Common-sense disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a trainer, so if you have any health issues, please consult a professional if you have any concerns about starting a new exercise plan. You are in charge of your health!
Happy Monday morning!
As you’re trying to caffeinate your way into your workweek, I’d like you to think about how to peel your hinder off your chair for a few minutes each day. Instead of guilting you into this mission, I’m here to help you manage a quick workout every day.
Having a short, powerful workout in your back pocket is a huge boost to get you past writer’s block, beat back procrastination, and generally let you feel like you effing accomplished something other than staring at your cuticles for the day.
Let’s take a look at the framework.
MOMENTUM + TINY GAINS MASHUP
I’m not talking about a 30-minute sweatfest here. And you don’t need to spend hours analyzing perfect exercises to achieve optimal muscle performance in 12 weeks or less.
Seriously. Drop the overachiever shit.
This micro-workout has only 4 requirements:
1. Minimal to no equipment
2. Minimal space
3. Takes 10 minutes or less
4. Can be notched up slowly
The idea is that it’s so simple that you can’t use excuses to avoid it. You can roll out of bed and have it done before you hit the shower. Or knock it out before lunch. Or squeeze it in between phone calls when you’re tempted to snitch the ice cream you swore you wouldn’t touch.
I put my workout together last week, and it looks like this:
– 5 safe burpees (here’s why I don’t do traditional ones)
– 10 two-handed kettlebell swings
– 8 one-handed push presses
– 2 minutes of hula hooping (really)
In 10 minutes, I can do two sets of the burpees, kettlebell swings and the presses, then finish with two minutes of hooping just for fun.
Boom. I’ve worked my core, my glutes and my arms without having to leave my house or change out of my pajamas. Love that.
Make Your Own Magic
This workout is great for me because I enjoy the exercises (or in the case, of burpees, I just want to not hate them anymore) and I have all the equipment. Please, please don’t feel obligated to use the same workout. The best exercises for you to do are ones you enjoy doing, so if you love situps, pullups, planks, or jumping rope, choose a few reps of those instead.
If you’re having trouble putting this teeny workout together, here are a few options to play with.
- Use equipment you already have or try bodyweight exercises. Don’t run out and get anything fancy. New equipment takes some time to adjust to, and we don’t want you fumbling around in frustration during your first few workouts.
- If you need a few ideas, try this Livestrong.com article, this Greatist list or Google “bodyweight exercises”. There are heaps of good videos out there if you need a quick refresher on technique.
- Consider weight-based exercise over cardio. A 10-minute walk is fantastic, but when the weather is sloppy or cold, it will be easy to choose to dive under the covers instead of going outside or heading to the gym’s treadmill. Simple bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere, any time of year, even if you’re traveling.
- Do what feels good. If certain exercises remind you of your creepy high school gym teacher, then don’t choose them. You want to feel strong and confident. And your body is built for pleasure, baby.
- Choose three exercises, max. If you try to include 5 instead of 3, you’ll forget which exercise is next or how many reps you need to do, and then exercise feels confusing instead of empowering. Keep it simple, for your own sake.
- Don’t go for maximum reps right off the bat. You want this to feel easy, so you don’t try to work up a huge sweat or push so you have a lot of muscle soreness the next day. The Tiny Gains part of this will gradually increase the difficulty, so just worry about doing something, even if it seems like a breeze. (More on the Tiny Gains piece tomorrow.)
- Find a great closing exercise. I chose hula hooping because I get too serious about life. Hooping helps me remember to keep it fun. If yoga poses or handstands are a better fit for you, go for it!
- Make it 10 minutes or less. Really. Make this an exercise quickie.
- Decide when you’re going to do this — without fail. I’m doing my micro-workout right after I get out of bed in the morning. This is fairly easy for me because I’m a morning person, but it has other benefits, too. If I get this workout done immediately, there’s less chance that my time will get sucked away by checking Facebook, getting a snack, paying bills or reading a great article online. In other words, I get it out of the way before the distractions of the day eat my time.
Get to It!
Please don’t fuss over choosing exercises. If you’re unsure, just pick three and that look good and try them out this week. If you don’t like them, change them in a day or so. This has got to work FOR YOU.