A few months ago, I wrote about workout guru Jillian Michaels’ attempts to fit exercise into her life after a major lifestyle change. She adopted a 2-year-old daughter from Haiti, and the adoption went through right around the same time that her partner gave birth to a baby boy. In the throes of this instant-family chaos, Michaels gave an interview in which she confessed that she hadn’t been to the gym in two weeks and implied that it was impossible for new moms to do such things.
I took issue with these extreme characterizations of motherhood, and said I hoped that Michaels and her partner would work out a schedule where they could both get some me-time for workouts or anything else. I’m happy to report that in a more level-headed interview in September’s Shape, Michaels seems to be doing just that. “Now, instead of taking a 90-minute yoga class, I go for a 30-minute jog around the neighborhood,” she says. “I still work out four times a week, but it’s not as intense.” She’ll jump on the StairMaster during a conference call or get on the stationary bike while answering emails. She and her partner bring the kids along as they hike the trails near their home or attach a sidecar to their bikes while going for a long ride along the ocean.
In other words, Michaels has figured out that when something is important to you — and clearly exercise is for her — you make space for it, even if you work a lot of hours and have a family you want to see. As she puts it, “You’re not doing anyone any favors by being exhausted and frazzled,” and if exercise helps with that, it’s best for everyone if you find time for it.
I’ve been pondering when is the best time for me to exercise — and how to make more time for it. My husband and I are both signed up for the Philadelphia half-marathon in November. I’ve run 3 other half-marathons and one full; he’s done 2 other half-marathons. I’m pretty sure I’ll finish, but I would like to be reasonably trained so it’s not so painful. That means I need to step up my game a bit, mostly in terms of doing longer runs on weekends. Planning in two people’s long runs on weekends is going to take some work. But during-the-week fitness doesn’t have to take too much time. Like Michaels, I do 30 minute runs around the neighborhood, and I may challenge myself to get up early some days and get runs in then. When do you squeeze in exercise?
In other news:
USA Today quotes me in a piece on “College students sell services to lazy classmates.” A host of cleaning and laundry services, started by enterprising young people, target college students. I point out that — while I’m all in favor of outsourcing — outsourcing can’t save you time if you weren’t devoting any time to the tasks you’re outsourcing in the first place. A dorm cleaning service is more about assuring mom you’re not living in squalor than about saving students time.
Gretchen Rubin wrote a post a few weeks ago about why she wakes up at 6 a.m., even on weekends. The major reason? “I love it.” As she puts it, “I get an hour to myself, at my computer, before my family wakes up for the day. It’s quiet, the light is dim, and the world feels very serene.”
Alyssa of Apple Pie and the Universe writes about her plan for using those before breakfast hours.
I’m over at CBS MoneyWatch writing about 9 time-saving tips for the back-to-school rush. I was feeling some stress the other day thinking “I need to get back-to-school clothes for the kids!” when I realized that no I don’t. They have plenty of summer clothes that fit them and the weather isn’t going to turn cold until October. And as 5- and 2-year-old boys, they aren’t little fashionistas who need first-day outfits (the 11-month-old baby may be a fashionista… but she isn’t starting school).
I’m off from blogging again until post Labor Day. There is a post coming about my attempts to wring every last drop of leisure time out of this summer. My monthly newsletter goes out Mon/Tues. If you haven’t signed up, please do! While the links to blog posts are probably not that exciting to regular blog readers, the newsletter always has an essay that I haven’t run here. Think of it as a bonus super secret blog post, all for the price of giving me your email address.