Habits of Fit People: Develop a Plan B

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You want to be a fit person, right? That's why I'm sharing my own habits for keeping fit and staying healthy in the ongoing Habits of Fit People series.

Here's one that works for me: Developing a plan B. So why does something like this matter?

It's hard enough to get the gym or carve out a few minutes to work out at home without LIFE getting in the way. It seems like 1,000 different things happen in a single day that can throw off your plans to exercise: a sick child, a last-minute deadline at work, a traffic jam, a phone call from a friend in need—you name it. And as if these unexpected events didn't make it difficult enough, then there are the saboteurs—the co-workers, friends and even loved ones who sabotage your efforts or discourage you from following through. It's a wonder that anyone with a job, family or social life is able to exercise at all!

That's where a plan B comes in. Similar to the 10-minute rule, a plan B is something else you can do that's better than doing nothing. It's an alternative you can use when you are late for Pilates class, unable to get to the gym, or simply don't have the time for your usual workout. The key is that you have to think about it in advance, long before the interferences or interruptions come your way—that's why it's called a plan.

Here are just a few "plan B's" that I keep up my own sleeve:

  • Walking or running outside. Walking is a good alternative when I'm feeling low on energy or under the weather. Running is a great workout that I can do when I'm short on time or unable to get to the gym.

  • Workout DVDs. It's a good idea for everyone to have a few good DVDs at home. When I work late, need a shorter workout, or just feel less than enthusiastic about my usual routine, I can usually find a workout DVD at home that fits my schedule and my mood.

  • An express routine. If time is the issue, I'll fit in a shorter version of my strength training or cardio routine, usually bumping up the intensity (incline, resistance, speed, etc.) to make the most of my time. Sometimes I'll do just one set of each strength training move, and switch between each one quickly to limit downtime.

Why it works: When you plan for the unexpected, you're better able to face it and take it in stride. When you don't have any alternatives, it's easier to just give up and get down on yourself.

Do you have a plan B? If not, come up with one now! What "go to" workout can you turn to when life gets in the way?

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My plan B is house cleaning. Yep if I can't find the time or energy, there is always some form of cleaning I can do. Some times I will sweep the outside patio (big area). Other times I might srub the shower( I really brake a sweat there), but all in all I would rather exersize than clean house so 9 out of 10 times I will opt for the gym. Report
Good article.

I change my routine occasionally. If i am walking 30 minutes twice a day and using my treadmill for 30 minutes then i change that and go to the gym and get in some good strength training and away we go. My body tends to get bored with the same workout day after day. Report
Working out at 5am makes me pretty accountable to not let life get in the way of working out. But I do strength and sometimes other cardio in the PM. If I don't do it the SECOND I walk in the door, I have an excuse...cooking dinner, cleaning, etc. Setting up parameters so we don't have excuses is essential! Thanks for the great article! Report
Some days when I get home, the kids are pulling my arm wanting me to play a game or something. Even though exercise is important, to me time with my kids is more important. So, my plan B is playing with the kids. When they're craving my attention, I give it to them, while still getting my exercise in for the day. If it's pretty we go to the park, go outside and play, or go for a walk down the dirt trail I live down (from my house to one end and then the other and back to the house is @ 2 miles). If the weather's not permitting, we play Wii. When my son is preoccupied, but my daughter wants mommy, I inlcude her in my exercise routine. I've done situps many times while craddling her in my arms or with her sitting on my stomach (she's only 18 months). Report
Plan B can be something fun too. Hubby and I sometimes dance around in the kitchen once the food is prepped and cooking. Just don't forget to stop and stir occassionally!!! Report
First of all I am SO impressed that all you working folks find the time and energy to workout at all!! I am a VERY late bloomer in this department but enjoying tricking myself in to changing lifelong habits .All my life I took pride in taking shortcuts to save energy-using shortcut habits and appliances- but now with the new mind set thanks to SPARK PEOPLE I take pride in just the opposite! So I guess my plan B was the tricking myself- and it is definately working. Thank you! Report
I agree totally and it is definetly a habit that i need to develop for myself, thanks Nicole Report
Great ideas. Thanks! Report
This is a good blog! This shows that there is no excuse for not getting exercise in. Report
I liked this article. I never really thought of it as plan B -- but will do so now. But I think I'm pretty adaptable with my plan.

But I most always do have a plan or two.

My tagline is: "If I fail to plan ... I plan to fail". I used this in my life for many years.

Will will start looking at my plans and come up with plan b .. and as someone said -- why not have a plan C as well.

Randy Report
My Plan B is to do something during commercials instead of just watching commercials. If I'm downstairs, I run upstairs, turn on the music, work out until the show is back on, and run back downstairs. This is especially good when I'm watching the Biggest Loser because it reminds that I shouldn't just be sitting there doing nothing. Report
My primary plan is a full workout at the gym a minimum of 3 times a week. I have a treadmill, recumbent bike, stepper and a variety of other workout tools at home but I much prefer the structure and focus I have at the gym. If I can't make it to the gym, then I make myself do at least 30 minutes of cardio and a few exercises at home. It's better than nothing! Report
Thanks for the reminder that I need to have a Plan B. I exercise in the morning (5:00 am ) and don't usually have a problem that early. Report
Great blog! I guess my Plan B is to tell myself: "Listen, there are No Excuses: You can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes, do those push ups or take that walk." Usually end up taking more than 15 minutes too. Report
Yes, I have a plan B and can usually think of a Plan C if needed. Report
Returning to the saddle, I had to figure out what my PLAN was - something I CAN do, no matter what. So getting back to where I started, I am walking my subdivision, increasing distance and speed gradually. Right NOW there is no Plan B as this is something that is available, and even if it gets bitter cold out, there is NO excuse. I mean, the street is THERE. But my SD is pretty safe, and I do realize that there are many people who can't walk their neighborhood for safety issues.
Having a Plan B is a TERRIFIC idea. Last year I did incorporate a Plan B which was to use my rebounder - I didn't have a DVD or any clue WHAT to do on it, so I was just doing what I call 'high stepping' on it. I got QUITE a workout! Report
I always park at the last line some I have to walk some, go walk to the persons office to let them know about a phone call. Walk after Dinner for about three miles. Always moving is the key when I can't make it to the gym. Report
Get article. I have a couple of back up plans. The simplest is to park a distance away from stores and walk. Report
I have a couple of plan B's

The main one is to squeeze a shorter workout in. 15mins not 30 on cardio, or 2 sets not 3 in the weights room.

The other is to walk to work. Usually I cycle to work and it takes about 15 mins each way, walking takes 40-50mins each way. If I don't have time to go to the gym which is 60-75 mins of my day, I'll walk to work instead of cycling.

so instead of 15+75+15 mins of cycling plus the gym, I'll powerwalk it 40+40. The straight time save isn't much, but the time I save on related things, like showering adds up. Report