Monday, April 9, 2012

New Habits Die Hard

Remember how I said yesterday that I was going to wake up early to work out? Yeah, that didn't happen. I woke up at 4:30 with a throat just scratchy enough to convince me I should sleep instead of work out. Another hour of sleep got me feeling fantastic good enough, so I was up and ready for Monday.

Of course, skipping the workout this morning meant I had to work out this evening. You'll also remember that yesterday I said I have late nights at work all week due to cheer tryouts. My days are not only long but also full - fielding questions, phone calls, and e-mails from girls who are trying out (and their parents), organizing everyone's paperwork, and continuing my regular teaching responsibilities. These days get hectic, but they're really fun, and I'm lucky to have awesome co-coaches who make life easier and generally hilarious. Plus you can't beat a group of 40 girls who are eager to do their best; positive energy abounds.

So I left work at six, got home at seven, and got straight to our little apartment gym. It was crowded (meaning four people were in there), so I dodged people as I completed another boot camp workout. Today, Tina had us doing drop sets, which I had never heard of before. Courtney, another blogger, does a great job explaining drop sets in her post today, so check it out if you're curious. Apparently they're great for building muscle size, but I liked the challenge they added to my strength workout.

I also had to complete 30 minutes of hills and sprinting on a treadmill. I normally "contain" - for lack of a better word - myself pretty well when I work out; I keep to my little zone, I don't really talk to other people, I just quietly get through my session. But today, I was panting, practicing gasping for air at a few points. The workout was just plain tough. But I loved it! So if you're in the mood for a good treadmill workout that challenges you in a new way, throw in some variety that includes:

  • increasing incline faster and at a higher walking speed than normal (I increased the incline by 1 every 15 seconds for a span of two minutes while walking at 4.7 mph)
  • a higher incline than you would normally try (I usually stop at 12; today I bumped to 15 for some parts)
  • running on an incline (at my peaks, I ran 5.5 mph for one minute at 15 incline)
  • sprinting on a low incline (I sprinted at 8.0 mph for two minutes at a 5.0 incline)
Combining these elements into one workout, plus of course some recovery periods and decreasing the incline, bumped my heart rate through the roof. I'm sure the guy on the bike next to me was thrilled when I was done breathing heavily and sweating like crazy next to him. Next up, I'd love to try to apply my incline intervals on some hiking trails; we live close to so many amazing trails and I want to take advantage of the beautiful weather. 

After such a long day and a tough workout, I felt I had every excuse in the world to eat out tonight. All day, I had planned on calling ahead to Wahoo's and picking up my meal, especially since Terry is out tonight. It was strange, though: I had absolutely no desire to drive to Wahoo's. What?! Who is this girl? I love Wahoo's, and I normally jump at any excuse to eat there. But tonight, I dug through the little produce we had left to find a red onion, green bell pepper, black beans, and whole wheat tortilla and made myself a stir-fry. In what world do I choose that simple meal over Wahoo's?

Better than Wahoo's - or at least easier!

I couldn't help thinking how much my habits have changed. I used to eat out several times a week, and it took a lot to get me to the gym after such a long day. Now, the question isn't whether I'll work out but when I will. And as for eating out, we all know I love anything homemade, but of course I still enjoy eating out. But nights like tonight show me that these new habits are really ingrained. I could have skipped the workout. I could have grabbed a quick meal after work. I didn't do either, and it didn't feel like a sacrifice. If anything, I was thrilled not to have to go back out into traffic, and it took less time to cook my meal than it would have to drive to and from Wahoo's.

Fast and delicious

So if you feel like changing your eating and exercise habits is daunting, impossible, or a huge sacrifice, think again. I thought I would always prefer eating out and that homemade healthy foods were "better" but not as fun. Now I love love love to cook, and staying home is such a blessing at the end of a long day. If I miss a workout, I don't feel guilty, I just feel like something is off. Creating new habits has been easier than I expected, and I was shocked to notice tonight how much I've changed without realizing it.


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