Life was so much simpler in grade school, wasn't it? Kindergarten especially. What I wouldn't give to have THAT schedule again: storytime, ABC's, snacktime, recess, lunchtime, naptime, more recess, snack, show and tell.
Memories of kindergarten, and seeing my friends' little ones gear up for a new year, got me thinking about the lessons learned early on. Turns out, we were taught in kindergarten all we needed as our foundation for the Badass Journey.
It's easy to forget, though, as we get all "grown up and busy." So in honor of my cousin Miles (there we are, top left, about to go ice skating this past January) and my favorite little spunky Badass (er, "Bad Donkey") Ava McKown (who is a year away from kindergarten but already likes to "work out" and report back to "Miss Shannon"), I present to you Badass soldiers a reminder:
All the (Badass) Things You Learned in Kindergarten
1. Play nice: All of those 'good manners' rules your first teacher taught you still apply, especially in the gym or on the playing field or court. Don't be rude, obnoxious, or selfish. Put away your "toys" (dumbbells, weight plates, etc) when you're finished, and share the equipment. It makes the experience better for everyone.
2. Take naps: If you're anything like the average American, you don't get enough sleep. Naps are not a feasible option for many of us, me included. But getting more shut-eye should be high on your priority list - you'll perform better at work and fitness, and your hunger levels will be a lot steadier.
3. Read a lot, limit TV: Watching TV all the time is a metabolism-killer. Yes, you actually burn more calories reading than watching TV. And a bad TV habit means you're wasting time in front of the tube that could be spent MOVING those Badasses. We often limit the kids' TV time, so why not limit our own? while they're reading Dr. Seuss, you can be reading up about history or politics or good fiction, or even fitness.
4. Snacks are good: We can take a cue from the snacks we feed the little ones. Apples and peanut butter, string cheese, bananas, raisins, graham crackers - they're all good fuel for the Badass Army, pre- and post-workout. And the kids' schedule of eating smaller meals every few hours is one to adopt - the smaller, more frequent meals keep our 'furnaces' burning and our metabolism humming.
5. Share with others: Why keep it all to yourself? Share what you know and learn about the Badass journey with others. That's what this Badass Fitness blog is all about. Share your workout time, too, because having a partner keeps you both accountable. If you know someone is there waiting for you to go running before dawn or to lift weights before work, you're much less likely to hit "snooze" when the alarm goes off.
6. Fidget. Monkey around: I'm a fidgeter. I tap my toes, I get up and down. I move a lot, and I move fast. Studies have shown that people who fidget tend to be more lean, overall. So if you don't already fidget, start making it a habit. Just like the kindergartners who fidget 10 minutes into storytime, we can do ourselves a favor by being antsy. We can also follow their lead by just monkeying around. Kids tend to be fearless, right? They'll run around, climb, try new toys, without hesitation. All the while, they're burning off all those graham crackers they just ate.
7. Drink milk: Many of us drank milk like water as kids, and then somewhere along the way we stopped. But skim milk is chock full of protein and bone-strengthening calcium, and studies show that the ideal fuel after an endurance workout like cycling or distance running is not Gatorade or a protein shake. It's chocolate milk. Yep, that's right. Researchers say the high carb and protein content in milk make it very effective as a recovery drink. Stick to the skim or lowfat chocolate variety, and enjoy that chocolatey goodness just like whe you were a kid!
8. Baby your boo-boos: When our Badasses are injured, they're telling us something. They need recovery time. They need rest. They need our patience and perseverence. As an impatient Type A, I know this is difficult - especially whe it feels like the injury or the muscle fatigue is hampering or slowing down the pace of our Badass journey. But in the long run, it's better to go slow for a little while than to ignore what our Badasses are telling us.
9. Eat your vegetables: Yes, our moms were right. So was Popeye with his whole "eat spinach" mantra. The food we put into our Badass Temples is 85 to 90 percent of the equation. We can exercise every morning and every night, but if we're feeding ourselves with junk in between, we will not see the results we want. So find a way to like vegetables, or at least tolerate them. Keep your food clean, and your Badass will be a lot more lean.
10. Have fun: How can we be expected to persevere through something we dread? The key to staying on the Badass path is to find the right path for you. Know thyself. If you hate running, don't make that your daily exercise. Do something you enjoy, and make it part of your fitness. Same goes with eating. Yes, milk is good. But if you hate it, find another way (spinach, for example) to get your calcium. Find what works for you. Find what makes you smile. Find joy in fitness. Find your inner 5-year-old.
Coming Wednesday: A Routine for Sculpting that Badass