#FridayFitClub: When You Fall Off the Wagon

Dec 1, 2017

When it came to achieving my workout goals, I set myself up for failure in November.

I was on the road more than half of the month.  I booked my days solid without penciling in time to workout.  I dined and drank with friends and family nearly every day.  And when I did come home, I was so exhausted from it all, putting on a pair of sneakers and heading to the gym was the last thing on my mind.

Any gains I made in October were quickly erased.  Sweet.

The good news is, December is a new month.  And since most folks are putting off their weight loss resolutions until the New Year, the gym is still blissfully quiet.  But why wait until 2018, when you can start (or re-start) today?

I admit it, I failed hard this November, but my motto has always been: Try again. Fail again.  Fail better.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take the pups for a walk and do some BodyBoss.

I hope your #fridayfitclub goals are going better than mine.  What’s working for you?  How do you stay on track?  And if you’re a frequent traveler, how do you stay healthy on the road?

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  1. Katie* says:

    I hate hate hate working out in the mornings, but that’s absolutely the best time to do it if you have a crazy schedule. After being an exclusively yoga-type person for five years (and potato before that) I completed one triathlon and got hooked. Morning swims and runs are surprisingly terrific! Having it be the first thing I do sets me up for the rest of the day, and if I’m exhausted at the end of the day I don’t have the guilt of missing a workout.

    • anna says:

      I hear you. I just started a new job that starts way earlier plus a longer commute so I can’t workout in the am, and I’m kicking myself for all those years when I could have been getting up this early and going to the gym. It really isn’t that hard, and I find early mornings pretty invigorating.

  2. dogs says:

    I started doing a “youtube workout” challenge with some friends, and it’s pretty amazing how much easier it is to work out when it’s 20 minutes, in your house, on youtube, free, etc. It’s started to grow on me!

  3. AM says:

    I recruited my sister as a running buddy for when we’re both home at the holidays and we signed up in advance for a Turkey Trot 5K at Thanksgiving and an “elf run” 5K on Christmas Eve. Having the 5K’s booked forced us to put in some time training and, balanced with the pies and turkey, I only made a tiny loss of my overall fitness and weight loss progress.

  4. Orla says:

    I hear you! I have a shoddy immune system and spent the month of May in bed on antibiotics and was told to take it easy on my body. I moved to DC (from Ireland) where every day the humidity felt like my obituary would read Cause of Death: Melting. But on Black Friday I finally felt ready to exercise… I ran 2.5 miles on Friday, again on Saturday and by Sunday I felt restless before I went for my 2.5mile run. By Monday I couldn’t walk without wincing, a pain shooting up through my heel. This paired with a week of late nights at the office proved that I was going about this all wrong- that I need to be satisfied with what is sustainable rather than going full throttle and hurting my body in the process.

    I’m with you Abra, this December is ours!

  5. Heather says:

    I’m a frequent business traveler as well as a mom to 2 little kids with a husband who travels more than I do. No nanny or grandparents in the picture. Here is how I do it: I pretend working out is more important than almost anything. When I’m traveling, I hit the hotel gym the minute I check in, before I do anything else. People generally don’t expect you to be super responsive the minute you get off the plane, so it works for me. When I’m not traveling, I work out in my office at lunch. I’m lucky because I have a decent-sized office with a locking door and enough autonomy for people to respect my “Do Not Disturb” sign– not everyone is this fortunate. I concentrate on weight-training exercises (why yes, that is a set of 15 pound dumbbells under my desk and a step that you see) and intense workouts that can be done in about 25 minutes, 3 times a week. Then, on a couple of the “off” days, I’ll get some good 10 minute sprints in (30 sec on, 30 off) for max fat burning. If I can’t do it at lunch, I do it when the kids are in bed before I clean up the dishes/kitchen/answer emails/send that last document. At work I clean up with Simple wipes, redo my makeup, and get on with it. I’ve gotten past the “no shower? Gross!” factor because the gain in muscle and loss in fat I’ve experienced have been pretty incredible (in way better shape than I was even before I had kids), and no one gets close enough to me at work to sniff under my jacket anyway. Showering at night means I don’t have to blow dry my hair completely as I can curl/flat iron/hot roller it when I roll out of bed, so that’s another timesaver. With nutrition, working out at lunch means I need to pack my lunch most days and eat it at my desk after my workout, unless there is a special occasion when I have lunch plans with a friend. I try to schedule these for the days I’m not working out. I bring enough food to make sure I don’t go looking for the vending machine or Starbucks in the middle of the day. I block my calendar between noon and one and decline meeting invites that come in for those times unless they are super important. It’s been pretty amazing how no one actually asks questions about anything. In the evening, of course, I’m cooking for the kids and my social life is restricted to the weekends, so I don’t really have the going out and drinking/eating problem– though sometimes my husband and I will get into the wine drinking at night rut when he is home and that goes on for a few weeks and then we regroup and cut that out for a little while. I will say nutrition is the key, I have found. You can’t out-train bad nutrition, but making some significant changes in nutrition will speed up your results and even allow you to slack on workouts when life gets rough.

