Alarm clock goes off. Snooze. Snooze again. Hard snooze for the third one too.
And I missed going for my run. Again.
It’s easy to get into a habit of not working out. But when you consider that exercise improves your mood, reduces stress, and activates your body — releasing the chemicals that improve the function of your brain — well, it seems a no-brainer why as hustling women, making waves in the business world while balancing a calendar that literally has no room for anything, working out needs to stay a priority. I’m exhausted just reading that run-on, let alone figuring out how to make it work in my life.
So, with National Women’s Health & Fitness Day (September 25th) quickly approaching, we want all of you kickass ladies out there to join us in a challenge. And not just for the 25th, but every day.
It takes 21 days, they say, to form a habit. So let’s make fitness a priority. Here are 21 tips, tricks, tools, and ideas we have here at RSM.
This was from our former company, Come Recommended, where we peer pressured each other into fun 15 minute workouts twice a day. It was a company-wide activity. If I had that accountability partner AND I didn’t have to stress about my colleagues needing me, I could more soundly take a break.
Sit on a ball
Crystal does this every day — hers is a ball chair with a backrest as well. I tried but failed at doing this for long. Some find it helps with core strength!
Bike pedals & elliptical pedals under your desk are a thing! You can ride to nowhere fast while on a call and building out spreadsheets!
Apps & Data
I love data. So having my Fitbit tell me what I have and haven’t achieved is normally welcome. I mean, come on, when it’s telling me I have 250 steps to go in the next 10 mins to have moved at all in this hour, but I’m on a crazy deadline… well, ya, I tell it to shut up. BUT it’s still making me aware that I need to get my feet going! And when I can join groups, set goals, and track my sleep, it let’s me see my progress and motivates me to do better.
The coordination for treadmill and bike desks isn’t something I was blessed with. (Heather Huhman, the founder of Come Recommended, mastered the treadmill desk/bike setup.) Yet, it’s a market and a healthy one. Standing desks too!
Hack: get a flat screen TV mount you can attach a computer monitor to. Install above your desk. It’s super easy to adjust the height of the monitor even if you don’t stand long.
This is new on my list! I need to get one ASAP! (Also stealing this from Heather, her ‘office’ really is a gym.) Small trampoline workouts just bouncing around — does it really get much better?
Facebook can be great for groups like such. My gym has one. When I did BeachBody workouts, I was in one. The biggest thing is actually not being afraid to share! Failure is how you get better and if someone in a group shames anyone… well, kick them out of the group or start your own! (Seriously, I shouldn’t HAVE to say that, but even as adults, playground drama does exist.)
We’re a virtual company but we still have done this! When we have team calls that won’t require notes, exactly, we walk around. Me: the city, Crystal: the cul de sac, Kayla: the farm — just walking and enjoying the air. And when I’m on calls, I simply walk laps around my apartment. I sit on my bed for a minute, I walk to the kitchen, I walk to the living room and pet Max, and I repeat the loop.
I personally use a Contigo bottle that has the straw flip up lid. I HAVE to use a bottle like this or I drink far less water in the day. It sits on my desk and I can lean my head over without missing a letter on the keyboard and gulp away (you better believe I was doing this while writing this point). Point is, find the bottle that works for you — and drink water!
Did you know that jump rope workouts are a thing? Youtube really is the best. I tried this after my friend Katie decided to. I was staying at her house and went upstairs and jumped away for 15 mins. It was SOOO tiring. Sure, it’s tricky in the house, but you can figure it out. Or you can get ‘jump rope handles’ that count your jumps without the rope! Seriously, how do they come up with these things?!
Join a gym
Obvious, right? So I joined a gym for the first time in my adult life last April. I went in and ‘interviewed’ them a bit. I needed a gym that worked for me. I need accountability. I like classes, but I need them when it works for my lifestyle. So find a gym that works for you. You can’t walk into my gym and just start pumping iron. But if an open gym works for you, do it! If you need accountability though, spend a little bit extra to join a more structured gym that has expert coaches, it took me too long to realize it’s what I needed.
We’ve all been there, we get busy, we see the flashing notifications on our phone as soon as we open our eyes. We skip meals, then take in anything in site regardless of the poor nutrition value or fuzz on it because your toddler let it sit hours ago. It’s important to set rules that are not negotiable with yourself. Maybe it’s eating breakfast BEFORE you check your phone/email. Or blocking off lunch time on your calendar. It’s easy to be distracted when you have a mile long to-do list, but it’s important to fuel your body (and your mind) with nutritious calories.
