It seems to be the one thing everyone says they need more of, and the thing we most easily give up on.
I’ve had accountability buddies at work, in fitness, while pursuing my degree… and yet here I am writing a blog post when I still have three more papers to write by tomorrow evening. The library is closed, so I am studying at home. With two kids, this is a nearly impossible task when they are awake. It seems every five seconds someone is asking for mom. And yet when they finally give me reprieve, I find it easier to get lost in my phone – or writing a blog – than it is to focus on my schoolwork. If I were at the library, at least I would have the accountability of public shaming if I chose to blatantly ignore my responsibilities. Not that anyone would come over to my desk and tell me to put down Words with Friends and get back to work, but I like to pretend it’s a possibility. I suppose my own neurosis is my accountability buddy at the library.
When it comes to health and fitness, I truly believe that no one can do it alone.
A couple of weeks ago, I did something really, really dumb.
I registered for a half marathon.
Why? Because it was Global Running Day and there was a discount.
The first thing I did was text fitness director and personal trainer Kelly H. in a complete panic.
In our meeting, we assessed how I had progressed over the last six months and what I felt I was capable of taking to the next level while I prep for the race. I told her that nutrition was the biggest piece of the puzzle that I was going to need help with.
We made a deal. I was going to be diligent about tracking all my meals in MyFitnessPal, and she was going to text me every morning with her thoughts on what I logged. I thought I was doing alright until she quizzically pointed out the slice of pizza I had for breakfast over the weekend. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, Kelly.
In addition to the food journal, I also agreed to text her my workout plan for the week every Sunday. I was committing to at least two days of running and two days of cross-training per week. Has everything gone 100% according to plan? Of course not. But Kelly checks in and makes sure I’m hanging in there. And I do my part by going to her group exercise classes when I can for that extra dose of Kelly in my week. I know if I tell her I am planning on going to her Friday Summit Cycle class, and I don’t show up, I’m getting a text. Maybe even a phone call.
It’s easy to give up on the idea of an accountability partner, too, sometimes, isn’t it? Raise your hand if you’ve ever started out with the best of intentions only to wind up turning those group runs into more recovery time at the bar than actual training, “tomorrow” or “next week”ing yourselves until you fall out of touch, writing a blog post when you should be waxing on about Constitutional Law… It’s ok if this has happened to you. It’s probably happened to just about everyone. The most important thing you can do is dust yourself off and start again. Pick up that phone and call your old workout buddy and set a plan in stone. Sign up for a 5K together. Set up a playdate for your kids to go to the park and then run a couple of laps around them while they play. Ask your best friend to check your food log each day. Join CHHRC together.
I’ve heard people say they fear joining a gym because people can see them work out. I get it! When I run outdoors, I like to go when I’m convinced the least amount of people possible can see me. I also really enjoy the alone time with my thoughts or to listen to a good podcast (here’s a great one I’ve been loving lately!) But what I love about working out in group exercise classes, is that I don’t feel like I can slack off like I might do if I were alone in my living room watching Buns of Steel. If I’m in a crowd, I tend to put more effort in because I want to keep up with everyone else. For people who think like me, Group Ex is a whole room full of accountability!