Those who know me will say that I am a fairly active guy. I compete in triathlons, play soccer, ski, hike, run, bike and swim all on a regular basis. The World Health Organization recommends adults do at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week, and I’d say I usually meet that recommendation.
However, I do find that my exercise routine will fluctuate and that it is not as consistent as I’d like it to be. I can be really good, and exercise 5-6 times per week for a few weeks, but then I’ll fall off the wagon during a busy week or at the slightest sign of a cold, and take a few weeks after to climb back on.
It’s also been close to three months since my last triathlon and it is time for me to get back into training mode and re-establish my routine. Last year my “off-season” lasted until March before I really ramped up the training, this year is going to be different. I want to continue my trend of steadily improving results in my races, and that is going to take some consistent effort and focus over the next seven months before racing begins again next May.
With that all in mind, I have decided that for November I am going to challenge myself to wake up early every day and exercise each morning before work. There are countless articles out there promoting the benefits of early morning exercise, including lower stress, better consistency, boosted metabolism and better sleep to name a few. These all sound like great benefits to me, so I am going to give it a shot!
The basic premise of this month’s challenge is this: For the month of November, I will exercise first thing every morning, six out of the seven days per week for a minimum of 30 minutes. At least three of these workouts will be weight training, with the rest being cardio. I am going to give myself either Saturday or Sunday off, depending on the week, to give my body a chance to recover and rest.
I think this challenge will be the most difficult one I have taken on to date. Not watching TV for a month after not watching much during the summer wasn’t bad, and refraining from drinking alcohol was relatively easy aside from a couple of nights out with friends. Getting up at 6am five days a week to exercise is going to take some real dedication and commitment every day, especially on the dark, cold November mornings when all I want to do is stay warm in my bed! However, I have not failed at any of my challenges yet, and I don’t expect to start now!
I am hoping that by starting to exercise in the morning before work, I will instill a consistent exercise habit in myself that will be hard to break. Having a busy night after work won’t matter any longer, because I will have already completed my exercising in the morning. Also, I have the benefit of living downtown within a twenty minute walk to my office, so I don’t have to get up THAT early, many people get up earlier than 6am just to commute to work, heck I used to do that for years!