It took me about 49 years to find a groove and establish a routine (and habits) with my health and fitness. This routine I've established is the backbone for the rest of my life.
At the age of 51, I can say that I'm the strongest, fittest, and healthiest I've ever been. I haven't always been a fan of a routined life, as I've preferred life to be a bit more spontaneous and carefree. Less regimented. For me, that lifestyle came at a cost to my health and fitness, and perhaps made me a bit complacent.
To some, my routine may seem a bit rigid. Some might even say that I've become militant about my training and nutrition — and I'm ok with those labels. I love my routines and depend on them to help me through stressful times. Prior to making these changes, I would mindlessly eat my way through stress. Now, I work out and train instead. Or, turn to some of the other healthier habits I've created, like finding blogs on clean eating and pinning new recipes. Or, finding new strength and core moves to add to my workouts. Or, blogging about fitness, nutrition, lifestyle changes, and triathlon.
Establishing a routine with fitness and nutrition offers me continuity and clarity. Every Saturday I plan the following week's menu and on Sunday we food shop for the week ahead. Sundays also include prepping lunches for the week. Meal prepping has been one of the most helpful additions to my life, as it keeps me on track with my nutrition. Between planning and cooking meals, the time investment is about 4 hours. I do take one night off from cooking each week for a dinner date with my partner.
For fitness and training, I take one rest day/week. Depending on the season, that day may vary from Saturday to Sunday. I tailor my training to my race schedule. I usually train 15+ hours/week during the indoor training months and add on a few hours for the outdoor training months. When I first began working out again in 2015, I worked out 30 mins./day. At the time, that was what my body could handle. As my fitness increased and I lost pounds and inches, my energy also increased, which lead to increasing the amount of time I work out.
• Swimming: 7,000 yards/week
• Cycling: 150-160 miles/week
• Running: 8-10 miles/week
• Strength & core work 4 times/week
Perhaps one of the most striking outcomes from establishing a routine, is the boundless energy I have — and this energy has transformed me into a positive thinker.
Other notable outcomes include:
• 48 pound weight loss/33 inches lost/size 14 to size 4
• more efficient cycling (increased watts/kg)
• faster running splits
• significant improvements in overall health
Our lives our full of interruptions, distractions, and the unexpected. To the best of my ability, I try to plan ahead to keep my routine intact. If I'm traveling, I bring workout gear with me so I can work out no matter where I am. I have a subscription to Beachbody On Demand, which can go anywhere with me. There are also a plethora of free videos on Youtube for all kinds of work outs. I travel with resistance bands and/or my TRX suspension trainer, my bathing suit, goggles, cap, running gear, and if traveling by car, I'll bring my bike and trainer. Planning my nutrition around the unexpected can be a little more challenging. I try to never leave the house without food in hand so I don't put myself in the position of getting hangry and making poor choices. I've been known to bring my own meals with me instead of having to eat out at restaurants too often. If I am in the position of eating out at an unknown restaurant, I'll peruse the menu ahead of time to figure out my plan of attack.
Do I miss my spontaneous and carefree lifestyle? Not.at.all. I love my routined life. It offers me continuity — and unlimited potential. Check out my Strava to see my workouts.
Routines dictate outcomes. What will your outcomes looks like?