I like to talk about things that make me happy, because if they make me happy, maybe they'll make you happy, too. Maybe not - but that's the beautiful part of life. The trial and error, and discovery of what works for you. But one thing that makes me happy is when people actually use photos in their blogs. Expect more visual stimulation from now on. Sorry for the lack thereof in previous posts. :)
People are constantly on the search for newer and better and bigger and whatnot. Which is great, keep it up! However, too many people are looking for that quick fix that will produce a dramatic change instantly. Unfortunately, that's not usually the case.
And while you can't take some magic pill or have a fairy godmother snap her fingers and change your life for you, continuously working towards a goal yields some excellent characteristics as a result. Of course, there's that "woohoo!" feeling of achieving your goal. It's a much more extreme feeling when a lot of effort was put into it. Easy tasks don't gain much appreciation. And because these changes don't happen instantaneously, you learn a lot more along the way.
So even though I've been posting about how I love working out and trying to find the best eating lifestyle for me, it's always felt like a bit of a journey. I'm not in the shape I'd like to be in. I've been better, I've been worse. I'm not complaining, I'm in decent shape. I'm probably in the best shape I've been in for a while (although there was a time during my CrossFit phase that was probably on par with where I am now). But I'm no Ironman athlete, and I don't (yet) have that 6 pack I've always dreamed about. But I'm good with that. I'm figuring it out one day at a time.
I think one of the major realizations in my life is that structure is necessary. Set a schedule and stick to it. For EVERYTHING. Yes, life will happen and the plan won't always be the actual. That's okay! Welcome to being human. But you'll know where something slipped and why you feel the way you do, or why your workout results aren't what you want them to be.
For starters - sleep. I'm a huge believer in a full 8 hours' worth. And not only do I require 8 hours, 95% of the time I go to bed and I wake up at the same times each day. My friends tease me and call me an "old lady" because my bedtime happens to be about 9:30pm and my wake-up time is 5:45am. But that's simply because I like to get my workout done before work. I like the theory "Workout early before your body realizes what you are doing." (Funny, but in all seriousness, you should be pretty alert and warmed up before you work out.) Long and short of it - if you have a regular sleep schedule and a constant 7-8 hours each night, I guarantee you'll have more energy and you'll be able to think more clearly each day. Humans are not the Energizer bunny (remember him?). You need to recharge your body and your mind. Don't skip sleep, plain and simple.
I'm starting to think I should have named this post something about schedules. But schedule has such a negative connotation... Anyways, next up: workout schedule. I recommend that your workouts be at the same time each day. Morning, afternoon, evening... who cares. Just get a workout in. It's important for your body to move. And you should have a decent combo of workouts types: cardio, strength, flexibility. Or maybe your workouts include all three - rock on with your bad self. I like the way Tatianna explains workout schedules on here on LovingFit. I mentioned my schedule in my last post. I just started that this past week, but I'm 7 for 7 on keeping up with it. For example, I was rushed this morning so I didn't have a chance to work out. But I knew that I want to make this schedule stick. I was motivated enough to make my plan a reality, so I came home and did a workout. (Also from LovingFit, actually.) Yay me! Maybe it's that feeling of accomplishment you get when you make a task list and are able to check things off. Maybe it's removing that unknown "what am I going to do for a workout today?" Feeling. I dunno. But so far, I'm loving this whole schedule thing.
Sleep, workouts, what's missing here? Oh yes, my favorite subject. Food. It's important to eat 3-5 meals a day, at the same time intervals. I usually have 3 meals with 1 or 2 snacks between them. And a great rule of thumb is "Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper." Breakfast should be large because you are fueling yourself with energy for the rest of the day. Lunch should be a decent size because, hey, the day is still far from over. But dinner should be much smaller, you only have a few hours left in the day. I always think of my meal size in relationship to how much energy I need. And eating too much at dinner is a great way to gain weight. After breakfast and lunch, you have a lot more opportunity to burn off your food. But after dinner, you have less of an opportunity to burn that food, AND your body can only process so much while you're sleeping.
So, what have we learned today, class? Schedule. We like schedule. It's NOT a bad word. It's a great way to keep you from falling off the wagon. And don't think I had this realization over night. This was a long time coming. While scheduling is great, rushing into things is bad. So if you're reading this blog and thinking about 10,000 changes you want to make to your life right now, slow down. I suggest making a single change, adjusting to it for a week or two, and then trying out the next one. Rapid change is less likely to stick.
So now that I've rambled on and on... what do you do to maintain a good workout or eating lifestyle?