Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One Key to Success: Adaptation

"Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative." - H.G. Wells

I'm learning that staying fit with a new born in the house is all about flexibility and adaptation.  When I started this program I was going to the gym regularly in the early morning hours before my household was awake.  I was able to tightly control my meals -- both in what I ate and when I ate it.  I had set times for bedtime, waking and naps.

Now,  that's ALL out the window!  My household is a 24-hour operation.  Feedings and diaper changes happen around the clock.  My older daughter wakes up a random nighttime intervals to complain about growing pains in her legs.  Most of my meals are eaten standing up -- often while holding the baby or hassling our older daughter to please, please, please just eat one spear of asparagus in order to earn the reward of dessert.


My workouts, too, have adapted.  I'm still in Phase 3 of the Visual Impact Muscle Building program which means I'm doing heavy lifting and lots of cardio on a reduced calorie diet.  I've finally found an adaptation that works with my current, crazy lifestyle.  I fast once or twice a week.  I try to dedicate at least three days a week to working out -- more if I can manage it.  On those days, I hit the gym quickly at lunch to pump out my short sets of heavy lifting.  Then, when I come home from work, I try to squeeze in my cardio workout which consists of 15 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) followed by 25 minutes of steady-state cardio.

Last week, my cardio was 15 minutes of sprints across the grass field of the neighborhood elementary school followed by a 25 minute walk back to my house (the long way around).  This week, I've been doing 15 minutes of jumping rope on my driveway followed by a walk in the neighborhood.  Who knows what next week will bring!

Doing my cardio at home in the evenings means my gym time is cut considerably and I can multi-task my cardio with my household responsibilities.  For example, tonight I prepared a bunch of meats and veggies for the grill, then jumped rope while the coals heated (and played with my 3-year-old making chalk drawings on the sidewalk during my 30-second rest periods).  Once the coals were hot and my heart was pounding, I set about cooking several pounds of beef and chicken and some vegetables (totally primal!) while making a conscious effort to stay constantly in motion.  That meant walking from the back to the front yard to check on Sonia and her chalk, taking my turn holding the baby while I turned the meat on the grill, and running inside to quickly wash dishes whenever there was a spare few seconds.  I know, it sounds a little hectic, but it definitely takes the place of riding a stationary bike or walking on the treadmill!

Mostly, my adaptations have allowed me to avoid the doldrums of being too bogged down by my commitments to everyone else that I fail on my commitments to myself and my health.  I've learned to be laid-back about my regimen and to roll with the punches.  I'm also glad to say that I'm continuing to make progress and avoid the backsliding that one would expect of a new father.

Have you struggled with adapting to lifestyle changes (e.g. new jobs, relationships, moving, etc.)?  I would love to hear how you coped with the challenges.  Or maybe you can commit to trying some of my tricks...please post a comment below to let me know your thoughts.

1 comment:

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