The jury's still out on whether or not the latest exercise trend toward minimalist workouts -- shorter, more strenuous ones over gruelingly long, kinda moderate ones -- is really as beneficial as some fitness experts are saying. However, I'm trying it out anyway because, well, because I'm willing to try anything to make exercise work in my life.
I HATE EXERCISE. HATE, LOATHE, DETEST, and ABHOR it. I've tried many different workout plans to get into a sustainable fitness routine, from joining the gym to jogging daily around my neighborhood, but nothing sticks. That said, I'm also a busy, working mom who NEVER finds time to work out -- or, if I'm really honest, finds the gumption to prioritize regular exercise. Sound familiar?
That's why the recent Scientific 7-Minute Workout piqued my interest. I mean, I always have seven minutes! So I've been doing this workout five days a week for a month. Five days a week! For a month! Here's how it's going ...
I'm not interested in losing a bunch of weight but more toning some problem areas and maintaining my current weight as I move from age 40 to (gulp!) age 50 and beyond. Of course, a nice five pounds off my frame would surely be welcome, but if my body can stay where it's at right now (for all eternity haha), then I'll be pretty happy (while wearing clothes).
And well, it's a good thing weight loss isn't my goal because after one full month of regular exercise, I haven't lost a single pound. But DON'T STOP READING YET -- I have gained several things that I feel are more important to me right now.
Here's what I've gotten out of these shorty but daily seven-minute workouts:
- Improved endurance: I started out the 7-Minute Workout being able to do about 15 seconds of wall sit (Exercise #2) and exactly three "girl" push-ups (Exercise #3 modified for a weakling "girl" like me). After one month, I'm up to a full 30 seconds of wall sit and 31 "girl" push-ups. Thirty-one up-downs with my arms, people! In fact, I can do almost every exercise twice as many times in 30 seconds as I could when I started.
- Motivation: Because I'm only committed to seven minutes a day, I usually have no problem taking on a little more each time. I push myself to do a little more each day and am now working out for about 11 minutes a day. After I complete the seven-minute routine, I mostly jump around or pretend I'm Jennifer Beals in Flashdance or Belinda Carlisle in 1982 (don't judge) for a few extra minutes.
- Less excuses: This seven-minute darling has actually stumped my excuse maker (and I have a really good one). I don't know what's happening here, but I cannot seem to convince myself that I don't have seven minutes on any given day.
- More water: Exercise makes me want water. I even put off or skip my morning coffee sometimes now. WHAT???
- Definition: Okay, it's like so so tiny, but I swear to God I can see a certain little arm muscle now that I never knew I had.
- A stronger voice inside my head: This tiny commitment is doing great work on the negative voice inside my head that always tends to say "I can't, I can't." I know I can do seven minutes each day of the week. It's a small goal but one I know I can accomplish. Knowing that feels good and makes me push a little harder to get more into those seven minutes each time. Just one more tricep dip (Exercise #7) than last time ... just a few more seconds holding that side plank (Exercise #12).
- A nicer voice inside my head: We all know we feel better after exercising (when it's OVER!!! not during!!!). We feel less guilty and less tired. We feel stronger and happier and better in general. This is real. I would not lie to you. Pride in oneself goes a long damn way. Don't underestimate it.
Who knows if this seven-minute turned 11-minute thing will stick forever. I'm under no illusions that I'll be doing it forever. But it feels good right now and in a way that's also really manageable and positive, something I never ever have said about a workout plan before. And for me, this is a wonderful first step toward changing what's in my head about exercise first. That's HUGE, so I'm going to enjoy it and hope the progression continues!
Do you do a minimalist workout? If not, would you try it or do you think they're bogus?
Image via ~ggvic~/Flickr