It is time to make good on the promise to yourself to work out on a regular basis. Now that you are self-employed it will be 100 times easier to keep that promise. You finally have control over your time and have the ability to choose the hours you want to work and to include specific times to exercise and to relax.
It is important to find a time to exercise that is fits with your work schedule and your body chemistry. One word of caution – if you plan to “finish early” or take a break in the middle of the day and go to the gym, it almost never happens.
There are some good reasons:
- Even working at home, at the end of the day you are still tired.
- Once you “get in the flow” it can be very difficult to break out and do something else.
- It is challenging to break in the middle of the day for a workout and return to work at full productivity.
Finishing work early for a workout is not impossible – for some, it works very well, and is by far the best choice for me. It is a great way to get rid of stress that has built up during the day and exercise helps me leave it all behind.
Exercise in the middle of the day (or off hours at the gym) can also work if you are very disciplined and can switch gears easily. Plus, you don’t have to fight the crowds at the gym.
Morning Is Best
However, most people find that working out early – before they start working – energizes their body and lifts their mood. The challenge is to be disciplined enough to do it regularly and at an hour that is early enough so it doesn’t eat into the work day.
Here are some tips that can help with the early morning routine:
Prepare the Night Before
Set out your gym clothes and gym bag before you go to bed. Make it easy to jump out of bed and go for it by creating the minimum barrier between you and the gym (or running, walking, etc.) so that it is effortless to get started. Full focus is on the workout itself. Being able to grab and go can make all the difference.
Make the Workout Fun
Exercising first thing in the morning is much easier when it is fun – and it can be! This is especially true if you do something you truly enjoy – such as, dancing, rock climbing, running through the woods or on the beach, sparring with a heavy bag, etc.
Find a workout that you enjoy and don’t worry too much about absolute goals. They will come with time when you put in the effort.
Another thing to remember is that workouts don’t have to be super long. Ten to 20 minutes is better than nothing if that is all you feel you can spare, or all you can manage physically!
Joining a Gym
If this seems to be the best choice for you – pick one very close to you. A few minutes’ drive and you are there. You will be much more inclined to go to the gym and will spend most of your time exercising. No nearby gym? Work out at home. Get a good used treadmill, learn yoga, or buy a dance tape – whatever gets you going is fine. The goal is to move your body every day!
Stress Can Be an Obstacle
If you find that even the thought of working out is unbearable and you simply cannot make yourself do it. The biggest obstacle may be high stress levels that are sapping your energy.
You may be working far too hard, taking on too much work, and have goals that are pushing you beyond your limits.
Step back a bit and look at the big picture. You made this choice because you wanted to be your own boss and create something new for you and your family. Don’t defeat yourself before you can actually get started by doing to much – too soon.
Dial it down a bit and tune up your mind and body with some exercise and relaxation time. Any daily exercise will do, but give the workout before work a try. You will be glad you did.