We all start each New Year with the best of intentions when it comes to health and fitness. Whether you’re aiming for a performance goal like a race PR, an aesthetic one such as losing 20 pounds, or just a general lifestyle change like being more active, January was the time to set goals and outline a plan for sticking to them.
The trouble is the dreaded “w” word: willpower. Sure, we might have gotten a few sessions in to start 2017 off strong, but as winter has dragged on and January flipped over to February on the calendar, it’s all too easy to lose our early momentum. We dust off the old excuses – “I’m too busy,” “It’s too hard,” “I’m traveling too much for work”, and soon enough our weights, treadmills and the rest start gathering dust, while our gym membership cards become firmly stuck in our wallets.
If this sounds all too familiar, what can you do about it? One positive step is to stop trying to make grand plans for each workout in which you hit seven or eight different exercises and spend an hour or more each day trying to resuscitate your New Year’s resolution. Often we can do that once or twice a week, but for greater consistency we need greater simplicity and a lesser time commitment.
So instead of trying to go all out once in a while, recommit to doing less more often. Simply pick two exercises from the two groups below each time you work out. Do a warmup that involves 5 to 10 minutes of a cardio-based warmup (slow and steady on the bike, treadmill, rowing machine, etc.) and some movement prep relevant to your upcoming workout – like pushups if you’re going to bench press and air squats before weighted ones. Then do either three sets of 10 to 15 reps of the two exercises, or five sets of 5 reps (feel free to tweak as needed). Finish with a 5 to 10 minute cooldown and two mobility exercises targeting the muscles you just used (see www.mobilitywod.com for ideas). That’s it! You can handle this, right?
Exercise Group One
Kettlebell or dumbbell carries
Weighted step ups (hold two dumbbells and step up onto a plyo box or sturdy bench)
Exercise Group Two
Bench press (or pushups)
Dips (straight bar or rings)
Push press (shoulder press preceded by a quarter squat)