The Training Corner

Mountain Grit: Training for the Long Haul

Q: Hi Pat! I have totally fallen off the wagon since COVID hit, 14 LONG months ago. I am in a management position, working remotely, with ESTPST time zone meetings. The job is challenging in a good way, but it comes with a weird blend of isolation and interruptions. My workout schedule has gone to pot. I’ve gained weight from cruising the pantry, and feel more stressed and lethargic than ever before, even though I sleep well. My kids are in school and my wife is a G3 teacher, and an avid 0600 exerciser M-F. So, weekdays, from 0800 -3:30, I am home alone, at work in my office. My weekends are packed with kids’ activities, home projects [that I enjoy] and occasionally office stuff. It seems like I’ll have one decent week, then a business meeting gets booked during my designated workout slot. This ticks me off, so I throw in the towel. It’s like a domino-effect. I just can’t seem to keep a good schedule going. Any practical tips on climbing back into a healthy lifestyle?

Bill, 45

A: Bill, you absolutely CAN get a handle on this, get your energy back, and reclaim your healthy lifestyle. Remember that a schedule is more like a template, not a regimented inflexible, unrealistic regimen. OVER-scheduled can be just as detrimental as kowtowing to incessant intrusions that impact productivity and overall health and well-being. We can find a DOable medium.

First up, MOVE more often DAILY, especially M-F, where you spend more time seated. Here’s a start:

1. Set the tone of your workday as if you were going to the office. Stick with your morning hygiene routine, and get dressed to TRAIN. Ditch the boxers. A great bonus of working from home, is that you don’t need to dress UP for work.

2. DAILY, block out 30:00 to 1-hour to TRAIN, say 1:00 MT (3:00 EST, 1200 PST), AND a back-up slot.

• Do NOT veer from this unless there is a family emergency or a rare, extenuating work circumstance.

• As for your phone, DO set unique family ring-text tones. During training, TURN it OFF, and put it out of sight, unless you are using a training App.

3. Regarding the time zone challenge:

…. If you don’t take EST calls until 0800 MT, you can train before your day starts. It is FACT that morning exercisers have the BEST adherence to training.

…. If you MUST take calls as early as 0600 MT, then find a different slot, one that best suits the majority of your calls and meetings. There is no perfect scenario, but if it works 90% of the time, you have a winner. Consider these options:

Option 1

• MWF – outdoor run, walk, ski, bike or hike; if stuck indoors, use home equipment; ALWAYS prep & warm-up.

• T-TH – register for coaching at a local facility with REAL LIVE PEOPLE; yes, get out of the house; N/A? Check out online coaching, or tap your own resources.

Option 2 [flip it]

• MWF – coaching at a local facility with REAL LIVE PEOPLE

• T-TH – outdoor run, walk, ski, bike or hike; if stuck indoors ….. You may be thinking …. Pat, I thought that 3X/week was enough? Yes, to NOT die early, to NOT become FRAIL and disabled prematurely. But the more you sit, the MORE you need to move. DAILY is BETTER in this tech-driven movement-sucking lifestyle.

4. Aside from training, slip more movement into your day;

• If you take a phone call, walk and talk.

• Get out of the chair every hour; climb stairs.

• After dinner, take a leisurely walk or bike ride.

• Mix in some daily chores, like laundry, meal prep, vacuuming, etc.

• Regenerate on the weekends. Hike, bike, fish, golf? Get out and soak up the sunshine and fresh air.

5. Regarding MEALS

• EAT only at the kitchen counter or table. Unplug! READ a hard copy of something positive.

• DRINK only water, coffee or tea at your desk.

• Stay out of the kitchen unless you are warming your coffee or prepping a meal; no cruising the pantry.

• Eat 2-3 meals / day within a consistent window of 8-14 hours; no snacks, and nothing after dinner.

6. Thriving vs. surviving: Stress has its roots in knowing what you can change vs. worrying incessantly over those things that you can’t. Aside from addressing our perception of a stressor, we can nurture our Hardiness Pillars and restore and refill our 7S Training Buckets, boosting our resilience, durability and robustness.

In closing, Bill …

1. SHOW UP at 1:00 M-F, even if it’s for a 30:00 walk; you can always change what you DO within the time frame.

2. If Murphy blows up your schedule that day, roll with it, and SHOW UP tomorrow at 1:00.

3. Clean up the food and meal patterns.

4.Begin tweaking your meeting-call schedule today; next month should look different and better.

5.Own tech. Don’t let it own you. Limit the energy-zapping, time-wasting, distressful social media platforms. If it’s an asset for work, post relevant, concise content; if NOT, kick it to the curb.

“Oh yeah, and lastly, laugh really hard every day. Have some fun, and spread some joy. A smile is infectious!”

Stuck in a rut, or can’t overcome inertia, contact Pat through or For more on Pillars, Buckets and training tips from Pat, see previous editions of Mountain Grit.

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