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Time management: Squeezing exercise into a tight schedule

September 24, 2015 - Andy Flynn
This week: 412 lbs.

Sept. 15: 420 lbs.

Difference: -8 lbs.

With two flare-ups of gout and an injury on my left foot, I was unable to walk for half the summer, and a hectic work schedule took away any time for exercise so I could recover. By mid-September, I had gained 20 pounds in three months, and I began to think the worst was yet to come if I didn’t act fast and go back on the Lake Placid Diet.

I had tasted my old life — before I started the Lake Placid Diet — and I didn’t like it. That’s not me anymore.

An opportunity to join Round 5 of the Fit Revolution weight-loss class at Fitness Revolution presented itself. Another 12-week program was to begin Tuesday, Sept. 15. I thought about it for weeks and decided I didn’t have the time.

My day job at the Lake Placid News, production of the monthly “Adirondack Attic” show on North Country Public Radio, book signings and lectures, and a summer 2016 deadline for writing a book on the Gibson Brothers bluegrass band would take most of my time. I couldn’t fit it in my schedule, and posted an apology on the Fit Revolution Facebook page five days before the class started.

“I spent a good portion of Monday drafting my fall schedule, and there is no way I have time to participate in Round 5,” I wrote. “I am extremely bummed, but my priority is to finish a book project that should have already been complete. I put it on hold to improve my health, which takes a lot of time as you know.”

I drafted the fall schedule on a yellow notepad, tweaking here, adjusting there. I scribbled priorities into different time slots, moving them again and again until I had to throw away several drafts I could no longer read. Instead of “gym” on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday morning, I wrote “walk.” The schedule was designed for more work and less exercise.

Even when I thought the schedule was complete, I wasn’t happy with it. I had written down my old life, and it scared me.

Without holding myself accountable in a gym setting with my Fit Revolution support group, I could see my future, and it wasn’t pretty. That 20-pound weight gain would most likely double by the end of the year. I began to re-think my decision not to join Round 5.

The trouble is that my day job, radio show, book project and exercise are all priorities. How do I squeeze them into a schedule that includes spending time with my family, preparing healthy meals and completing chores around the house? Those are priorities as well.

Since launching the Lake Placid Diet in December 2013, I’ve always said that the exercise portion is like having a second job. It takes a lot of time, especially when I was training for the Lake Placid Half-Marathon. But it had to be done.

By Monday, Sept. 14 — a day before Round 5 began — I had changed my mind and decided to join the group after all. Participating in the weight-loss program is no longer a choice for me. I’ve learned in the past year-and-a-half that it’s a necessity.

“After a lot of hand wringing, trying to figure out how I am going to manage my time and projects this fall and realizing that I NEED to do Round 5 with y’all, I’ve decided to join the Fit Revers for Round 5,” I wrote on Facebook. “I will see you on Tuesday!”

As such, I am re-establishing the Lake Placid Diet column in the Lake Placid News for the rest of the year to mark my progress.

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Time management

So here’s the big question: “How do I fit exercise into an already tight schedule?” It’s a dilemma many people face. For years, I just ignored exercise, figuring it wasn’t necessary as long as I did my work and brought home a paycheck. In my Lake Placid Diet life, however, I can’t ignore exercise because it’s such an integral part of who I am.

Looking at the schedule, there’s no fluff, no wasted activities, to take out. So I did what many other people do; unfortunately, I had to cut into my sleep time.

I went back to the yellow notepad and began drafting a new schedule, crossing off “walk” on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday morning and writing “gym.” I added “walk” on Monday and Friday afternoons. I need to keep walking because I will be competing again in the Lake Placid Half-Marathon in June 2016.

Joining Round 5 was a huge commitment, especially since trainers Jason McComber and Seth Lang are getting tougher with the group, mandating a minimum of three days at the gym a week. If we miss a class, we have to make it up by attending a class on another day.

In short, I’m now getting up earlier and staying up later during the week, working on my book project before I head to the Lake Placid News in the morning and after dinner. There’s no longer time to watch Netflix in the evenings, so I canceled my account. I work on weekends but make sure to set aside some time for rest and relaxation.

