Set Yourself Up for Fitness Success
The perfect workout doesn’t exist. Why? Well, the benefits of the “best” workout are moot if you can’t actually make yourself do it. Instead, it’s better to find a workout that is convenient and that you enjoy (or can at least tolerate) so that you will do it consistently. You don’t need expensive equipment and the most current “it” workout — unless of course you are motivated by your fancy gym or trying every new craze. You need something you will actually stick to. That’s because consistency beats perfection. The mediocre workout you do regularly is better than the best workout you never do. Something is always better than nothing. The smartest way to do this is to make your workouts convenient. This can mean using inexpensive “do anywhere” tools such as the resistance band.
The resistance band is light, inexpensive, and can easily be inconspicuously stored in a drawer or packed in a suitcase. One band is roughly $10. Or, invest in 2 or 3 bands (of differing intensities) and a doorframe attachment to create basically an entire “gym” for under $40. The attachment is a small piece of fabric that has a ball at one end and a loop at the other. You anchor the ball into a closed door and thread the band through the loop. You can replicate any exercise traditionally performed on a cable machine — wood chops, rows, triceps press-downs, whatever. If you’re after the single best piece of equipment, this is probably it.
Warm-up (5 minutes)
Dance around your hotel or living room for 5 minutes or choose 5 different cardio moves — high knees, bum kicks, etc. Do each for 1 minute.
Main circuit (repeat 2 to 3 times)
Seated V hold and rows (12 to 15 reps)
Sit on your bum with the band hooked around your feet. Hold one end of the band in each hand. Lean back 10 degrees. Hold the lean throughout the motion. Engage your core. Use your upper back to row your elbows backwards. Imagine cracking a walnut between your shoulder blades. Slowly release.
Squats and reverse flys (12 to 15 reps)
Stand, feet hip-distance apart. Hold the band with palms down out in front of you at chest height. Bend at your hips, knees, and ankles and sit your bum backwards like you are sitting in a chair. Keep your arms straight as you squat. As you stand up, use your upper back to pull your arms backwards so your body forms a “t.” Slowly release.
Lunge and lateral raises/lunge and front raises (12 to 15 reps per side)
Start standing with your right leg forward, foot in the middle of the band. Hold one end of the band in each hand, arms straight by your sides. Bend both knees so your body moves towards the floor. Use the bum muscle of the front leg to stand back up. As you lunge down bring your arms up to the side to shoulder height — keep them straight. Lower your arms as you stand up (lateral raise).When you do the exercise on your left leg, straighten your arms forward to chest height (front raise).
Plank scapula retractions (10 to 20 reps)
Start in a plank. Balance on your hands and toes. Bring your shoulder blades together and then apart. Keep your arms straight and your lower back neutral. Try to activate the muscles between your shoulder blades.
Do 1 to 3 minutes of any cardio (burpees, high knees, jumping jacks, etc.)
Rest for a minute. Have some water. Repeat the entire circuit.
Second circuit (optional, when you have time, repeat 1 to 2 times)
Biceps curls (12 to 15 reps)
Stand on the middle of the band, one end in each hand. Bend at the elbows to do a biceps curl. Control the motion on the way down — resist the pull of the band.
Overhead triceps extension (12 to 15 reps per side)
Stand holding one end of the band in your right hand with your upper arm next to your ear. Reach your left hand behind your body and anchor the band. The closer your hands are together, the harder the exercise will be. Keep your right upper arm into your right ear as you straighten the arm. Slowly release.
Side plan (20+ seconds)
Start on your right side with your elbow under your shoulder. Connect into your right armpit muscles to stabilize. Balance on either your knees or your feet (feet is harder). Keep your feet (or knees) in line with your hips and shoulders, and your head back in space.
Stop waiting for the “perfect” day or week to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Perfectionism really is corrosive. It’s the enemy of getting sh*t done. The perfect week does not exist. Aiming for perfect is simply self-sabotage. Since perfect does not exist, waiting for it means you always have an excuse to skip or delay. Start now. The only moment you have control over is this one. Don’t put off ‘til tomorrow what you can do today and now.
Kathleen Trotter (MSc) is a fitness expert, nutrition and life coach, media personality and author of two books including her most recent Your Fittest Future Self. Connect with her on social media at FitByKathleenT or through her website KathleenTrotter.com
Photo by Geert Pieters on Unsplash.