Find a friend with memberships
I am a huge fan of Shaun T and Chalene from Beachbody. Insanity, I personally love less now that T25 came out, PiYo really kicked things up for me. Brazillan Butt Lift (Leandro!) definitely got me a Bahama-ready booty. When I was doing these workouts, I had the discs or a friend did and we shared. I had friends that were doing them at the same time (again, I’m that person who needs the accountability partner), but now the beautiful thing is Beachbody went online/on demand. So with a login you can access all sorts of metabolic, High Interval Training (HIT) workouts you want!
We used this tracker app at Come Recommended to set up team step challenges. We were competitive folks so it was fun and motivational. Great for a team of people. And it works with any step counting app you have! There are surely others you can find — or already know (do tell us about them) — the point is to have an app that is friendly for Apple, Android, old-fashioned counting your steps on your own and manually entering… so everyone you know can compete!
Make meal time easy
Weekly meal prep wasn’t for me. Fun fact though, there’s still no reason you can’t eat the same thing every day! Sometimes the “I don’t know what to have” gets in our way of eating, especially when we’re trying to be healthy. Buy the few things you like (cucumbers, lettuce, turkey, vinaigrette, onions for me) and require minimal effort to prep, and bam: a salad, a sandwich, a wrap. All one in the same and all fine to eat every single day.
The yoga “trend” has since become a lifestyle. At RSM, Katie has made pre-bedtime yoga a ritual in her house to clear the pressures of the day and quiet her mind before bend, all while getting in a great workout. I use a Yoga wheel daily. It’s next to my desk — often used on my chair as back support all day — and I’ll lay down on the floor for 5-10 mins when I’m feeling a need for a pause to reset and ‘roll’ it out.
I LOVE to sleep. I talk about sleep like it’s the only thing I do. In reality, it’s the thing I need to do more. You’re not more productive when you try to push through. As a team of creative types, sleep is a great place for inspiration and creative juices to flow. Plus, your body needs time to rebuild and reset. I’m not saying anything new here for anyone. Frankly, I’m preaching to myself with each word I write in this point. Yet, sleep needs to be a priority. And, fun(?) fact, “Men who sleep five hours a night have significantly smaller testicles than those who sleep seven hours or more.“
Alarms & Rules
On my calendar, every day for 6 years now, is a 2pm ‘workout/walk Max’ alarm. I know to walk Max — he won’t let me forget. But by setting that on the cal, that’s 15 mins that is just for getting away from my desk. Crystal has a reminder that goes off ten minutes before the top of every hour (that she tries not to ignore) 😉 to get up and stretch or do a quick workout (30 jumping jacks and 20 squats). With that too, set rules for yourself: ‘everytime I get up from my desk, before I can sit back down I need to do 5 squats.’ It’ll take very little time, but the quick little movements will really add up!
Keep it accessible
My home workout “things” are in eyeshot of my desk at all times. My yoga wheel, like I mentioned, is AT my desk. The gym I go to is less than a mile away. I picked it because of how accessible it was (they keep me going back because of how great they are!!). A small set of weights, a Simply Fit ab board (yes, I had a week or so where I thought I’d do that all the time too…), a yoga mat — whatever you might quickly grab and use. Keep it where you can’t ignore it. Mind over body here. Seeing it helps.
Take your vitamins!
We try to eat healthy, but it’s hard even on a perfect diet to get every nutrient we need… So find a vitamin that meets your dietary needs and take it every day. And, well, if you’re like me, find the gummy versions! Is it a problem if you take more than you’re supposed to because you love gummies? Asking for a friend…
Sounds to soothe and motivate
Kayla, Crystal, Katie — they’re musically skilled humans. I… pretend to be. We are all firm believers in the beauty and tranquility and motivational get-shit-done beats that can be put together in any arrangement to help us be more productive — and just happier and healthier humans. Having a playlist that helps to set your mood greatly impacts your overall health. And, it’s just fun to dance it out sometimes!
21 days. That’s how many it takes to make a habit, they say. I’ve done things for longer than 21 days and still fell off of the wagon. But, with the help of the beautiful women around me, motivating and inspiring me, I always find the wheels and get the wagon moving again. So help us — and we’ll help you. What motivates you? What workouts do you love? What’s in your office that keeps you sane and fit and feeling your best you?
On September 25th we want to see and show it all. Then, for the next 365 days, we want to keep it up, together!
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