One thing that has really had a positive impact on my life as a real estate assistant is my early morning exercise habit.
I know that’s seemingly unrelated, but hear me out.
A couple years ago, my husband and I decided that working out after work wasn’t working! It was becoming too easy for one of us to say, “I’m tired, let’s stay home,” and then the other person just caves. So to fix that, we changed to morning exercise. Because my husband has to be at work at 7:00, we have to get up at 4:00 in order to workout, eat, and get ready. (By the way, the consequence of getting up at 4 AM is that I have to be in bed by 8 PM. That’s hard when the sun doesn’t set for another hour in the summer!)
At 4 AM my body doesn’t know what’s happening. So I find myself at the gym and sometimes wonder how I even got there.
Now it’s a habit. At first it was so hard. It took about two weeks to get used to that early morning hour. But after that, it got pretty easy. I’m often awake about 10-20 minutes before the alarm goes off.
It’s so nice to start the morning with a win. Moving my body feels good. It’s tight and cranky when I first get to the gym, but once I get some blood flowing, it’s fine.
I like the routine of the gym. I see the same people nearly every morning and they are like extended family. You have the bearded bros who each have an epic beard. There’s the Hispanic guys who have whole-hearted laughs and speak Spanish to each other. There’s the dudes who work for Ford and like to bitch about their supervisors. There are assorted women of all sizes who typically workout by themselves.
I like seeing them every morning. The gym is our second home.
I don’t try to lift heavier and heavier weights or go faster and longer on the treadmill. I have a handful of exercises that I do for about 30 minutes, and then I walk on the treadmill for another 15-25 minutes until my husband is done lifting.
For me, it’s more about focusing on my body. Paying attention to moving the weight. Exercise is like mediation. But instead of leaving my body, I’m hyper-focused on it. It feels good.
Letting exercise be my meditation means I don’t have to be an emotional nutcase the rest of the day. I have more control over my reactions and find that it’s easier for me to remain in control of myself.
Always remember this, the calmest person in the room wins. This advice will serve you well if you ever find yourself in a situation with clients and agents where emotions are running high.
I like to listen to podcasts when I walk on the treadmill. If I need to, I can write down a note in my email and send it to myself to research later.
What I have found is that exercise is difficult to embrace. Most people either exercise religiously or not at all.
When it comes to exercise, that’s one area of my life that I never have to feel guilty about. I never use it as an excuse either. I don’t say, “Well, I had a hard workout this morning so I can afford to eat half a large pizza and three beers.”
If I want to eat half a large pizza and three beers, then I’ll do it because I want to. Not because I justified with exercise.
Exercise makes me feel good about myself too. It doesn’t matter if I’m wearing size 16 or size 10 (and I’ve been both in my adult life, usually flexing between the two), I always feel good when I exercise. I always feel strong and capable. I think I’ve connected strength of character and physical strength in my mind someone. Because I have one, I also have the other.
What’s interesting to note too is that nearly all the members of our real estate team also exercise in one way or another. Our lead agent Ron lift weights at the gym and will go for runs or walks with his wife. Our buyer specialist Scott attends a Crossfit-like gym performing feats of strength and cardio that sound like punishment, but he loves it and sometimes takes his twelve-year-old daughter with him. Our transaction coordinator Courtney goes on evening walks with her mom. Is it a coincidence that our team experiences very little drama amongst ourselves? From what I can tell, we are one of the most drama-free teams in our office.
Early-morning exercise also frames my day. When I get to the office, I’m awake and motivated to take on my to-do list. I don’t need to ease into my work day with a couple cups of coffee and slowly ramp up. When I sit down at my desk, I’m ready to go. (And by the way, you should never start your work day by checking emails. We’ll talk about that in a future post.)
If I have one piece of advise about exercise it’s this – find a way to move your body that makes you happy. Maybe it’s stretching every night for ten minutes before you go to bed, or a 15 minute walk around the block before your morning shower. Maybe some yoga, or tennis, or swimming? The human body was made to move, and the brain just functions so much better when you do.
What’s your favorite way to exercise? Tell us about your routine in the comments below and how it has benefited your life.