November 30, 2011

Getting back into a routine

This has been a strange week for me. Theodora wrote an interesting post last night about the importance of finding a routine – but this week, my routine has been way more disrupted than usual.

First, there was the food poisoning. while in November I was pretty much getting a workout in every day (sometimes two or three in a day, if I opted to do multiple shorter ones instead of one big weight lifting or cardio session), that all fell apart on Wednesday when I went down for the count. Though it felt totally bizarre to not do anything, I actually stayed workout-free until Sunday, when I decided to try easing back into exercise by heading to the gym that night for a light cardio session. While I usually hit the elliptical when I’m at the gym for cardio (if I’m going to run, I prefer to do it outside), for some reason, I felt compelled to give the treadmill a try. I don’t know if it was just that my body was missing its usual exercise, but it felt fantastic! Of course, I only did 2 miles, but still – while I often get a runner’s high outside, I think this was the first time I’ve run on a treadmill and it didn’t totally suck… I’ll take what I can get.

But on Monday, instead of my usual 90 minute flight to Charlottesville (the late 8:30am departure of which often allows me to get in a workout in the morning before I go), this week I was headed on a 3 hour trip to Dallas. As Foursquare reminded me when I checked in at DFW Airport, it had been more than 4 months since I’d been in Dallas! Wow. Since it was my first day back from a week’s vacation, I had a ton of stuff to catch up on, but the unfamiliar environment (my client’s office had changed a lot since the last time I was here) threw me for a bit of a loop, and it took longer than I anticipated to get up to speed – particularly since a lot of the key constituents I needed to work with were still in Virginia. I went through the day just feeling slightly confused and overwhelmed – and of course, a wee bit sick to my stomach. At least the bathroom here is much nicer than the one at the Charlottesville office! 😉

While in Dallas, I had a ton of colleagues and friends in the area that I was going to try to catch up with during the week – making it a far cry from my usual keep-to-myself-and-try-to-eat-healthy-and-work-out-lots-when-it’s-not-a-team-dinner-night routine that I’ve becomed accustomed to during my work week in Charlottesville. Still feeling the effects of the food poisoning and needing to stay simple and high carb, I arranged to meet up with a colleague on Monday night at Panera – figuring that it would be a shorter meal, and that I’d have more control over what goes into a sandwich than I would at a real restaurant. I had a great time catching up, but by 8pm I was wiped out, and my colleague graciously told me to go home and go to bed. The last few months in Virginia have spoiled me when it comes to travel, and I had forgotten how exhausting Monday nights are! I drove back to my hotel intending to do just that – fall into bed. But feeling guilty that I hadn’t worked out at all, I instead crept down to the gym, and again knocked out 2 miles on the treadmill. Not a great workout (I only averaged a 10 minute pace, since I was alternating running for 2-2.5 minutes with walking for 30-60 seconds). However, it was proof that even when you’re exhausted, you can still get a little workout in – and that was good enough for me.

Tuesday, though, I killed it with a great weight lifting workout. With December fast approching, I’m starting to look back at my new year’s resolutions for 2011 and see how I’ve been doing – and weight lifting is one area where I really feel like I’ve come a long way. When I started Rachel Cosgrove’s program over Christmas break last year, I kept a spreadsheet of how much weight and how many sets I had done of each exercise – and it’s incredible to look back and see how far I’ve come in just a year’s time. Tuesday’s workout, for example was:

A – Plank on Swiss Ball (3 sets x 60 seconds each)
A – Upper-Body Core Stability Russian Twist (3 sets x 10 reps, holding a 10 pound dumbbell)
B – Deadlift (3 sets x 10 reps, 70 pounds of weight)
B – Military Press (3 sets x 10 reps, 20 pounds each hand)
C – Forward and Backward Step-Over (3 sets x 10 reps, 6 inch step)
C – Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (3 sets x 10 reps, 20 pounds each hand)
D – Single-Leg SHELC (3 sets x 10 reps… KILLER with one leg)
D – One-Point Dumbbell Row (3 sets x 10 reps, 30 pound dumbbell)
Finisher: Squat Thrust and Tuck Jump (3-1, 6-2, 9-3, 12-4) – I did it in 2:37, a 22 second improvement over my attempt last week

Do I rock, or what? I especially love comparing the exercises that I did in a more beginner form at the beginning of the year – like a three point dumbbell row (one hand and two feet on the floor, vs right now where I’m doing it with just one foot on the floor and everything else not holding anything) that I used to do with a 10 pound weight, or a bent knee deadlift that I used to do with 18 pounds.

However, all that lifting comes with a price – that being that I was absolutely exhausted and crazy sore this morning. I had been afraid that being sick was going to pull me out of the exercise routine I’ve been faithfully keeping up for November, and sure enough, here it was day three and I didn’t feel like working out. While I usually love repetitive cardio to ease my muscles after I’ve worked out hard, I was inexplicably exhausted this morning – and knew that I would be having a long team dinner tonight. I decided that instead of going and pounding away on the treadmill or elliptical for forty minutes, I’d opt for a quick FOUR minute Tabata routine in my hotel room instead. Choosing “Heisman jumps” (a great ab toning cardio move I picked up from my stint of Insanity this summer) and football runs with shadowboxing as my torture devices of choice, I pounded through eight intervals of 20 seconds on / 10 seconds off and called it done.

So tonight – team dinner. I know that my measly four minutes of intervals is not even going to come close to burning off the heavy meal we’re probably going to have, but at least I can go into it knowing that I listened to what my body wanted – but still pushed it a bit. Tomorrow I fly back to NYC, and then I should be in Virginia for the rest of the year, so hopefully I can get back to my regularly scheduled program then.

How do you stay on track when your routine gets disrupted?


2 thoughts on “Getting back into a routine”

  1. I know it’s hard with travel (trust me, I’m there with you), but a lot of it is mindset. Try not to resign yourself to a “heavy” team dinner. You do have ultimate control of what you order and of what you put in your body! And exercise, although a great way to maintain weight, shouldn’t be used solely as a way to counteract calories…it’s a slippery slope into a disordered mindset. I know you’re strong and healthy, but sometimes it’s just about changing perspectives!

  2. I think it is so cool that you make fitness a priority in a very busy career and life. I am glad to hear you are feeling better and looking forward to your workouts. Way to Bring it!!

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