Yesterday I yelled my way through a 2 minute plank hold. It was especially difficult this time because it came at the end of what had already been a very arm and shoulder heavy workout, so my upper body was really feeling it. But I refused to put my knees down or raise my hips up; I kept yelling and I kept holding. I assure you working out won't always be quite so difficult, but even when it is, we have the power to dig deep and find the strength to keep going. Fighting through that pain is how you get stronger. This is true emotionally as well, we always come out stronger on the other side of trying emotional times. Things that are difficult really show you what you're made of. You are strong enough to get through anything life throws at you. But for starters, you're definitely strong enough to get through a 5 minute workout.
And it should be. Don't roll your eyes and scoff at that, I promise you it actually can be. It doesn't have to feel like unending torture that you have to force yourself through and hate every minute of. If it felt like that I wouldn't be able to do it, I couldn't make myself. I'm not (that much of) a glutton for punishment. You can get an awesome workout in at home in 5 to 20-30 minutes each day, and then get back to doing anything else you want (or need) to do. It doesn't have to take hours; you don't have to go run 5 miles or play at the gym for 2 hours, but if those are things that sound awesome to you then you totally should. The point is, if something sounds awful to you and you hate doing it, try something else. Don't give up and think no workouts are right for you and that you can't possibly enjoy exercise. You can, and it doesn't have to be complicated. I have so many workouts already to choose from; you can do several of them back to back, you can add more reps or change the time limit, or both, and really take it to the next level. Whatever you decide to do should be whatever feels fun for you, whatever you actually enjoy doing. If you like doing something or the way it makes you feel, that will be the motivation you need to keep at it. Stick with me, I'll show you how to have fun and keep things interesting.
Today's 5 minute workout is...
I'm not a perfect yogi, and I don't look all that graceful doing even the most basic of poses, but I like yoga. It makes my muscles feel good and it clears and calms my mind while I do it. Time always seems to pass quickly during yoga when you're meditatively flowing in and out of poses; you're just focusing so much on your movements, there isn't room for any other mental clutter.
Try this routine with me to see what I mean. It's just under 30 minutes long.
You hear audio cameos from both my mother and my cat in this one. Totally intended.
You've got to see how incredible my dinner was last night. Totally unexpectedly delicious. And I have another 5 minute workout for you...
But the more you put into it, the more you'll get out of it. It's just like anything in life, the more effort you put into something, the better the results; whether that be with studying for a test, working on a project, or in this case pushing yourself as much as you can every day in your workouts. Strive to do your best and be proud of your efforts as well as your achievements.
Today's workout is...
Your legs are where all of your strength and power is generated from, not your arms. The legs are the biggest muscle group in your entire body. That's why they always say lift with your legs. When you squat or crouch down to pick up something heavy, you are able to use the strength from your hips, thighs, glutes, etc. while holding it to power back up to standing.
With that said, I've got another 2 new workouts...
Why 5 minute workouts? Truth be told, we need a little bit more than just 5 minutes of exercise each day; however, 5 minute workouts are a great starting point to start getting used to (and enjoying) how working out feels without doing too much too fast. Also on days when you feel like you can't possibly workout and want to take the day off, try doing a 5 minute workout instead. Doing something is always better than doing nothing. And this way you don't lose momentum and get off track by taking too many days off in a row. Keep your healthy habits going!
Note: You will see me struggling in both of these videos. I've been working for years on my upper body strength and pushups are still difficult for me. But I'm getting stronger every day and you will too. We have to keep pushing ourselves. It's not about being perfect, it's about doing your best and putting effort forth. If you challenge yourself, you change yourself. You get stronger and fitter with every single workout. Every workout counts. Try these with me.
The first workout is...
I had such a difficult time getting myself to do my workout yesterday. It took me 2 hours to finally start it, and I really struggled throughout. I was upset with myself for having trouble with some of the more challenging poses and having to go slower and take breaks so I didn't hurt myself. I wasn't having fun, and I was so relieved when it was over. This is a rare feeling for me, but we all have those days where it just feels impossible to do something and you have to just push yourself through it anyway. It likely won't feel this bad again even the very next day. So I got through it. And I was grateful that I did, even as much as I struggled. I know I have room for improvement, but this challenge was important. I know that I will improve because I took on this challenge and that is a good feeling. Always strive to be better today than you were yesterday, and better tomorrow than you were today.
