Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How to Organize for Exercise

I love being active.

I love to workout and to run …. to exercise along with fitness DVDs in my living room, to take group exercise classes when I am able, and to join in the various virtual fitness challenges and races I find online… to have fun doing all the fitness activities that I enjoy with The Captain such as swimming, walking, lawn bowling, tennis, occasional biking, hiking, and yoga, sailing and beachcombing…  and sometimes I get so wrapped up in it all that I feel completely overwhelmed.

I wonder if I will have time to do the required exercises in the bootcamp I joined, or to get in a 5k run before the 5th of every month for a virtual race series I took on… if I will be able to make it to the yoga class I love or finish that 5 mile walk before I have to to to work at noon…  it makes my head spin. 

So, I sat down and made some notes to myself and also listed some ways that I could fit it all in and make it easier on myself and less stressful, too.  After all, exercise and fitness activities are supposed to help relieve stress, not cause it.

Would you agree?

I realized that I needed to call on my organization skills.

The first thing I have done is to sort and organize my fitness clothing and exercise gear.

I have put all of my fitness devices on a single shelf in my closet… my heart rate monitors, Gymboss timer, stop watch, water bottle belts, swimming goggles, etc. etc. etc.  It’s all there.  And I make sure to put it away when I am finished using it.   Now I never have to go hunting for things…. they are in that bin.  PERIOD.

Dumbbells, kettlebell, weighted gloves, and resistance band are in a bin on the floor of the closet.

Exercise DVDs are in a box on a shelf near the TV stand. 

I have one tall bureau in the bedroom that houses only my fitness clothing… capris, tanks, shorts, tees, calf sleeves, bathing suits, running skirts, and so on.  Running socks are all  in one other drawer.  Fitness shoes are in 2 different closets, but close together on their respective shelves. 

And I also have a bin on the floor of my closet in which I fold and place fitness clothing that has been worn but is not ready for the laundry…when I need a yoga top or a pair of capris for a light workout I look there first. I may find a tee that I can get away with wearing for one more run… you get it.  This way I never put worn clothing in my clean clothing drawers, but I am also not laundering items more often than necessary either… once something goes in the laundry hamper, that is it for me… it is the washing machine after that!  If I am going to handwash an item it never makes it to that laundry hamper.

This makes things so easy and frees up my mind!
I also needed to spend some effort in organizing my time.

When I worked in a very busy corporate arena… data and finance, I travelled a lot and attended too many conferences and meetings every month.  I lived by my Day Timer.  If an activity wasn’t scheduled, it just didn’t happen.  And that included social events with friends,  and dates with The Captain, too.  It was the only way I could deal with it all and not feel stressed and unorganized.
I don’t miss those days at all, but I do realize that schedules and calendars can be very good tools when trying to fit in the various exercise and fitness activities that I would like, as well.
For me, a month at a time is reasonable.  So, I looked at the month of April and here is how I proceeded…

I dealt with already-known items first.  I wrote in the Weight Watchers meetings that I am already scheduled to work.  Those are on Thursdays.  I work two mid-day meetings back to back, and then another at dinner time.

I also need to get my hair done very soon.  And I really need a manicure and a pedicure as well.  So I scheduled them and wrote them on the calendar.

As each week approaches, The Captain and I generally have a chat about what activities we each have on that week and what we might like to do together.
This month I am doing a Whole30 paleo challenge and this first week, a sugar detox, to kick it off.  That requires food prep time.  And I am taking part in an online bootcamp that has 5 days of activity each week.  I also want to do a 5 km run before April 5th for the 5 by the 5th virtual event.  And I want to swim with The Captain and spend some time cleaning the boat, too.

The Captain will want to have some TV time to watch The Masters Golf Tournament so I made note of that and can schedule some 'me’ activities during those hours.

Somehow, it all works… and it all fits… and of course it is ALL subject to change.  But it gives me a place to start and the confidence to realize that I can fit it all in… and that there may even be room for one more virtual race or one more coffee date with a friend who is dropping in from up-Island… or taking on an extra work shift for a co-worker who needs some time off.
And it also helps me say no to a few things as well should that become necessary.

Here are some of the notes I wrote to myself to help organize my exercise time – perhaps they will be helpful to you as well:
  1. Start with a calendar and pencil in the MUST do’s first… work, medical appointments, family activities.
  2. Then, schedule in the WANT to’s… personal care appointments, dates, parties.
  3. Get everyone on board… make sure everyone in the household is sharing information and no on is making commitments for each other without checking first.
  4. Kill 2 birds with one stone… so to speak!  Do two for ones when you can.  For example, I know that some days when we go to the marina to do boat cleaning, there will be time that I will be idle, while The Captain is doing chores that don’t involve me.  So I can go for a run or a nice long walk walk he is otherwise engaged.  I also walk where I can to do errands like grocery shopping or returning library books.
  5. Keep your workout gear organized, and clean!  Don’t let the laundry pile up.  I regularly hand wash my Handful sports bras and my compression socks so that I always have clean gear to use and wear. 
  6. Put things away in their designated place so they will be there next time you need them.
  7. Replace worn out gear as soon as possible.
  8. Keep yourself motivated by signing up for activities with other people… even if they are virtual.  The fact that you have to report in will keep you honest and involved. 
  9. And wear good quality, appropriate (and yes, cute) clothes to work out.  Your workout gear is an investment.  You will want to wear it and you will want to take care of it.
  10. Have fun and keep moving!
Do you have any other tips to share?


  1. What I love the most about this post is that you need a manicure and pedicure :) I am in desperate need of a haircut but it is a struggle to fit in!

  2. Great tips Elle, and so comprehensive, love the idea of having a hamper just for clothes that aren't ready for laundry but don't need to be put with clean clothes either.

  3. Awesome tips! What great ideas!!! Thank you!

  4. Great tips & organizational skills at work :-)
    I agree, it's like you'll make yourself nuts deciding what to wear, the workout, duration, and so on!!! Way to keep things in order!

  5. Wonderful post Elle! I need to follow your tips.


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