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  • Jennifer Bradford

Why planning is a must on a wellness or fitness journey

Something that I will mention again and again is the importance of planning. Meal planning, training planning, scheduling sleep, etc. 


It’s so vitally important especially in the beginning of a fitness journey. 


Your goals are important to know prior to your planning so make sure that you have fully developed these. I’ll blog on goals separately. 


Find a day that you are not particularly busy. Maybe a day you are off of work or just a day that you can set aside time to plan. 


Let’s talk about meal planning first. Having the same thing for breakfast and lunch during the week makes planning easier, though you don’t have to do this, but it would be beneficial long term. You can then meal prep and freeze those meals for the week and you are ready to go. Saves time and you are less likely to end up starving at lunch time at work and get a less nutritious meal quickly. Most people stick to the same foods so you will get a rotation going as time goes on and this simplifies things even more. Dinner might get more tricky as you may be sharing a meal with other people, eating out, or relying on someone else to cook your meal. 


If you are eating dinner with someone else who is cooking for or with you, talk to them about your new goals and journey first. If this is your spouse or partner, I hope they will be supportive of you. You may need to have a conversation together about how you will handle dinners in the future so you can keep moving forward on your journey. Let them know that if they are cooking, it would be helpful for them to give you the recipe or at least let you know what ingredients they are using so you know and can plan around it. It would be nice too, if they were mindful of the type of foods they are preparing for you. Who knows, maybe you will inspire them to start their own fitness journey! 


If you are eating out, then decide where you are going before you go out. Check out the restaurant’s website and figure out what you’re having before you even get to the restaurant. Some places will even have the nutrition information available. We can talk about eating out and special occasions later, but the best thing to do is to decide what you’re getting ahead of time so that you can stay on track. 


When it comes to training planning, think about what’s going on in the week. When would you be able to go to the gym or do your home workout? This might change on a weekly basis so it’s good to review the week ahead and plan for any expected obstacles. Are you working a 12 hour shift and then taking your kid to soccer for 1.5 hours afterwards? Might not want to train that day. If you work a 9-5, is it easier for you to workout in the morning or after work? People glamorize the 5 AM workout, but honestly you can train anytime. It still counts! 


Do you feel like you don’t have enough time to fit in a workout? Firstly, an hour workout is just fine. Thirty minutes if you are just starting out is ok, too. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym. The hard truth is that everyone has time. Are you willing to make your training a priority and give up something else that is taking up your time (TV, phone, going out). The time will come (many times!) when you will need to make sacrifices during your fitness journey. Think about your “why”. Why are you embarking on this journey in the first place? This thought can help inspire you. More than likely, what you’re doing now isn’t working so changes need to be made somewhere to develop a lifestyle that is sustainable. If this doesn’t strike you, then you might not be ready to truly make a definitive change in your habits. Try to find 3-4 days a week where you will be able to fit in your work out. Schedule it with yourself. You don’t want to miss time you’ve set aside for yourself! 


When it comes to sleep, similarly, you’ll need to think about what’s happening the next day and when you’ll need to get to up by. If you need to be at work at 9:00 AM, you know you’ll need to get out of bed by 7:00 AM so you can shower and have breakfast and leave your home in time to be on time for work. So, ideally, 7-8 hours of sleep at night is what you should be trying to get for optimal health benefits. So, you’d need to go to bed by no later than 11:00 PM. Also, try to stick to the same sleep schedule as best you can even on days you are not needing to get up as early. 


Planning may seem daunting at first, but practicing it often will help you learn what works best for you and it will become second nature. You might not need to plan as much as time goes on as you learn your habits and can anticipate better! Let’s go!

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