Sunday, September 21, 2014

Be Intentional

I'm starting to understand those people who say, "I just don't have time to workout." Most days lately I've been feeling as if I just don't have time to do much of anything except sleep, work, workout and eat. For Pete's sake, I haven't been to Target in forever!

Here's what I'm learning: be intentional. When time is short and the To Do and Like To Do list is long, you must be intentional. Perform your work, your play, your busyness with awareness; do it deliberately, consciously, and on purpose.

However, in order to do that, you have to have purpose. You have to have an aim. A goal. (Insert all those inspirational sayings about goals here. As a matter of fact, I'll insert one.) 

Decide where and who you want to be in a month, a year, 5 years, 10... and then arrange your life now so that you are making steps toward getting there. 

Sounds complex? Overwhelming? Too big? Nah. I'd create one of those fancy infographics, but it's too basic for that. Use my question: Is this helping me become who I want to be? If the answer is "yes," then charge ahead. If "no," then say "no" and move on to the next thing. 

So, this sounds like some big life lesson, and actually it's becoming that for me. In the past I've been the queen of saying "yes" to everything. It has taken me way too long to realize... that's not a good plan. I become spread too thin. And I do a good job at too many little things, instead of doing an awesome job at a few bigger things (while staying sane and stress-free). 

Of course this epiphany was born out of my training (it's taken me awhile to figure out that there's a life application here). As I'm nearing 40, my body just doesn't tolerate the high milage that marathon training brought. So, I've found shorter, more intense training that brings better results in a shorter amount of time.

But I'm not talking about 6 minute abs or other gimmicks. In case you're curious, the following is how my training has progressed. 

A few years ago my goal was to"be in shape" (notice how vague) and to be able to complete whatever road race I was training for. My week:

Running: 
4 mornings a week, anywhere from 30 mins to a 2 hour long run on the weekend. Total for the week: about 30 miles. 
Strength:
3 afternoons-- about an hour each time. Sessions were about 10 mins of cardio to warm up, and then sets of 10-15 reps of moderate weight (but I never tracked my weights, so it was a guess as to what I lifted last time), working a major muscle group and a minor group (i.e. back and biceps). I mostly isolated muscles, used machines, and mostly didn't sweat much. 

Today, my training is targeted specifically toward my goal: competitive CrossFit. Everything points me toward that goal-- my sleep, my eating and my workouts. There is no separate workout compartment in my life. Training is part of who I am. I treat myself as an athlete because I want to see how successful I can be. Even though I'm nearly 40. Even though many people think I'm nuts (and sometimes I do, too). 

Running: 
3 to 4 mornings a week. I'm focusing mostly on speed and the mental side of that-- forcing myself to be uncomfortable. Typically my runs are timed intervals (maybe 2 mins hard, 1 min recovery jog). I do one long run of just 6 miles a week. Fast. There is no reason to do "cardio." If I go on a long slow run, it's because I want some stress relief. 

Weighted walking ("rucking"): 
I've recently added this 2 mornings a week because in November I've got a GORUCK event-- a back to back to back Challenge, Light, Scavenger (it's about 24 hours of hiking, physical training and teamwork). So, I'm just pretty much out there walking for an hour with a 20 lb back pack, listening to podcasts-- right now it's The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes. This is also stress relief.

Strength: 
6 sessions a week that include some or all of: main lifts (low reps, high weight-- all calculated using specific percentages so that I do neither too much nor too little), technique work sessions on movements that are difficult for me, and metcons (metabolic conditioning)--the typical CrossFit workouts. Strength training is now centered in functional movements that burn more calories than sitting on a machine. Strength is my weakness, so I have added more work here.

Yes I'm putting in a little more time in training, but I'm also competing. I'm not doing the work just to do it. What has changed the most? Every workout has a purpose. I keep them short and intense. I sweat. A lot. But I'm not wasting time. 

Why am I sharing all of this? Because nobody should be sitting on machines checking social media, watching TV or reading a book. If you are going to spend time working out and want to see results, get in and get it done. Up your intensity and shorten your sessions. You really do have time to workout. Just be intentional about it. 

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven...

Ecclesiastes 3:1

I wrote a sister post at WODtalk.

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