The Best Workout
Posted August 30, 2013
The best workout is the one you actually do.
If there's one thing I've learned from my attempts to get fit as an adult, that's it. If I hate something, I'm not going to do it again. If I'm too intimidated by it, I won't do it in the first place. If it's too hard, I'll get discouraged and not feel there's a point in continuing. If it's too much of a hassle, I won't prioritize it.
Running and yoga work for me. Both are challenging enough to feel worthwhile, but don't feel impossible. There's not a lot of equipment, I don't have to go to the gym if I don't want to, and I can do them alone or not. I can see improvement as I do both regularly. I feel better immediately afterward and see long-term results as well.
Of course, I'm not saying that running and yoga are the answer for everyone. But I think there's something for everyone. You just have to figure out what your criteria are. Maybe you need it to be high energy and fun, so zumba would motivate you. Maybe a supportive team environmnet works for you and you'd like Cross Fit or a rec league. Maybe you like to be outside and should try walking or hiking.
One key factor I hadn't realized was important to me: no burpees. I've been wanting to add some circuit training. I knew I was much more likely to do it if I didn't have to go to a class, so I've looked at a lot of circuit plans on Pinterest. I've even pinned some that had burpees and then never done them. Then my friend Ashley posted a link to this article from the American College of Sports Medicine's Health & Fitness Journal. The subtitle is Maximum Results With Minimal Investment. Well, sign me up.
It explains the benefits of high intensity circuit training. "The combination of aerobic and resistance training in a high-intensity, limited-rest design can deliver numerous health benefits in much less time than traditional programs." Basically, by combining cardio with body weight exercises that work all large muscle groups equally, you get the all the benefits of both, and possibly even added benefits, in a shorter amount of time.
I liked the sound of that and knowing that this particular work out was designed based on research by people who know what they're doing. I like that it can be done at home and the only equipment required is a chair. And I love that there are zero burpees.
There it is. Do 30 seconds of each exercise, with less than 30 seconds rest between. It takes 7-8 minutes to complete the circuit and they recommend repeating 2-3 times. There are pictures of all of the exercises in the article, in case my whiteboard list doesn't fully explain it to you.
I can do the circuit three times, though it's very challenging. I fire up 80s Cardio on Pandora (so I get to feel like I'm in an 80s movie character gets in shape music montage, obviously), start the stopwatch on my phone, and get to it. My rest periods are the time it takes to switch positions and get my phone where I can see it, generally 10-15 seconds. In under 24 minutes, I've gotten a killer workout for my whole body without having to leave my house. Then I stretch. A lot.
This workout has definitely pointed out my areas of weakness. Specifically, my left arm and my right arm. To the extent that I actaully look at squats as a nice break. The push ups and triceps dips are by far the hardest parts for me and I have to do to the push ups on my knees after the first circuit. It makes sense that my legs would be a lot stronger from running and I've been making a conscious effort to work my abs to help with my posture, both while running and not. So now it's time to start catching my arms up, apparently.
I thought I'd share in case any of you were also looking for something quick and effective that could be done at home and has absolutely no burpees. Either way, I hope you're finding what works for you and then actually doing it.