This post appears as part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three WebMD team members as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their journeys here.
By Mark Spoor
Things got real this week, my friends.
When I started my renewal of fitness vows, it was the middle of the holidays. So I could do my workouts whenever I wanted to. If I slept in, lounged around a bit, and didn't get to my workout until mid-morning, it didn't really matter.
What's more, if I, let's say, needed a little more time for recovery, it was cool. What else was I doing?
Watching more football?
Another true crime marathon?
The Shawshank Redemption for the 987th time?
Well, things sure did change that Monday after the new year. The alarm went off at an ungodly hour, and I had no time to snooze. I had a strictly defined workout window that was closing quickly.
I needed to get my daughter to school. That meant I needed my workout, shower, and all of the pre-going-to-school things I'm responsible for done long before my kid's opening bell, which is, uh, early.
Then, after my daughter was dropped off, it was back to the house for, ya know, my job.
Trust me, for those first couple of days, it was tough. I couldn't sacrifice the workout, and the other early-morning stuff was non-negotiable. So, since I'm not a fan of working out at night, I had to adjust to this new, slightly painful new normal.
But I learned something important about myself: I can do it.
At the same time, because I'm clearly a glutton for punishment, I tried to expand my workout repertoire a little bit. The Peloton bike is awesome and I love it, but I felt like I needed to explore some of the other things so that I could get a well-rounded workout. I tried some strength training classes and some other cardio classes. (To my fellow blogger Bill Kimm: Watch out! I’m getting serious about this exercise thing!)
I also added in some slightly more intense stretching. It was then that I noticed something else about myself: I'm not very flexible.
In truth, I knew this already. A personal trainer I had years ago once called me the least flexible client he's ever had -- in a decade of personal training.
So even amongst all the sweating and the pushing, the flexibility thing has become my chief nemesis. If I can conquer it, I think it'll make all the other things I'm doing at least a little easier.
To celebrate getting through that first week of normal, my wife and I grabbed a little food from one of our favorite spots. It was here that I got one of my biggest wins of the week. I picked up some sweet potato fries and a grilled chicken sandwich with some onions, peppers, and yes, a little bit of cheese.
Hey, don't judge.
Instead of inhaling it (which I really wanted to do), I ate half -- and saved half for lunch the next day. It's an old practice that worked for me during my last weight loss endeavor. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to stick to it on a night when I really wanted to celebrate.
I asked Dr. Bruni, my WebMD Sherpa on this climb, if the ol' half-and-half thing was a good strategy. Turns out, it's OK.
Hey, I'll take all the "OK" I can get!
Mark Spoor is a senior health editor with WebMD. He spent more than 2 decades in sports media, working with groups like the NCAA, NASCAR, and the PGA TOUR. Most weekends, you can find him and his wife, Chris, cheering on their daughter's softball team.
While Mark has spent a lot of time with athletes, he's not one, so fitness has always been a bit of a challenge. He hopes this endeavor will help him get a little closer to winning that battle.
You can follow Mark on Twitter @markspoor.