THE BLOG
03/13/2018 10:55 EDT | Updated 03/13/2018 11:05 EDT

Here's A Fitness Solution That Will Make Your Life Easier

As I tell clients, successful people don't react — they anticipate potential problems and troubleshoot them in advance.

When it comes to our health, most of us have excellent intentions!

The problem? Life has a way of "getting in the way" — "stuff" inevitably "comes up."

One chore turns into five chores. The hour that was budgeted for training slowly evaporates. A meeting runs over. The 30-minute run becomes a distant dream. Instead of being surprised by inevitable schedule modifications, plan for them.

Create what I call a "plug and play" list: a list of workouts that last from five minutes to an hour.

Why? The list allows for adaptability (a critical life skill.) It takes the "thought" out of being active. Don't think, just do! Instead of giving your brain time to talk you out of moving, act!

Can't do a full hour? Look at the list and choose a 45-minute version. Can't do the 45-minute version? Pick a 30-minute option. Can't get to the gym at all? Pick a 15-minute version you can do at home.

Find an extra 10 minutes in your schedule? (A miracle, I know.) Pick one of your 10-minute routines.

As I tell clients, successful people don't react — they anticipate potential problems and troubleshoot them in advance. Have your plan A, but also have a plan B (and C and D) for when "life gets in the way."

Embrace that something is always better than nothing.

One of my mom's frequent parenting lines growing up was, "Kathleen, there is always a solution. Now let's find it." In many ways that line underpins my entire fitness philosophy.

So, when life gets in the way, the next step is to find a solution.

The "plug and play" list might just be your fitness "solution!"

Five minutes

-Dance around your living room

-Skip

-Do light stretching (especially if you have been sitting at your desk)

-Work your core. Try a few planks, side planks or even a "V sit" in your chair at work. To do a V sit, sit tall at the front of your chair. Then lean back 10 degrees. Engage your core and hold for 10-plus seconds

-Walk up and down your stairs

-Walk around the room

-Meditate — sometimes that is even more useful than exercise!

-Invest in a standing or treadmill desk

Kathleen Trotter

Kathleen Trotter

Ten minutes

-Try a 10-minute workout from your favourite fitness app

-For 10 minutes, alternate one minute of skipping (or another cardio exercise) with one minute of a multi-joint body weight exercises (squats or lunges, etc)

-Have a full-on dance party

-Go for a walk around the office — say hello to your colleagues!

-Google some fun old-school aerobics moves on YouTube

Fifteen minutes

-Go for a walk — preferably outside since you have slightly more time

-Try a yoga or body-weight routine from your favourite fitness app

-Try a 15-minute Tabata workout. Warm up for five minutes by running on the spot or dancing around your living room. Then pick a cardio exercise (such as burpees or jumping jacks.) Do the exercise hard for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat for four minutes. That is one Tabata. Try another exercise. Stretch

-Alternate one minute of skipping (or another cardio exercise) with one minute of body-weight exercises such as squats or lunges. Continue for 14 minutes

-Try "minutes." Warm up for five minutes. Then complete one minute of a lower-body exercise, one minute of an upper-body exercise, one minute of core and two minutes of cardio. Repeat twice

-Invest in a standing or treadmill desk

Kathleen Trotter

Twenty minutes

-Try a 20-minute Tabata workout. Warm up for five minutes by running on the spot or dancing around your living room. Then pick a cardio exercise (such as burpees or jumping jacks.) Do the exercise hard for 20 seconds. Rest for 10. Repeat for four minutes. That is one Tabata. Try another exercise. Repeat for a total of three Tabatas. Stretch

-Try an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible). Warm up for three minutes. Then pick three strength exercises (push-ups, squats, lunges, etc) and repeat 15 reps of each for eight minutes. Have some water. Pick another three exercises for your second eight-minute set. Stretch

-Try "minutes." Warm up for five minutes. Then complete one minute of a lower-body exercise, one minute of an upper-body exercise, one minute of core and two minutes of cardio. Repeat three times

Thirty minutes

-Try a longer AMRAPs. Warm up for 5 minutes. Then pick three body-weight exercises and repeat 15 reps of each for 10 minutes. Have some water. Pick another 3 exercises for your second 10-minute set. Stretch

-Go for a run or walk — include a few intervals. For example, try "mini pick-ups." After a warm-up, alternate 15 seconds fast with 45 seconds regular

-Try "minutes." Warm up for five minutes. Then complete one minute of a lower-body exercise, one minute of an upper-body exercise, one minute of core and two minutes of cardio. Repeat four times. Stretch

Kathleen Trotter

Forty-five minutes (or more!)

-Go for a run or walk — include a few intervals. For example, try "rolling intervals." After a warm-up, alternate one minute easy, one minute medium and one minute hard

-Once you have 45 minutes you can really fit in a full strength workout. Try circuit style weights, a fun workout class (on an app, at the gym, or on YouTube), or alternating five minutes of all-out cardio with 10 minutes of multi-joint strength exercises

Main take-away

Embrace the ups and downs that are life — existing would be boring without them — then when your workout plans get dashed instead of wasting precious cognitive energy thinking ,"What do I do now?" have a list of what to do ready to go.
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