Shaun Baer

actor - singer - writer

Fitness Challenge Created and Accepted

Captain's Blog - Stardate 60916.2

Two years ago I was in the best shape of my life. I had found a workout plan (some might say habit) that I was able to stick to and I felt great. It took me nine months to get to that point. Somewhere along the line, I broke that habit. Probably that fall when I got back into evening rehearsals on top of work, a new relationship, and the build up to the holiday season. Not to mention all the pumpkin spice lattes.

As it turns out, getting out of a habit is much easier than establishing one. I suppose that's not a ground breaking surprise to anyone. I've done quite a bit of reading on habits. From Julia Morgenstern encouraging me to base my habits on my tendencies, to Gretchen Rubin encouraging me to establish an external accountability for my desired behavior shift. 

I will say, one thing I loved about Gretchen Rubin's book Better Than Before was the idea that in any given day we have a finite amount of decision-making energy. When we don't have a habit for something we have to take the time and energy to decide. Do I work out or do I watch TV? If I work out, what muscle group do I work? If I work out, what activity will I need to give up to make the time? How exhausting! By the time I answer some or all of those questions, I've run out of time or energy to do the workout I want before I have to be somewhere. 

So...how am I going to get back in the habit of working out? And how will I keep it up?  That's the question. An actor's life, by default, comes with an erratic schedule. Some days I have auditions, rehearsals, or performances that alter the flow of my entire day and week. At the same time, keeping yourself in the shape you want for your career is part of your job. So, why is it so hard to maintain? Speaking with other actors, I know that I am not alone.

Nonetheless, I am determined to solidify this habit again. First, it's time to remove the thinking. Until such time as I am consistent enough to plateau, here is my plan. This will be the last time I think about it:

  • Monday: Chest and back (45 min)
  • Tuesday: Arms and Shoulders (45 min)
  • Wednesday: Legs and Abs (45 min)
  • Thursday: Chest and back (45 min)
  • Friday: Arms and Shoulders (45 min)
  • Saturday: Cardio (45 min)

I will attach to that at least 30 minutes of post-workout shower/shave time plus commuting and you're looking at about an hour and a half to two hours a day, depending on where I'm commuting from.

So, two hours a day. Got it. Next? Accept that there will never be a day that I can guarantee the time of day this happens. However, I can always make this happen. Ideally, this would take place before work. Today, for example, I work at noon and have a show in the evening. So, I should get to the gym by 10am. So, that's the plan for today. But tomorrow, I am crashing an audition, which means I have to be at the equity building by 8:30-9 am to get on the list. Solution? Head to the gym after I get seen. 

I keep a Google Calendar with the gym time included and easily movable as my schedule changes. So, as much as is possible, the thinking for that is now removed.

The only component left is accountability. I could do a daily instagram post but that can get tedious and I'm hoping to keep my instagram varied. I will, however, kick off each week with a Star Trek themed "Motivational Monday" post. In case you missed it, Monday's is at the bottom of this blog. You can follow me on instagram to see the rest of these. And thirty days from when I started (which was Monday, June 6th), I'll be back with an update on my new commitment to fitness. This will include a then/now photo and a report on how effective this new plan has been.

That also happens to be July 4th, Independence Day. On that day I look forward to celebrating my freedom. Freedom from excuses. Freedom from unrealized potential. Freedom from resistance. Bring it on.

Oh...and I'm also giving up dairy for thirty days.