Wednesday, August 27, 2014

5 “Fitting in Fitness “ Daily Workouts

All of us juggle many responsibilities and wear many hats. Now that school is in full swing, our days have become even more crammed pact. As a parent or caregiver, it is important to take care of ourselves so that we can better take care of our loved ones. Truth is, while doing things and helping others, it can be hard to find the time or energy to focus on our health  and physical fitness. Today's guest poster, Cassandra from Powered by Bling gives us some helpful tips on fitting in fitness.

I happen to be one of those calendar app kind of girls.  You know the ones…our calendars are color-coded to represent different categories of our lives.  One color for our stuff, one for the hubby’s, different colors for the kids, work, etc.  All set with one or more alarm reminders anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours before an event.  This is the high tech version of who I’ve become.  In the late 80’s/early 90’s, I was the girl walking across the college campus with a day planner and backpack full of different color highlighters. 

Life hasn’t changed much for me since college.  I’m still that overachieving woman, but now I’m raising an overachiever daughter.  (Please don’t send any hate mail my way….she chooses the activities she wants to be involved in, I don’t push her).  

As a mother with a full-time career, planning is essential to get my own training in every week.  I tend to figure out my schedule around the changes in sports seasons.  In the summer, my daughter runs alongside me while my husband and I participate in our running club.  She’s already faster than me, but for safety reasons she has to run mommy’s speed.   When I go to the pool to swim laps, she’ll swim the lap lane next to me to practice her own strokes.  Since our daughter is active in competitive sports year round, we generally have at least one sports practice every night.  In fact, we often find ourselves running from one sports practice to the next at least 1-2 days/week or combining a practice with an adult game.  So, I had to be creative in trying to fit in my own training. 

Since I work full-time and leave for work around 5:45am, you won’t find me getting up at 4am to get in any workouts.  I would love to be that woman, but have not yet found the ability to convince the inner child in me that wants to sleep another hour when a 4am alarm clock goes off.  So, I find myself needing to work my training into lunch hours, weekday evenings in between dinner, sports practices, homework and getting ready for bed and weekends (in between sports meets, practices and shorter races).
So, here are my go-to strategies for fitting in fitness: 

1.    Lunch Hour Laps – Since I belong to the YMCA, I am able to use any of their facilities in our area.  There happens to be a branch about an 8 minute drive from my office.  I plan to start going there for a quick 30-40 minute workout at lunch time now that my summer training is over.  Lunch hour is the perfect time to swim laps.  Swimming is sort of my version of yoga, so I really enjoy the calm in the middle of a stressful day.  It invigorates me and shakes any bad day away.   These shorter days are also good for a fartlek run. 

2.    Sports Practice Sprints – Most of our daughter’s practices are now 1.5 hours each.  So, that’s plenty of time to get in a daily workout. 

Swim Team (Winter Swim) – practice 2 evenings per week and 1 early Sunday morning Sept thru April, meets on Saturdays – since this practice occurs at the gym (YMCA), it is fairly easy.  I can swim laps, run the outdoor track (depending on season), take a cycle class, strength train, whatever.  Sunday practice is my favorite because I can get in a cycle class and my long swim.  This is especially beneficial, not to mention relaxing, since Saturdays are my long run day.

Travel Soccer Season (Indoor and Outdoor) – 2 evening practices per week from end of July thru November, one practice each week is back to back with swim practice, games on Saturdays – Outdoor practice field is at a community park with a running trail.  So, the first 45 minutes of practice, another mother and I hit the trail.  The rest of the time, we sit and gossip (#bestofbothworlds)J

Track Seasonpractice 3 evenings per week, April thru June – This is my break season since my hubby is one of the track team coaches.  So, I can just go to practice with them and get in my run or go for an evening bike or whatever I fancy!
Point of all this is to show you that while you may have a lot of activity on your calendar running your kids to practices and meets/games, it would be easy to just sit around the whole time.  If you’re like me, you enjoy the social aspect of that time, but you can get in a quick 30-45 minute workout and still have some social time. 
3.    Making Dinner  - The 10 Minute Timer
Even rice takes 10 minutes.   So, while that pot of water is boiling, the rice is cooking or your enchiladas are baking, set the timer for 10 minutes and do box jumps or run intervals in the driveway.  If you have an older child or hubby at home that can listen for the timer, do a quick 5-10 minutes out and back run or bike. 
4.  2 Minute Commercial Break
Commercial breaks are a great time for core work.  Get the whole family involved and try a family plank challenge.  Commercial breaks are also a great time to get out your foam roller and stretch out those aching muscles.
5.  Enjoy life, actively!
Take it from someone who has looked a cancer diagnosis in the face, your relationships with your family and friends shouldn’t suffer just because you’re training for endurance events.  It’s important to get your training in, but going for a family bike ride, an after dinner walk, or playing around chasing your kids in the pool can be just as beneficial to your training.  A day of fun-filled energy can put your spirit in a place to push through those harder training days.
As athletes, we tend to gravitate toward other friends with like-minded goals.  So, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves meeting up with those friends for runs, Sunday morning bike rides, or other sports like soccer and tennis.
All of these activities are great for getting in some activity.  But, when your friends aren’t in to your endurance lifestyle, what do you do?  Well, just remember that a missed workout here and there won’t make that big of a difference in the grand scheme of things.  Attending your best friend’s birthday celebration should never become less important than a 30 mile bike ride.  Make that your rest day and enjoy life!
And when you’re all done with your day, why not enjoy a healthy, whole food, plant-based meal with your family?  I come from an Italian family and there’s nothing we love more than pasta (or as my grandparents always called it…macaroni and gravy).  I’ve taken my grandmother’s Sunday dinner from the heavy, meat laden meal to a plant-based one that my family loves.  Italian sausage and meatballs have been replaced by Zucchini Pizza Boats.  The pasta has been given a veggie-fied makeover.  Combining fresh pasta with zucchini ribbons and a tomato sauce filled with veggies.  Try my Zucchini Pizza Boats with Zucchini Ribbon Pasta for a great end to your family’s day.

Cassandra is a wife, mother, forensic scientist, breast cancer survivor and triathlete.  In 2013, she celebrated her health victory by completing two sprint triathlons, several 5K’s and the swim leg of an Olympic distance triathlon.  For this mom, BLING has NOTHING to do with Jewelry! 

Cassandra has a new lease on life and a mission to stay active with her family, get fit and challenge herself to cross more personal finish lines.  She does not consume caffeine, a fact that everyone who knows her appreciates.   Even without caffeine, Cassandra goes from 0 to 100 faster than a Lamborghini.  You can follow her journey at Powered by BLING!

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