Movement is my sanity anchor right now. When I exercise, my mood clears up and my energy levels return.
Combine that with a well timed caffeinated cup of the elixir of life, and as my father used to say: "HOT DAMN BOY HOWDY! We're off to the races!" Your phrasing may vary, but you get the idea.
One of the other benefits is that it can help fight off the "positive caloric balance," which I've almost done to perfection. Anyone know of a good trainer they can refer to me to to help with this? SMH.
My trials and tribulations aside, exercise gives your immune system a boost and you'll have an easier time getting your nightly vitamin Zzzzzz. Which is super critical right now to help you reduce stress and keep anxiety from taking the wheel.
"That's all well and fine there Professore de PE, but my motivation level is that of a cup of cold decaf. So now what?"
I'm glad you asked! You know how you get around that right now? Do less to accomplish more. Yep, less. I grant thee permission to be human and "paint on the canvas" your brain is giving you.
You still need to move regularly, but give yourself a break and don't go bat s**t crazy in your workouts. Physical + Mental Stress = No good can come of it.
Here's where the dynamic duo team up of Jennifer Hellickson, NASM Behaviorial Change Specialist, and yours truly is your fitness BFF. We've got your back with six quick tips (three from the neck down and three from the neck up between the ears) to help you easily manage your movement habit.
With This Workout Hack, You're Back!
1) Twenty is plenty.
Ready for the fitness revelation of the ages? You DON'T need a 60-minute ass-whooping of biblical proportions with each workout. Keep it short and sweet; 20 minutes is more than enough to make a change. Plus, with shorter workouts you can move more often because you shouldn't need as much recovery in between movement bouts.
2) Use compound movements.
Pick 2-3 exercises that will use every muscle in your body - preferably a single selection from the push, pull and squat departments. For instance, body-weight squats are a great option because there are so many varieties. You could even go with something as simple as a crawling. Throw in some lunging left and right, and you've just put together a full-body workout in a very short amount of time.
3) Give Your Workout A K.I.S.S.
The rule of thumb here is that basics work best. Don't try and to combine your favorite CardiogaPlyolatesKickBoxSculpt-X classes in your workouts. Trying to get better at everything in the same workout makes you better at nothing.
Make It Happen Cap'n:
Here's one of favorite "20 Is Plenty " circuits with an exercise band:
1) Squatting or hinging with an alternate arm pull because this gets my glutes, obliques and every muscle of my pull chain.
2) Stepping and pressing with an alternate arm pattern because it looks like running, walking and skipping and lets me hit damn near every muscle in my body at once in an incredibly functional way.
3) Anti-Rotation Lunges because this hits all of the muscles that stop rotation that will reduce your chances of having lower back issues. Plus this is a left and right side exercise so you can get an additional bang for your buck with more movement.
I like to set a clock for :30 of moving and :30 of rest and a total set number of 20. This gives me just under 20:00 (19:33 to be exact if you're keeping score at home) of movement.
Three Ways to Up Your Mental Game (c/o yours truly):
Give yourself a goal. Set your sights on something S.M.A.R.T. - that is, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. Once you know where you want to go, it's easier to make a plan for how to get there. And being able to break that plan into small, incremental steps will help you focus your efforts and stay motivated.
Try it for 21 days. Whether or not you subscribe to the fact that it takes 21 days to develop a habit (one study says it's more like 66, on average), three weeks is a great starting point when making a new behavior part of your life.
Peer pressure FTW! Groups are great for accountability and morale, so find a like-minded community to help you go the distance. If that's no an option, try recruiting friends and family to help keep you honest; their support - and cheerleading - can go a long way when it comes to achieving your goal.
Put it in action:
Here's an exercise I use when setting up a S.M.A.R.T. goal:
Specific - What do you want to achieve exactly? The more detailed, the better. If you commit to more speedwork in your running, saying "I'm going to join X group on Monday nights for their coached track workouts each week" is much better than "I want to work on my speed."
Measurable - Define criteria for measurement (if your goal is weight loss, say a pound per week), which allows you to check your progress regularly and make adjustments as needed. Smaller increments are more manageable, meaning you have a better chance of staying on track.
Achievable - The best goals stretch you outside of your comfort zone but aren't so unattainable that they become demoralizing. On the other hand, go too easy, and you may never find out what you're truly capable of. Find the middle ground, and go for it.
Relevant - Pick what's personally meaningful, not necessarily what's most popular, and you'll be willing to work towards it. Don't set your sights on a marathon if you can't stand running long distances; instead, find something that suits you and your investment will be that much higher.
Timely - Give yourself a deadline. When your goal is time-bound, you'll stay motivated, focused and on schedule. Ahead of schedule? Great! Pat yourself on the back, then adjust your goal and keep moving toward that next milestone.
If you're interested in learning more about how to put together your own 20 Is Plenty workout, drop me a line with subject "20 Is Plenty Workout" and let's connect!