressure and heart rate back to normal. Work out, drink my protein drink, have my fruit while walking around the house, and cooling off, then take a shower. I can handle that. I don’t have to like getting sweaty, but I am a grown up and can deal with it.
Excuse: I’m too tired/I’m too sore:
Excuse Buster: Supposedly, regular exercise actually increases energy and you get less sore over time. However, due to multiple medical issues like fibromyalgia, arthritis, thyroid issues and some replacement parts I don’t rebound like a normal person. I stay sore as long as I keep exercising. I was in the academy for 4 months and exercised every day. I never got more energy and I never got less sore. I did get much more fit, however. I need to set my mind to this fact and decide whether comfort and rest is more important than being fit, or the other way around. Somehow, I survived the academy and kept up with people literally half my age. I probably whined twice as much as they did, too, but I did it. There is no reason I can’t do it again.
I need to figure out the best time of day for me, given my weird work schedule and my dislike of mornings. Probably the answer will be working out before work – say, noonish – then taking my pre-work shower and dealing with the soreness by continuing to walk most of my work hours as I do anyway. If I take care with my food packing for work, I can have energy boosters like protein and slow carbs to get me through the evening. I also tend to drink a lot of water while I am at work, because we have one of those cool Sonic ice makers and I love Sonic ice. Drinking tons of water after I workout might help the energy level and the soreness. I have also already started taking a prenatal vitamin to boost my basics and add more B-complex vitamins. This might help me out in this department, too.
Other things I might try:
I can have my workout clothes and shoes laid out on the chair beside the bed when I go to sleep. That way when I wake up at noonish, I can climb into them before I am all the way awake and my body and brain have a chance to rebel. I can grab a yogurt to cushion my hunger grumbles, get the workout done, eat the post workout “second breakfast” and hit the shower.
I can log my workouts on Sparkpeople.com again and actually occasionally interact on a message board and read some articles there. I can track my progress on my burn outs, and add my food and water tracking, too. I have a cloth tape measure and can record and track my inches. That is much more motivating than tracking pounds since I tend to lose inches faster than weight. And really, it is the inches I care about more since my ultimate goal is to look better.
I can actually use the fitness app I downloaded to my Android to do similar things, and to keep track of stuff during the day when I can’t get to a computer. This might be tricky at work since we can’t carry our phones. I can carry my little notebook, though, so I might as well use that.
I can get back into doing a yoga routine a few times a week as my exercise. This hurts a lot less and actually helps the fibromyalgia and arthritis. I still sweat, because yoga isn’t easy, but it is a less stressful sweat.
Therefore, it is resolved. It is written.