To keep my body fit, I can’t wait until one special afternoon every week to exercise. That’s not my style, and it doesn’t deliver the benefits of a regular, sustained daily exercise routine.
So I work out 10-20 minutes every day. With shower time, I can often do a complete workout in the middle of my workday, and only be away from my computer for 30 minutes.
With a short selection of bodyweight exercises, you can fit a workout into your daily routine without any forethought or planning.
The two keys to automating a new exercise routine are:
1. Schedule it in advance.
2. Make it simple to start.
Schedule one of these workouts into your calendar, and when the time comes, hit ‘play,’ get on your mat, and quickly get back to your life.
1. 8 Minute Abs
This is a fantastic core workout. I do it every evening in my daily rhythm.
It focuses on the core, and the simple exercises can sustain you through multiple levels of fitness. Whether you’re a beginner ot an elite athlete, spending 8 minutes crunching can improve your physique and stamina.
But, we need variety.
2. Skimble Workouts
There is an amazing workout app (called ‘Workout Trainer’) by Skimble, that has a whole bunch of exercise routines that you can sort by length of time, intensity, and exercise type.
45 minutes of cardio today? Or 15 minutes of pullups and pushups? You can choose.
The narrator of your workout (in the free version) is a computerized voice who lets you know when you’ve got 5 seconds left in the exercise, and counts down for you. You don’t have to keep time or watch the clock, just follow instructions.
The best part? You can play your own music, and have the narrator keep time and guide you while you’re listening to your favorite tunes.
The paid version has real people voices, if you’re into that sort of thing.
3. The Seven Minute Workout
The Seven Minute Workout is similar to the Skimble workouts above, but it’s designed to be comprehensive. Plus, it’s on Youtube (an advantage if you’re working out while travelling.)
After you practice this short routine a few times, you can just do 30 reps for each exercise.
- Jumping jacks (Total body)
- Wall sit (Lower body)
- Push-up (Upper body)
- Abdominal crunch (Core)
- Step-up onto chair (Total body)
- Squat (Lower body)
- Triceps dip on chair (Upper body)
- Plank (Core)
- High knees/running in place (Total body)
- Lunge (Lower body)
- Push-up and rotation (Upper body)
- Side plank (Core)
4. Burpees to Exhaustion
If you shudder at the sound of the word ‘Burpee,’ then you’ve gone beyond your walls of exhaustion with this simple (and crippling) exercise.
A staple of Crossfit, the Burpee works the entire body with one simple series of movements.
All bodyweight. Challenging enough to make a grown man cry.
- Stand straight, with your feet in a neutral stance.
- Squat down to and place your hands approximately one foot in front of your feet, slightly wider than shoulder width.
- With your weight on straight, vertical arms, jump back with both feet into plank position (same as the top position of the push-up).
- Perform a push-up with your chest touching ground in the bottom position, and up to plank position again.
- From plank position, jump forward with both feet, raise your upper body and land in the bottom of the squat.
- Jump straight up from the bottom of the squat, raise your arms and clap your hands over head. Landing back in position 1.
- Repeat until muscle failure.
5. P90x Audios
I was really into P90X for a while. I went through this challenging 90-day routine 3 times, chiseling my body to the highest levels of fitness I’ve ever attained.
Since I know all the routines so well, I only need the cues to switch from exercise to exercise.
Now, I no longer need to watch the videos. I only need the audio for the cues.
So I used a media converter to strip out the audio, and now I have all the P90X routines on my phone, without taking up 60 gig of space.
There is an option in the DVD to select ‘Cues Only,’ so all of the friendly banter Tony Horton does between cues is muted out, and you only listen to the background music while you’re doing your sets.
This has been a goldmine for my fitness. I can do the first twenty minutes of the Yoga routine for a quick warmup, or all of the Cardio routine, any time I have my phone with me. (Which is all the time.)
For me, the key to staying fit during fatherhood is to schedule regular workouts, that are short, intense, and enjoyable.
How to Make Your Own Workout Routine
Answer these questions:
- How many times per week do I want to work out?
- What types of favorite exercises do I want to do every week?
- Can I get all of these exercises into one short guided audio routine?
Once you have answered these questions, all you have to do is schedule (and commit to) doing your favorite exercises as often as you like.
Everything else is extra credit.