Are you also one of those people who buys a gym membership and then never uses it? I have spent so much money because one day I get in the mood to work out. That feeling lasts from a day to a week, but never a month, let alone a whole year. So this year I canceled my membership and tried a different approach. Yes, there are days where I still think "if I had a membership I would totally do laps at the pool right now," but I never once did laps in the pool when I belonged to a gym, in fact I never knew what level the pool was even on.
When it comes to working out I will try anything once...and only once. I jump around from new fad to new fad. I've tried pilates, hot yoga, SoulCycle, barre class, boot camp...you name it I've tried it. I even accidentally tried Zumba once. Imagine my surprise when my foray into "gentle yoga and meditation" turned into "who's ready to Zummbbaaaa??!!!" I've never stuck around for a second class of anything. I claim it's because I haven't found my "thing" yet, but I think it's because I really hate working out. So when I read this NY Times article about a workout that lasts 7 minutes and actually works to keep you as healthy as if you worked out for a half hour or more, I thought this is something I could do...and more than once.
And for once, I was right! It's super easy to fit into my every day routine, but challenging at the same time. The 12 exercises in the workout require no equipment (except for a chair) so you can do them anywhere - I've done it at work, on vacation and during commercials while watching bad reality television. There are tiny breaks between the exercises since their research shows that high-intensity interval aerobic and resistance training achieves greater results than longer workouts. The scientists proved "that even a few minutes of training at an intensity approaching your maximum capacity produces molecular changes within muscles comparable to those of several hours of running or bike riding." I love when science says I don't have to sweat on the elliptical for hours.
The exercises are simple so you don't have to be an elite athlete to master them, but they aren't as easy as they look. Going from one to the other in quick succession is really hard, but the key is not to pause and keep going. I find that knowing that at most it could only last 7 more minutes gets me through to the end. I've totally noticed a change in my ab muscles and my energy increased throughout the day when I did the routine in the morning. At one point I was doing one in the morning and one in the evening, but I've slowed down to once a day again - bikini season is over, bring on the chunky sweaters!
All you need to do is download an app called 7 Minute Workout Challenge on your phone or digital tablet and it guides you through it each day. It has lots of handy features like a results tracker to track your weight, a calendar to track how much you've worked out and an alarm you can set to remind yourself to begin. It also has photos and videos to help you learn all of the exercises correctly.
Try it out and let us know if you it works for you as well!
(Has anyone noticed the way the "trainer" says "squats" and "plank" makes you feel like he hates them as much as you do?)
(exercise cartoon via NYtimes.com; all other photos, Jamie Grill Photography)