Sunday, April 19, 2015

Work Out Plan

So... exercising. Bah.

It reminds me of my dissertation in that I hated doing it, but I loved having done it.

I also remember this little technique I used when finishing my dissertation--I changed the way I talked about it. Instead of saying, "I have to do some work on my dissertation today," I would say, "I want to do some work on my dissertation today."

So I'm trying that mind game with exercise. Forget the "I should be working out more" or "I really need to strengthen my core." I'm replacing that with "I want to do a quick workout today!" and we'll see how that goes.

The truth is that I don't always have time for things I want to do (see the recorded episodes of The Good Wife, languishing unwatched in my DVR, and my copy of Wolf Hall which I still haven't gotten very far through, despite my plans to reread it before watching the PBS series of the same name). (Spoiler: I watched a couple episodes of Wolf Hall this morning while Coco napped and I WORKED OUT AS I WATCHED IT).

I was talking with my friend Kristin (by which I mean e-mailing and blog commenting even though I did also see her in person yesterday but we talked about more interesting things than my core) and she proselytized about her gym membership. She's pretty persuasive, but right now I don't want to pay for a gym membership just to take a couple classes a week (this may change when the girls are a bit older and can do more stuff at the Y) and I just don't want to spend ninety minutes exercising in the evening when I'm away from my family at work all day (this is not just a philosophical thing--it is mostly because of breastfeeding).

So I've decided not to bother with thinking about yoga classes until I'm no longer nursing a baby. Once Coco weans, I'll commit to yoga class once a week and maybe something else. I'd love to try a Barre fitness class. My awesome yogi cousin Bekah does yoga everydamnday and I am super jealous of her skills and her dedication to yoga practice, but she is also a darling hipster grad student with a different set of cares and responsibilities and schedules than I currently have right now (once upon a time, I did Pilates like it was my second job...).

The issue is what can I reasonably want to do right now. And by "right now," I mean between now and July 25. I'm setting the goal of my brother's wedding, not because anyone there will be judging me or probably even notice what I'm wearing, let alone whether it's a size bigger or smaller than what I'm wearing now, but just because it's happening in about three months and I feel like that's about the only extended length of time that seems reasonable for me to commit to anything--should be long enough to get into the habit and see results, but not so long that I can't pretend the end is in sight (Although, the idea is that the "end" will just be switching things up rather than giving up entirely. You know, because I'll be totally fit and buff by then. Hahaha. Ahem. Yes.).

A little TMI: I don't like jogging right now because breastfeeding makes my boobs ridiculous. So instead of telling myself I should be jogging but I can't because I don't have a bra that fits, I'm going to (1) make the investment in a $40 sports bra that fits me NOW, and (2) do a lot of fast walking. I'm pretty sure there are studies that say walking briskly is good for your heart and also burns calories and it's got to be better than nothing, so I'm just going to do it.

I'm not going to even think about a treadmill because walking on a treadmill in my university's fitness center sounds disgusting. And smelly. (Not me, the dudes.) Plus part of my thing about not working out is that it's more time away from the girls on work days. So the solution is obviously to push the stroller on a walk. Before work is just not going to happen because hahahaha so after work it is.

My new plan is to pack my workout clothes and change into them before I leave the office. Then after I pick up the girls, I'll push the double stroller for a 25-minute walk. (Why 25 minutes? Because it sounds way shorter than half an hour. I'm going to pick 6 songs I want to walk to that's it.)

I can easily go to Forest Park or Tower Grove Park on our way home, both of which are absolutely lovely and have plenty of walking trails that don't have a clear view of the playground (because then you know it's all over). I may have to give Coco some boob time before we leave daycare, but as long as she gets a quick fix and I remember to pack a snack for Zuzu, this should go smoothly. Plus, walking briskly while pushing 45 pounds of kid in a double stroller is serious business.

Bonus: Fresh air for everyone! And you know I'll be in a better mood after, which is probably the biggest win.

I'm going to plan to do this twice a week. I could probably do it three times, but right now I'm going to say I get Fridays off.

The other trick that I'm employing from my dissertation days is the old "You only have to do this for 15 minutes" thing. When I couldn't get myself to start, I'd set a timer for 15 minutes and make myself sit down for just that length of time. Invariably, the timer would get off and I'd already have the momentum to keep going. It was just the idea of 15 minutes that made it palatable.

