It can seem impossible to get up early in the morning to workout before the rest of the day begins. However, when you do it is unbelievable rewarding. Not only are you starting your day off with a load of endorphins, you are saving time during the afternoon or evening that can be spent with family or friends, driving your kids from one place to another, or simply guilt-free time on the couch binge watching your favorite show.
Joining the early morning workout crew at CKO Kickboxing GR is a personal goal of mine. Completing my workout early in the morning allows for more time in the evening to clean around the house, make a nice dinner, or take our dog to the park. This is especially nice for my husband and I as we adjust to life as a newly married couple. Also and admittedly, I love telling people when I attend a boxing class at 5:30am or 6am in the morning. People are instantly impressed (#braggingrights).
I sought out CKO trainer, Tony Deakin, to see how he gets up early in the morning and kills his workouts. He offers us 8 tips on how we can join the morning crew with him:
Tip #1 Set an Alarm
Tip #2 Prepare the Night Before
Tip #3 Do NOT Hit Snooze
Tip #4 Eat Breakfast
Tip #5 Give it your all!
Tip #6 Wake up with a Shower
Tip #7 Stick with it!
Tip #8 Arrive to Class Early
Early morning workouts can be difficult to wake up for, but with the help of Tony’s 8 tips on joining the morning crew, we hopefully all will be attending an early morning class soon! Make sure you are prepared the night before, wake up with a shower and light breakfast, arrive early to class, give it everything you have on the heavy bag, and most importantly, stick with it!
Having an accountability buddy is an amazing way to get and keep motivated when pursuing your health and fitness goals. It is truly great to have someone who pushes you to keep going even when you feel like giving up! Bravo to those partnerships that have stood the test of time and keep proving out.
Accountability partners, however, are primarily about motivation, and they help you to establish a habit. The habit itself, partner or not, is what keeps you going. We may go through periods of time where our schedules are crazy, days and times we work out are inconsistent, and we just do not have time to keep in touch with another busy bee consistently. Or, maybe your accountability partner is unable to uphold their end of the encouragement and accountability.
Both scenarios have happened to me multiple times. I have reached the decision point where I need to be my own accountability buddy. I love surrounding myself with people who motivate me, but I know that people’s lives are busy and are constantly changing. The one constant you have in the situation is yourself. Here are tips on how you can be your own accountability partner:
Have a strong “why”
Why are you doing this? What are you trying to achieve? What will get you up every single day and say I need to do this? If you don’t have a strong “why”, you won’t have a fervent desire to maintain a fired-up focus or the push to make you someone else’s or your own accountability partner. Find your “why” and write it down. Display it somewhere in your bedroom. Program it in your alarm description.
Create a Fitness Account
Create a fitness account on Instagram and/or Facebook to document your health and fitness journey. Use this as a source of “checking in” on a regular basis. Snap a picture of your meals, take a shameless gym selfie, or share an inspiring quote. I have an Instagram account (@stephleigh_fitness) where I share my health and fitness progress and, of course, human struggles encountered along the way. I’m also able to find encouragement from the numerous health and fitness accounts I follow; we’ll call them silent accountability partners!
For some people, it helps to keep track of their exercise expedition by journaling about it. There are several ways you can effectively do this. One way is to simply log what you did for your workout and what you ate that day. Another way would be to share snippets about your day and use it in a similar way that you would use a diary. These are just two suggestions of how to use a journal to help keep you accountable, but the beauty of journaling is that you can use it however you want-make it your own!
Get Involved in a Community
This one is important to me. I have found that while I do not currently have an accountability buddy, being involved in a community focused on believing, achieving, and conquering fitness goals has pushed me further than I would ever do alone! CKO Kickboxing Grand Rapids is more than a place I go to exercise on a regular basis; It is a gym filled with encouraging trainers and inspiring fellow kickboxers. Their energy and consistency continually motivate me to attend classes and work even harder to reach my goals.
Having a pal on the heavy bag next to mine can be incredibly motivating and a lot of fun too; However, it doesn’t always work for everyone or all the time—especially when you need an extra push to hustle for that muscle. When you don’t have a pal to keep you accountable, remember: You have yourself and there are things you can do to be your own accountability partner because the way you train should ultimately be the way you live
How to Optimize your Health & Fitness Routine this Summer!
Summer has officially begun and for most, many evenings and weekends are filled with barbeques, laying out by a pool or the beach, attending weddings and open houses, or vacationing with family and friends. It can be easy to get caught up in these fun summertime activities and leave exercise out of the picture. However, summer is one of the best times to optimize your health and fitness routine. The warm weather, fresh produce, and local activities can help you reach new goals and implement new routines and habits which stay with you all year long. Here are four tips on how you can optimize your health and fitness routine this summer:
Schedule your workouts
One suggestion is to pull out your calendar each week and fill in your work hours, planned activities, and when and where you plan to work out. You can schedule these in a regular planner, phone calendar, on a workout scheduler app, or even planners that are designed specifically for workout and nutrition notes. I personally like to use my phone calendar along with mobile apps. I’m able to view my work calendar, social calendar, and CKO class schedule through the mobile app, all on my phone. Choose a method which will work best for you and keep you accountable.
Take advantage of these warmer months by getting active outside! During your lunch break, get some fresh air and take a walk. After dinner, go out for an evening stroll. If you have children in your life, go out in the yard or park and play with them. Ride your bike, run, or rollerblade around your neighborhood or along the 15-mile paved pathways that Kent Trails offers. Go hiking and take in the beautiful sights that Michigan holds. Take a fitness class on the Blue Bridge. Swing dance in downtown Grand Rapids. The options go on and on. Get out there now and enjoy it while you can!
