Lately I’ve been receiving the same client excuse for skipping workouts from almost all my clients and friends. This particular excuse has increased in usage undoubtedly due to the change in everyone’s schedules when school’s out and kids are requiring more attention (or for those without kids, the idea that the sun is up longer so they’d rather be out playing after work).
So what is this over-used alibi for not working out? “I didn’t really have enough time or energy to do my full workout, so I just didn’t bother.” Well to all of you who have enlisted this reasoning to assuage your guilt for missing your gym-time I say: a little bit is better than nada (Spanish for “nothing”).
20-minutes of effective total-body exercise can definitely stimulate your metabolism and cause your muscles to burn calories for the rest of the day or night, while skipping 20-minutes will do NOTHING.
15-minutes of focused resistance training is so much more beneficial to your body, brain, and energy than NONE. You’d be surprised how much more energy you will have after 15-minutes, no matter how tired you felt before you started.
10-minutes of cardio stimulates blood flow and circulation in a way that 10-minutes of sitting could NEVER achieve. If you run cold, have poor circulation, stiff muscles or lethargic intestinal tract, even a few minutes of low-impact cardio can make a huge difference to all those body issues.
I’ve capitalized nothing, none, and never to make a point. Choosing to skip exercise completely just because you cannot do your full routine (assuming that it’s 30-60 minutes) will not get you anywhere! After all, half, or even a quarter is still better than none.
I will admit that even those of us in the fitness profession (personal trainers, class instructors, etc.) often find our time and energy spread too thin and contemplate skipping a workout or two. But my own guilt over not practicing what I preach always kicks in and I enthusiastically attack a 5-20 minute workout, knowing that I’m better off than having skipped completely.
I also have an advantage in that I know exactly what to do to get the most benefit out of a small period of exercise (i.e., effective usage of cardio combined with resistance training, or rapid-fire combo moves). But for the rest of you, between Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube there are plenty of options for quick workouts, and of course, you’re always welcome to contact me!
So the next time you hesitate to go to gym or perform your at-home workout – remember that even five minutes benefits you more than none.
We’re all busy these days, lives jam packed with jobs, kids, driving, chores, errands, (and hopefully a little play time crammed in as well). So it’s no wonder that for the past five years, the fitness industry has grown steadily towards quick and fast workouts.
First there were 30-minute workouts, then one smart infomercial peddler came up with 25-minute workouts. He showed them, eh? Soon almost every body part had a 10-minute option (10-minute-abs, 10-minute-arms, etc.). Now we have Tabata a remarkable offering of 4 minute workouts – woo hoo! Whether you workout at the gym for an hour, or hustle though 4 minute workouts here and there, I thought I might offer a few tricks of the trade to getting a calorie burn, increasing circulation and blood flow, and helping your metabolism do it’s thing – all in one minute! How about that? (Throw back to the old game show Name That Tune for those of us baby boomers who remember.)
Some are easy, some a tad more challenging; some indoors, some outside. The key is to do as many as possible throughout the day. The more opportunities you take to move your body the better health your body will be in. These little bursts of energy expulsion will not help you lose incredible amounts of fat, but added into a sensible exercise and nutrition regiment, they will help speed up the process. For those of you not doing any regular exercise they can still offer immeasurable benefits if you consistently engage in them.
1. Whenever possible, take the stairs.
If you have bum knees take them up vs. down. If you have a week cardio system (get out of breath easily), take short flights, but take them. Build up slowly.
2. Stand up and stretch.
In 30 seconds you can do a full body stretch (arms, shoulders, hands, neck, legs, ankles, feet. Get the blood moving, stimulate circulation and muscle engagement. This will go a long way to alleviating stiffness, especially if done several times a day.
3. Jumping Jacks.
As little as 10 jumping jacks (I always suggest 25) can get the heart pumping which again aids in circulation, digestion, and clears out the brain cobwebs!
4. Push Ups.
Again, 10 (though I prefer 15-20) is a magic number to get blood pumping in your upper body, while stimulating the metabolism. Don’t want to get down on the ground at work – no problem, incline pushups are almost as good. Stand back from a wall or desk, lean into it, and then do push ups.
A masochistic blend of jumping jacks and push ups, this staple to us trainers really revs up the entire body, circulatory and muscular systems, digestive process, heart rate and is perfection with as little as 10. Not sure how to execute these – easy: from a standing position, jump up then place your palms on the ground and throw your feet behind you into a push up position, perform a push up, then bring your feet back in and jump back up and repeat.
6. Walk and Talk.
On a business call stand up and pace the entire length of the call. If you need your computer, get one of those swing arm computer stands that with the flip of a lever moves to standing height. Use a speaker phone or blue tooth devise so you can be hands free.
7. Air Squats.
The more muscles (or larger muscle groups) that you can affect in a quick burst of activity, the bigger the benefits to your entire body. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, hold your arms out in front of your body, and push your butt towards the floor like you’re going to sit in a chair. Go as low as you comfortably can, then come back up and repeat 10-20 times. Feel that quad (thigh) burn – and know that it’s doing your body good!
8. Dance Off.
At home or office, if you have music on (or can turn on a song from your phone briefly), take a moment to dance. Don’t be self-conscious – everyone needs to dance (see Footloose for validation)! The kids will love it, your co-workers will too. Does wonders for mood uplifting and fighting that afternoon slump.
9. Park Further Away.
Stop being lazy and park further away. Unless weather plays a factor, there’s no excuse for not being able to walk an extra 10-100 yards away.
10. Trot the Dog.
No this isn’t a yoga move – it’s my idea of walking your pet. Speed walk or trot the dog around a block or two (or 3 or 4). The dog and you will benefit from a slightly faster pace that allows you go a little further in the same amount of time.
I could go on but I figure 10 are enough. Please let me know how many of these your incorporate into your day and the positive results you receive.
(By the way, during the 30-minute course of writing and publishing this blog, I performed items 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8!)