We talked a few weeks ago about how to return to your workouts after a pause, and we promised then to share some tips about how to avoid letting changes in schedule or location cause you to pause in the first place. Now that we’re firmly into the season when travel plans, visitors from out of town, and even children home from school can change the times and places available to us for our fitness routine, it’s a good time to think about how to keep these good things of life from being disruptions to our commitment to personal fitness.
We Change Our View
The first tip – in fact, the first two or three tips – stem from looking at our fitness program more as a commitment and less as a routine. Regularity and consistency play a huge part in achieving our personal fitness goals and enjoying the journey as we do. Yet too much reliance on routine can, in effect, “teach” our muscles how to avoid being challenges. The benefits of varying exercise for a particular muscle group are well settled, and “surprising” the muscle now and then is a great tool for building strength and stamina.
So, why not think of a change in schedule or locale as just an excellent reason to substitute a new exercise – focusing creatively and resourcefully on what you can do here and now, rather than what you’re missing.
When in Rome
To paraphrase the great cliché of adaptability, “When in Rome, do laps around the Colosseum.” When the internal voice tries to grumble about not being where your favorite running route is located or where your favorite gym is laid out with familiar equipment, look on a change of locale as an invitation to vary the routine – and welcome it.
We know folks who traveled an awful lot on business and who tell us the hardest thing about continuing to run was learning to run to the clock rather than to known distances over known landmarks. Others, just as many in fact, said it always felt natural to run for time rather than distance. Just another testimony for how it’s all in our heads.
When it’s Not Your Favorite
There’s no doubt about it, whether we admit it or not, weight trainers have favorite machines; even free-weight enthusiasts miss their accustomed racks – and their usual workout buddies. Visiting at another gym can feel like writing with your other hand for a few minutes, but people who decide to just go with it find that the strangeness wears off right away.
What about visiting at the home of relatives, where it’s awkward to take the time to seek out the visitors’ privileges at a gym? When we’re looking at our personal fitness as a commitment rather than a routine, we find there is always a way. That nearby park might have a few surprises. Park departments all over the nation have been installing fitness zones; equipment for resistance exercise, cardio, and flexibility, and designed for teenagers and above, to be simple and all-weather sturdy.
Snubbing the Inner Snob
The fitness exercises that were designed into your personal program have every good reason be worth your loyalty. Yet we encourage clients to fight back against that inner snob that whispers, “If it’s different, it can’t be as good.” That’s certainly one way to look at it, especially when your program is carefully and personally designed. Thinking instead of time away as being an episode rather than a disruption, you’ll be surprised how much you know that enables you to improvise with what’s available.