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.

Week 4 is here!!

Wow! Already half done with Snatched. They keep saying weeks 3 and 4 will be the hardest and while I can’t say I’m discouraged, I am feeling tired. Last week my hip started hurting and that was a moment I was really glad to have the personal trainer at Blink. She took the time to really stretch me out and massage my hip and it’s feeling close to normal now. I even did kettle bell swings last night without it bothering me. I am also sitting on a lacrosse ball at work which is helping massage it for me. Nothing like a nice butt massage while working. #multitasking

I’ve been really busy with the workshop of the play on the weekends so our cooking parties have been abridged — but still happening. I’m realizing that when I get busy (even if it’s not an all-life-consuming kind of busy) it’s harder to stay focused on health and hotness. My teacher at Snatched last night said that at a certain point you have to stop thinking about it — like when you’re learning piano, at first your focused on every single note but after a while you can’t focus on the detail or you’ll lose the whole piece. Practice practice practice. I’m not sure if I’m communicating this well but it stuck out to me as something to work towards. Letting the workouts, the eating, become second nature to the point of really being able to see the big picture.

I am feeling vaguely discouraged based on the numbers on the scale. This entire journey I’ve fluctuated between 1 and 2 pounds lost. I feel like I’ve made some pretty massive behavioral shifts (eating much better — gym 5 days a week) and I’m not seeing that number go down. Part of this expectation is that I’ve gained a lot of weight pretty quickly and I always thought that it should be easy enough to take off and I’m not finding that to be true. I am losing inches. I emailed the Snatched team and they did not seem too concerned with the lack of weight loss as I’m losing inches (about 3 inches off my hips and 1.5 off my waist as of last week). Here’s what they said “According to these numbers, we’re not seeing tons of weight movement, but spectacular waist and hip inches movement. This likely means we’re burning fat, but also retaining some water from the training and inflammation (not a big deal, as it’s really only affecting the scale and you’re getting demonstrably smaller).”

Mark Fisher in his infinite emails says that people who have chronically dieted have messed up metabolisms and tend to see weight loss slower than the rest of people. I have literally been dieting on and off since age 11 so I’m not surprised to find myself in that category.

On the other hand, I feel strong. Like gun show strong. I still have fat around my muscles but you don’t have to push as far to get them. The Snatched classes are progressing in difficulty and I feel like I am able to keep up and run my own race. My personal trainer is pushing me harder with heavier weights and I feel like things that were hard for me when I just started are getting easier. She’s piling the weight on and I can feel my shoulders and back gaining strength. It’s cool.

The nice thing about doing this for ME and not for AN EVENT is that the pressure is a little off. It’s not like Oh I really hope I fit into THAT DRESS. Or how will my back look with people STARING at it. Instead I really truly feel like I’m able to run my own race and to do this for me. I want to do my best but there is no reason to put pressure on the process. I am going to try really hard and not weigh myself for the time being and focus instead on just doing a good job.

I am still planning on taking my Week 4 progress pictures to see if there are larger shifts visible in comparison to the beginning. I read some blog about annoying things people trying to get fit do and one of the items was take before/after pictures before there’s significant change. SORRY (not sorry) IF THAT IS ANNOYING!

Week 4! Let’s DO THIS!