Monday, September 28, 2009

Fitting Exercise Into a Changing Schedule

During the summer I was lucky to be able to work out in the morning every day. I love working out in the morning. I have lots of energy, and exercise gives me the extra little boost of feel-good hormones that lasts all day long. It's also so efficient to work out, take a shower, and be done for the day...

However, my schedule changed as I started to teach my fall classes, so I am not able to work out in the mornings on most days anymore. So I had to move some of my workouts to the late afternoon. And this wasn't as easy as I had thought. My first few workouts in the afternoon were extremely tough. I felt weak and actually couldn't lift my usual weight for some exercises. I also had to cut my cardio short quite a few times. It was frustrating... I remembered why I didn't like to work out in the afternoon in the first place... But then I also remembered that my body just wasn't used to afternoon workouts and that it was my responsibility to prepare myself for my workouts. So here is what I now do to make sure my afternoon workouts are good ones:
  • Don't eat a heavy lunch that will sit in my stomach like a stone hours later
  • Eat a pre-workout snack about an hour before my workout
  • Drink lots of water throughout the afternoon to make sure I'm hydrated
  • Have some green tea to give me a bit more energy
  • Have my gym bag prepared in my car so I don't have to unnecessarily rush around
  • Bring plenty of water to drink during my workout
My afternoon workouts have gotten much easier over just a few short weeks. I think the above, common-sense strategies (that I should do automatically anyway) really helped. Plus, I think my body is getting used to the afternoon workouts.

Another challenge that comes with late afternoon workouts is making dinner. I usually come home from the gym (with a toddler that may or may not be cranky by that time) around 6:00 p.m. and that's really the time we like to eat dinner. I have realized that it's okay to push dinner time back a little. In addition, the key is, once again, to be prepared. I try to prep most of my meal earlier in the day. I always have a big bowl with salad in the fridge and pre-make some dressing and put it in a little glass jar. I also wash and cut up any veggies ahead of time. I think I'll be a bit more mindful of my schedule when I plan meals from now on however. Pizza on a gym afternoon isn't the best idea... :o)

Questions: What time of day is your favorite time to work out? Do you ever have to adjust your workout schedule? What are some strategies you use to help your body adjust to a new workout schedule?

Happy Monday!

Be well,