I love routine.
My days and weeks run smoothly when I stick to a schedule.
I eat better and workout more consistently when I do cardio on Mondays and Fridays, strength train on Tuesdays and Thursdays and get to a yoga class Saturday morning.
That’s pretty much what my schedule looked like last week, with a few minor changes. The same, but with a twist.
On Friday, I participated in a spin class led by another instructor. Leisha’s classes are always fabulous, but this week, she tried something new. Instead of varying speed and resistance with each song (a fairly traditional way of organizing a spin class), she held us at a single resistance level for about 10 minutes, incorporating speed and movement drills at that same level of resistance before asking us to increase our tension for the next 10 minutes.
By the end of the class, we had increased our tension four times (no touching that dial!), ending with maximum resistance. My legs felt like jelly! A totally different workout than my body was used to and much more of a challenge too (I told her I’d be copying this format and using it in my own class; imitation being the highest form of flattery).
Saturday morning, I headed to my favorite Hatha yoga class. 75-min of gentle movement and breathing. A little bit of balance and a lot of core strength. After the first few minutes of focusing our breath, with standard, new-agey yoga music in the background, Chris switched playlists. When Doves Cry, by Prince, Crabs in the Bucket, by K-OS, some soul, some rhythm and blues and some good old eighties rock and roll. Not exactly the type of music you’d expect to help you reach nirvana.
But it worked! I felt more relaxed and less worried about my breathing listening to this non-traditional playlist than the usual birdsongs and waterfalls. I even managed to get into and hold crow pose for a short time. Maybe it wasn’t the music. Maybe I’m just getting better at balance poses. But surely, anything that helps you relax during exercise is bound to affect performance in a positive way.
Continue to schedule exercise and plan meals. Knowing what you’ll be doing each day of the week increases the likelihood that you’ll actually do it. But don’t be afraid to make small changes; a new class type, a new instructor, a new playlist of your own as you set out on your morning run.
Surprise yourself with the changes that results from the same, but with a twist.
Do you create and stick to an exercise schedule?
How do you deal with unavoidable changes to your routine? Complain or embrace?