Although I genuinely like working out, I have trouble sticking to any consistent plan. Some mornings, I wake up feeling extra groggy and can't imagine venturing out into the cold for a high-energy run. Some days, the thought of doing even one more squat makes me want to ditch my workout altogether. The saying "variety is the spice of life" really rings true when it comes to my personal relationship with exercise, and surprisingly enough, Jennifer Aniston likes to follow a flexible workout routine, too — one that not only allows her the ability to switch things up on a regular basis depending on what her day looks like, but even encourages her to do so.
Leyon Azubuike, co-owner of the boxing gym Gloveworx and Aniston's personal trainer, told Women's Health that he uses something called "periodization" to adjust the Dumplin' actor's workouts according to her schedule. "If I know Jen isn’t filming anything, it’s a different phase than if I know she has something coming up tomorrow," he said. "If she’s going to be walking up to receive an award, I’m not going to destroy her legs in the gym the day before." In other words, Azubuike fits Aniston's exercise routine to her daily life, not the other way around.
Being self-aware is key to figuring out if this would be a good strategy for you, too, explains Kelly Clifton-Turner, yoga teacher and director of education for YogaSix. "It just depends on the person," she tells Elite Daily. "Some people know that if they don’t get their workout in before the day starts, it won’t happen," she explains. "For others, flexibility is important because their schedules are more fluid."
An easy way to figure out if flexible workouts could be a good fit in your routine is to sit down and take an honest assessment of what your week looks like, suggests certified personal trainer and lifestyle coach Emily Cook Harris. Some parts of your daily schedule — like what time you have to be at work — can't be changed, but if you find yourself with wiggle room after work one day, or even in the morning if you wake up earlier than usual one day, you might be able to dedicate that time to a quick sweat sesh.
"Things just come up, it's a fact of life. Part of a balanced life is spending time with loved ones, and feeding into your relationships," says Sydney Eaton, a NASM-certified personal trainer and head of fitness and at the fitness app PK Coin. "Having the flexibility to adjust your schedule is important for your fitness routine to fit into a balanced lifestyle and be maintainable long-term."
Being able to adjust and find the “Plan B” is so important for being able to adapt, stay nimble, and stay committed to your health, says Clifton-Turner. One surprisingly simple way to do this, she suggests, is to keep a gym bag packed so that when you do find a good pocket of time for a workout, you're all set. If you have a car, consider keeping everything you need — such as workout clothes, a yoga mat, a towel, a pair of running shoes, etc. — in a duffel bag in your trunk. You can alternatively stash your things under your desk or in a drawer at work if you usually have more time later in the day.
Another way to add some flexibility (metaphorically, that is) to your workout routine is to let go of that voice in your head that says you "have" to do a specific kind of exercise, or work out in a specific way. You don't have to go to an actual gym in order to count your workout as a workout, for example. "Especially if your objectives are health, instead of committing to a specific workout type, intensity, and duration, commit to moving within your dedicated 'movement' windows," Gillian Goerzen, health trainer and author of the book The Elephant in the Gym, tells Elite Daily. "When the window arrives, listen and honor your body, mind, and spirit."
What this "movement" looks like is totally up to you. If you and your work BFF have a sudden craving for gelato, for example (it happens), walk together to pick up your sweet treat and roam around a little longer as you enjoy it. Or take your pup to a local dog park and chase him around until you're both ready for a nap.