Switching up the exercise, switching up the meal template

I love learning about people’s routines and systems. But the reality is that almost all routines and systems wind up changing over time. These things are often more snapshots in time than anything else.

For instance, a few years ago, I embarked on a running streak — running every single day. I wound up doing this for 1100 straight days. (The streak ended, not coincidentally, on kid #5’s birthday.)

These days, I’m not running as many times per week. Instead, I’ve been switching things up more. This week Monday I worked out with my trainer. Tuesday afternoon I biked for 50 minutes on a local trail. On Wednesday a friend and I went hiking on a different trail. Today, I did a trail run on a different part of that same trail system. I might wind up biking again this weekend — we shall see! Since I’m not training for anything in particular, I figure exercise is exercise, and changing things up keeps me at least somewhat more interested in the process.

As for meals, for the past few years we’ve done breakfast for dinner on Wednesdays, and make-your-own-pizza night on Fridays. But with some changing childcare hours and such, I wound up shifting this around this week, and probably will in future weeks too. We did breakfast for dinner on Tuesday. We will do make-your-own-pizza tonight (Thursday). Honestly the Thursday spot works a little better for this as the kid who doesn’t like that meal is gone at dinner time and then the pizzas can be made quickly in a window that is available for everyone else.

Anyway, there’s no deeper point to this post, other than that routines change. So it goes. Part of the theoretical upside of routines is that you don’t have to think about them…except you’re likely going to have to think about them at some point. You maybe just think about them a little less than if you’re making it up as you go.

Have you changed any routines lately?

10 thoughts on “Switching up the exercise, switching up the meal template

  1. Laundry. I feel like I am constantly switching laundry routines.

    Right now: doing socks/underwear separately because I hate having to pull out those small items from among larger things. I do a load of just big things – shirts, shorts, shirts – and a load of small things…and it’s so much easier to put away.

    Check back in a month; I suspect I’ll have a new system, but for now it’s working. Tomorrow it’s a “big item” load!

    1. @Elisabeth – I hadn’t thought about separating out small and big items. I do my own laundry separately, and my husband does his. So those are both easy to put away. Then the kids get grouped in maybe two loads, twice a week — and then they are often responsible for separating and putting away (not the 3-year-old). It doesn’t seem too overwhelming. Occasional towel/sheet load done in there somewhere.

    2. While I don’t follow a laundry routine per se, I highly approve of separating small items vs bigger items. This strategy is useful for timing aspects too — smaller items like socks and undies can be left overnight in the dryer without any wrinkly consequences. (The same is true for towels.)

  2. We just hired someone to come and do meal prep two days a week, which means that my menu planning and grocery routine has to happen before she arrives.

    And the seasonal shift dictates a shift in exercise routines – in the summer, I bike to my workouts and yoga classes at 5 am. In the winter, I do not want to leave the house when it’s still cold and dark.

    Last winter I never acknowledged that and it was a constant internal battle.

    This year, I’ve decided that afternoon and evening are perfect for working out. I can come home, shower, and go straight to bed if I want. This will make mornings much cozier!

    1. @Seppie – yep, one reason we got the treadmill is that sometimes it is a battle to leave the house to exercise during winter. And while I have this idea that I might do it in the morning it’s a lot less appealing during the school year when I’m up at 6:30 vs. summer when it tends to be 7-7:30- so I can set the alarm for 6:30 and get a run in.

  3. We have never been a day of the week = particular food, but I created Sunday night nachos this summer and it has been amazing. We’re at a stage of life where our daughter is almost never home for dinner (karate or teaching karate 5 days a week) and out son has baseball most evenings so the evenings are focused on post-sport ice protein and ice cream verbal rehashing of the workout. Our girl’s off to Texas A&M next fall so I know routines will change again. I love a good rhythm to our days and am treasuring the one we’ve got for now!

    1. @Calee- Sunday nachos sounds great! We often do hamburgers + hot dogs on Sunday nights but few of the kids seem really into that so maybe need to rethink it. And excellent about Texas A&M! My husband is a grad and had a great experience there.

  4. Definitely another vote for a seasonal change in exercise routine. When and where I want to exercise in winter changes quite significantly which has a knock-on impact on what I do. Dallas Hartwig wrote a whole book on this. Our meal routine changes as well. My son plays a sport that can only be played in the summer in the UK (cricket) so, whilst he trains a little in the winter, there are no evening or weekends spent eating on the go at matches.

  5. I am working to get myself into morning exercise. For several years my kids went to bed like clockwork at 8pm and i very dutifully did many workouts after 8pm on weekdays. It seemed easier than mornings in those years when i was not guaranteed a full night of sleep but now as they are older and extra curriculars are creeping in (along with more in-office time where I can’t always get a lunch workout done) means the 8pm is getting pushed later. I have dabbled in past with morning workouts – usually summer heat or a looming race necessitated it and i did it but it never stuck.
    I have thankfully recruited a couple of friends to help with this – a friend who can be counted on to pick me up at 6am to go swim and another to meet me on the dark streets for a run. But i know this shift will help me get the consistency that I want – I keep telling myself that ‘future me’ will be happy I am doing this. Still a work in progress though.

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