I love watching movies where people look average, but have super secret physicality. Amazing running form, strong posture, dedicated stamina…they all make you reminisce about ghosts of fitness past. We all want to strut like Vin Diesel or pose like Jennifer Aniston, no?
But it’s this element of self-care that often goes to hell in a hand basket for young professionals. At the end of a long day, it becomes next to impossible for me to muster energy to hit the treadmill. I don’t know about you, but between work, developing side projects, philanthropic activities, a part time MBA, and trying to have a miniature social life…my eating and exercise habits are a disaster. Add in dating, and I’m pretty much a clusterf**k.
Think about it. If you’re leaving work at 5/6/7pm (conservative for some industries), commuting home, and trying to catch your breathe…the grumble in your tummy hits all too quickly. Do you fix up food and veg (no pun intended), or do you unbutton your haberdashery and throw on a sweat-wicking tee? Maybe you scheduled a last-minute dinner with an old friend, grab impromptu face time with a work colleague, or booked in a drinks date. These sorts of scenarios usually end in overeating food that’s not great, and booze that is definitely not part of the nutrition triangle! I have little to no self control when there is steak, pasta, crème brulee, or a Bogle wine on the menu! Doing this multiple times a week has put me into the most gluttonous funk I’ve ever known.
This is not ok.
Personally, I recall a time when I’d be at the gym five or six times a week bright and early at 5:30am. I swear you could’ve cracked an egg on my glutes. But then I let injuries psych me out, and work/life become the plum excuse. I was just “too tired” and needed to sleep. The antithesis here is that having a regular exercise regimen actually buoyed me with more energy and better sleep! The 5am wake-ups weren’t as draining compared to going home and flopping on the couch with a glass of Chardonnay and True Blood.
So tonight I kept my calendar clear after work, turned off Fast Five on the TV, and powered up with some dinner. Then I grabbed my iPod and made a beeline for the gym without looking back. At first, it was hard to rationalize why I wasn’t revising my essay or writing a new chapter (things that we young professionals are used to prioritizing). But after peddling on the bike to some Guetta…you kinda get yourself in the mood.
Young professionals become self-conscious about their figures around beach or vacation season – the bikinis, maillots, and board shorts are intimidating! One friend of mine tried a “water diet” for a while before a beach getaway in an attempt to expedite results. I’m fairly sure that did not work, and that she felt crappier in the end. Young professionals love quick and dirty effectiveness, but our bodies need to be the exception to this.
Making the choice to get re-acquainted with my fitness (in)capabilities proved to be more exhilarating than the thought of walking the shoreline with re-instated Britney abs. It was eye-opening to feel great, and this feeling alone was plenty. The lifestyles we choose to lead will reward if our intent is wholesome.
I’m curious to hear what other young professionals out there do to push past the “plateau” of inactivity, to kick start that rush of getting back into eating cleanly and balancing fitness. Tweet us your #gymspiration and I’ll try out your methods (so long as they’re legal).
Here are a few suggestions that I’ve seen in action:
P90X: whether they’re bootlegged videos or actual classes, people swear by the intensity!
Update your playlist so it’s got new songs, but also epic favourites that make you fight. Think “harder, better, faster, stronger.”
Get gym passes or access to the cities you travel to a lot. Some hotels have facilities, but getting out helps and you can pick chains to match your Super Elite destinations (think Equinox).
If you really do travel too much, freeze your gym membership and try downloading trails to run in whatever city you’re in. You get to know your surroundings, and get some fresh air. Or YouTube the heck out of yoga.
Work standing up. Reconfigure your workspace so that you’re standing at an elevated computer station instead of sitting.
Download an app and pre-plan your exercise circuit. This helps to battle any indecisive moments when it’s easy to bolt for the door.
Get out. Do a boot camp class in the park or just get out and walk/run/blade/bike. I’m too much of a space cadet to run near cars…but all the power to you for hitting the pavement with such nice weather!
Here’s what I’m going to do to get back my own #gymspiration:
- Rotate in classes instead of gym time to combat the boredom. Re-acquaint myself with the pilates and yoga relationships I cherished.
- Find an awesome trainer who won’t be conned when I cry fake tears or distract them with witty banter. I need someone with a good bullsh** detector.
- Try re-programming myself for morning exercise. Current reality has made evenings more of a challenge, and frankly, a girl needs to be open for ice cream dates every now and then.
- I know someone who ran the Boston Marathon recently, and who has been a source of inspiration for me to get back in shape. I think talking to these types of “fitness mentors” helps – just like joining running clubs or groups.
- Not expect myself to be She-Ra Princess of Power instantly. There was a time I could paddle a surfboard without having to take rest breaks every 90 seconds…that time is not now. But it will be soon!
- Maybe I’ll pick up a couple of new sport clothes items just to look the part…