This is not a story of a girl with a new weight loss plan. This is not how I lost those last few pounds of baby weight, how I am building strong lean muscles, how I am burning calories so I can eat this piece of chocolate cake. Those all sound like mighty goals. But this is not why I move.
I move to clear my head. I move to set an example for my children. And I move because if I give myself a goal as simple as just move, I am more likely to keep it.
I have spoken before about my goal to “just move.” It lifted me out of the sludge of post-partum woes (and whoa-s). It served as a launching pad into a half marathon training. And it gave me another tool for my tool belt of dealing with child and parent grumpiness.
The plan is simple.
1. Just move.
2. Every single day.
3. No other rules apply.
For a girl who follows a running training plan judiciously, this is a pretty loose (and somewhat frightening?) plan. But I discovered the absence of rules was what I craved in the in-between stages of training. In this stage of life, if the goal is as simple as just move every single day, surely there are no excuses that could prevent me from success?
Oh but there are. Many in fact.
First let me tell you what I am good at: making up excuses for not moving.
Second let me tell you what I am getting better at: proving myself wrong.
As I have been implementing my three step plan, I have had to do a little two-stepping with all the excuses. And I began to think; surely I’m not the only one who excels at excuse making? Perhaps I should share a bit of what has worked for me. And maybe you’ll have some wisdom of your own.
1. It is too gosh darn hot.
If you know me at all you might know a thing or two about how very little I enjoy the Texas heat. For the past few summers I put a moratorium on running come June 1 until early October. I just could not bring myself to sweat like that. Ridiculous.
But something changed this summer. We needed to get out whether to keep the kids entertained or to complete an errand. And the stroller somehow seemed more bearable than the sauna of the car. And even walking I got super super sweaty. So I decided I might as well run. And before you know it, I was running, at 10:00 in the morning with temperatures already in the 90s. And I wasn’t mad. I was sweaty. But it’s summer. I’m going to get sweaty. Might as well burn a few calories while we’re at it. The runs aren’t pretty (read next excuse for more of this) but that wasn’t the goal. The goal is to move. And when I told myself I could earn a jump into the pool when we got back or a snack break under the big oak trees at the park or maybe an ice cool shower during nap, being hot on my runs was not all that bad.
Too hot? Give yourself the motivation of a cool treat when you’re done.
2. Pushing that 94 pounds of stroller and children might as well be uphill both ways in a wind tunnel.
Double jogging strollers! (she says as she shakes her fist in the air.) We love and hate you. Double jogging stroller running should be an Olympic sport. And I would also never come close to qualifying.
Unless the qualification was to just do it. Then put me on a Wheaties box. Because that my friends is my only qualification with the double jogging stroller. Just do it.
I set no time or distance goals. I gladly stop at every stop light. I do not feel bad when the old lady out for her morning walk has to go around me because I am too slow.
I am not just getting in cardio, I am getting a total body workout. The arms, the abs, probably some back muscles, I don’t know. Either way, that thing is a beast and I have just decided regardless of how ridiculously slow I am, I am working out.
Also, seeing as our home is situated on the top of a hill (ok sort of, basically everything is slightly angled down from here so that counts as a hill) it is always easier for me to go out. So I pick an end point, park, library, grocery store, and finish my work out there. Gravity works with me on the tough run part, and the walk home is just bonus exercise.
On days when I really want to feel like superwoman, I drive us to the big hilly parts of town. Going up and down thse hills I may only cover as little as 2 miles. But I feel infinitely stronger than I did the day before because I just pushed 94 pounds up a steep incline. Boo yah.
Jogging stroller sucks? Yes. Yes it does. But you don’t suck even if you push it at a snail’s pace. Own that.
3. I am bored.
I have spoken before about dance club music that fuels my runs. However, as mentioned above, I’m not going for speed or power. I’m just trying to get out there. My music doesn’t have to make me feel bad ass, it just has to keep me entertained.
So I switched up my playlist and I’m loving it. Here’s what I have scrolling through lately:
Kid Runner – number one choice for upbeat, go get it music. This is my cousin Fran’s band so I may be a little biased. But I believe everyone should have some Kid Runner as the soundtrack to their "just move" life. Their first single aptly titled Move gets me every time. Add them to your play list. You won’t regret it and you will feel very cool.
Pandora Station Summer Hits of the 90s Radio - Nothing makes you feel young and fit and carefree like remembering your high school days. And nothing will make you reminisce more than turning on this Pandora station (Unless you are my mom, and then I’m sorry. This is the wrong station to remind you of high school.) I will be jamming to some Third Eye Blind or Red Hot Chili Peppers and feel like I am back in cross country practice when all of the body parts were smaller and where they should be. It’s the best kind of distraction.
Shakey Graves – A local Austin guy who has made it big. His way with the guitar lulls me into a trance when I’m doing ab work. And it has a way of making it feel so normal and day-to-day instead of a crazy power hour.
Bored with your tuneage? Change it up!
