Have you ever had one of those months where your health and fitness plans were derailed at every turn? Where despite the best of intentions, life just seemed to keep getting in the way of getting to the gym?
That was November for me. A friend who had cancer was moved to palliative care where she passed away. My sister, diagnosed with a pre-cancerous breast tumour underwent a partial mastectomy. The school district, in its infinite wisdom, decided that we needed another long weekend over Remembrance Day and that parents should entertain their children on those days rather than work or workout. Despite having had his flu shot, my oldest son brought the virus home and required an attentive mother to stay home and care for him. Of course, he thanked me by passing it on. My poor immune system, crushed beyond belief, fell prey to the flu and then, adding insult to injury, a secondary infection that required antibiotics to get under control.
With a full teaching and personal training schedule there were very few hours left in the month for me to get my strength training workouts in (fortunately, I teach fitness classes, so I did manage to get some exercise!).
While the details of your challenging month likely differ from mine, we can use the same strategies to get back on track.
First of all, don’t dwell on what you didn’t accomplish. Life happens. People get sick. Other responsibilities sometimes take priority. Stop the negative self-talk and figure out what you can do RIGHT NOW to get back on track.
Get out your calendar. Schedule in your workouts for the next two weeks. I usually find that two weeks is about all I need to get back in the groove again. Don’t let anything get in the way of those workouts. They will feel difficult. Don’t use that as an excuse to give up. Cardio de-conditioning can happen in as little as a week. Loss of muscle mass takes considerably longer. You may not feel as strong as before your horrible month began, but your strength will return quickly if you just get through the next two weeks.
Go grocery shopping. Fill your cart with healthy, easy to prepare foods. Clean out the junk that crept into your cupboards during your time away from the gym (we both know it’s there; it happens in my house too!). Make nutrition a priority during this period of re-commitment.
As the end of the two weeks approaches, schedule in your workouts for the next two weeks! Increase your intensity in the gym. Add more challenging exercises to your workout. Up the weights. Cardiovascular function should be better, so let your heart rate climb a little higher than last week. Come visit me in the spinning studio for a great interval workout!
Reward yourself for successfully getting back on track. Treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure. A new pair of shoes. A cute exercise outfit. Did someone say Lululemon?