I grew up being active. Like…really active. Since the age of three I have been a part of some sort of organized physical activity — some competitive and others just as part of park & rec leagues. I want to tell you though that in thirty two years of activity and fitness, it is still a conscious effort and decision for me every single day to do it.
I once heard (I think from Dave Hollis, thank you sir), that there is no such thing as motivation, there’s only persistence and momentum. Over the years, especially after organized teams ceased for me, my “motivation” has ebbed and flowed immensely. When I relied on it to fuel my fitness, I failed. I used it as an excuse to not train for my next race, to not sign up for a marathon (or even a half) with a friend, to not just start because well obviously I wasn’t ready because I wasn’t fully motivated.
How things more accurately go down and what you need to prep yourself for in this journey, is you just do the dang thing. You find a workout program, and you do it. You wake up, workout. Drink water. Eat well. And most definitely get assistance and accountability all along the way. But mainly, you start and keep going. One foot in front of the other, even (especially) when there are hiccups and challenges. Take the step(s) back and then bounce right back forward again.
Morning or Evening — what’s best?
When it comes to optimal timing of when it is best to fit in your fitness routine throughout your day, honestly it depends. So many variables impact this decision, but what I will tell you is that what I’ve found in working with clients over the last decade is that by far the most successful people (in all areas) complete their physical activity first thing in the morning.
I set my alarm for 5am (Monday through Friday usually), and get up–most important part. For months I set that alarm and ignored it. I even changed the alarm ringtone to one of my favorite songs to pump me up (“All I Do is Win” by DJ Kalid). I was started every morning by “DEEEE JAAAAY KALID!” yet quickly shut it off and rolled over. The days that I did get out of bed and follow through on the morning routine I had planned…those days were gold. I felt great, I was in a better mood and headspace, and accomplished more the remainder of the day.
Life happens though and not all mornings I get a workout in and neither will you. If you’re like most — staying true to your plan to workout later in the day though becomes increasingly more difficult as they day goes on. It honestly seems as though the number of hours that pass after you wake up, the less likely it is that a workout will happen — unless you make it a priority.
This holiday season I made sure to be diligent with following my Beachbody program (“21 Day Fix” at the time), and I stuck to it which meant sometimes it was doing a workout while dinner was in the oven, or working out after the Christmas party at 7:30pm at night.
Traveling and vacations are another tricky thing to plan around, and in fact many just opt not to…but then reap the reality of returning home and attempting to get back on the wagon.
What works for our family is to fit in fitness in the form of fun activities like hiking and packing a picnic and stopping to play, or all bringing bikes and carrier, or just quality active pool time. The kids get to experience fitness and activity while taking in the sights and you get in your exercise for the day as well. Fitness doesn’t always have to equate to lifting weights or running fast, and in fact the more you personalize it the more apt you are to do it.
Overall, for me morning is best but that’s not the case for everyone. What’s key is to assess your day and your week and establish a plan that is conducive to your schedule. Then stick to it!