Divvying up our lives into neat little boxes is kind of what we do. We have eight-plus hours slotted as “work time,” a hot second of “self-care” during our a.m. and p.m. routines, and—of course—a block of sweat-soaked moments, where we head to the gym or our most-treasured boutique studio. But Meg Takacs, creator of 30-day programming with Meg and trainer at New York City’s Performix House, is flipping the script: She believes that every skill you need to succeed within the hours of nine to five can be learned between the four walls of your favorite sweat destination.
In her forthcoming book, the New York City-based trainer devotes page after page to the argument that how you show up on the treadmill is how you show up in life. Just like you’d crank out a round of high knees before beginning your sweat sesh in earnest, Takacs says easing your way into the workday with meditation or some sort of starting point is key. One of her favorites? Writing a beyond-simple task on her to-do list that she can check off first thing to get the day started on the right foot.
“You use that accomplishment as momentum throughout your day to keep going. The more you accomplish, the more you crave to accomplish. So it doesn’t matter what task is at hand, how difficult it is, or how much there is. It’s about just getting started,” she says. Maybe for you that means jotting down “make a green smoothie” or Takacs’ favorite: “wake up.” (I know, same.) “You’re starting that conversation between your brain and your body,” she explains.
“Being able to push yourself out of your comfort zone to raise that mental and physical baseline creates a work ethic that translates to anything.” – Meg Takacs, creator of 30-day programming with Meg and trainer at New York City’s Performix House
Next, you get into the meat of the workday. “Being able to run the extra mile, pushing yourself a little more than you usually would is directly transferable to day-to-day tasks,” she tells me. If you’ve ever heard a trainer say that a certain exercise can “raise your baseline”—meaning, it can push the boundaries of your current fitness game so you can “level up” for your next one—you know what she means. “Being able to push yourself out of your comfort zone to raise that mental and physical baseline creates a work ethic that translates to anything,” adds Takacs.
Take, for example, the last round of burpees during HIIT class that you’re dreading more than anything else. In the 60-second burst, you have the opportunity to defy what you think you’re capable of. Meaning, you just might squeeze in extra effort in preparation of your next work presentation or raise your hand when a leadership role opens up. Quite simply: “It’s about being able to handle more than you think you can,” Takacs says.
Phew. Once your eyeballs have officially glazed over and you’ve crushed your day at work, you guessed it: It’s time to cool down. “It’s also important at the end of the day to just have me-time where you reflect, think about what you accomplished, and then set the goals for the next day,” she tells me. That means before you slide into your nightly Netflix viewing, take a moment to run through what happened to you and how it could be better the next day (I know, it’s hard!). As Takacs points out, somedays you’ll feel like a rockstar for all the work you’ve done and sometimes you’ll be disappointed that you didn’t complete X task on your to-do list. But just like your workout, it’s all making you stronger in the process.
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