The same applies to working out, except in this case it's 10 minute Pop Sugar workout videos. If all I can do is squeeze in 10 minutes, then that's fine. In most cases, I can do two 10 minute videos back to back.

And let me tell you, if I do two 10 minute core videos back to back, I am FEELING it.

The other one I do is Tracy Anderson's 8 minute arms. (I think it's a segment from a longer work out--I searched Tracy Anderson 10 minute arms on youtube and it came up, but really it's 8 minutes. It will be the longest 8 minutes of your life. And I say that having birthed a 8 1/2 pound baby without meds less than a year ago.) Her workout doesn't require weights and it is killer. I can barely finish it right now. But when I do, I feel like a badass. (Bad ass-ness is relative, I do realize.)

So that's my plan. Long walks with the double stroller twice a week. 10 minute workout 5 times a week.

I get that it's not much. But it's something. It's something I can actually DO instead of just beat myself up for not doing. And I do believe it can make a difference, at least in how I FEEL if not so much in how I look.

(Particularly considering I ate a donut for breakfast today.)

(It was delicious.)


  1. You can do it! It all sounds very achievable - and you gave me some tips for studying for an exam I have coming up.

  2. Sounds like a good plan! I'm intrigued by Tracy Anderson and her arms!

    Moving comfort makes some really great sports bras that are good with nursing/big tats.

  3. Oh Brooke... OH BROOKE!! Why am I starting off this post in such an odd way? Well, let me just tell you my life story, okay?

    I was going to email/IG post/Blog or whatever about this EXACT thing!! Fitness and I have not met since my hardcore workout stint after Alexander died. I've been laying low with my workout game for some time now. Haha, making it sound like I used to be some sort of vet or something! But what you said about the palettes thing? Yeah, me too. Another life ago.

    But around Valentines day, I caught a glimpse of myself in a photo my sister took, and I was floored. I just didn't think I looked so.....FAT! After Alexander's birthday, I decided to just START. No plan. No goals. Just get my ass on the treadmill and START. (I have one in the basement). And start I did. I worked out (speed walked/ light jogged) for 30-50 minutes, 4-5x a week. I did it for 2 weeks. And I didn't lose a pound. I felt deflated with zero direction. I was sweating my ass off, and many times I wanted to post pics on IG of my tomato face and drenched man t-shirts... but I didn't. I figured I wanted to get into more of a routine/groove to where I felt like it was PART OF MY NATURAL BEING to workout several times a week. Well, I didn't lose a pound. Not one fucking pound in 2 weeks! But I didn't quit. I was going to email some of you ladies for tips or advice or motivation or joined commitments or to swap music ideas or whatever... but again, didn't because I didn't want to let anyone down or flake out.

    So I stuck to it. And I picked up my game. I started jogging for 30-45 minutes during an entire 60 minute treadmill session. Again, no goals or expectations.. I just went where my energy took me. And man did I start craving it. I started to text Daniel saying, "I want to work out tonight" rather than, "I should get on the treadmill when you get home". I stayed away from the scale for 2 weeks... and before Easter, I weight in and had lost 4 pounds. Finally!

    Easter was crazy and busy but I got in a few 60 minutes sessions... but then I got a blasted cold. The week of April 6th, I only hit the TM twice, and I tried to make it count. But by the weekend (11th/12th), I got hit with a stomach bug. Fuuuuuuuuck. And I haven't been back at it since. And guess what? I have a cold again. I haven't worked out in a week and a half, and I feel like NOT working out has become my norm again... where 4 days a week after Dan would get home, I was tagging out and heading down to the basement for my time - desiring to do so too. I've weight myself recently, and I've lost 2 more pounds in the past 2 weeks. But I'm sick - so I'm crediting that to poor appetite and muscle loss. Because my clothes don't fit any better.

    But Theo's birthday is this weekend, and I'm allowing myself yet another week "off" as I know i'll be stressing too much about getting everything pulled together leaving no time to workout. But I've also promised myself that (health permitting!!!), I'm going to get back at it next week. At least 3x.

