I have started more exercise programs—and consequently failed to keep up with more exercise programs—than I can shake a stick at… from the couch. But I finally found a routine that works for me.
It’s a daily routine (with the exception of Sunday) that is broken down into manageable, focused workouts, or “Baby steps.” But before we get into the program, I want to share the three main excuses that have kept me from working out:
- I will start exercising later. “Why do tomorrow what can be done today.” I know it’s true but somehow manage to convince myself to put important things off. I think the corollary is, “If you put off what can be done today until tomorrow, it will not get done.” There are times when it absolutely can’t be done today, but if that is not the case I try and listen to Nike (my workout clothes) and just do it.
- I don’t have time. I keep myself very busy, a family trait my dad calls, “Too many irons in the fire.” At any moment I can easily say I don’t have the time. But I read my news. I watch stuff on YouTube. I occasionally walk to the store just to get out of the house. I may often think there is something better to do with my time, but the truth is that I can find time if I want to. The reason this routine works for me is that most of the workouts are less than 30 minutes (including warming up and stretching). And if I’m in a hurry, I knock out the workout in 10 or 15 minutes and stretch throughout the day or before bed. With this routine, it’s hard to say I don’t have the time.
- I just don’t feel like it. More than anything, most of the time I just don’t feel like putting on my sweats and doing it. I am not a morning person either. I hate waking up. But I love being up early once I’ve convinced myself to get out of bed. Working out is the same thing for me. I hate pulling the trigger. I hate stopping whatever I’m doing and pretending to be Rocky. But once I’m done I feel great, pleased with myself, and more energized to take on the day. Self discipline is one of my most treasured traits and I have to fight hard to keep it.
Getting into the routine is the hardest part. This is why I need a daily program even if I only get ten minutes of exercise.
My “Baby Step” Routine:
- Warm Up:
(about 4 minutes)
This is the warm up routine I do before every workout from Coach Kozak of HASfit (skip to 45 seconds, or click here):
- Fight Club Workout:
This is allegedly the routine Brad Pitt used to get in shape for the movie “Fight Club.” I like it because it focuses on each muscle group only once and is consequently quick and easy (and maybe someday I’ll look like Brad Pitt… kidding… but seriously). I listed the whole routine but I currently skip some things (as noted).I do three sets for each workout (unless otherwise noted). I start light with however much I can easily do 15 repetitions with and increment until it’s hard to do ten reps on the last set (this took a few weeks to find what works best for me).
- Monday: Chest
– Push ups (One set, as many as I can do in good, slow form)
– Bench press (I work out alone so I skip this one for now)
– Nautilus press
– Incline press
– Peck deck (I skip this one too and just push harder on the other three)
- Tuesday: Back
– Chin ups (One set. I’m using a doorway pull up bar)
– Seated rows
– Lat pull downs
– T bar rows
- Wednesday: Shoulders
– Arnold press
– Lateral raises
– Front raises
- Thursday: Arms
– Preacher curl machine (Not doing this one yet either)
– Pull ups (I added this instead of the above, just one set)
– EZ curls cable
– Hammer curls
– Push downs
- Friday: Cardio and Abs
– Interval run (30 second sprint, 90 second light jog, goal of 8 sets… someday)
– Leg raises
– Knee raises
– Sit ups (One set, as many as I can do in good, slow form)
– Sit ups with oblique twist (I shoot for half of however many regular sit ups I did)
- Saturday: Cardio
– Light 30-minute to hour-long run or bike ride (If I don’t have time for the interval run Friday I do it here instead of the light run)
- Static Stretching:
(about 15 minutes)
This is the static stretching routine I do after every workout, also from Coach Kozak (skip to 45 seconds, or click here):
What is your biggest challenge in staying active?