Fitness Under Pressure

When I was a young child my mother liked to cook corned beef in this huge silver pressure cooker.

I never understood why she was so careful with us in the kitchen while that thing whistled away. But I knew that the corned beef would taste phenomenal when it was done.

I remember how tender the meat was and the best cold corned beef sandwiches. I couldn’t duplicate those if I tried – and I haven’t really tried.

My favorite sandwich used to be a Reuben –mounds of corned beef, sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing between toasted rye bread.

After eating one in Chicago, it would be another 15 years before I would order another one. Unfortunately, that night I was worshiping the porcelain throne.

It was a trip to remember.

It took 15 years to forget the discomfort enough to order another sandwich. Corned beef, cooked under pressure, loaded with unbelievably tasty accompaniments . . . perfection.

It seems like that’s the way we live our lives . . .

Under pressure.

But, unlike the corned beef in the pressure cooker, living under pressure doesn’t make us better people, more tender with each other or able to give more grace.

Instead, pressure leads to stress, anxiety and people who are ready to explode at the least provocation. The next step down this road leads to stress related illnesses or diseases.

Things like cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, headaches, gastrointestinal diseases and dementia fall under the umbrella of stress related diseases. These aren’t problems you want in your life.

It’s time to release the pressure!

One of my favorite ways of letting go each day is working out. I take 45 minutes to an hour each morning to just myself.

This is the time of the day where I’m most creative, relax watching a movie, sweat to the oldies or just contemplate my navel. It is most definitely NOT the time when I focus on the issues of the day, let my children interrupt my thoughts or try problem solving.

Where do you find the time?

The real question I ask myself is how can I not find the time? What is more important to me – my health or getting one last thing done for the day? What will make me feel more fulfilled in the long run .  .  . feeling great physically or getting just one more thing done on my list of “things to do?”

The answer for me is easy. Hands down – I need to exercise every day.

The next problem is how do you find the time?

The real answer to this question is that you will always find time for the things that you value in life. Think back to a time when you were excited by something or someone new in your life. No matter how swamped your schedule, if you were enamoured enough with the thing or person, you found the time.

There are two things you can do to keep your workout program front and center – and therefore your good health front and center.

Remember, your children, family and friends love you. They would like you to be healthy and happy. They want to enjoy your company.

  1. Value the Time

Jan27ClockYour first objective is to value your fitness and your health. You can live life, lose weight, have children and fulfilling relationships without exercise. But, your body was designed with joints and the ability to endure long bouts of physical exercise.

Your body will feel better, you will experience better emotional and mental health and you will have a lower risk of disease and illness if you exercise for at least 30 minutes every day.

It won’t matter what you’re doing as long as your heart rate and breathing rate are elevated for 30 minutes. You should be able to talk while working out, but still be breathing harder than normal.

Jogging, running, rowing, biking, speed walking, elliptical trainers, stairclimbers, tennis and swimming are all exercises that fit the bill. But there are other types as well. The focus is to increase your heart rate and breathing rate and mix up the type of exercises you do during the week and from week to week.

The reason you want to mix it up? Your body will get used to doing the same type of exercise each day and suddenly it takes less energy and you don’t make as many physical gains. Bike for 45 minutes every day and, although you’ll continue to burn calories and make some gains, it won’t be as much or as fast as when you change what you’re doing every couple of days.

  1. Make the Schedule

One of the best things I started several years ago, was making an “Action List” for the following day.

I don’t make a “to do” list or a generic list – I make an “Action List” and commit to taking action.

I make the list the evening before. Each night, before shutting down my computer, I make out a list of action steps that are necessary to achieve the goals I’ve set out for myself.

On that list are the things I know need to be done for the family – grocery shopping, workout, homeschool, cleaning, basketball practice – and the action list for my business – 2 new articles, applying for two ghost writing positions and connect with 2 of my expert panelists.

I learned how to make an Action List from Jim Edwards several years ago. It was a concept that has stuck with me and has increased my productivity.

In order to get that fitness program to work in your daily routine, you have to be able to achieve the same number of things you were doing before you included exercise or you won’t keep up the program.

Your first step is write out the goals you want to achieve – get to work on time, get fit, be a great parent, have friends or get promoted.

Your next step is to write out the steps you need to take to achieve those goals. Let’s say that you want to get out the door on time every morning. Each morning you need to make your kid’s lunch, get their homework packed up, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack your briefcase and get to work.

Now take those actions and break them down to areas of the day that might not be so crowded. Have your kids lay out their clothes for the next day the night before and you do the same. Sometimes the younger children just like sleeping in their clothes for the next day and then don’t have to get dressed in the morning.

Make their lunches the night before. Make breakfast burritos and freeze them. In the morning you just have to pop them in the microwave. Commit to going to bed 30 minutes earlier so you can get up 30 minutes earlier and fit in a 30 minute workout.

Make several dinners on the weekend and pop them in the freezer, to be baked on specific evenings. Make enough for leftovers so you have time to work out for 30 minutes in the evening so you can split your workouts. You’ll have a stress reducer in the morning and the evening.

The idea is to use your extra time to workout. Your workout will increase your productivity and creativity. Your fitness will help your daily activities and improve your outlook on life. Don’t make the mistake of cramming more things into your day once you find an extra 30 minutes. This is YOUR time and it’s time you take it.


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