1. Get out of bed and exercise
2. However I wanted
3. for 30 minutes
Because I read that it takes 66 days to form a habit, it made sense that the first 66 days would be the most difficult. They were.
(Full disclosure, it’s been more than 66 days since I began this journey ((I hate that phrase, and I apologize for it. (((Are double brackets a thing?))) )) and I will share my successes and failures along the way, as well as where I’m at now, in further editions of this story)
Aside from day one, in which I felt excited and energized by a new routine, the rest of that first week was difficult. Because I live in a small condo, my only real option for exercise is the community centre gym down the block. It’s small, but it has everything I need to have a variety of work out choices. A few treadmills and bikes, a bunch of benches with free weights and bars. That’s really it. The gym opens at 6:00, and if I want to get to work by 7:30, I need to get there just as it opens. This means getting out of bed at 5:40.
For some of you, this is not a big deal. For me, it was tough. That first week I had to keep changing the alarm song on my phone as I so quickly grew to resent the music and artist that woke me up at such a dark, cold hour.
My routine is pretty simple. I get up, put on the clothes that I leave in the washroom, make instant coffee and walk to the gym without a shower, and half asleep. Usually in the rain. When there, I try to vary my workout. Sometimes I run on the treadmill for 30 minutes, sometimes I do a circuit of the weight machines, other times I’ll use the exercise bike (this is best if I have to do reading for my grad program, which is often). Sometimes I’ll do a free weight routine. Usually Triceps, biceps, chest, back, shoulders for 3 sets of 10-15 each, keeping breaks between sets to a bare minimum.
On the weekends, while I will let myself do just 30 minutes if all I’m feeling, but I’ll usually do both weights and cardio at the gym, or if it’s nice out I’ll do the 10k run around Stanley Park. This is my favourite, but it’s also crowded if you don’t head out before 8:00am.
The first week went much like above. It was difficult after three or four days to get up that early, and I was finding myself starving when I got to work, and falling asleep at the couch at the “early” hour of 10:00.
Before I started the new routine, I usually skipped breakfast and stayed up past midnight, getting out of bed around 7:00. I learned quickly that this whole experiment would shake up my entire day, not just my mornings.
I also found that while it was hard to get up, once I got moving I felt just fine. And throughout the day I felt good, if a little tired, because I had exercised. I felt the pride that comes with doing something difficult while most people are still asleep. That sense of pride was the first true benefit of my new fitness regime.
I liked feeling like I had accomplished something before my students even arrived to start the first class.
That’s what carried me through into week two. And probably into week three, and four…
Next time: I’ll post a picture after two weeks and share some of the ways I’ve been tracking data.