Trail to Couch and Back Again

I live in Arizona where the seasons are reversed, it is hotter than Hades in the Summer and Winter is our play time. So even though Spring has sprung and many of you may be starting to train outside, my athletic life goes in the opposite order. Except for this past winter where I found myself standing at the dryer folding the workout clothes that have become my pajamas and lounge wear (except for my bike shorts, chamois are not fun to sleep or sit around in), with thoughts wandering to repurposing them back to work out wear, and wondering how do I RESTART? How do I find the time and discipline to keep at it? This is what happened to me and maybe you are having these same issues. Let me tell you my story and my action plan of going from trail to couch and back again.

I am a cyclist and a mountain biker, it is pretty hard to do either when it is over 100 degrees out, but there are ways for me to keep working out if I can just get past my own mind and all of my excuses for not working out….it’s boring to work out inside….I don’t like going to the gym…..the list of excuses go on and on and the same excuses wander into my head when I re-start in the fall. This past year I found myself using every single one of those excuses to keep me from doing what I love to do. It is funny how quickly you can fall off of your schedules and find yourself doing a ton of other things instead of, for me, riding.

My trouble started with my employment, I was flying back and forth between North Dakota and Phoenix for about a year and a half. I was working twelve hour days, sometimes 6 days a week. When I was not working I wasn’t wanting to do anything else either, maybe sit or sleep, but working out was never on the agenda, ohhhh sure, it was on my mind and I was beating myself up over it, but it also fell to the bottom of the list of important things in my life. I have since made a change in employment and have been taking back control of my life again, getting back to my healthy habits and back to riding bikes on a regular schedule. (chuckling) Yeah, right, I don’t know about you, but sometimes my motivation and my desires do not work together!

So, here I am, sure, I am riding bikes a couple times a week for enjoyment, but I am not getting in my workouts, workouts that would improve my fitness and my speed.  I feel like I am letting myself down, I know I am faster than I was when I first started my journey, but I feel sluggish and tired and just not able to keep up with my buddies. What do I do? I know I need to get back at a regular schedule but I lack all of those important things like time, commitment and structure. Who am I kidding? I have a Coach, I can make time if it is important enough to me and deep in my soul I am committed (or need to be committed).

Let’s start with the gym thing, if you like the gym, woo hoo!!! I don’t like the gym, so what can I do instead of going to the gym? I can break out the work out tapes, set up the stationary bike or create a strength training program that can be done in my living room.

How do I find the time when my schedule doesn’t seem to allow me time to breathe? Well, I can work out at home, where we can always find a few minutes between those things that we use as excuses, right? Have 5 minutes while dinner is cooking? Push-ups, squats, leg lifts or do a few rounds with light weights. Maybe get on the trainer or walk around the block before getting in the shower in the morning?

And then there is that commitment thing, my hardest and most difficult hurdle, like I always tell my friends about my dating life, I have commitment issues. Why not get a work out buddy, someone to call in the morning to make sure you get up or someone you can schedule the workout with, they come over and help keep you going while you do the same thing for them. I know that if I make an appointment with a friend I keep it, but if I make an appointment with myself I will find a distraction. How about you?

What I’ve learned through this process is that living the athletic lifestyle isn’t always on 100%. Things happen, we go through ups and downs, need to adjust or in my case I became physically and mentally burnt out from my crazy work schedule. And even though I LOVE riding, sometimes a change in the way we approach the sport that we love, needs to happen to re-kindle that lost feeling. I don’t need to beat myself about it or entertain negative self talk because I wasn’t doing all the workouts. What I think is most important is I CHOSE to hit the restart button because in my heart I can still re-call the feeling of flying on my bike. And I want to experience that again. GOOOOOOOOOO ME!!

What are your challenges? How can we help each other to get past them so that WE can benefit from becoming just a wee bit fitter? I would love to hear your thoughts. Maybe you would like to become my virtual work out buddy.

About the Author

Peggy HughesPeggy Born to Reign Athlete 2 is an avid mountain biker and Grandmother who loves to get other women on bicycles, even if they are just weekend warriors pedalling with their families.   Peggy has been riding for over 7 years, starting at the age of 48, and does a little mountain bike racing when time permits.  Sharing her passion for riding with other women brings her great joy and if she can inspire just one woman to break out of her day,  and find her inner athlete, life is good.

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6 Responses to Trail to Couch and Back Again

  1. donna March 29, 2016 at 11:37 pm #

    Thanks for the article. I lost 80 lbs 5 years ago and went from doing my first race a 10k, then half marathon and then 1/2 ironman and rocked it in under 7 hours at 215 lbs. Now it’s a struggle to get through a 5 k walk after gaining all the weight back and more. I also teach bootcamps - trying not to give in or give up. I have a 150 km bike race this summer and looking forward to training - but that damn motivation! But I’m worth it!
    If you are on STRAVA - or want to get on it, we can stalk each other… LOL - donna stewart Clearwater country, AB

    • Peggy Hughes March 31, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

      Hi Donna! I AM on Strava! Peggy Hughes you can find me there, would love to chat and help with motivation, lord knows I need some myself! I will look for you on there :)

  2. Yolanda March 29, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    Great article Peggy! I’m always fighting time (work) and health (recovery). BUT what I have learned is that no matter how I feel and how little time I have, if I just do it anyway - force myself out the door - I always feel better. And yet… I still have to fight reviving my excuses for getting out the door. Thanks for sharing your experience, great food for thought!

    • Peggy Hughes April 6, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

      Yolanda, you ARE awesome! And I hope that we can get together and ride more often. I love your energy and positive attitude.

  3. Pamela Weston March 29, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    Oh my goodness! I can totally relate to this! I was in the best shape of my life and then had a series of surgeries that knocked me flat on my butt. I have spent the last 6 months trying to get back on the band wagon but I keep flying off. I do good for a few weeks, than revert back to where I was. I want nothing more than to be back out on the road, on my bike, but I am only in good enough shape for short trips, and now spring is here, the ideal time to ride, and I am so unmotivated and out of shape. Grrrrr! I guess when it comes right down to it, we just gotta do it! Good luck my friend!

    • Peggy Hughes March 29, 2016 at 9:35 pm #

      Thank you and just keep at it!

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