Helping You Live a Financially,
Physically, & Professionally Fit Life

Planning When to Workout

January 21, 2019
AUTHOR: Emilie
This post may contain affiliate links; see site footer for more details.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

We’ve all heard the old adage, Failing to plan is planning to fail. This is what was ringing in my head as I wrote the following in my goals for the month:

Workout 20 times. Knowing how wish-washy I’ve been lately, I plan to actually plan EXACTLY which days I’ll be going to which gyms and doing which workouts.

January 2019 Goals | She Does Better

When I wrote that, I wasn’t really sure what I meant, but halfway through the month I’m glad I was this specific.

For those of you who are new about these parts, you might not know that I’ve ebbed and flowed in my fitness over the last 18 months. I’ve tried a variety of things and ideas to get myself back on track, including writing a series here called “Last Week in Workouts,” where I cataloged the workouts I did that week. While incredibly public and accountability-inducing, this was not a reasonable way to share this information. Going into this month, I knew that despite all the iterations on the when, where, why, and how of my workouts over the last year, something still wasn’t working. I’ve done a great job of being consistent about waking up in the mornings, but given the option of going to the gym, I’m never going make the decision to go. I don’t need to go to the gym every day, and I don’t want to go to the gym every day. My current bandwidth can’t (won’t) support that.

With all this in mind, going into January, I thought I’d take one more decision out of my mornings by deciding ahead of time if I would be going to the gym or not. Here’s how I started:

  • I sketched out a January calendar in my bullet journal. I could have just printed out January calendar, but we were out of printer paper. As a bonus, I loved that I had this around all the time.
  • I looked at my January obligations and noted some of them in- a wedding I’d be traveling to, a talk I’d be giving, a class I’d be coaching, a midday haircut, etc.
  • I started by filling out my four Orange Theory Fitness classes for the month. OTF is too far to go to during the week, so I knew I’d only be going on weekends. I’d be out of town one weekend, so I had to plan around that. This month is the last one I’ll be going primarily to the Savannah studio, as I’ll be switching to the Pooler studio because it’s much closer to home!
  • After narrowing it down, I filled in the days of the week that I thought I would and would not want to go to CrossFit. For example, I knew that I’d have to get out of work earlier on the 14th because of codebar in the evening, so I’d want to start work earlier which meant I wouldn’t have time to workout. (At least that was my initial thought process; the reality was I got home so late from codebar that I didn’t make my normal wake up time the next morning, so I’m glad I went the day-of.)
  • I planned for 21 workouts in January, knowing that something was bound to come up throwing one of them off.
My January 2019 Workout Calendar in my Bullet Journal

The goal of this exercise was to see if removing the decision about whether or not I’d go workout in the mornings from my morning routine would help me get close to my goal of 20 workouts. There’s a couple of ways to look at this, to gauge success:

  • Today is the 21st and I’ve gotten 11 workouts in, averaging .52 workouts per day, below my target of .64 workouts per day (goal of 20 over 31 days in the month).
  • If you remove the 1st and 2nd of the month out of the calculation plus the 2 days I was out of state, I’ve worked out 11 times in 17 days, making my average workout/day .64, still less than the adjusted target of .74.
  • There are 10 days left in the month and 9 more workouts in order for me to hit my goal. Since things can always come up, this means I need to workout every day between now and the end of the month to hit my goal. Is that possible? I don’t see why not.

Going to the wedding clearly threw me off-kilter. I don’t know how obvious that is from this, but I felt that my days of the week were off. And then my internal body clock is just thrown out of motion. It’s an odd sensation. I get frustrated with how easily I allow myself to be derailed.

Here is another view of how well I’ve done so far this month:

A screenshot of Habit Share, an iOS app I use to track my habits

I’ve really tried to take to heart James Clear’s advice to never skip two days in a row when building (or re-building) a habit. Clearly, I haven’t been perfect, but it’s something that has been on my mind.

This whole planning to workout thing hasn’t been perfect, for sure, but I do think it’s been helpful. I plan to do it again for February (where I think I’ll aim for 18 workouts, since it’s a shorter month, but we’ll see).

Have you ever done something like this before? How has it worked for you?

Do you have a comment to make about this post? I'd love to hear from you. Please tweet it @SheDoesBetter or email me!