Morning Exercise Has Changed My Life

I finally figured out how to make myself go to the gym: Working out in the morning.

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This was a very unexpected circumstance for me. I am emphatically not a morning person. Like, not at all. I also don’t like working out, I don’t like eating late dinners, I don’t like skipping happy hour so I can go to the gym. I did join a gym, but at best I can drag myself there maybe one or two days a week. At most.

I often have a hard time sleeping, so it seemed impossible that I could ever become one of those people who gets up at 6:00 am to hit the gym. But then I tired it one time. And it was awesome.

Sure, I felt like crap when I woke up. But I always feel terrible in the morning. On my way to work I felt great. Even though I hadn’t slept very sell that night, I felt shockingly focused and awake at work. After trying this out for a few days, I started noticing that my focus and concentration at work were sharper than normal. When I hit the gym after work I don’t feel any different. Just tired and sweaty.

Now that I’ve started going to the gym in the morning, I actually feel pretty good during the day-definitely better than days when I don’t hit the gym-which makes it a lot easier to feel motivated to exercise.

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Interestingly, there’s a little bit of research about building better habits. Jawbone, the fitness tracker company, recently released some data showing that morning exercisers tend to be more consistent than people who workout in the evening.They tracked over 1 million people, and determined that the folks who worked out at 6:00 am were the most consistent exercisers.

I have to eat before working out, or else I get nauseous and faint, but there’s some research suggesting that exercising before breakfast can seriously help people lose weight, especially around the holidays:

“So, unpleasant as the prospect may be, set your alarm after the next Christmas party to wake you early enough that you can run before sitting down to breakfast. ‘I would recommend this,’ Dr. Heilbronn concluded, ‘as a way of combating Christmas’ and those insidiously delectable cookies.”

I guess the takeaway I have from this post is that if you’re trying to find something that works for you, you really do have to try different things. There’s no way I would ever have anticipated that I could ever become one of those people who wakes up at 6:00 am to get to the gym, but if I hadn’t given it a shot I would never have known.

At this point, I’ve been going for about a 25 minute spin on the elliptical about 3-4 days a week. Usually I get about 2.5 miles. I’m hoping to switch over to the treadmill soon, now that I’m feeling a little less bad at exercise.

Life after Snatched

So as I mentioned before — I am almost two weeks through the Buzzfeed Healthy Eating Challenge. Overall, I’ve REALLY enjoyed doing this. It takes the guesswork out of food and prep. It feels good and healthy. It’s fueling my body with LOTS of veggies and it isn’t that hard to maintain. It does take time to prep 3 meals and 2 snacks every day (for two people, no less) but I feel like I’ve been successful! I also feel like it’s given me more ideas of things to cook and breakfasts to have. I think Randall and I will sit down and talk about which meals we liked best and put them into our rotation. He really liked a black bean chili they had, and I’ve been into all the eggs I’m eating (I love eggs… no seriously… LOVE them).

We also had the Snatched Wrap party which was really fun and I got back my “official” before and after pictures. Even though I didn’t “win” (you can get all your money back if you have the best before/after pics), I feel like the pictures show real progress.

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What I find really interesting is how the shape of my lower half has changed! Also shoulder/deltoid definition is cool! Also — good haircut.

Doing the Buzzfeed challenge has really helped to take food out of the equation for now. I’ve been going to my Mark Fisher classes and training with the personal trainer outside of that. And somehow have dropped a few more pounds in just those few weeks. I am really into my new body and understand that it takes some time and energy to maintain but my head space is good. Saying no is easier (this is the hardest thing for me). And I’ve been playing with rewards such as huge iced unsweetened green teas after workouts. I’ve been only supplementing protein on mornings that I work out because I figure my exertion probably balances out the extra calories and PROTEIN. I know I still have a ways to go but I feel like I’m finally back in a place to focus on it.

I’m going to go back to my greek yogurt/flax seed/blackberry/almond parfait now. Thanks Buzzfeed!

Week 5 — and PICTURES!

Well the last Week 4 workout was really rough. I am not a sweaty person and was dripping at the end. Yesterday we had our first week 5 workout and honestly it was SO HARD. And I couldn’t tell you why. It seemed like it was still combinations of stuff we’ve been doing all along but somehow it really felt like serious work this week. At the end of the class we were foam rolling and Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back to Me came on the sound system and the entire class sang along to the ENTIRE song. It was amazing and felt so communal and hysterical and sweet. It was a highlight of Snatched this far and really made me appreciate the community aspect. I KNOW I’m a people oriented person but sitting in a room with a bunch of really tired, sweaty people belting Celine Dion was pretty epic. Loved it.

Though I’ve only been doing Blink for 4ish weeks I’m pretty attached to the trainer there. She’s a really feisty lady named Dee and fortunately for her but UNFORTUNATELY for me, she’s leaving to work at Blink Corporate. So this morning she had two of the new trainers tag-team me and it was rough. I really liked one of them but felt like he didn’t think I was strong (WHICH — I AM! — this is exciting to say). The other woman was just in to incredibly long reps and it was really hard and tedious. I like doing circuit type things and jumping around and not doing 60 knee-rubs (ow my abs).

So I forgot to post my Week 4 pictures on Monday but here they are. I’ve put them against the Week 0 photos. You can check out Week 2 update here. I see the most change in the first photo but surprisingly I feel like I saw more change in the Week 2 than I do now. I’ve lost over 4 inches of my hips but I feel like it is not showing up in pictures? My waist is definitely showing up and that’s pretty cool to see but, honestly, I thought I’d see a bigger shift at this point in the game. So goes! It’s Snatched in 6 weeks after all — not 4.

IMG_4239 IMG_4240 IMG_4241Though I have to tell you — my head space is really good. I am hoping that I’ve established some patterns (cooking on the weekend, eating whole nutritious food, working out regularly, understanding that community is important to me etc) that I can carry on throughout Snatched. Making good food choices — and especially saying NO to bad ones — has felt relatively much easier and I feel like I’m starting to get in the groove of what I was doing before when I lost weight. I feel happy and healthy and strong. I feel like maintaining this after Snatched will be key but I feel pumped and able. And hope to keep sharing that journey with you!