October 26, 2012

Looking back and making changes

This week, I kicked off a new initiative at my company that I am very proud of: a fitness league.

We all travel four days a week (and have to eat all of our meals on planes and at restaurants during that time), plus work a demanding schedule that makes it very difficult to fit in workouts. There’s a reason that people often joke about the “Consulting 15” that you gain after you start consulting and start traveling! When I stopped traveling to work locally, I dropped 10 pounds in a month – not through intentional dieting, but just because it was so much easier when I wasn’t on the road.

Several years ago, when I was working for a boutique consulting firm, someone came up with the idea to have a fitness competition to keep us all motivated. It was a great way to encourage those who don’t normally exercise to do so, and to motivate those of us who already work out to hit it even harder. Unfortunately, with our acquisition into a larger and more bureaucratic firm, the fitness league was lost… until now, when I undertook the effort to get it going again.

As part of the setup process, I logged into the external website we used to track participants’ workouts and points earned, Introplay. I hadn’t logged in since 2010, but when I did, I saw this:

It seems that two years ago around this time, I was a lot more dedicated than I am now! I was getting a good cardio session in every day, following the Rachel Cosgrove lifting plan to the letter and diligently doing my weights three days a week, and generally just making exercise much more a part of my life.

I was especially impressed by how different the activities were each day – it seemed like I would always combine two activities, whether it was lifting and then running a quick mile or two, or hitting the stationary bike in the morning and the treadmill at night. (At the same time, I wasn’t totally overdoing the two-a-days, since both workouts were short and sweet.) But I remember what my body looked like then, and I was in a lot better shape – perhaps because I was working hard to not let my body go too long in a sedentary state. They say that it’s better to break up the amount of sitting you do during the day, and two years ago, i seemed to be doing just that. Now… well, I’ve become pretty much a move-once-a-day kind of person, which is not much better than being a weekend warrior. The only thing worse than that would be not working out at all! Despite the fact that I’m not competing in the Fitness Challenge this time around (as the organizer, it would be unethical), I decided it was time to step up my game and go back to the way I used to be.

Since noticing this disparity, I’ve been working to challenge myself and make exercise more a part of my plan. For the last two weeks, I’ve scheduled out my workouts based on what I have on tap that week, and it seems to be working! Both weeks I’ve followed the plan almost exactly (with the exception of swapping my yoga and strength sessions this Wednesday when I wanted to give my muscles a bit more time to recover). It feels great to have a plan and see those numbers going back to what they used to be, and I think it’s definitely going to pay off. I feel a lot happier just being more active – so regardless of whether those changes show up physically in my body, it’s already a win.

How many times a day/week do you work out? Do you notice a difference when you space out several small workouts vs doing one big one?


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