First and foremost, if you have any type of physical fitness exercise routine, pat yourself on the back. Albeit, walking, cycling, doing house chores, weight lifting or other fun physical activities–it ALL counts as movement!
Keep in mind that the latest guidelines posted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018) recommended amounts of physical activity (150 minutes per week) and strength exercises (two days per week). Oh, and good news, exercise bouts can and should be in increments of 10 minutes or more!
Okay, let me get off of my educational exercise soap box. Okay, I’m going to assume you have some type of routine going to your local gym or home gym. Perhaps you walk on the treadmill, maybe you do some strength exercises (e.g., bench press, squats, etc.) and finish up with some core exercises and cardio in cycle class. You probably look super focused and like you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
Good news! This is great! Even better news! There’s a way to work EVEN SMARTER at the gym.
DID YOU KNOW?
Most of us are roaming around this earth with one or more muscle imbalances?
It is extremely common. What do I mean by muscle imbalances? Well, we often overuse and underuse muscles as a result of repetitive (un)movements in our daily lives. This results in super tight and lengthened muscles. Sometimes, good ol’ fashioned genetics can pass down muscle imbalances, too. Chronic muscle imbalances often lead to future physical challenges later in life.
WHAT IF…. you could identify your muscle imbalances AND revise your exercises to help you strengthen weaker muscles, increase flexibility in tighter muscles, and potentially alleviate nagging pain(s) you’ve had for days, months, or even years?
I’m serious. Months and years. Knowing and working on your muscle imbalances WILL ROCK YOUR WORLD.
Contact me [firstname.lastname@example.org] to schedule your posture and movement assessments TODAY. This is one of the best investments you will ever make in yourself or a loved one. This can be done virtually or in-person. It’s painless. It’s easy. All you need is me and one of our smartphones. The results will have lasting effects on your life FOREVER. Guaranteed!
And the best part is that from here on out, you’ll understand the WHY to your WHAT’s at the gym!
What do I mean by this?
Today’s blog was inspired by one of my personal training clients. Over the weekend I asked her to brainstorm some ways she can maintain both her fitness and nutrition regimen while out of town at a professional conference. When our Monday evening training session commenced, I asked her if she had given any thought to her anticipated travel schedule later this month.
Her responses blew me away!
Needless to say, her ideas fill almost all of the content of today’s blog post. Let’s call her ideas CFWTs…that’s short for Conference Fitness & Wellness Tips.
CFWT #1: Think about what you NEED to support your fitness and wellness goals.
Extra soft pillows?
An extra large refrigerator to store all of the fresh foods you purchase at a nearby market?
No coffee maker with cream and sugar packets in the room? (eliminate the temptation) No wet bar with alcoholic beverages? (once again, eliminate temptation)
Maybe a tea kettle and caffeine free tea packets instead of coffee?
A room far from or close to the elevator and/or ice machine?
A pool? Free weights? Resistance bands?
Maybe you need to buy a small, travel sized foam roller or resistance band to bring with you…
*Student Affairs administrator, Tara Rabinowitz, recently suggested bringing your favorite protein or superfood shake and shaker cup.
Think about your environment at home and what makes it affirming of your fitness and wellness goals and daily practices. How can you recreate some of those elements while traveling. Make a list and have it handy for CFWT #2…
CFWT #2: Call the conference hotel at least one week BEFORE your conference. Find out if they have a fitness center, a microwave and/or refrigerator in your guest room, what restaurants are onsite or nearby, and see if there are any local hiking, biking, walking, running trails and parks.
Ask for what you need. If you don’t ask for it, the hotel will not provide it. You may be surprised about the accommodations they can make for you IN ADVANCE.
CFWT #3: Proactively identify ways you can eat unprocessed, whole-grain, fresh, organic and non-GMO (if possible) and nutrient rich foods during your trip.
My client told me her partner will mail her a care package full of healthy foods. This way she does not have to shop for it when she arrives at her conference hotel. She’ll be all set from Day 1!
Can you pack a travel size cooler that you can bring filled up with your favorite healthy goodies to your conference sessions?
Do you know some of the places you may “have” to eat at for networking and social events? Can you access the menu PRIOR to your trip? Figure out what the healthy meals and possibilities can be before you arrive at the restaurant.
Have a back up plan!
Bring a refillable water bottle or buy a few big 2L bottles and store them in your room so you can drink at least 1 per day.
CFWT #4: Get your hands on the conference agenda IN ADVANCE.
First, identify everything you MUST attend.
Second, identify everything you WANT to attend (maybe mark this in a different color).
Third, identify time in the days you will dedicate to implementing your fitness workout, showering, AND eating. Be willing to compromise your WANTS for your fitness and wellness goals for the week.
If you do all of this in advance, you should be able to find someone who can grab extra handouts and any other resources shared at some of the “WANT” sessions you will not attend.
Lastly, tell somebody at the conference about your fitness and wellness plan for the weekend/week. Maybe invite that person to one of your workouts or alternative healthy meals. Ask someone from back home to check-in with you daily and ask about your daily fitness and nutrition.
Learn more tips about maintaining fitness while traveling! <— that’s a link to my August 2013 blogpost about this topic. Go ahead, click on it.
Safe travels everyone!
I recently received a “Leadership Wired” e-newsletter from leadership development guru, John Maxwell. In the section entitled, “Developing Efficient Practices,” he goes on to say the following:
“Never Begin the Day Until It Is Finished on Paper. As playwright Victor Hugo wrote, ‘He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out the plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life.’ Every minute spent in planning saves as many as ten minutes in execution. It takes only 10 to 12 minutes for you to plan your day. However, this small investment can prevent up to two hours (100 to 120 minutes) of wasted time and fruitless effort throughout the day.” (Maxwell, 2013)
Apply this same concept to your fitness agenda. Plan your workouts BEFORE you get to the gym. Having a plan of attack before you go will help get you there AND keep you focused when you’re there. You may surprise yourself with how much you can accomplish within 30 minutes, let alone an hour!
I typically break my workout into 4 main sections: warm-up, weight-training, cardio, and stretching. I write all of my exercises down in a small little notebook, review it before I go to the gym, toss it in the gym bag, and bust it out when I get there. Eventually, my little notebook becomes a mastermind of old workouts to recycle back into my exercise routine. And yes, that saves even more time planning!