I think it was John Lennon that said, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” How many of us have had the experience of life going along smoothly, daily systems working well, feeling like we’re making progress and getting ahead, only to have our best efforts suddenly interrupted or derailed by some life circumstance? So often it’s an illness (either your or your kid’s–my money is on the kids coming down with something!), a holiday or vacation, a business trip or special project or hard deadline, if you’re a military family then a TDY assignment, mission or deployment, or, and I really hope it’s not this, a family or health crisis. I swear, every time I hit my stride, so to speak, and get into a really nice and consistent lifting and running pattern/schedule, one of my kids will get sick, there’ll be another week-long holiday (German school has intermittent breaks rather than a huge summer break), my husband will go TDY to a school or on a mission, or some special event will pop right up and mess with my system. And I really like my systems to be regular–not an especially great attribute for someone married to the military….This used to really throw me for a loop, bringing on wailing and tantrum-throwing worthy of a sugar-crashing, sleep-deprived toddler. Ugly.
Then I got tired of being mad, tired of feeling sorry for myself, tired of feeling like my goals were slipping away from me, and tired of missing out on the cathartic effects of exercise-induced endorphins and confidence!
So I got real with myself and started making ‘Plan B’ for such occasions. And more and more often, I find myself writing ‘Plan B’s along with ‘Plan A’s for my clients, because, well, at some time in all of our lives, life gets messy.
‘Plan B’ is there to keep you ‘on track’–basically to keep your head in the game, rather then succumbing to circumstances and throwing in the towel when your best-laid workout plans don’t actually work out. Instead of saying, ‘Forget it, I guess it’s not happening today!’ create some fall-back workouts (Plan B’s!) so that you can mentally keep yourself on track and get the satisfaction of having done a little something for yourself. These Plan B’s can come in the shape of an at-home circuit, going to the gym but paring down your strength training session to one or two sets of everything instead of three, or even keeping a strength session focused on two big movements (squats, deadlifts, lunges, push ups, pull ups) and giving those your all. Super-setting Hip Thrusts or Deadlifts plus Pull Ups can make a really nice but simple full-body workout, as can Squats and Push Ups.
A couple of at-home circuits, especially when you’re stuck at home with sick kids, could go like this:
Circuit Workouts: To get the heart rate elevated and move a little quicker. Perform each exercise carefully, but as quickly as you are able for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds, then perform next exercise on list for 30 seconds, and so on. After you have completed all the exercises on the list once, you have completed one round. Rest for 1-2 minutes, then repeat circuit. You can complete 2-4 rounds of a circuit for a workout, depending on how you’re feeling that day.
A Alternating Reverse Lunges
B Tall Plank with Shoulder Taps
C High Knee Jogs
D Bent-over Band Rows (you’re in a deadlift position)
E Lateral Line Hops on 2 legs
A Single-Leg Squat
B Push Ups
C Air Squat OR Squat Jump
D Band Pull-Aparts
E Tall Plank with “Toe-away’s”
These are home-friendly because you don’t need much space or equipment, something I’ve found super helpful when at home or on the road 🙂
Plan B can be a short yoga session to work on some flexibility and stretching, it can also be a super focused ab session, a super focused foam rolling session on those extra special places we carry stress the most (upper back, calves, glutes or hamstrings), or getting in some of those maintenance exercises to help out your low back, shoulder, knee, ankle, etc.
These exercises could include:
- glute bridging
- tall or elbow planks
- side planks
- prone (lying face down) T’s and W’s
- bird dogs
- 4-way band ankle exercises
- wall slides
- dead bugs
Take a few minutes, think about what YOUR goals and needs are at this time (do you need more core strength, more glute strength, more cardiovascular conditioning…) and write up a few viable Plan B workout options on notecards, in a notebook, or in the Notes app on your phone so that when the time comes for Plan B–and it WILL!–you’re ready to rock it.
Keep on Keepin’ On! And yell when you could use my help 🙂