    I too have a July goal in mind! We're going away to a cottage up north for a week, and I want to wear a bathing suit and not duck out of pictures the entire time! So even though I've been working out for about 6 weeks, I feel like i'll be starting new again soon. OMG WE CAN BE WORK OUT BUDDIES!! (only kind of joking ;))

    With all this to say, in short, I want to say THANK YOU FOR THIS POST and giving me the chance to talk about my boring workout plans too!!!!

    and for the record, you're really hot and you'd be doing working out a favor, not the other way around ;)

  4. And yes to doing SOMETHING rather than beating yourself up for doing nothing! And I think everything you've laid out is A LOT! Life is busy, and getting 20-30 minutes to sweat uninterrupted is HARD! Here's hoping for good weather and cooperative girls!

    ps want some TMI? I feel you on the jogging/boob comfort thing. when I started, I wore my nursing bra with a (stretched out) sports bar on top because one bra wasn't enough to not make the (well used) gals bounce around. I have better sports bras from back in the day, but back-fat (that's a hyphenated word, right?) was an issue. I'm now able to fit into some of my old workout gear and even with jogging/running, I'm well supported. Baby steps!

  5. Hopefully I didn't come across supergirl, master of the workouts. You can note that my girls are almost 12 and 6, so that makes a huge difference. We didn't want to commit to the membership either ($$) for years, but it's completely worth it now. All four of us use it, and it's made a big difference. E's got six weeks of Saturday morning soccer right now, which sometimes disrupts my Saturday morning class. F was actually in tears Saturday afternoon because we didn't go to the Y. And honestly, I need a class. I've never, ever, ever been able to stick to any sort of workout routine in my own house.

    I think you've got a good plan. You already look fabulous, but I get that you need to exercise. We all should. I've always been, and will be thinnish, and I also know I'll NEVER be a swimsuit model, but I like to feel strong and active. I've done it in baby steps through the years. I used to power walk with a kid in a stroller almost daily, and that is a workout, although I never had two to push at a time. Then I started running because once I had two, and since my two will always be at different schools, things got harrier, and I had to really focus and knock out a workout because I had less time.

    It took me MONTHS before I really, honestly liked it. Now I love it. I don't care if it's 100 degrees out at 5:30pm (as it frequently is). After I had surgery last spring and had to get my feet to walk again, I realized just how much my body needs stretching / cardio / weight training. I put the stretching / cardio back in over the summer and fall while I was plowing through those tests, and then I introduced more intensive yoga / cardio / weight training in January. I really can't believe how much stronger I am, although I don't really look all that different. It's a mental relief to me, and it's helping me feel a little bit younger than my current ancient state. I can outlast anyone in my class now, and I'm certainly the oldest person in there. (Well, not the yoga class, I'm humbled in there weekly by people almost twice my age, I kid you not.)

    People have told me this for years, that cardio alone isn't going to cut it. But it was a good entry point for me, and now that I do more, I'm so much stronger as a runner too. My feet still start to complain around four miles, but I've set myself a mini-goal to be able to run the perimeter of the park (just over 6 miles) by summer.

    Good luck on your plan. I'll cheer you on. I run in FP between 5:30 - 6 something, so maybe I'll catch up to you one of these days.

    Side note: yes, we had more interesting things to talk about. And note #2, you are exactly right about the playgrounds.

  6. I read all of this and the comments. I like it all and commend you big time! I started the shred and ended it promptly that week. I also started jogging with C once the spring weather arrived (and now it's promptly disappeared) while C was at school because there is not avoiding parks in my neighborhood!

    But yes. Avoid parks and rock on!

  7. You do what you can, when you can. The important thing is, you are doing SOMETHING. I will never be a runner, but I do enjoy walking. Since I got laid off last summer, dh & I have made a conscious effort to get out for a walk most mornings, for at least half an hour. The Catholic high school near us has a beautiful paved track; we walk up there, do a couple of rounds and then walk home again. Between last August and mid-November (when the weather got too cold) I lost more than 10 lbs without even really trying, and I found myself really missing those walks during the winter. It feels great to be out there again. I enjoy yoga too, and have been thinking of looking for a class again... if not now, certainly next winter, when I need some sort of activity (not to mention an excuse to get out of the house, lol).