Set Yourself Up for Success Tip #4


FOUR: Give yourself a break.

I always get nervous when people describe their weekly exercise routine as though it is set in stone: “I do chest and triceps on Mondays, half of legs on Tuesdays, I rest on Wednesdays, do back and biceps on Thursdays, the other half of legs on Fridays, and shoulders on Saturdays.  I also do abdominal training on Tuesdays and Fridays and cardio for exactly 45 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Sundays.”

While I admire their commitment, I wonder how they handle it when life gets in the way.  I used to be very rigid with respect to my exercise routine—so much so that if I had planned to do a certain workout on any given day and I ran late or I could not be at the gym to perform my predetermined routine, I would skip the workout altogether.  This is faulty thinking and I always felt frustrated because life rarely goes as planned (at least mine does not.)

I have learned two lessons that have served me well, both in the gym and in other areas of my life: remain flexible at all times and do the best you can with the circumstances you are given.

I have no set schedule for when I work specific body parts, but to ensure that I balance my workouts each week, I keep an exercise calendar on which I log what I do on any given day. I vary my training in such a way that I get sufficient rest, but the order in which I train muscle groups varies from week to week depending on my schedule.

Sometimes I can get to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and some weeks I go Thursday through Sunday.  Sometimes I am lucky and make it five times a week and sometimes only three. My schedule constantly changes so I have to adapt my training routine to it.  This would have made me insane years ago, as “flexibility” was not my strong suit.

Along with adapting to a constantly changing schedule, I also have learned to be very flexible with the amount of time that I have to train from day to day.  People always ask me how much time I workout.  The truth is that I take as much time as I can and some days it’s 23 minutes and some days it’s 2 hours (and usually it’s somewhere in between)…it simply depends.

I do the best I can with however many minutes or hours I have and hope that if I have less time on one day I will have more on the next.  Again, this is why I write down what I do—so I can be certain that I balance out my week.

Many days I don’t exercise at all, and that’s fine too. Keeping an eye on the big picture will keep you sane.  Balance your training over the course of the week and don’t sweat the details of how you make it happen.  Make up for lost time when you can and stop fretting about what you didn’t do.

If your day goes haywire and you don’t fit in your workout exactly as you had planned (or at all), don’t let that be an excuse to waste the rest of the week.  I’m a big believer that tomorrow is a new day and a new chance to make changes.  Do the best you can, when you can, as often as you can.

If you are unwilling to give yourself a break, you will constantly feel frustrated and be stuck in the past.

Never waste today worrying about what you didn’t do yesterday.  HIT THE RESET BUTTON and move on!

Always be in a state of forward momentum. Success awaits you!

Stay tuned for Tip #5

~Tara Marie