5 Quick & Easy Ways to Work Out (and save your sanity!)
All my life I’ve been an athlete. It started with tee-ball and grew into softball. I tried soccer (not so good) and basketball (still love, but was much better at defense!). I ran track and cross country and even tried the high jump. Apparently, this white woman CAN’T jump. But, I’m OK with that. I like to try new things. In high school, I used to go for a rollerblade instead of a run. I liked it because I could go farther (and faster!).
Ultimately, I fell in love with Lacrosse. And I was really good at it! Somehow, my poor depth perception wasn’t a hindrance. And the fact that I good endurance and could kick it up into a sprint was really helpful on offense whereas for track and cross country, I couldn’t find my home.
Since I was allowed to join my parents gym (you had to be 16), I worked out at least 5-6 days a week up until just over a year ago. I didn’t feel my best unless I worked out. It was my stress relief. As a type-A personality, that’s important! I loved weight lifting and I was often the only girl. It was incredibly empowering to work out on my own amongst the men … and sometimes show them up! I’d even impressed my fair share of personal trainers with my dedication and stamina.
I’ve even run two marathons.
Yet, somehow, I practically completely stopped working out aside from a bit of pilates or a random hike.
Can you relate?
The last couple of months I’ve been working to get myself back into a routine. While I’m happy with my body (which is a first, and I still have my moments of regressing back to NOT being happy with my body!), I do miss the ability to run for 45 minutes and have it feel like nothing. Or, bench press 40 lbs. like no big deal. And, while I’ve NEVER liked running uphill, I missed being able to hike the tough 90-minute Griffith hike without taking a break.
Slowly, but surely, I started upping my consistency. The key is to start small. If you’re not doing anything, start by taking the stairs or getting in as much walking as possible. (Full disclosure: I walk a LOT for work. Shopping IS exercise, but it’s NOT strength or interval training) Start with 1 x per week and increase to 2 x per week, etc.
5 Quick & Easy Ways to Work out:
1) Grab a Girlfriend
Instead of a coffee or lunch date, why not schedule a power walk, a gym date or a hike? If you’re going to spend an hour or an hour and a half, it’s a MUCH more productive use of your time. As a busy woman, don’t you LOVE killing the hypothetical two birds with one stone? I do! In the beginning, this was the only way I’d get my butt out the door for a good workout.
Whether cardio or weight lifting, you don’t need more than 20 minutes to get in a really good workout. The key is intensity and productive rests. So, if you jog for three minutes and sprint for 1 minute, the jog is your rest. If you’re lifting one muscle group use your break for that group to work a complimentary muscle group. Check out Body for Life for Women: A Woman’s Plan for Physical and Mental Transformation. I think the title says it all, but the book includes a variety of 20 minute interval workouts to get you started. Seriously, it just takes 20 minutes and some dumbbells or running shoes!
3) Mix it UP!
Don’t do the same thing every day. Keep your body guessing and really work your muscles. Plus, you don’t get bored! Run, then yoga, then BOX, then weight lift, then run, etc. I personally LOVE boxing (not that I could actually ever really hit anybody) and would go once a week in the prime of my corporate stress levels. Again, it only takes 20 minutes a day! And by trying new things, you can actually make fitness a fun and empowering challenge.
4) All she wants to do is dance, dance, DANCE!
Grab your girlfriends (and maybe your guy) and go OUT to dance. You get to hang out with your friends and, again, get in some exercise. Now, in this scenario you’ll have to mind how many drinks you have, but it’s SO much fun. Even if you’re not good. My friends used to call me Catherine ‘I just wanna dance’ Cassidy … and I’ve definitely had no formal training past my 4th grade tap class!
5) Sneak it in
When you’re cooking and waiting at the stove, sneak in a few sets of squats. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Any excuse to walk, take it! Dance all out when your favorite song comes on your iTunes. You get the picture! My freshman year of college I lived on the 5th floor of the dorm and I took the stairs pretty much every time I came home. I also never gained weight (until I graduated college, but that’s a different story!). Are there opportunities like that for you? Seize them!
Above all else, have FUN with fitness. It’s about seeing how strong and capable you are. It’s an opportunity to love your body even more. And even if you’re not at your ‘ideal weight,’ stop worrying about it. You are exactly where you need to be right now. Embrace where you are, who you are and just savor every moment. I promise you’ll be loving every ounce of your body. And that’s a bold promise!