I’m A Gladiator

By: David Stern | Posted: August 20, 2018

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Or at least, I feel like one. You know that feeling you get when you push yourself to do the thing that you least want to do, and when you’ve done it, you’re a total beast? Well today, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I’ve talked about this before – I’ve been trying to make myself a morning workout person. It took me 4 tries, but today, I did it. I totally woke up early to work out. And you know what? It actually was awesome. It’s not even 9AM and I’ve already accomplished that much.

Here’s how I made it work.

  1.  I had a plan. In the past, not knowing EXACTLY what I was going to do when I stepped into my home gym was a killer. I learned I have to be prepared if I’m going to push the blanket of sleep off me to embrace my workout (Granted, the workout app I used this AM was not exactly ideal, and wasn’t really what I was looking for, but it was a great start. I’m going to build my own custom workout plan eventually).
  2. I had rest. I made sure to get to bed early the night before. I’m not one of those people that can function on four hours of sleep (those of you who can do that, you’re freaks of nature, I’m telling you. Just – HOW???). I need 8 hours minimum to feel like myself, sometimes 9. So getting up early means I get to bed early.
  3. I had music. I like to work out to thumping electronic music – it’s what makes me want to move. But it only works if it’s loud! And since I was working out in the early morning, I didn’t want to wake up my family, so I bought a cheap pair of bluetooth headphones. Worked like a charm. (I use Pandora – no need to custom build a playlist).
  4. I had time. Things just move slowly in the morning. I had to wake up early enough to allow that to happen. In fact, I’ll probably move my wakeup time to 5:00AM once my workouts are longer than 20 or 30 minutes (I don’t have the built up energy stores needed for a long workout yet).
  5. I had a good warmup. Instead of moving directly into stretching and then pushups or pullups or whatever, I started with the most basic of exercises. I stepped on the treadmill and hit start. Just walking for a few minutes (and then jogging, then running) was enough to swat the cobwebs and get me in the zone. It made ALL the difference.
  6. I had a reward system in place. I have a great green smoothie recipe. The smoothie does two things – it rewards me for doing the impossible, and it crams my body full of antioxidants to bat down inflammation (I’ve found that’s the only way my eczema can tolerate a workout. If I don’t take care of the inflammation ASAP, I suffer a flare up. Still testing).
  7. I had help. Predictably, my morning routine spilled over into the usual stuff I need to do in the AM. Feed the dog, dress and feed my son, pray, make coffee. Luckily, I have this amazing woman I share my life with, and she knew I was attempting something that was truly hard for me. So when she saw I was running behind schedule, she stepped in.
  8. I had guilt. My pièce de résistance. This was the major missing piece the other days. When I woke up at 5:30 to the sound of my alarm, I turned it off and spent the next 4 minutes mentally battling myself: “You need to get your butt out of bed. If you don’t get out of bed, you’re whole day is going to revolve around the fact that you didn’t succeed – again. Stop being a lazy bum and get up!” I fought internally like this until I finally agreed to JUST get up to use the bathroom. Once I was up, I would JUST get dressed in workout clothes, then I JUST drank down some lemon water. Then I JUST walked on the treadmill, and JUST did some stretches. And then I was ready to crank out some pushups (even then, with reluctance). But now I’ve done it, I feel confident I’ll be able to do it again. It won’t be the mental hurdle that it was before.

The results from all of this planning and fortune and work? I actually really enjoyed the morning workout. Am I super energized for the rest of the day? Maaaaaybe? I feel physically tired, and I still want to climb back into bed. But I’m happy I did it. From my previous experience in the gym, the first day is always the hardest. It’s just never taken me 4 tries to even begin.

I’m not sore yet, but that’ll come. I’m keeping my frequency low – at 2x per week, with moderate intensity and moderate volume. Basically, I’m easing into it.

Oh and the attached photo? THAT is what made it all feel worth it. A sweet, bright green, slightly spicy snack to start my day.


Recipe: Derek Simnett’s Green Smoothie (my modified version)

  1.  2 bananas
  2. 2 handfuls leafy greens (I used spinach today)
  3. 1 green apple
  4. A few sprigs of an herb (I used cilantro today)
  5. 2 tsp turmeric
  6. 3 or 4 black peppercorns
  7. 1 inch fresh ginger
  8. 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  9. 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  10. Water to thin to desired consistency
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