Today, I want to spend a little time talking about balance. No, not the kind of balance that keeps you upright (although from time to time I struggle with that) or the balance that people talk about between home and work, etc. I’m talking about balance in the way you work your body.
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about this since I started my running streak. I’m almost 50 days in at this point, and from the beginning, I knew I was going to have to make a conscious effort to include other types of exercise into my routine. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I attempted that 30 Day Abs Challenge in June that was floating around everywhere. I modified it slightly to include push-ups and side planks. I made it to day 15. In my current state of physical fitness, that was about all I could manage at one time. Once I realized that was going to be my stumbling block, I modified slightly and stayed there. Every other day I put in 50 sit-ups, 50 crunches, 50 leg raises, 25 push-ups, and kept my planks between 30 seconds and one minute.
Still, by the end of the month, I felt completely burnt out and I had no energy to add in any other forms of exercise besides running and core. So for July, I decided something had to give. I’m in a little group on Facebook with a bunch of my runner girl friends that we used to keep us motivated during the abs challenge. For July, everyone started throwing out different ideas, but for me, all of them seemed to focused on one particular area. So, I punted. I sat down with Runnerdude’s Full-Body Fitness for Runners by Thad McLaurin, The Runner’s World Guide to Cross-Training by Matt Fitzgerald, and this great article about strength in hip abductors and chose a series of upper- and lower-body exercises that I thought would benefit me in terms of overall strength development. In addition, I tried to choose some that were strictly core or incorporated core strength as part of the overall work.
Here are the exercises I chose for the month of July:
Push-ups (2 x each week)
Single Leg Squats
Burpees (this is really a full-body exercise, but I threw it in here for categorization purposes)
Planks (2 x each week)
After I selected my exercises, I assigned 3 exercises to each day of the week (plus one rest day) alternating my daily focus between upper body/core and lower body. Then, I decided on my number of reps each day. I wanted to start with something I knew would challenge me but be easily attainable for the first round. I then started gradually increasing my designated reps each week. I’m almost finished with week 2 and I can already feel the challenge increasing.
Now comes to the fun part. Because I only assigned 3 exercises a day, I totally feel like I can put other workouts into my schedule. This week, I hit Body Pump class twice. I’m tired now, but I get a “rest” day before I tackle my long run on Sunday.
I’m really happy with the balance my new 30 day challenge is giving me. I can already feel it making a difference in my body. Hopefully, all of this work will help me take off the weight I put on over the winter while I was injured. If it does, that would be awesome. If it doesn’t, that’s fine too, I just want to keep making progress!
How do you keep balance in your fitness life?