Insanity and My Morning Workouts

Albert Einschangetein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Using that definition, my morning workouts have become a little insane, and it’s time to make a change.

In September, I will have been at Doctors Wellness Center for three years. Most every week during that time, I have been there early three to five days a week. Early like the alarm goes off at 4:24 a.m. so I can get there close to 5 a.m. early. And until recently, it’s worked for me. But now, not so much.

Over the past four months, getting up early has been more difficult. For a lot of reasons.

  1. My sister/roommate has a new job, one that has some crazy hours. Many days, she’s just getting a good start on her job about the time I get home and start winding down. On the flip side, when I leave at dark o’thirty, she’s just starting to hit REM zzzzz. I wake up when she comes home, and she wakes up when I get up for the gym. That and I really miss chatting with her during the week.
  2. My sweet Moon Pie has become an anxious dog. She’s been barking a lot lately. Hears an owl, barks for 30 minutes. Hears cicadas and frogs? Barks til they stop. (Which is never.) Every ten minutes I’m up past 9 p.m., I stress about getting to sleep so I can get up. And anxiety only begets anxiety, and I’m often awake longer than I sleep.
  3. My schedule has changed. I’m lucky enough to have a pretty constant work schedule, but these days, it’s more than just the gym and work. There’s the gym. Again. A few evenings a week, I’ve been helping out at Doctors Wellness Center. I love it. It’s my happy place. I see friends, meet others making positive changes in their lives and get to listen to non-stop 70s and 80s satellite radio. But with a few evenings a week away from home, combined with early mornings and 40 hour work weeks, I’m feeling a little spread thin.

Starting  today, I’m testing a new work out schedule. On Mondays and Fridays, I’m still planning to go in early and train with Daniel. But the rest of the week, I’m going to do my cardio while I’m at the gym after work. Either 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after my front desk gig. It makes sense. If I’m going to be at the gym those evenings anyway, I may as well kill two birds with one stone. The new schedule gives me a little more flexibility in the evenings. I can watch Under the Dome without worrying about sleeping in on Tuesday. I can join friends at Thirsty Fellow Trivia Night, like I am tonight. And when Sister comes in at midnight, I can still chat with her a bit before we both turn in.

Arnold Bennett said that any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. I’m excited about a more flexible schedule, but I’m also nervous about committing to evening cardio. I also love the early morning peeps at Doctors Wellness Center, and I’ll miss seeing them. I REALLY love having my cardio done and over by the time many of you get up. And I love the energy of a morning workout.

Nothing is set in stone, but I figure it’s at least worth a shot. If it doesn’t work, it’s easy enough to change. If it works, I may get a little more done and have a little more fun.

Stay tuned! This could be interesting.


The Secret to Better Sleep

I saw this earlier this week and thought it was GREAT! I always struggle with getting enough sleep.

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Sleeping Too Little Can Make You Eat Too Much

My fab former nutrition counselor, Traci, told me this a while back, but now I can explain it a little better, thank to this article from Consumer Reports.

Here’s MY best tip for a good night’s sleep: a sleep mask. (Also thanks to Traci!)

Sleep tight!


A Better Night Sleep, Guaranteed: What Finally Worked for Me

Since making the move to morning workouts about 18 months ago, I’ve struggled with sleep. Thanks to my nutrition counselor, Traci, I’ve solved that problem, and it was as simple as buying a sleeping mask.

Before I started morning workouts, I often stayed up past midnight, but to get up at 4:24 a.m., however, that wouldn’t cut it. As I tried to adjust my bedtime, the major issue was the comings and goings of my sister/roommate, a diehard night owl. Often, she was just getting home as I was settling down; between the lights and her bustling, I just couldn’t settle. As hard as I tried, I was only averaging four to five hours of sleep.

When we did the full court press during my few weeks with Traci, one of the rules she laid down was six to seven hours of sleep a night. Turns out that sleep not only has a lot to do with overall health, but also weight loss. Simply stated, when you don’t sleep enough, hormonal changes take place in your body that lead to weight gain and/or difficulty losing weight. She suggested a sleep mask wand ear plugs when I told her of my problems.

I’ve tried a lot of things to help me sleep over the years, but the sleeping mask has worked like a charm! Generally, withing 10 minutes of putting on the ask, I’m asleep, even with lights on, TVs going, even sister puttering around the house. Wearing a sleeping mask, I have experienced virtually no sleepless nights, which used to be fairly common.

I wondered if the mask was that helpful or if perhaps it was just psychological, so I consulted my trusted research partner, Google. I learned that our natural sleep cycle begins with the onset of darkness. Special photosensitive receptor cells in the eyes signal the brain when light levels diminish to convert the brain chemical “serotonin” (the chemical of wakefulness and activity) into “melatonin” (the brain chemical of sleep and restoration). The onset of darkness triggers a release of melatonin in the brain that helps you to fall asleep; sleep masks work by fooling the body into the production of melatonin by simulating the onset of darkness.

Before you rush out to buy a sleep mask, here are a few tips. Don’t get the first sleep mask you see. Look for parts that cover from the edges of your eyes to the edges your nose; this will block out more light. Stiff fabric may not be the best, either. A sleep mask should conform easily to your face, cover your eyes well and be comfortable as you fall asleep.

I so wanted a mask like the one Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but I bought a simple black contoured mask from Walgreen’s. It’s a molded foam eye mask, contoured for pressure-free, smudge-free eye comfort. While I don’t look like Audrey Hepburn, I’m sleeping quite well.

The only drawback? Sometimes I sleep TOO well. I’m writing this post in lieu of my morning cardio because I actually overslept this morning! (I’ll get my cardio in after work today!)

By the way, I’m able to monitor my sleep with my Fitbit. It records the time I go to bed, the amount of time it takes me to fall asleep, the number of  times I’m awakened and the amount of time I sleep. Using this information, it also gives me a sleep quality percentage number. It’s been quite a handy tool.

Have you ever tried a sleeping mask? How did it work for you? Do you have any “must do” tips for a better nights sleep?

12 Ways to Beat Insomnia

As y’all know, I’ve been working on getting more sleep. I’ve been fairly successful, most nights getting at least six hours a night. But there are still those nights when I get less, including last night.

I saw a link to this article, 12 Ways to Beat Insomnia, from Morning Joe this morning, and it’s a great article. It mentions a few new tricks I haven’t heard of. Regarding #10, I have a book on hold at the library. I’m picking it up to start reading tonight: Seize the Daylight, a book about daylight saving time. (It’s officially Daylight Saving Time, no s, by the way.)