Working in a Workout

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I love the Austin City Limits Music Festival. It is such a gift to see so many phenomenally talented musicians in one place. But one aspect of multi-day festivals that leaves me slightly apprehensive (other than port-a-potties) is multiple days of standing and dancing in place, which might tire my feet but not provide the requisite daily workout. I get anxious if I don’t find time for a good workout before enjoying the shows, and sore if not adequately prepared before making my way there.

First, I’d like to counter the idea of just taking those days off from your workout. It is not a matter of necessarily training hard those days, but getting in some kind of workout that gets the blood pumping. Without it, I’ve found that my energy is actually lower, and that’s a bummer. Can you relate? This really goes for any day, not just those spent at the ACL fest. As a many-years master of working in the workout, I wanted to share some of my tried-and- true tactics for sticking to an exercise regime:

1. Rise with the Sun

Tackle your workout first thing in the morning. I am not a morning person, but this is really the only way to go when the rest of your weekend is spent at the festival, or on any occasion when the progression of the day is going to diminish my workout chances. When it’s necessary, a morning workout is better than the alternative – no workout.

2. Pair Up

You’ve heard it a million times because it’s true. A great way to motivate yourself is to schedule a workout date with a friend (or a trainer, or a trainer and a friend). When choosing a workout friend, I prefer one who is going to maintain my same level of optimism in the face of potential flake-outs. If my friend and I plan on meeting up to run five days a week but end up texting one another from bed two of those mornings to cancel, we still fit in a workout the other three days, and we maintain the same amount of enthusiasm and faith in the fact that we will meet the next time. It keeps things very positive, and it keeps us motivated to keep trying to get out of bed!

3. Lose the Attitude

This one really hits close to home for me. Make it known or demonstrate that if you do not get your workout in, it is likely you will not be super pleasant to be around, to say the least. My family will shoo me out the door even on those rare occasions that I become so frustrated or tired that I give up the idea of working out. They don’t want to be around the “other” me, and this is probably the case with many of us. So, even if you’re not feeling motivated to workout, drag yourself out of bed and get moving. Your body and soul (and those around you) will thank you for it.

4. Use Creative Terms

Sometimes friends are really good at talking us out of our workouts, and many of us fall prey to this tactic, ending up loafing over a sugary brunch instead of taking the personal time to improve our bodies and spirits with a workout. Be prepared for this diversion with creative responses. I loosely define running as “meeting,” as in “I have a meeting I can’t miss at 8 a.m.” Maybe this is not the high road, but I have had to resort to it when other parties might not be empathetic to my need to exercise for my own mental health.

Once you make it to the gym, there are a couple of things you can do to help prepare you for the ACL standing fest: core work and balance training. A strong core will help you distribute your body weight more evenly while standing, otherwise your lower back may bear the brunt of the prolonged time on your feet. By core work I am referring to abdominal strengthening that focuses more on the transversus (think of a lap band running around your waist at your bellybutton level) rather than rectus abdominus (crunches, six pack). Exercises might include leg lowers, planks, prone lower back extensions or knee-to-chest movements from the top-of-a- push-up position.

For balance work, standing on one leg on an unstable surface such as a half-foam roller, a balance pad or a BOSU ball will help build strength in the stabilizing muscles. Another great exercise is to stand on one leg with the other leg lifted slightly behind you. Bend your standing knee and touch the ground, alternating from the inside to the outside of your standing leg. Then repeat on the other side.

Getting your body prepared for the ACL fest means you’ll be able to enjoy three solid days of festival madness without feeling the consequences later. Be sure to keep your energy up by gobbling down some healthy snacks, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

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