Today's workout I felt ready and excited for and it was a welcome start to my day. This was a great improvement from yesterday; but even if I hadn't felt better, I know I just have to keep going, have to keep moving forward. Can't let minor setbacks have you lose sight of how far you've come and all the progress you've made and will continue to make. Consistency is key. If you maintain healthy habits each day, they become just that, habits. Exercise for me has become as essential and habitual to my mornings as brushing my teeth, truly. It's part of my basic self-care and health management. Even when I feel too tired or like I just don't want to do it, I do it anyway, it's necessary for me. Because for me, exercise is as powerful as medicine and I need it.
I struggled with depression from a very young age, something chemically doesn't work properly in my brain, and the only thing I've found that truly helps manage my symptoms is exercise. This is not to say that getting to this point was easy or is easy for most, because it wasn't and often isn't. I was overweight and sedentary for a long time, and I couldn't even fathom purposely being active. Depression can be paralyzing, and even on a good day the hardest part of anything is mustering up the energy to start something, just to begin. But one day, and I'm still not sure how, but, I managed to get myself up and out of the house, and it just clicked for me: this is how I want to feel, and this is the way I need to do it. And I've never looked back. I'll discuss this further in a later post but the takeaway message is: Fitness is a journey, and sometimes it takes a long time and a lot of missteps before we can find it and begin, but once you do and you commit, you'll never want to stop.
I come bearing another 5 minute workout for everyone to try! Just for some variety. Try it with me and let me know how many rounds you were able to complete in the comments.
This one is...
Anyone else at a crossroads? Back in January I quit my job of 4 years. I was the assistant manager of a small mom and pop hardware store. It was fun for a while, I even met my boyfriend working there, but the business was going under and it became an increasingly difficult place to work, so I had to get out. Before I quit I started thinking about what I might want to do next, and right away I thought: personal training. It seemed so obvious, working out was the thing I prioritized highest every day. Why wouldn't I want to help others work out and feel better for a living? It's what I love.
It sounds so crazy to some to say that you actually enjoy working out, but I really do. There's never a better way I could have spent the time I used to exercise and take care of my body. And I always ask myself "what's going to serve me better?" not just in relation to working out, but in any way that I might be about to irresponsibly spend my time. 'Cause I am a professional procrastinator. But working out is always the way I start my day. You just budget that time into your morning routine; I deliberately wake up earlier when I have somewhere I have to be, even before work and school. I feel so groggy and moody without it. I don't like who I am without exercise, I'm my best self when I am active. Even just finding 5 minutes in your day to get moving will make a world of difference in your energy and mood.
Try it out with me, 5 minutes of:
20 jumping jacks
(Ok so the sound got messed up and didn't work for this video. You can still get the gist of what's going on even without hearing me talk. Just watch my form and since I speak very expressively you can read my lips pretty easily when I speak directly to the camera anyway.)
Now the first thing you may be thinking after watching this is "hey, her body's not perfect," and you would be correct! (In my defense I'd also like to add that I find my workout clothes to be particularly unflattering and overemphasizing of my flaws." But what you can also see is I don't give up even when the workout gets tough, because where there's a challenge, there's change. Always remember that. I may not look quite like an elite athlete, but I am strong and have great endurance and stamina. I personally am not interested in being super thin because for me, maintaining that meant nearly starving. I feel too terrible not eating enough calories. For women especially it's important not to restrict calories too low because our bodies need them plus a bit of body fat to properly regulate our hormones. I was skipping periods when I was too thin and not eating enough, and that is a very bad thing if that is not normal for you. I'll talk more about that in a later post, but the bottom line is, for the most part, I look like an average woman. Maybe a little fitter? I don't know, you be the judge, it's hard to be objective about yourself, we're all our own harshest critics. But I hope you'll follow along with me on my continuing journey to get more fit. We're gonna do this, and feel amazing, together.
Personal Trainer, Yogi, and Wellness Coach.
Lover of tiny animals and objects. BS in Nutrition and Dietetics. Plant-based. Read More...