How to Turn Your Drinking Plans Into Fitness Plans

This just might help you get in shape during the holidays

11.29.16
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You know when you’re watching Dora the Explorer because the kid who you’re babysitting has a better technical command of the remote control than you do? But she’s gone to bed so you can’t change the channel and it’s either this or refresh Instagram for the next two hours, so there you are, staring at a wide-eyed, blinking Dora who has just asked the audience (you) for the answer to a VERY OBVIOUS QUESTION?

She’s like, “Did Swiper go LEFT, or RIGHT?” And then she blinks some more while Swiper is in clear sight, scurrying off to the right, and you just want to scream at Dora to stop farting around with that goddamn backpack and actually pay attention because the answer is right in front of her!?!?

If aliens are watching my life on their TVs, this is how they must have felt since August. For months I verbalized an endless loop of complaints about a series of the same things:

1) I’m not working out consistently enough.
2) I try to pack too many things into one day/night.
3) All of my plans seem to consist of drinking.
4) Which makes it hard to wake up early to fit in that AM work out, but…
5) Working out at night is rarely an option because I am either tired, have work to finish or have plans. In some capacity, all tend to involve drinking.
6) And I eat out too much.

For months I’d lament, lament, lament, then stare at the screen and blink audibly (thanks to some sound guy clicking a Xylophone key — *blink, blink* — making excuses, utterly unaware of the potential solution. Guess an alien must have finally yelled at her galactic TV loud enough for me to hear, because one day an idea popped into my head like a cherry tomato: COMBINE THE PLANS.

OF COURSE. Drunken Pilates!!!!!!

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What I actually did was transition my evening drinking plans into fitness ones.

Step one was look at my calendar. Not including weekends, I had something booked at least three times a week for four consecutive weeks.

Step two was to figure out A. what was probably inappropriate to transition over to a sweat session (some stuff was work-related; some was purely social; some was in-between), B. what from that category could be switched to an early breakfast or coffee meeting and C. what was too close to move without seeming rude. I used my discretion here, but my general rule of thumb is: Could this change inconvenience or screw up someone else’s day? If no, then great.

Step three, then, was to propose the swap to those involved in the set plans. I was upfront (“I’m trying to workout more and drink less”), and most people — even those who I’m not that close with — said, “Great! Me too.” A few were like, “Okay, raincheck until you’re drinking again in December.” I get that. When what you wanted after work was a glass of wine, not a downward dog, this swap sounds sucky.

Step four was to actually go through with all of this, which I did. I successfully swapped six sets of plans to physical activities. Two would-be drink-dates came to my regular morning workout at Refine Method. One joined me at Broadway Dance Bodies. One actually took me to SoulCycle because it turned out she had a guest pass, one went with me to Y7 Yoga (which is hot yoga set to good music; it’s great if you’re in NYC and haven’t tried it yet) and the sixth one — maybe this doesn’t count — agreed, but then had to bail last minute, so I had a post-work Pilates session on my own which I 100% would have cancelled had I not assumed I was meeting someone there.

Join me down here on the mat for a stretch: I think The Swap may have solved all of my problems. (Do you get the stretch joke now?) Of course, life is unpredictable. Sometimes workout classes are hard to get into. Some plans simply require face-to-face interaction, sans sweat. Sometimes, you just want a drink, even if you’re on a drink-less kick. All of this is fine. Blah, blah, blah, everything in moderation. During the holidays, I bet this will be harder to stick to. Still, it’s nice to feel like you’re not stuck in a tornado that you created and can’t exit or fix. It’s nice to have a doable solution (or tool?) to pull out of your metaphorical backpack.

You know who was on a fitness kick this summer? Shiona Turini. Try her thigh workout at home (or just listen to the playlist she stole from Solange) then click through this sweaty hair tutorial. Photos by Krista Anna Lewis; Tory Sport jacket and Alala leggings shown in photo.

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