To summarize, I started this fitness journey when I was a youngster and quickly realized that I didn’t have any natural fitness abilities (Part 1) (ouch). After experiencing several humiliating events, I eventually became discouraged from pursuing anything fitness related for 11 years. Then, I discovered that fitness is not a competition, but rather a personal journey (Part 2). Fitness also helped me find balance in times of uncertainty and…ahem…unemployment (Part 3). So that leads me to Part 4, when I finally entered the working world.
Overnight, my daily routine became a big departure from what I was used to i.e., being unemployed and having all the time in the world to do a zillion and one crunches.
Now, how would I motivate myself to keep my up my fitness when the working world was sucking all the energy from me during the day?
Entering the Working World
I remember coming home exhausted from my first day of work at 6 pm, in the dead of winter and forcing myself to do a 30-min circuit in my living room before dinner.
The next few days I had to stay late at the office. When I came home, all I could think of was putting food in my mouth. Doing a pushup was the furthest thing from my mind.
I did consider doing my workouts in the morning, but thinking about it was as far as I got (I could barely wake up for work, let alone contemplate doing a jumping jack.)
I was feeling unmotivated to exercise altogether.
Within a week of being in the working world, my workout routine slowly faded into the distance.
This was clearly going to be harder than I thought.
Lunch Time Workouts
Luckily, after a few months at the job, I heard through the grapevine that there was a group of employees at the company that did T25 every lunch hour.
I shyly asked if I could join them one day. Turns out, they were a welcoming bunch and I quickly became a member of the tribe.
I admired these colleagues because not only were they killing it at their 9-5s, they were also keeping up with their fitness goals.
So, Monday-Friday I worked out with them during lunch.
With this newfound momentum, I was motivated to add in another short workout in the evenings as well.
After a year, I switched jobs and unfortunately I was no longer able to do lunchtime workouts. But, I kept my old colleagues in mind whenever I felt that my exercise goals were slacking. Through their example, I remembered the importance of developing a fitness routine.
Now, instead of doing a long workout session like how I used to when I was unemployed (with all the time in the world), I have adjusted to doing shorter, more efficient runs and body weight exercises (20 minutes). This is ideal for when I come home after a long day at the office.
So what does this all mean? Well, I’ve summarized everything I’ve learned into 5 handy-dandy takeaway messages for you.
So, without further ado, I present:
5 Fitness Tips:
1) Working out is not a competition. Forget the images of girls showing off their abs on social media. Forget them! If you are going to exercise, do it for yourself. Set your own goals and focus on what you’re doing, rather than what (or who) you want to look like.
2) Don’t be afraid to try new things. If I had originally said no to Zumba, who knows if I ever would have started to workout at all! You never know what is going to click and what isn’t. The world offers so many unexpected opportunities so always keep your eyes and ears open.
3) Fitness can bring structure to your life. At a time when my life was going through a transition, having fitness goals kept me on track and taught me how to structure other areas of my life too. You can’t control what the world will throw at you, but you can control your response.
4) Surround yourself with motivated people. Feeling a bit lost and directionless? Try surrounding yourself with people you aspire to become or those that encourage you to pursue your goals. My former colleagues showed me that it is possible to “have it all” in terms of balancing a work-fitness life. It’s all about time management and finding motivation.
5) Be flexible. While it’s important to maintain a consistent fitness schedule, don’t be afraid to change the routine if something in your life changes. For example, during my first job I developed a habit of working out during lunch, but after I changed jobs this was no longer an option. Therefore, I had to develop my new routine to do short and efficient exercise sessions after work.
Overall, my fitness journey has had its up and downs. Right now, I’m still learning how to balance everything. Some days, work gets super busy and it’s hard to find the energy to workout. Other times, I’m able to schedule in a run after work.
There are always going to be challenges.
I’ve discovered that my journey will be a life-long learning curve, figuring out how to respond to these challenges. And that’s OK.
I would love to hear about your fitness journeys! Leave a comment to let me know what you’ve struggled with and how you’ve overcome it!