    • Chandra Graham says:

      Heather, you had me at “no nanny, no grandparents”. I have been there with the two kids, the travelling, and all the commitments. You rock! I did not carve out the time or plan ahead to eat healthy and it all fell apart. I totally believe you are doing this because I know how much planning and prioritizing it takes. Thanks for posting!

      • Heather says:

        Thank you. It took a long time to make it happen; it was not automatic. And somethings are easier than others. For me, working out is easy but nutrition is a lot harder.

    • Erin says:

      Agreed! I’m a mom with no grandparents and nanny as well so I loved your practical suggestions. At the end of the day I need to make health and fitness a priority (which may not be easy, but is completely doable if I were to be honest).

    • Kate says:

      Heather, this is totally inspiring! I feel like you’re absolutely slaying. What sort of workouts do you do in your office? Any tips of places to look for finding a similar type workout?

      • Heather says:

        So, one group I use is BeyondFit. There is a membership fee, and it can kind of skew toward stay at home Christian moms, but the workouts are great. Also try Betty Rocker and Natalie Jill Fit for some ideas! A lot can be found free on Instagram and Facebook.

  6. Denise says:

    I am a frequent traveler and find that pre-planning goes a long way. Choose a hotel with a nice gym (the workout room with treadmills facing brick walls can be depressing). Pack your workout clothes, at least one pair, every time you travel. Have a second iphone armband / set of headphones / other gym items in a pouch you can throw in your briefcase or suitcase. Use mapmyrun.com to search saved running routes from other travelers in the area. And plan to workout in the morning, so start your meetings after 9AM, giving yourself some time to run (in daylight), shower and get ready.

    As a career mom with 2 young kids, even when I’m home I now run early in the mornings. Getting up at 5AM is still painful to me but I’m glad I do it, it’s the only time I can guarantee time to workout and I end up feeling pretty good for the rest of the day!

  7. Kay says:

    Try the Nike App, it lets you create a schedule for workouts and gives you variety. I really like that I can set it up, forecasting my week and knowing which days I will get a long work out and which are short or not at all. And while it is flexible to scheduling it still gives you a rubric to follow and holds me accountable for finishing work outs. It really is awesome and free. It’s my go to when traveling!

  8. Claire Tassin says:

    Frequent traveler here! 2 things really help me stay on track on the road: 1) I have a set of resistance bands that live in my suitcase. If the hotel gym is too awful/depressing, I can always get in some decent resistance training. It’s a no excuses fail safe – even if I get to my hotel super late or have an early start, I can at least convince myself to spend 10 minutes doing a band workout. Following some of the less obnoxious fitness bloggers on instagram helps with no equipment workout ideas.
    2) Avoid room service/hotel food. It’s never that good and for some reason all hotels think business travelers always want something super indulgent. If I don’t have a work dinner I’ll use the “healthy” filter on uber eats and find something reasonable. As long as I’m in some kind of metro area this serves me well. If for some reason I do get stuck with room service I always specify no bread (why must they bring an entire bread basket for one person??).
    Then there’s the generic advice: always have healthy snacks in your bag (I have been known to travel with single serve packs of tuna and a fork), take your meeting notes to the sad hotel gym and walk while you prep, etc.

