Since I’m a personal trainer, a lot of people think I work out all day, but what I really do is guide and coach other people as they work out. So just like you, I struggle to find time to fit in my own workouts.
At some point, I figured out that while I might not have an hour to go to the gym and get in a traditional workout, I do have an hour at my sons’ soccer games, I have 30 minutes at my gate waiting for my flight to board, I have eight minutes at a park while I am in between training sessions, I have stairs going up to my hairdresser’s I can walk while my color processes... everywhere around me, I have opportunities to work out and the time to get in a little exercise. I just have to be aware of those opportunities and be willing to take advantage of them.
About a year ago, I was at one of my son’s soccer tournaments—a daylong event. I had a choice: I could sit and watch the practice, which would likely lead to me yelling encouragement and instruction at my son, or I could watch the practice from the parking lot while I jumped rope and did something healthy for myself (and kept myself from interrupting the coach!). I chose to jump rope.
Another parent had something negative to say about it on social media. Listen, there will always be somebody with something negative to say, particularly if what you’re doing doesn’t exactly match what everyone else is doing. So what? Because I choose not to focus on the negative, I suddenly had a platform and opportunity to talk about one of my very favorite things: getting fit and staying fit.
Not one of those choices negatively affect anyone else; I’m not in anyone’s way. I’m not hitting them with my salmon, my wine, or my jump rope.
As I said in my book The 4X4 Diet, fitness is a lifestyle. Everything I eat and every step I take factors in. I look for opportunities to eat the right things (and have recently partnered with Menud to help others make good choices while eating out), and I look for opportunities to move.
If everyone else is having steak and potatoes and I want salmon and veggies, I’m going to order salmon and veggies. If everyone else is having a beer and I want a glass of wine, I’m going to have a glass of wine. If everyone else is sitting watching practice and I want to jump rope watching practice, I’m going to jump rope. Not one of those choices negatively affect anyone else; I’m not in anyone’s way. I’m not hitting them with my salmon, my wine, or my jump rope. I’m making my choices based on what works for me and fits into my own lifestyle.
Why should I let someone else make those choices for me with their negativity? I shouldn’t, and neither should you.
If I jump rope at practice, maybe another parent who would rather walk than sit sees me and decides to take a walk rather than sit for that hour. By making healthy choices for myself and promoting a healthy lifestyle by my actions, maybe I can help someone else make those first steps. Helping others live healthier is a huge reward for me!
We talk all the time about bullying and peer pressure. I’m not going to let someone bully or pressure me into a sedentary lifestyle; I’m going to continue to live a healthy lifestyle, and I’m going to continue encouraging others to do the same thing by both my words and my actions.
Now I’m got five minutes before my next appointment—just enough time for a quick Tabata!
Erin Oprea is a personal trainer who spent nine years as an active-duty U.S. Marine, serving two deployments in Iraq and leading the first all-female platoon attached to the infantry in a war zone. She lives with her husband, two teenage sons, and three dogs in Nashville, where she trains country music stars and busy noncelebrities alike. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.