My job as a teacher can be all-encompassing. But, I assume that’s true of any profession. We get up in the morning, go through the bump and grind of life and then return home, hoping to put our legs up for the day.
I’ve always been a fitness enthusiast since I was a dancer in college. However, during the last few years, I have felt myself slipping away from my regular fitness routine. Of course, I could blame hectic work hours, the extra work that I carry back home, the amount of time my children take up once I reach my abode, or any other excuses that are realities for many of us.
It was in the back of my mind that I didn’t feel as healthy as I should. So I decided to make a change, and I’m pleased to say that it affected the rest of my life positively and enrichingly. My post today comes from the hope that I may be able to inspire others to bring some measures of a healthy lifestyle into their lives and reap the rewards for a long time to come.
I have a disclaimer here, as I was tough on myself and made multiple changes to my general routine. These changes were hard to abide by but became easier to follow as time went on. I did this challenge in January, it’s taken me a while to get down to writing this!
Reasons for undertaking the challenge-
- I have heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. I wanted my body and my mind to be tuned to working out every single day in some way without it feeling like a chore. I also wanted the routine to stick as I believe being healthy should be a habit.
2. It took me 30 days to understand what my body wanted from me. It also allowed me time to reflect on my fitness practice over a more extended period, which wouldn’t have been possible if I had continued for a week or two.
3. I had just purchased an Apple Watch and wanted to test its features and workout modes. Thirty days gave me enough time to analyze my workout data to gauge how I was performing daily and weekly.
What I did-
- I began by setting my alarm for 5:30 am every single day. You heard that right! Even on weekends! I wanted to have time before my family woke up, and the rigmarole of the day began to focus on myself and complete a fitness module without interruptions.
- I worked out on an empty stomach. While I’m aware that there are pros and cons to this method, it’s the only way that I can get a workout in properly during the day. I roll out of bed and put on my shoes first thing in the morning. This doesn’t give me time to have breakfast beforehand, and I struggled with feeling weak and tired during the beginning of this new workout regime. Over time my body got used to working out in the wee hours of the morning, and it no longer affects me, in fact, it might be beneficial!
- A pair or two of good shoes are essential. I’ll be honest, many of my workouts are dance workouts (who doesn’t love to have a good time as they get fit), so I have a pair of Reebok sneakers for that. I also do a lot of HIIT workouts and have Nike Metcons for that purpose. Proper workout attire also makes you feel ready to pump it up. It sometimes feels like a chore to put on workout clothes while it’s still dark outside, but trust me, when you workout in the proper gear, you feel inspired to complete your training.
- I hardly introduced any dietary changes other than trying to avoid over-stuffing myself at meals. I’m a huge foodie and tend to overeat and get bloated (TMI!) In the long run, it just makes you feel healthier to eat healthily!
- When I say that I worked out for 30 days straight, it doesn’t mean I was doing hard cardio every day. I would indulge in dancing, cardio kickboxing, HIIT, and strength training for four to six days of the week and on the last day do a day of yin yoga to stretch out my body. On days when I didn’t feel up to a challenging workout, I would put on a vinyasa yoga series, and it made me feel ready to start the day without leaving me exhausted. I listened to my body every step of the way.
- I never go to the gym. I do all workouts at home where I can keep an eye on my babies. I usually aim for a 20-30 minute workout and anything over that is a bonus (it rarely happens!). I’ll list some of my favourite fitness Youtube channels at the end of this post.
Tangible results have allowed me to pursue a healthier lifestyle daily.
Although this was meant to be a personal 30-day challenge for myself, my 5:30 alarm is still on because I now feel an intrinsic desire to work out every morning.Tweet
I know that if I don’t do this, then the day will catch up with me, and I’m going to miss my workout in the hubbub of the evening chaos.
- Following a routine for 30 days sets you up for good practice, just like it did for me. Even the staunchest anti-exerciser will feel fitter and riddled with a pang of slight guilt when they miss their workout after having done this practice for a long time.
- I loved reading the data from my watch. I’m one of those people who enjoys checking their heart rate, O2 levels, and much more so, the more I exercise, the more data I have at my fingertips to analyze. I had a Garmin watch earlier which I loved, but I switched to an Apple Watch recently and found it able to track my activity superbly. As a result, I have not missed my Garmin watch much, although perhaps serious runners may disagree about the functionality of the Apple Watch.
- I found that my days were much more productive at school. I was wide awake, feeling mighty pleased with myself about all the tasks I had accomplished before my day officially began. Sometimes the lingering burn of a thigh or a bicep would remind me of how fruitful my morning had been and inspired me to perform just as well at all of my school duties.
- I began to notice that I was fitter, faster, and sprier than I used to be. I was flying upstairs without getting as breathless as I used to, and this gave me a sick sense of pleasure that whatever I was doing was making me stronger.
- I had more energy while dealing with my students, and my stamina to take on the day kept me on my toes.
- I didn’t find many cons to following this lifestyle, except that I now fall asleep by about 9:00 PM every night! While this may be a deal-breaker for some, it’s worked for me as I ensure that I get a good night’s rest on most days.
My post today comes from a place of motivation. So many people struggle with their workout and dietary habits, especially when work takes a toll. My way may not work for you, but maybe some parts of it may inspire you to feel better about yourself.
The first thing to do is identify what’s bothering you in your lifestyle and take a positive step towards recognizing and changing those habits.Tweet
I enjoy my fitness routine, even though it’s not perfect, and I no longer work out daily (I take 1-2 days of complete rest during the week). This challenge was meant to push the limits and create a habit that I knew would last for my entire life. I enjoy reaping the benefits of this challenge and hope some of you may too!
Some of my favourite YouTube channels-
And8 (Dance workouts)
Boho Beautiful (Yoga)
Pop Sugar Fitness (Assorted)
Growingannanas (HIIT, strength)
Heather Robertson (HIIT, strength)
Chloe Ting (Bodyweight workouts-abs/arms/legs)
Pamela Reif (Strength, bodyweight)