Thursday, May 5, 2011

The fine art of flexibilty

When I talk abut flexibility, I'm not referring to this (although, I could certainly use this type of flexibility as well):

I've been trying to drop the baby weight & run a 5K for four years. And now, I'm within five pounds of losing the weight, & I've completed a 5K. I'm hoping to do a 10K soon, and I'm signed up for a 1/2 marathon. Honestly, if you would have asked me about this six months ago, I would have laughed you out of the room.

So, what's changed? I have. I have finally, finally figured out that the key to working out & eating well is flexibility. I'm ridiculously anal, and plan out my workouts and runs weeks in advance. I get them on the calendar, and schedule things around them. Only, guess what? Sometimes life has other plans. My kids get sick. Work requires more time and attention than usual. Michael goes out of town. I need to visit my family. I'm sick. I'm exhausted and/or stressed from a long day. You get the picture, because I'm sure some variation of these things happens in your life all.the.time. And in my previous life? The minute something went off track, I would give up on that workout and tell myself, "well, you know, you tried, but that unexpected work dinner came up." Or insert the change in plans.

How do I handle those things now? I find another time to work out. Planning ahead is still super important for me, and works maybe 75% of the time. The other 25% of the time, I squeeze the workout in around other things. If the only time I can work out is 5:00 am, I do it. If I have to run at lunch & cut it short by a mile so I can be in my office for a meeting? I do it. If the only time I can run is 8:00 pm after my kids are asleep, I do it.

I've become flexible. I don't say this because I do every one of my workouts every day, exactly as I had hoped, or never decide that a day is too much and veg on the couch (because I do that too), but I have embraced flexibility. Because that flexibility is the only difference between the person I used to be, who sat around and hoped/wished that magically I would have time perfectly carved into every day for a workout, and the person I am now. And, quite frankly, I like this new person and the energy I have, the way I can feel my muscles, and fitting back into my clothes.

The same goes with food. Bad days happen. I try to isolate them to one day, versus my previous derailments that lasted a minimum of a week. Good planning takes me really far with what I want to eat. But, when things happen? I call it a day and focus on how to improve the rest of the week. I don't give myself excuses anymore. Oh, it's Easter, let's go crazy. Oh, it's a weekend away, you can relax a bit. Sure, I can do all of these things (and I have had days where I go off track), but right now I'm focused on achieving a goal. And every day, I decide if the goal is more important, if I'd rather eat something I hadn't planned on. As long as it's a conscious choice, I'm okay with it.

Okay, that was long-winded. How did I come to this realization? I put off my run yesterday at least three times. I was planning to get up early, but my son was up throughout the night & I just wasn't feeling it at 5:00 am. So, I was going to run at lunch. But honestly, I was having a terrible day and decided to have lunch with Michael, which is a rare treat for us. My final plan was to run at 7:30 when the kids were in bed. Only, Nick threw up all over the house and me. So I had to mop the floor, settle him down, do laundry, clean up, and by the time I looked at the clock, it was almost 8:00. I was *this* close to throwing in the towel, because I wouldn't be able to do the full six miles before it got dark. I don't know what changed, but suddenly I was putting on my shoes, & I did 4.17 miles in 45:31. And when I got home? I was thrilled with myself.

On to the rest of the day!

Yesterday was a good day, although not the most balanced choices. I made do and stuck to my plan for calories. I also had a super early dinner so that I could run in the evening.

  • Breakfast - egg, tomato, feta cheese on a bagel thin + strawberries & coffee
  • Snack - luna bar
  • Lunch - trail mix & a slice of cheese
  • Snack - smoothie
  • Dinner - salad, bread, & 5 fries
  • Snack - apple
I had something slightly different planned this morning, but realized my sweater had a stain on it. So, I grabbed this out of the closet & called it a day.

  • Navy sweater - Ann Taylor Loft
  • Cream tank top - Ann Taylor Loft
  • Pearls - courtesy of my grandmother, college graduation gift
  • Jeans - Rock & Republic, new from Costco
  • Zebra Print Shoes - Banana Republic. On sale last summer for $15!
Questions for you:
How do you squeeze in your workouts? Do you plan for a certain time, but then adjust if things get off track? What are the biggest obstacles that derail your workouts? Kids, family, work, pets?


  1. Can I hug you? I think this is my favorite post to date of yours.

    I was going to comment on this but when I started typing I just decided to respond with my own blog post. So you can read my comments there :) I figured that was better than leaving a three page reply on here. Haha.

  2. I just came across your blog and I love it! There is a 1/2 in Spokane in October if you want to go that far. Looking to hear what you have to say. :)

  3. I love this post. I used to be really rigid about my workouts, but that doesn't work when you stay home with a baby. Now I do what I can, and it's actually made me enjoy working out so much more!

  4. I plan all my personal training workouts for the month at the end of the previous month. That's usually just twice a week. Then I wing it all the other times. If I do a cardio class one day, then I'll run the other. I try to work out 5 or 6 days a week, but Friday and Sunday are usually the days I skip because I'm lazy. And by lazy, I mean drinking a beer. :-)

  5. What a great post! Flexibility is so important for our workouts and our eating plans. For me it's eating, mostly. Husband makes suggestions to get something and I have to be flexible and roll with the punches. Making healthy choices but not worrying if I didn't get to my pre-planned nutritious meal!