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Movement and the Power of Routine

Posted by Haley DeWilde on

By Whole30 Certified Coach Judith Forman 

Life is hard now. The pandemic, the dark of the winter, the unsettling political times, and the uncertainty of what lies ahead of us this year is enough to knock anyone off kilter.

While it can be challenging to focus on anything other than the news, now more than ever we need to take care of ourselves. To me, that means paring things down to the basics: Eating and hydrating well, sleeping enough, moving my body, and managing my stress as I work from home and oversee my daughter’s remote learning.

Ordering from Cooked helps keep me grounded on the food front, and I am pretty good about getting myself to bed at a decent hour, although it can be a challenge to put my phone down at night (#2021 goals!) Managing my stress is an ongoing process but moving my body daily is something that helps – and what I want to share more about here in this space.

I’ve been an avid exerciser since 1995 (when I started running to lose the “Freshman 15” at college) and movement has been a regular part of my life since. Over the years, my movement has shifted as my life has changed. In my 20s, I ran a lot – everything from 5Ks to marathons – and traveled around the country, making vacations out of races. In my 30s, I took 90-minute hot yoga classes several times a week. In my 40s, I’ve spent a lot of time at a local barre studio, and at a gym near work taking group fitness classes.

Right before the pandemic (as if I knew!!!), I quit my downtown gym and signed up for my barre studio’s online platform. With my yoga weights, light hand weights, resistance bands, and barre balls (two sizes), I was ready to conquer the world with my at-home workouts. A few months into the quarantine, I joined the Peloton app (using their free trial), and added some of those strength, yoga, and Pilates workouts into the mix.

Almost a year later, my at-home workout routine is still going strong. It’s not always easy but I am committed. Here’s how I stay focused and self-motivated to move my body:

  1. I schedule my workouts. I know myself – and I am best in the morning. I also LOVE coffee so getting out of bed isn’t all that hard for me. Most days, I am up around 5 am for coffee and some computer time, and then I knock out my workout before my daughter wakes for the day. If I need to use my early morning time for work, I find another time during the day – sometimes when my daughter is with her dad, or if I know she will be FaceTiming with a friend in the afternoon – and get it done. I think about one day at a time and make the movement a priority. 
  1. I set up my workout gear each night. To make things easier in the morning, I lay out my yoga mat and hand weights at night before I go to bed. I also set out my workout clothes so I can change quickly without disturbing my daughter.
  2. I have options. I like knowing I have choices when it comes to my daily movement – and I am happy to pay for things I know I will use. I subscribe to a monthly membership with my barre studio which includes a daily email with links to two workouts (barre and yoga) as well as access to an online library of workouts. And as a member of the Peloton app, I have hundreds of strength, yoga, Pilates, barre, and cardio workouts at my fingertips.
  1. I track my workouts. No fancy apps here, I track my daily workouts on a calendar that hangs in my kitchen. It motivates me to write them down – and then see them all in a row during the month. Maybe you track them online or use a notebook or journal. For me, the visual in my kitchen keeps me going. 
  1. I challenge myself. Working out alone at home can get monotonous so I am constantly trying to challenge myself. Over the past few months, I have been adding push-ups to my workout and I’m now at 50 push-ups (on my toes but with some breaks!) per movement session. Recently, I’ve been increasing the weights I use in my Peloton arm workouts from 3 lb. hand weights to 5 lb. dumbbells. Keep switching it up, give yourself goals, and take pride in accomplishing them.
  1. Be clear on your WHY. I won’t lie – a decade ago, I was motivated by the number on the scale. These days, I am motivated by my health. I want to feel good physically and emotionally – and regular movement helps me do just that. On days I don’t move, I feel like something is missing. It keeps me feeling strong, focused, and recharged – even as life around me is chaotic.

Routine is important, and it’s never too late to set yourself up with better habits. Last year, Whole30’s Melissa Urban featured James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, on her “Do The Thing” podcast. In the episode, James “breaks down the science of habit into practical, actionable steps to help you shift from feeling stuck to doing the thing, whether you’re trying to start something new or break a pattern that isn’t serving you.” It’s definitely worth checking out!

I’d love to hear more about your routines. What do you do that serves you? How did you get there? Have you changed any routines that weren’t working for you?

Judith Forman is a Whole30 Certified Coach. For more Whole30 inspiration, connect with her on Instagram @jujuswhole30 or check out her blog at www.everydaywhole.com

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