Three years ago I decided I wanted to excercise more regularly. There are countless benefits to a steady exercise routine, and I won’t bore you with the details. My goals were to be physically stronger and increase my mental focus at work. The one thing I underestimated was how crucial a steady exercise schedule and routine would be to my success.
Schedules I tried
Working out after work — This worked for a while, but I quickly realized that my post-work commitments were getting in the way of getting to the gym. In addition, I noticed that I had less energy during the workday and my mental focus was off. After trying this for a few weeks, I switched it up.
Working out at lunch — Ok, so my next attempt invovled taking off to the gym at lunch time. In terms of sustained energy throughout the day, this worked great. In terms of actually focusing on my workouts, not so much. Shifting gears from heads-down work and meetings to working out is not easy. I would find myself thinking about work the entire time, which defeated the purpose of clearing my mind at the gym.
Working out before work — I’ve never been a morning person until about six months ago. This is when I made a conscious decision to force myself to wake up and workout. It took a few weeks to adjust, but this has been by far the best way for me to get my workouts in. I wake up at 6:45, get to the gym by 7:30, and workout for an hour. I don’t think of work while I’m at the gym, I have sustained energy throughout the day, and I make better life choices at night. 🚫🕺💃🏽
Here are a few tips that worked for me
“Some restrictions lead to greatness, too many lead to burnout. You do you.”
- Plan your routine — Make sure you have a good plan that details when (schedule) you’ll be exercising and what (routine) your excercise will entail. I found myself getting into the gym and doing the same thing every time. Treadmill, some weights, some abs… done. I wasn’t getting good results since I wasn’t working all of my muscles. I began taking classes that were offered at the gym to change it up. This helped me establish a schedule and try new workouts. Eventually, the classes taught me how to work different muscle groups. I took it a step further, and hit up my college friend, Miguel, who runs a gym in LA. He was kind enough to provide a great routine that covers fundamental weight lifting, which is great since I know exactly what to expect from every workout. No excuses to bail or do something else.
- Buddy up — If you can, find a buddy to excercise with. Peer pressure works. It helps you get motivated and increases FOMO when you decide to not make it out.
- Eat well —There is no way around this one! Minimize alcohol and carbs. As the old saying goes… YAWYE. When I first started working out I thought I could get away with eating and drinking whatever I wanted. That was the point of working out, right? Well, not really. I started taking nutrition a little more seriously and my workouts have gotten much better. In addition to that, my quality of life has improved. I noticed sustained energy throughout the day and much better sleep.
- Cheat — Don’t take it to the extreme unless you want too. Have a splurge day and eat whatever you want. Start by taking days off in between workouts. Some restrictions lead to greatness, too many lead to burnout. You do you.
- Prioritize — Make excercise a priority! Schedule things around your routine, not the other way around. Once you get in a groove, you will see that you start craving workouts and you will make time for fitness. The long term pros outweigh the cons. I can’t tell you how many times I skipped a workout because I was “busy” with other things (work, going out, hitting up Mr Holmes ✌️ before work). Every time I did this, it would kick me out of my routine and into bad habits that lead to waning motivation.
You do you. Find out what works. It takes a shit ton of time and effort, but the pros outweigh the cons. If you are in San Francisco, come join me and help me get better! If you are interested in any aspects of my routine or schedule, let me know and I can provide more details.