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A three-headed approach to fitness... or something.

You know that three-headed dog in the Harry Potter series? Fluffy?

Fluffy is terrifying. Come on, admit it... but what is it about him that makes so many children wet their beds? Why does even The Boy Who Lived turn and run like a little girl?

I'll tell you why: it's because he has THREE HEADS. When one of them is trying to kill you from the front, you have to worry about the other two attacking you from the sides. I mean, jeez. Even if you cut off ONE of his heads, you'd still have a serious problem to worry about.

Here's where I'm going with this - your fitness should be three-headed. Three-pronged. A Trifecta of Fitness. A tricycle of health and happiness that you can ride daily. Okay, okay, I'll stop.

This is how you can actually apply this idea to your life. I always try to have three "types" of workouts in my back pocket, for various reasons:

  • So that I don't get bored doing the same thing every day.
  • So that I can tailor my workout to fit the needs of that particular day.
  • So that I can work lots of different muscle groups!

Here are my three main types of workouts:
  1. The "classic" workout - also called the "basic," the "standard," or the "I'm-not-feeling-too-daring-today" workout. This workout should be designed to make you feel good and strong. For me, it's running a few miles and following up with crunches, pushups, and deep stretches. This particular workout should work major muscle groups and energize you.
  2. The "exciting" workout - a.k.a. the "look-mom-I'm-outside-the-box!" workout. This one should be totally challenging and new to you, almost every time. If you have a gym membership, this would be the perfect time to take one of those classes you've never tried. Water aerobics? Totally. Hip-hop Hustle? Hells yeah. A two hour cycle class? ...We'll see. And finally...
  3. The "relaxing" workout - fondly nicknamed the "it's sunday, fools!" or the "I'm effing tired, no way am I going for a run!" workout. Do something that relaxes and recharges you. For me, this is yoga and/or pilates, or even swimming.

Which workout should I do, and when?

Generally, I do my "classic" workout for about two or three days straight - enough time to challenge myself (running further, running faster, doing more crunches, etc.) but not so much time that I feel like I'm running myself into a rut. The next day, I pick an "exciting" workout like Zumba, cycle, or even a dance class (modern is GREAT). That usually gives me a great little break from my everyday routine! After going back to my "classic" workout for a couple more days, my body is usually begging me for a break - violá! I whip out my "relaxing" workout for that day, and I'm recharged and ready to repeat the cycle.

In chart form:

Days 1-3: the "classic" workout
Day 4: the "exciting" workout
Days 5-6: the "classic" workout
Day 7: the "relaxing" workout ("...and on the seventh day, he rested..." Okay, you get it).

Now, of course, you'll need to find a routine that works for you. Some people can wake up every day and do the same thing - props to you - I just need to mix things up every once in a while for the sake of my sanity!

As far as working out in the morning vs. working out at night, the MOST important thing is that you make time to be active. Don't find time, make it. If you know for a fact that you tell yourself you'll work out in the evening, but it normally doesn't end up happening (cough, me, cough), work out in the morning! Waking up and running out the door may make you feel insanely groggy at first, but by the end of that workout, you will be ALIVE and READY to tackle your day. On the other hand, if you work really early and just can't get out of that bed, attach your workout to the end of an evening activity. Some people like to go right after work (keep workout clothes in your trunk to save time), while others like to sweat it out right before bed (hah, don't think too hard about that one).

The point is, find your schedule and stick to it. This is about improving your life, not creating another inconvenience. And I promise, once you make fitness a part of your daily life, you will look and feel a thousand times more alive.

Today's inspiration:

Now get out there and attack your life like a rabid, angry three-headed dog!

...Yikes, that metaphor. I should have put some more thought into that one.

Peace & love,

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