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How is your relationship with exercise? Does it heat up then cool down? Is it slow and steady? Or would you rather avoid it? Depending on my season of life, I could say yes to all of this.
However, through the years, I’ve slowly transformed my relationship with exercise so it’s no longer tumultuous and something I use to punish myself.
I now view exercise as a way to maintain my physical and mental health. It’s not something I do because I ate too much the night before, or I think I “have” to do it to lose weight.
This shift in mentality around exercise has made all the difference in supporting a consistent fitness routine.
Through tracking, I’m able to assess at year end how many days I exercised. Over the last two years, I’ve maintained an average of every other day. This is something I’m really proud of.
In this post, I’m going to share with you the steps you can take to become someone who exercises consistently, along with my exercise routine.
If you desire to incorporate more exercise into your life, then use the information I share to inspire and motivate you to get moving!
I’m also sharing a beautiful Fitness Planner + Weight Tracker you can use to plan and track all your efforts.
*Just a reminder that I’m not a certified personal trainer or medical professional. I’m sharing with you the fitness routine that works for me, but it might not work for everyone.*
My Fitness Routine
The fitness routine I’m sharing with you below has worked the best for me. The key is to find what works for you and only you. I’ve had lower back and pretty bad knee pain in the past. I am somewhat limited as to what I can do without reigniting the pain. These workouts don’t bother my back or knees, which is one of the reasons I’ve maintained this fitness routine for son long.
4:30am – 5:00am – Wake Up + Get Dressed
I generally wake up between 4:30am and 5:00am. I used to wake up earlier, but now that my kids stay up later, I go to bed later.
I set out workout clothes next to my bed the day before. This makes it super easy to grab the clothes, go in the bathroom, and change for my workout.
5:00am – Drink Water, Put in Earbuds, and Head Downstairs
After I have my workout clothes on, I head downstairs to the kitchen where I drink water* and grab my Earbuds. I also select a Podcast to listen to while I workout.
I then go down to the basement.
I’ve been following this same workout rotation for over two years now. It keeps me in shape and because it’s not a long workout, it fits easily into my morning.
I know myself enough to know that I will not stick to a workout routine that’s longer than 45 minutes.
I also know that if I don’t do my workout first thing in the morning, it won’t get done. Since I want to incorporate some other things into my morning routine (before the kids get up), I keep my workouts between 20 and 45 minutes.
Here’s my workout schedule:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: I run intervals between the basement stairs and an aerobic stepper*. I do 5 minutes of stairs and then one minute of different exercises on the stepper. This rotation lasts for 20 minutes. My heartrate rises quickly and it’s an intense workout the whole time. Once the 20 minutes is up, I use an Exercise Dice Cube* to workout for 5 more minutes.
Depending on the time, I may add in a 10 minute core or stretching workout.
I always wrap up my workout with specific exercises for my lower bag and a few push-ups.
Tuesday/Thursday: I do an arm workout using heavy weights. This workout is simply three sets of nine different arm exercises. It takes me about 20 minutes. I’ve been doing this same routine for over a year and I’ve noticed a big difference in my arm strength.
Once completed, I do my back exercises and push-ups. That’s it! I’m usually done in under a half hour.
Saturday: These workouts have changed through out the years. I used to do a long walk on Saturdays, but I really don’t enjoy hour walks so I found myself avoiding them. This is a sign I need something different.
I tried a 20 minute walk, and that worked a little better.
However, what I’ve landed on recently is 20 minutes on our rowing machine, and then 20 minutes of yoga. I don’t love yoga, but as I’m getting older, I really need to work on my flexibility and mobility.
Sunday: I do my leg workout on Sunday. I focus on six exercises that I repeat three times. Doing this once a week gives my legs a good workout without bothering my knee.
If I have time, I’ll do 10 minutes of stretching after.
No matter what, I always end with my back exercises and push-ups.
Once again, I’m done in 20 to 30 minutes.
5:40am – Coffee and Tracking
Once my workout is complete, I head upstairs to the kitchen for the big reward – coffee! Plus, it feels so good to know I pushed through my thoughts about staying in bed, and completed my workout.
I also write down my what I did for exercise, and mark it off on my habit tracker. Doing this right away is like a little high-five in my brain. It also helps reinforce the good habit.
By tracking, I can add up my workouts each month and compare it to the previous month, and set a goal for the next month.
This concludes my fitness routine.
Tips for Creating a Fitness Routine You Will Stick To
When it comes to creating a fitness routine that you love, I recommend the following tips:
#1 – Find Your Why
You need to love your reasoning for exercising and spending your precious time working out. Your “why” is what will keep you going when you want to give up.
