It is Monday morning.  You’ve battled traffic to get to the office on time.  Your inbox is full, your diary is packed with lists of things to do and deadlines to meet.

During a meeting your mind drifts towards your evening plans.  You think about the errands to run and grocery shopping you need to do and then you visualise sinking into the couch with a cup of tea (or a glass of wine) with your favourite show on.  It is tempting to think about how that will happen faster by skipping your workout.

Sound familiar?  I know it does for me at times.  The whole should-workout but really-want-to-kick-off-my-shoes-and-get-on-the-couch feeling.  One will win and here is how to make sure it is the right choice because your sitcoms aren’t going anywhere and that book will still be waiting after you’ve hit the gym.

In a nutshell here is why you should make your workout a priority (especially on your busiest days):

  • You’ll relieve stress from the day. That meeting that ran over,  the cranky e-mail you received,  that document that disappeared before you could click save.  Little stresses that have built up during the day can be sweated out after hours.  You clear your head, release endorphins and suddenly that e-mail you sent (replying to all in error) doesn’t seem quite so bad.
  • You’ll have more energy for the rest of your day (or evening). Depending on when you workout (I prefer evenings to mornings).  I find on days I go to gym, I feel more energised to tackle housework and get on top of the laundry than on days I don’t workout.  I also find I sleep better when I’ve been active.
  • You’ll make better food choices. Grocery shopping after work?  First hit the gym.  I find that I buy less sugary treats when I’ve been for a long run.  I feel I’ve done something good for my body and I automatically want to make healthier purchases at the supermarket afterwards.
  • You’ll feel good for putting yourself first and others will thank you!  The good mood you get from a workout?  That sense of calm after a session of yoga?  Who wouldn’t want that after a frazzled day?

The rule for me to getting from office to gym is simple.  I plan ahead and here are some tips that work for me:

  • Start your planning on a Sunday. I try get all the shopping done for Mondays lunch and dinner on a Sunday afternoon.  Then I know there is one less thing to do after work, before I go to gym.  I also set out my gym clothes and running shoes so once I’m home everything is ready for my workout.
  • Start as you mean to go on. For me that means always making an effort on a Monday.  For some reason if I start my week on a positive note, it is easier to continue.  For me skipping a Monday can lead to skipping a Tuesday.  When leads to Wednesday and so on!
  • I write out my fitness goals at the start of every week. Often I highlight them to stand out and every time I jot something in my diary, there is my reminder,  gym today.
  • Thinking ahead. I may be having a very busy day but I take a moment to visualise the end of the evening.  How I’d like to remember the day.  Do I want to remember the run I did and how good it felt?  Or skipping gym and regretting it?
  • Make yourself accountable. I never miss a workout when I’ve agreed to meet up with a friend at the gym.  If I’ve booked for a class I make sure I’m there.

So next time you’ve had a rough day, ignore your slippers and reach for those gym shoes.  At the end of the evening you’ll be proud you made the effort instead of an excuse.

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