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Work Harder Not Longer

If you’re like me, you love to be able to workout for a solid sixty to ninety minutes at least 5 days a week. But we really don’t always have as much time to devote to our workout as we’d like. When that happens, don’t freak, or give in and blow the entire plan and run to Starbucks for a Mocha Frappuccino. Instead, take the opportunity to prioritize. Keep yourself set on the goal and do what you can. Your plan just needs a bit of an adjustment that day or week.

When I find myself pressed for time, I switch gears and blast out a short but intense workout that not only gets me away from my desk but also does incredible things for my mind and body.

Say I only had ten or fifteen minutes to spare. Which is often the case when I’m working hard on a new project. First I like to do some type of abbreviated warm-up. I’d likely choose some mobility drills for my hips and shoulders since I’ve been sitting for a while.

I then find a kettlebell that I could do about fifteen to twenty good swings with and I’d then swing it one hundred times as fast as I could. Of course I’d rest periodically as needed but only long enough to complete another 10-15 reps. No, this is not easy, but that’s the point. You can actually do this with just about any exercise. I suggest using big movements like squats, deadlifts, or presses.

Not everyone can put that much effort into a ten-minute workout right off the bat. This will take time if you are a beginner. What really matters (especially for the beginner) is the commitment and the ability to create a habit of making time for exercise even when your reptile brain is telling you, “you have no time. “

“But Jim!” I hear you say, “What can a 10 minute workout do for me?” If the workout is intense enough it will send your metabolism into overdrive (which is exactly what we want). In just 10 minutes? That’s right! But remember: intensity and effort are key. When pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, whether for two minutes or sixty minutes, you’re stimulating your metabolic processes. This ten-minute bout will speed up your body’s ability to burn fat for hours.

Make no mistake, this is not a casual stroll outside or a lazy bike ride. When I do one hundred kettlebell swings for time, every bone in my body cries out “Stop”! But the part of me that knows better keeps pushing. We all have this inside of us. Who are you going to listen to?

Keep in mind that this method is not for everyone. Some people will do just fine pushing within their own limits for the same amount of time. This will come as you become more disciplined and fit. But if you’re an athlete, fitness enthusiast or you’ve got a few months of training and conditioning under your belt, you should have no problem taking your body to a place you may have to persuade it to go. Nevertheless, everyone can benefit from squeezing in an extra ten minutes of exercise instead of a visit to the fridge.

You’d be amazed at how much you can accomplish in just a few minutes a day if you put your mind and body to it. Exercise can actually have more benefits when you attempt to complete the same amount of exercise that you’d typically do, in a shorter period of time.

Getting fit doesn’t have to take a whole lot of time. What it does require is a huge emotional commitment and the desire, discipline, and determination to follow through.

Next time I will give you a few workout ideas that can get you from start to finish in 20 minutes or less.

Strength For Life.

Jim O’Hagan

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