January. The month of new beginnings. The month of cold and snow (for us Canadians at least). The month of the huge increase in gym memberships worldwide because so many people are committing to exercise.
Last week’s post was all about how to make eating real food attainable. I thought it was only fitting that the post to follow was about activity – the other pretty important piece to living a healthy and well balanced life. Nutrition + exercise + sleep + stress management.
There are many things you can do to live a more active life – like parking in the furthest spot from the entrance; using the stairs rather than the elevator; doing 20 squats while you are on the phone; doing push-ups and sit-ups during commercials. All of these ideas are great but how do we get there? It is first super important to find your why, next plan it into your life, then find what you like to do; and finally: rest and recover.
1. Find your why.
This is the most important part: why are you getting started? I’ll let you in on a little secret: this reason should be selfish. This reason should be all about you and your health. Maybe that means weight loss. Maybe that means signing up for your first race to show yourself you can. If you don’t find your why, exercise is going to suck. It’s going to feel forced. It’s going to feel like a chore.
I run because it makes me feel unstoppable. I practice yoga because it calms my mind. I do CrossFit because it makes me feel strong. Being active, training and working out gives me joy, confidence and health. I workout for me.
2. Find your time.
Next, you need to find the time that works best for you and your life to plan and schedule your activity for then. You need to hold yourself accountable to exercise just like an appointment or meeting. If it’s written down, in your phone or on your mind, it is a firm commitment. Whether that is in the morning before you go to work or during your lunch break or in the evenings.
Of course, something might come up and then you adjust – like getting together with a friend or a family commitment. I’m all for getting your workout in but not if it’s taking away from other things in your life.
For me, mornings work best. I love starting my day with a good sweat (I feel super energized to take on the rest of the day) and I can almost always fit it into my schedule – no-one plans a coffee date or meeting for 6am. If the thought of 5am makes you cringe, figure out what time works best for you, your body and your life to exercise.
Posts about workout planning:
3. Find what you like to do.
Now that you have your motivation and time set aside to make it happen, what are you going to do? This certainly takes trial and error and will definitely change over time… but the options are endless! Walking, running, strength training, spinning, dancing, swimming, stretching, playing… classes at gyms like BodyPump, PiYo, Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, Barre… training for a race… trying out CrossFit… signing up for a sports league (soccer, baseball, basketball, tennis, volleyball…)
I started with playing all kinds of sports and then falling in love with basketball. Then I become totally obsessed with boxing classes and doing yoga (weird combo I know, but they balanced each other nicely). Then I fell in love with running. Then I discovered CrossFit. What next? Who knows but it certainly keeps life exciting!
Posts about getting started with fitness:
Posts about my fitness passions:
4. Don’t forget about rest.
Being active is awesome but it is counter productive and even dangerous if you are not incorporating rest (and adequate sleep) into your schedule. As much as I love moving, I have learned how important resting is. From injury prevention to your own sanity to actually looking forward to workouts – don’t forget to rest! For some people, that’s one day “off”. For others, it’s three or four. The best indicator of what you should be doing is your body. So listen to it, it’s way smarter than you!
Since my marathon, I have been resting a lot lately. Funny enough, so has my dad. Papa Honey Bee is a very active guy. He said that since he has been resting more frequently he actually looks forward to his workout days. Distance makes the heart grow fonder…
Posts about the importance of rest:
5. And don’t forget about recovery!
Alongside rest and sleep, recovery is super important. Recovery to me means stretching, adequate nutrition and proper fueling for your activity. Not eating properly can have significant effects to your workouts and performance. Don’t workout if you are hungry – a snack featuring protein and fat pre-workout is ideal. The period after your workout is super important as well. That is the time when your body is actively undergoing repair and recovery. It is your job to help the process by refueling your body with carbohydrates and protein post-workout. Eat a real food diet and nourish your body to help your overall health and fuel your fitness.
Posts about performance nutrition:
Questions of the day…
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