We don't need a monumental turn of the calendar to start anew. We can do it at any moment we choose. But something about the clock striking midnight to signify the beginning of the New Year sure does get our hearts pumping with new found motivation.
That's not a bad thing. Take motivation wherever you can get it. The challenge soon becomes: How do you keep it alive? More specifically, when it comes to fitness goals, why do people quit almost before they even begin?
The most easily explained answer is that people don't believe their efforts will pay off, or they think it will be too difficult to maintain a rigorous workout schedule and expensive health food diet.
Most don't realize that spending hours in the gym is not the key to success. If done properly, you can lose weight, build muscle, tighten, tone and improve overall health in as little as 20 minutes per day. In order to make the most of your workout in the least amount of time possible, follow these 3 simple rules.
1) Do multi-joint exercises: If you're truly pressed for time and overall conditioning is your goal, stick to exercises that incorporate multiple muscle groups at once.
2) Get explosive: Don't be afraid to jump, bounce, hop and prance. Including short bursts of intense activity will increase heart rate, thus burning more calories in less time. Additionally, you’ll be engaging your fast twitch muscle fibers, which are lost more quickly than slow twitch muscle fibers as we age, so you're protecting your vitality too! If you’re really pushing yourself, these intense bursts followed by a short recovery period will stimulate your body to produce more HGH (human growth hormone), thus allowing you to increase lean tissue and burn fat more efficiently even while the body is at rest.
3) Don't get distracted: No textercising, socializing or reading a magazine while you get your workout in. You'll slow down, take longer breaks between sets or even just find a reason to walk away without finishing. Leave the phone out of site and focus on the task at hand. It's 20 short minutes to achieve success.
If you employ these 3 simple rules, you'll find it much easier to keep your workout on your schedule without making excuses. Finding 20 minutes can be as simple as waking up earlier, taking a shorter lunch break or cutting down on your TV time (sounds horrific, but I bet you five bucks, you won't even miss it!).
Now that it's on your schedule and you're committed to it, you'll be seeing and feeling the results/benefits in just a few weeks. That will also keep you motivated.
Feeling lost as to what this workout should look like. Check out this Sample Workout:
Set a timer for 20 minutes and try to get through as many rounds of these exercises as you can (while keeping good form). Allow a 30-45 second rest between exercises.
Balancing on one leg (don’t lock knee), holding a dumbbell in the opposite hand, reach the dumbbell toward the foot of the supporting leg. As you lift up, raise the arm with the dumbbell out lateral and continue to balance on the supporting leg. Repeat 15 reps on one side then repeat on the other side.
Start in a standing position. Step back into a reverse lunge. Explode up in the center bringing the legs together then landing with the legs in the opposite lunge position. Repeat 15 on each side.
Starting in a high plank, lower down into a close grip tricep pushup, keeping the elbows in close to your ribs. As you press back into your high plank, open up the chest and reach one arm up high, stacking shoulder over shoulder. Repeat, opening up to the other side until you’ve completed 15 reps on each side.
Bring the feet close together and squeeze the inner thighs as you sink into a narrow squat with dumbbells curled up at the shoulders. As you straighten the legs, squeeze the glutes and abs while rotating the palms forward and pressing the dumbbells straight up over the head. Return to start position and repeat for 15 reps.
With dumbbells in both hands, start in a high plank position. Hop the feet between the hands and row the dumbbells up, keeping the elbows in by the ribcage as you row. Extend the arms back down to the ground and hop back into a high plank position. Repeat for 15 reps.
If you’re just getting started, you may need some modifications. Have a trainer take you through these exercises and check you for proper technique and form.
Keep in mind, much like any skill: motivation is like a vitamin that needs to be taken regularly. Re-read this article or other motivating pieces to remind yourself that your health is a priority and fitness is achievable.