There is a plentiful amount of fresh fruits and vegetables available to us locally in the summer. Fuel your body with these fresh foods and simultaneously help our local community. You can even turn this into a fun summer activity by visiting u-pick farms. Several farms in or near Grand Rapids let you pick your own blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and apples.
When you sign up for a race, you’re giving yourself a goal to work toward which has a set day and time you need to be prepared. For those days when it’s hard to get yourself moving, you will think about the race you’ve committed to and hopefully be given the motivation to get up and move. For the past few years I have done The Color Run. This race is a high energy 5k and provides me with encouragement throughout the summer to mix up my workouts by incorporating running. Plus, it’s another way I get outside and enjoy the weather (as the second tip suggests)!
As fitness experts, there are plenty of opportunities to educate people on how to live their best life. Health and wellness doesn’t just include exercise, but your overall well being. Recently, we were able to lend some life-balance tips to Corp! Magazine. Read on.
Think about fitness this way: a one-hour workout is only 4 percent of your day. A 30-minute workout is just 2 percent. No matter how busy a person’s life is, there is always a way to sneak in exercise during a busy day. The great thing about exercise is that it can be modified to fit each individual’s lifestyle and schedule. Here are some ways you can get more exercise into your schedule.
Switch up your lunch routine
For typical nine-to-five jobs, squeezing in a lunchtime workout is the most efficient way to go. Eat lunch before or after your workout, and then spend your hour on a walk, pumping iron in the gym or doing whatever activity you prefer. You’ll come back to the office refreshed, motivated and ready to finish the day strong.
Incorporate “deskercise” into your day
There are only so many responsibilities one person can handle. If your schedule is packed, find little ways to get in some exercises throughout the day. Find one minute to do push-ups, whether they’re at home or in your office (with the door closed). Take another minute during the workday to do triceps dips on the edge of a chair, push-ups against your desk, lunges or squats – whatever combination is best for you.
Connect with a fitness-minded coworker
Skipping a workout is difficult if you have a fit friend pushing you. Find the most fitness-minded person at your workplace and partner up with him or her to help reach your goals. It’s easy to make excuses for yourself. It’s not as easy to make excuses to another person. Plus, if they are at a different fitness level than you, it will be an extra push for you to not slack on your workout.
Schedule in a workout before work
For as hard as it can be to get out of bed early, morning workouts can be a real blessing. Once you get going, you’re jazzed up and feeling like you can take on the world. Thanks, endorphins! By the end, you start to think why you even thought about going back to bed. By raising your heart rate, you’re ready to take on the day with extra oomph. That’s one of the benefits of morning exercise – they give you energy to tackle the workday and have you going into your day feeling great.
Bring gym clothes to the office for an after-work sweat session
Not everyone is a morning person and sometimes after-work exercise can help ease the stress and anxiety the workday brings. Pack a gym bag with a few changes of clothes and throw it in your car or bring it to the office. You won’t have the I-forgot-my-gym-clothes excuse if you have a week’s worth of clothes in your bag.
Join a 24-hour gym
Not everyone has a nine-to-five job. If that’s your case, find a gym that’s open 24 hours so you have access to it whether you work out at lunch, before work or after work. There are benefits to having these types of hours, too. Depending on when you go, the gym could be all yours. No more fighting over free weights.
When it comes to working out, finding time to balance work and exercise is really about efficiency, problem solving and knowing what’s best for you and your schedule. If you’re committed to a fit lifestyle, however, you will find a way and make it happen, no matter what kind of obstacles you face.
A lot of people start a fitness routine because they want to look better. (You look great, by the way.) But fitness is more than just how your body looks. Sure, it’s awesome to love the way you look, but fitness not only helps you achieve that, it also helps you love the way you feel.
That photo of Simone Biles or Michael Phelps may be the thing which gets you into the gym, but your overall wellness will be the thing which keeps you going. When you think about it, an hour a day for three days a week isn’t taking up much time at all. And for all these benefits you get, a regular fitness routine is more than worth it.
Changing the water cooler is no longer a hassle
Let’s start with the most obvious. As you train your body and muscles, you become stronger. That’s just a simple fact. So don’t let soreness deter you from pushing forward. As you sculpt and tone and your body gets responds to the work its doing, the constant or intense soreness will fade, which is a testament to the amount of strength you’ve gained.
Your mind will thank you
We all know about endorphins, the “feel-good chemicals” in our brain. Exercise produces endorphins, which can give you a mood boost, increase brain function, reduce stress, and relax your mind and body. So if your job is giving you extra stress, a morning or lunch-hour workout might curb those stressful feelings.
Tired by 3 p.m.? Not anymore!
The more your heart adapts to working hard during exercise, the less it needs to work while it’s resting. This helps your body to conserve energy and leaves you less tired throughout the day. Just like the muscles you see in the mirror, the heart needs to be worked and strengthened, too. Like your heart, your lungs are conditioned to be more energy efficient. Think about walking up a flight of stairs when you haven’t exercised in a long time. Out of breath, right? Now think how much easier it is when you’ve been exercising consistently.
Your confidence goes through the roof
Confidence doesn’t just come from your superficial body transformation. It comes from your full-body transformation. By feeling better and even looking better, your confidence levels increase dramatically. You walk with a little more swagger, you’re more likely to speak up, you feel good about the work you do at your job, etc., etc. You find confidence in aspects of your life you never expected.
If you’re not already in a regular fitness routine, starting up and getting momentum can be a challenge. Just take things slow and remember that progress big or small is good progress. Over the course of a few months, you’ll be able to reflect on your achievements and affirm how fitness has shaped you for the better.