How this change to my weekend routine improved my work, family life

Hale Strength and Shape on North Main Street in Plymouth.
Hale Strength and Shape on North Main Street in Plymouth.

It’s Saturday morning, 5:45 a.m. to be exact, and my Apple watch is vibrating on my wrist.

Time to get up and get going. 

No, I’m not going to work, the alarm is going off for me.  

I quietly climb out of bed and walk to the closet where my workout clothes are waiting for me to pull them on. I brush my teeth, wash my face and head down stairs with our dog. 

The rest of my house is asleep and I love the quiet. 

I let Archer outside, make coffee, feed him and then I sit down with my journal. This is my new routine.

Every morning I begin with writing my personal intentions and what I am grateful for that day.

I started the practice after reading “Girl Wash Your Face,” by Rachel Hollis.  

Writing down what I’m grateful for has opened my eyes wider to the little everyday things in life that bring us joy. Those moments and the people in them no longer pass me by as frequently.  

By now it’s about 6:30 a.m. and I’m ready to head to my workout class. I grab my sneakers, water bottle and run out the door, get in my car and hit the ignition button. I make the short drive to Hale Strength and Shape on North Main Street in Plymouth.  

It is dark outside when I pull into the parking lot.  

Inside it’s still a little chilly, but we will be peeling off our layers soon enough. 

It’s the 6:50 a.m. women’s group strength class and six of us are ready to work out. Our instructor, Kurt Hessenbruch has a series of exercises planned out and shows us the first five in our first round. This is a circuit-based class that focuses on all areas of the body and core exercise. 

We lift heavy things. Hand weights, kettle bells, dumbbells, kegs filled with sand, weighted balls.

Through a series of exercises all the muscles in our bodies are pushed and tested. Kurt watches our form and encourages us to keep going. He also quietly adds to the weight when he thinks we can handle it.  

The women who work out along side of me are strong. Some of them incredibly so, lifting heavy weight with what seems like ease. And no one cares how much or how little you’re lifting, they are cheering you on for just showing up.  

During the second circuit of each class we do pull ups. They are hard. When I started coming regularly to the 6:50 a.m. class, I couldn’t even do one without the help of bands and my instructor. 

Now I am working on doing the first two chin ups on my own with no help.  

During a recent class, I stepped up to the bar, put my hands in place and went for it. The first one was easy, then with the second one I really had to pull with all my might to get my chin over the bar. As I was doing this, the ladies in the room saw what I was trying to accomplish and cheered me on,

“Come on you can do it.”

“Go Meaghan, you’ve got it.” 

Hearing the classmates root for my success kept me fighting harder to do it. While I barely pulled my chin over the bar, I did do it. I have to say, it felt amazing.

Nearly every weekend I start my Saturdays with this class. This weekend day could be the first day of the week I don’t get up to an alarm, instead I choose to get up and work out with these women. 

It is my time. I show up for me and no one else. I sweat, chat and laugh while slowly feeling myself getting stronger.   

With my work schedule and home life, I’m only able to get in one class a week, but I feel the difference both mentally and physically. I no longer think about my weight, because I feel different, I feel good in my clothes, I feel like I can tackle whatever is ahead in my day because I gave these first hours of the day to myself. 

Errands, soccer games, projects around the house, time with friends, no matter how hectic our weekend can be, I’ve got it because I fueled myself first. 

It’s not just getting it all done, I find I have a cooler head and I’m less likely to snap at my son if he is not moving fast enough or has done something I would normally find irritating. Being more patient is a goal for me in 2019.

The idea of putting myself and self-care first is not just a Saturday ritual for me. Many mornings I set the alarm early to fit in time for exercise, writing or just to read a chapter in the book I’m reading. I put it first because it is too easy to sacrifice it later in the day for someone or something else or simply because

I’m tired. 

It's not easy and if I’m being honest there are mornings I hit the snooze button. But when I do get up I’m reminded why taking care of me helps me do better by everyone else.

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