4. I didn’t make it to my workout class on time so now I have no idea what to do.
There are some great classes offered at our local Y. Or so I have heard. Because I rarely make it out of the house and into the doors on time to catch the one that works for us. We are either too early or too late. And for so long this would frustrate me. I would be forced to walk into the gym instead and look around pretending I knew what I was doing when really I needed a manual just to start the treadmill. Embarassing.
But that changed when I found two fantastic apps (there is always an app for that) with workouts I love.
The Nike Training App - Designed specifically for women, this app provides more than 85 instructor-narrated fitness routines—basically it's an audio-only exercise video you can play from your phone. It allows you to create your own playlist while listening, pumps you up as you go along, and, if ever you don't understand what the instructor is talking about, you can click into a video demonstration for each move. I love the format of moves at 30-60 intervals with high and low intensity. It’s my own private workout class. I even used this through pregnancy and loved it.
Barre 3 App – I recently found this one when I missed my Barre 3 classes so much but wasn’t willing to pay for the $19 monthly online fee or the $20 individual class. For only $5 you can have over 70 different 10-minute workouts plus recipe ideas and tips. Only 10 minutes left before the kids wake up? Do a quick video. 40 minutes? Stream 4 together. These workouts are both killer and accessible and I love what they do (or are trying to do!) to my body. Also, you can stream your own music for these as well. Kid Runner and Barre 3 make a great team!
Missed your class? There’s an app for that.
5. He won’t go to the child care without an epic screaming battle followed by my workout interrupted 15 minutes later.
My darling Velcro baby is not a fan of separating from his mother unless he is in charge. Dropping off at gym childcare is brutal. I avoided the gym for months because it felt like a waste to be distracted from the screaming child I just left only to have my workout interrupted by staff only 15 minutes into my workout when he wouldn’t calm down.
But recently I really wanted to give it another try. After the same sad drop off routine, I walked into my yogalates class doubtful. I apologized to the instructor in advance for when(not if) they had to come pull me out of the class. She told me “I’ll think positive vibes. Meanwhile, I’ll work you like crazy until they walk in that door.” They never came in. I had the best workout in such a long time. And I think I owe it to the instructor’s reassuring positivity. You have this moment right now and you never know when it will be end. So make the best of it.
Since then I have let that philosophy guide my workouts. I may only have 10 minutes so I don’t waste time getting to work. I start up my workout and see it as a game to race the clock. Today it was 22 minutes. Defeated, I walked in to pick him up after they flagged me down. But by that point he had put himself to sleep and the lovely ladies shooed me right out. This is where those 10 minute workout are amazing. I didn’t feel like I had to start back from zero. I didn’t waste any time getting back into a workout. I did 2 more 10 minute videos and finished strong. Just move. Even a little bit at a time.
Kids hate the child care? Make it the best 10 minutes of your day and it may turn into 20!
6. It's too late to workout.
The sexiest three words my husband ever said to me: “I got bedtime.”
I knew what he meant. Mealtime was another circus. The day was long and it was showing on my face. We were leaving that week for vacation and the to-do list was growing. But he could see I needed a workout. And he was giving me the most glorious free pass from one of my least favorite times of day. Bedtime. I tore out of my chair and barely kissed the kids goodnight.
I have never liked working out after 7:00. Mealtime in our house is important even if it drains me. So waiting to eat until after an evening workout is out of the question. And heavy cardio after food is nauseating. But yoga is exactly what I need at 7:00. It is the ideal transition from hairy day into peaceful night sleep. It pushes out all the days toxins and prepares me for another day. Much like a glass of wine only with more breathing.
It took me awhile to put yoga into the same category as just move but I am so glad I am adding this into my repertoire.
Too late to work out? There is always time for yoga.
7. I don’t want to.
Yep. Of course that one is always in there. This is where I enter in the greatest warrior for battle: podcasts.
Podcasts have changed my life this year. This is not an exaggeration. Name me anything I hate doing and I will show you how adding in a podcast can make it better, at least tolerable. I have upped my cleaning game (I said upped, not perfected. Baby steps here.) I will gladly fold laundry and then PUT IT AWAY. And no sink of dishes has ever been tackled without a background of podcasts.
Why podcasts? Multitask, folks. That is why. Learning and escaping and laughing and aha-ing all whilst making those toilets shine. I love to learn and I love it so much that I am willing to do anything while learning. I challenge you to make a list of things that bring you joy and then go find a podcast that fulfills that. Because it can be done. And if you doubt it, then put the task to me. I’ll find you one. In fact, I think a blog of all my favorites needs to come soon.
So when I have scrolled through all the excuses and the true and honest answer is I just don’t want to, then I put in my headphones, learn something new, and move my feet while I am doing it. It’s just that simple.
Don’t want to move? Then don’t “just move.” Move while learning. Game changer.
There you have it. Seven of my best excuses and the little ways I’m tackling them to keep up with my three step plan.
So stop reading already and go move!