My “why” is that I always want to be mobile in my life and do things without restriction. I want to be healthy and feel strong in my body. I want to take care of my heart. I want to feel confident when I put my clothes on. I want to minimize my stress and anxiety as much as possible. I’m also addicted to the feeling you get when you finish a workout.
#2 – Keep in Mind Your Season of Life
As you set out to get into a fitness routine, be realistic about your season of life and what will work for you. For example, when my kids were really young, I had little sleep most nights. So waking up early to workout was impossible. I would wake up exhausted and have to meet the needs of my kids. During this season of life, I would go to the YMCA mid-morning to exercise. The benefit of this was that the kids were in childcare so I had more time to workout.
In my current season of life, my kids are in school, but I work part-time and have other demands. My kids sleep through the night (most nights), and they sleep in until they have to wake up for school. This affords me time first thing in the morning to workout, but I’m not spending as much time on my workouts as I was previously. And that’s OK. I’m still reaping the benefits.
What is realistic for you with the season of life you are in?
#3 – Find Something You Enjoy
You don’t have to LOVE your workout, but you have to look forward to it enough that you do it. I’ll start avoiding exercise if I’m not feeling the workout.
It’s important to think about what you enjoy right now, in this season of your life. In the past, you might have had a fitness routine that you enjoyed and worked really well. However, if that was 10 years ago, that type of exercise may no longer work for you.
For example, before my wedding, I was a hardcore Beachbody “Insanity” work out person. I followed the workout calendar and hardly missed a workout. I saw tremendous gains in my body.
After having my first child, I decided I would start incorporating this workout again since it worked before. Well, that didn’t go so well. I didn’t have the time to devote to it, and my knee and back started to bother me. I was in a different season of life and the “Insanity” workout routine was not working for me.
I had to redefine what exercise would look like for me as a first time mom. I ended up finding a run/walk mommy and me group nearby and did that 2 or 3 times a week. I really looked forward to it and worked it into our schedule, so it was a success for me in that season of life.
#4 – Have a Plan and Write It Out
One of the reasons I’ve maintained my fitness routine for so long is that I don’t spend time deciding on what I will do for exercise. I planned it out a while ago and I keep repeating the plan.
When the time comes for you to exercise, you’re less likely to do it if you have to decide what type of exercise you will do. Decision fatigue is real and it’s especially prevalent in mom’s.
Figure out ahead of time what you will do for exercise and write it down. This way when the time comes, you don’t have to put the mental energy into deciding what to do.
If you are weekly planner, plan your workouts for the week and write them down. If you plan first thing in the morning for the day, write down when and what you will do for exercise.
Even though my workouts don’t change much, I always write them down in my planner.
You can use this beautiful planner to schedule your workouts and track your progress.
#5 – Create a Minimum Baseline
A minimum baseline is the least amount of exercise you will tolerate for the week. If you are new to starting a fitness routine, this will really help you become consistent and feel confident in yourself.
Your minimum baseline is completely up to you. You may decide that your minimum baseline will be 10 minutes of exercise twice a week. Or it could be a 20 minute walk once a week. Set the baseline as easily achievable. This may seem like it isn’t going to make a difference, but this simple rule will help your brain start to see yourself as someone who sticks to their commitments. You will start to see yourself as someone who exercises every week. This is great for your confidence.
Eventually, you will move your baseline up, but this is a great way to start creating consistency in your routine.
#6 – No More “All or Nothing” Thinking
It’s amazing how much you accomplish when you stop thinking in extremes about your exercise routine. Over the last year, I’ve met so many of my goals by no longer believing that it’s all or nothing.
If I miss a workout, I never decide to not workout for the rest of the week. What I’ve learned is it isn’t sticking to the plan exactly as it is that determines success. It’s screwing the plan up and still trying again that breeds success.
I’ve had weeks in a row that I’ve exercised everyday, and then I’ve had a few weeks where I’ve worked out once or twice. Even though I aim to workout 7 days a week, I never give up on my fitness routine completely because I didn’t reach that goal.
Because I track my exercise, I noticed that out of 365 days, I worked out 202 of those days or about 55%. I accomplished this by viewing everyday as an opportunity to get my workout in, and not an excuse to try again next week.
#7 – Track Your Wins!
One of the best ways to reinforce your fitness routine is to track how you are doing.
For me, this simply looks like checking a box in a habit or fitness tracker and writing out what exercise I completed. I also track the days I reach 10,000 steps or more.
I try to check off and write down my exercise right after I complete it because this is like a mental high-five for me and builds into my believe that I’m someone who works out regularly.
Check out this Fitness Planner + Weight Tracker. It has a great fitness tracker included!
What Will Your Fitness Routine Look Like?
Now that you have seen my fitness routine, and have some tips for how to create your own, what will your fitness routine look like? If you have a fitness routine you enjoy, share it in the comments below.