Being consistent with my fitness habits used to be the easiest factor for me. I would go to the gym 3-4 times a week and I truly wanted to be there. I wanted to get stronger. Training had its ups and downs, but overall I enjoyed it more than any other activity in my life. I consistently showed up and did the work.
Consistency was the easiest part for me because I enjoyed the process and I had the time to make it happen.
I would schedule my appointments and other activities around the times I planned to go to the gym. It was my top priority.
Then, responsibility happened.
My boyfriend, Mark, and I planned the whole dog-acquisition process for over a year before we started submitting applications for one.
After being rejected for six different rescue dogs due to the competition, we got a male corgi puppy from a reputable breeder and we named him Waffles.
I knew it was going to be challenging and time-consuming, but my brain was not 100% prepared for the constant demand of my time.
Mark and I adjusted our schedules as needed. I started waking up 30 minutes earlier in the morning, putting me at a 4:45 AM wake-up. I took a few days off work and Mark worked from home for several days during the first week. When we both went back to work, Mark started coming home on his lunch hour to let Waffles out and I came home a little earlier to take care of him.
I used to go to the gym immediately after work; I had to skip that so I could go home to take care of our puppy.
I felt like I had no time for my own health and fitness.
Going to the gym was my “me time,” and I desperately needed that time. Working out at home with kettlebells and dumbbells was not cutting it. I tried, but my puppy wouldn’t let me work out. I needed to get out of the house and go touch a barbell, badly!
My willpower, patience, and ability to act rationally were all tested.
Instead of going to the gym, I was spending any free time studying, doing laundry, or cleaning dishes, desperately trying to catch up on things around the house that I was neglecting.
During this time, I felt resentment towards my puppy for taking away my time. Then I felt guilty and selfish for feeling resentment towards a baby dog in the first place. My mental state was pretty unstable, and I was on the brink of giving up.
I felt exhausted, sleep deprived, mentally drained, stressed, and miserable.
During the first 8 weeks, I was only able to fit in workouts 1-2 times a week because my schedule was dependent on when Mark could watch Waffles. Here are the days I ended up working out:
Week 1: Tuesday, Friday
Week 2: Sunday
Week 3: Friday, Saturday
Week 4: Friday
Week 5: Friday
Week 6: Monday, Thursday
Week 7: Thursday
Week 8: Monday, Thursday
As you can see, the days chosen were completely random. Still, getting into the gym again made me feel like a real human rather than a dog-mom-robot. While those workouts were inconsistent, it was better than doing nothing at all.
Here’s the thing: When you are faced with a new responsibility (such as a new baby human or animal), it completely changes your life. You are now responsible for another living being, so your old routines and habits are bound to change drastically in order to care for them. You dedicate all your strongest efforts toward them during this transitional period in the beginning.
Yes, “consistency is key,” but IT’S OKAY to be a bit inconsistent with your health and fitness habits while you find new ways to fit them into your life.
My focus shifted from my own self-care, health, and fitness, to taking care of my puppy. Though it was frustrating at times, I got through it. My body and mind eventually got used to my new routines, and I found new ways to fit in healthy habits.
Yes, self-care is extremely important and you should prioritize it highly, but it’s not always possible to put your own needs first.
Change is uncomfortable, and gradually, things will continue to change. Your puppy will eventually sleep quietly through the night (mostly). Some things will get easier and some things will just be different.
With some effort, you can find a balance between consistency in your habits and responsibility for your dependents.
Now, we are in a pretty good routine with Waffles. After two long months, we managed to adjust our lives to include our puppy while also taking care of ourselves. Next week, I plan to get back to working out at least 3 times a week. We’re currently building up our home gym, so that should also make things easier.
I’m getting my consistency back.
Yes, my puppy annoys me sometimes. He demands a great deal of my time, energy, and resources. Regardless, we love him, and the joy he brings into our lives is definitely worth all the effort.