I’m also trying to be more efficient with my time, instead of procrastinating with certain activities. No more hitting the snooze button. Not as much daydreaming. Less planning and more doing. I’m finding it’s a more productive way to live.

On my daily schedule, I’ve written down time to prepare meals, which is an important component of the Lake Placid Diet. I found that when I invest the time in setting up healthy meals, I am less likely to binge and order out pizza and Chinese food.

This past weekend, for example, I went shopping for healthy food on Saturday and spent part of Sunday preparing breakfast and lunch items for the week. I put a tomato and a portion of red grapes together in one bag. I baked a homemade recipe called “Tofu Bake” and placed two servings (four slices) in sandwich bags. I made peanut butter sandwiches with Ezekiel hamburger buns and unsalted, smooth peanut butter and placed those in baggies. I made enough for all the work days this week. Plus I made sure there are bananas, apples, pears and fresh vegetables in the fridge.

The important thing for a busy schedule is to make grab-and-go food items with pre-measured portions so I can count my calories. On Monday morning, I grabbed a tomato/grape bag, tofu bake bag, peanut butter sandwich bag, banana and water bottle, and I was out the door in no time. Before I left, I placed frozen pork chops on the counter so they could defrost in time for cooking dinner.

With the banana and peanut butter sandwich, plus the coffee I had while working on the book project before leaving for the Lake Placid News, my breakfast was about 500 calories. The tofu bake, tomato and grapes I had for lunch totaled about 490 calories, which included two servings of tofu without brown rice in the recipe. That left me plenty of calories for dinner, which was a salad, pork chop and plain, nonfat Greek yogurt.

After work, I squeezed in a 1-mile walk before heading home to cook dinner. After the dishes were cleaned up, I went back to work on my book project.

That was Monday. My schedule varies most days. Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings, I work out at Fitness Revolution. Wednesdays I don’t walk because I’m working extra hours on deadline for the Lake Placid News. Saturdays and Sundays are pretty much open for family time, chores, errands and working on book and NCPR projects. Sometimes I cover events on weekends for the newspaper as well.

A lot of what I’m doing with my schedule is supported by time management tips found on the Internet. Below are some of those tips.

-Be organized.

-Write down priorities and commitments.

-Schedule exercise.

-Plan meals.

-Start saying “no” to requests of your time.

-Be realistic.

-Don’t get sidetracked by distractions.

-Be more efficient, more productive, with your time.

-Plan ahead.

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Andy’s Tofu Bake

Ingredients

Two 12-ounce packages Nasoya Organic Extra Firm TofuPlus

6 eggs

1 can chickpeas

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (can substitute with soy sauce)

1/2 teaspoon of the following spices: salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, ground coriander, cumin, chili powder, Chinese five spice

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Mix tofu, eggs, Worcestershire sauce and spices in food processor.

Add tofu mixture to a bowl with the brown rice and whole chickpeas and blend together with a spoon.

Put the ingredients on a baking sheet covered with no-stick aluminum foil and spread evenly onto the sheet with a spatula.

Place in heated oven for 60 minutes.

Take out and cool before cutting into 16 even pieces.

Eat hot or cold as desired.

(Andy eats it with Frank’s RedHot sauce. Once cooled, you can also fry the pieces in vegetable or olive oil.)

Yield: 8 servings (2 pieces per serving)

Calories per serving: 240 calories

Fat: 8 g

Protein: 16 g

Carbs: 22 g

Sodium: 274 mg

 
 

Article Comments

(1)

NotJustVisiting

Sep-24-15 1:02 PM

Remember all the activities and things like work that command your time are secondary to your health. Without your health and an active approach to life, those secondary priorites will begin to suffer. Be focused on becoming your best self. Anything less cheats you and your goals.

 
 

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Blog Photos

Andy Flynn’s grab-and-go breakfast and lunch Monday, Sept. 21 included a banana, peanut butter sandwich, a new tofu bake recipe, grapes and a tomato. (News photo — Andy Flynn)