(image from Shape)
Do you know which workout is the best? Wait for it. The best workout is the one you’ll actually do. It’s true, isn’t it? The experts can argue about what method of exercise is most effective, but at the end of the day if the best workout in the world doesn’t fit into your life, you won’t do it.
Long ago, I had lots of time to exercise. Things have changed a bit. Since having kids, I work out mostly in our basement. My equipment consists of a treadmill, a gizmo that turns a regular bicycle into a stationary one, a bunch of free weights, a jump rope, and an exercise ball. And a dozen or so fitness DVDs.
If you already have a plan that’s working for you, awesome! Mazel tov. But if you need something quick but highly effective so you can feel good about yourself and still have time for all the other things you want to accomplish in your day, read on.
My program consists of three parts:
- Strength training. I spend 15 minutes (yes, only 15 minutes) doing exercises using heavy-ish weights and/or body weight three times a week. I get a new workout to download from the wonderful and talented Holly Rigsby at Club FYM every month, but I also like to try out DVDs like Jillian Michaels’s 30-Day Shred or workouts from magazines.
- Interval training. I spend 15-20 minutes doing intervals using an exercise bike, treadmill, hill, jump rope, or body weight three times a week.
- Yoga. I do about 20-30 minutes of yoga 2-3 times a week.
I’m trying to add some formal stretching into the mix. More on that later. And of course if we’re healthy, active people we jump at the chance to move our bodies in other ways, right? So we walk, play tennis, dance, ski, or shoot hoops if we get the chance. Just for fun and because we feel so energetic and fabulous.
Here’s my plan for this week:
- Monday: 15 minutes of strength training. Here’s a typical Holly Rigsby-style workout.
- Tuesday: 15 minutes of intervals. Nothing fancy: jumping rope, high knee jogs, jumping jacks, butt kicks, squat thrusts, burpees, mountain climbers, and jumping lunges. Holly has a video of these, too. If you need less impact, you could modify most of these exercises. When I pulled a calf muscle playing tennis a couple of years ago, I was still able to ride my “stationary” bike. Holding a squat position while doing jabs in the air is really effective, too.
- Wednesday: 15 minutes of strength training. Tap class in the evening.
- Thursday: 15 minutes of intervals on the exercise bike. (Warm up, bike hard for 1 minute, not-so-hard for 1 minute, repeat sequence eight times, then cool down). Yoga DVD for 20 minutes after kids go to bed.
- Friday: 15 minutes of strength training.
- Saturday: 15 minutes of intervals. Maybe this one from Shape magazine. Take the kids skiing.
- Sunday: Ice skating is a possibility. Yoga in the evening.
- And how could I forget the 100 Push-Ups Challenge? Today we’re on 24. This is serious business.
And remember: The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan. All we can do is give it our best shot!