    • SunnyIA says:

      I’m also a frequent traveler. To keep up with my routine, I pick hotels based on the gym and create a workout plan as part of my travel itinerary. If you’re staying with friends, locate a gym or yoga studio nearby that will do drop-ins. I plan my workouts and schedule them in my calendar. Also remember that it doesn’t have to be something complex: even 15-20 minutes of exercise is beneficial and will keep you feeling on track and strong! Also key to healthy traveling: PACK YOUR OWN SNACKS. Pre-portioned packages of nuts. Some protein bars. Dried fruit. Dark chocolate in case you get a craving. Snacks keep me from hitting rock bottom and eating crap out of hangry desperation.

      • SunnyIA says:

        ALSO! I reward myself frequently with cute, over-priced workout clothing that I cannot otherwise justify. Fancy leggings? Only if I hit my goals.

  9. Liz says:

    You inspired me to start Bodyboss! I Just finished the first week of pre training, and it’s actually pretty fun. I’m hoping the flexibility of a home workout stays interesting and I make it through the whole program.

  10. Kelly says:

    I made it to the gym last night after not going for 2(!) months. (My one consolation is I did A LOT of planks in those two months.) Planning to get back in the gym habit this month.

    I picked up a Ninja blender with Black Friday deals, so I’ll try to make kale smoothies a habit, too.

  11. Jenn says:

    Keeping up with regular exercise and healthy eating is hard for me too. I have been able to keep up with Blogilates since starting the beginners calendar over 2 years ago and have moved on to the PIIT program (at least 2 rounds/14min every other day). I do this before walking the dog at night in order to maintain some consistency.

    My friend began a new year’s resolution of eating 1.5 cups of green vegetables per day (according to the USDA guideline). I thought that was really neat, so every time I go grocery shopping or pull vegetables out of the fridge to cook, I’d try to think about whether or not I have those 1.5 cups (usually no)!

    Good luck with December! BTW, thanks for all those holiday posts. I really enjoy them and can’t wait to see what you have next!

  12. Jo says:

    I used to travel for work a lot too and became a bad cycle of big dinners and drinks and no working out. If you have the time, I like running when traveling bc you can see new neighborhood. I have also done bike share on a work trip and cruised around for a little bit. If you are with a coworker and they like working out, try doing something with them, you can talk work and exercise.

  13. Orla says:

    Working out first thing in the morning works best for me. It is hard to get out of bed at 5:30 am but once I am outside, it is totally worth it. I also do 15 mins of yoga every morning which makes a huge difference.

    Also, a special request: can you do a write-up on your favorite running shoes? I’m looking for some new brands. I remember you once linked to a brand of running shoes on Amazon that I had never heard of before. Thank you!

  14. Lexi says:

    I fell off the wagon too– got really sick and had to get on steroids so I haven’t been exercising. Have been stress eating too. But got back on to schedule with a healthy meal delivery service, so feel like things are starting to look up.

    December will be better!

  15. Kate says:

    Hi Abra, I find that working out for 5-6 min sessions works better for me. So instead of doing 30-min one every other day, I do 2 of 5- min session every day. It made me feel like I accomplish something every day and is easy to squeeze in my daily routine.

  16. Meghan says:

    I hung up a calendar in my condo hallway. I put stickers on the days I work out. I don’t let myself take the calendar down – even when guests come over. Putting stickers on the calendar works as both a reward and shame system. I am weirdly excited (like a kid) to put a sticker on the calendar. When there aren’t lots of stickers, I feel bad/guilty/lazy…. particularly when a guest asks about the calendar and what the stickers mean. Basic, but weirdly effective.

  17. emily says:

    This is what helps me:
    1) Remembering it does not have to be all or nothing; it can be all or something….and sometimes that something means running around the Hill has to count…otherwise I have weeks where I just feel guilty.

    2) When it comes to food, eat healthy when you have a choice and give yourself room when you don’t. Most days I pack a salad for lunch and stay away from the baked goods from my coworkers, but when my boss buys italian food for the office christmas party, I’m going to carbload on lasagna and be grateful. When traveling, I try to bring my own snacks…sometimes this is hard.

    3) Find the right “fitspo” that truly inspires and doesn’t perpetuate unrealistic (often unhealthy) goals. Girls Gone Strong is a great group to follow because the women that it highlights are a) real people with b) wide ranging goals/abilities/expertise and, c) low on bullshit.

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