Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Does Fitness Have to be Complicated?

Simplify, simplify, simplifyWhen I started thinking about fitness, I read everything I could get my hands on. I studied YouTube videos. I quizzed trainers and other people in the gym. I was like a sponge, and it seemed like every new idea or piece of equipment made its way into my routine. Soon, I was spending hours planning my training programs. I was using machines and barbells, a little bit of running, some bands, a few dumbells, swimming laps, swinging the kettlebell, riding the bike, and taking classes for Pilates. Yoga, TRX, and Spinning. I was like a new convert at church. If the gym doors were open, I wanted to be there. Sometimes I would be there for two or three hours a day. And yes, I felt great.

But the truth is, most of us have other things to do besides workout all day. The whole idea behind fitness isn't moving iron and spinning treadmills, it's about having the strength, endurance, and flexibility to do the things that make your life fulfilling and meaningful. Sometimes, simpler is better. As summer starts to wind down and schedules get busier, here are some ideas for workouts that produce results with a little less equipment, planning, and time.

You don't workout because you don't own any gear? Got a room with a wall in it? Here's a full body No-Equipment Workout from Self that you can do in about 20 minutes.

Ten minutes? Seriously? For this No Weights to Lose Weight Workout from Shape, all you need is a floor, and maybe a yoga mat. It would be a great way to start your day, to squeeze exercise into your lunch break, (or even your coffee break), or instead of that sugary desert after dinner.

Feel like something a little more hardcore? In this video, Kelly Lee from Grokker leads a turbo-charged 15 Minute High Intensity Interval Training Workout. This one is tough, and Kelly is a real drill-sergeant type, but if you want to build strength while you burn a ton of calories, she can help you get it done in a hurry.

Concerned about posture, back pain, that pooch around your belly or just maintaining stability and balance? Maybe you want to focus on your core. Core work isn't all about washboards and six-packs, you know. The system of muscles from your shoulders to your hips is your powerhouse. Healthways Fit offers 15-minute Workouts to Rock Your Core that will help keep your center strong, and tone up those muscles that make you look so good in a tight shirt.

Here's a 30-Minute, No-Gym Bodyweight Workout you can do in the park, on a playground, in the back yard, anywhere, really. All you need is your own body and 30 minutes. I like these little graphics from Greatist. I can imagine hanging this one up like a poster in the room where you exercise and just following along. And yes, you will be tired when you're finished!

Health Magazine calls this Your Perfect No-Gym Workout, but this is quite a little pile of bands, balls, dumbbells and rollers to keep around the house. Every decent gym should have plenty of these for you to use, and a lot more room than I have in my apartment to store them. This should take you 20 or 25 minutes, but be prepared to linger on that roller when you are finished. It can feel heavenly after a good workout.

Finding a place for a fitness ball in your house can be a challenge, but a big rubber band will fit in your jacket pocket. Resistance bands are inexpensive, easy to find, and available in many different forms and levels of tension so it's easy to increase intensity when your muscles outgrow those beginner level bands. Those folks at Greatist offer yet another nifty poster of 7 movements that will build a great 30-minute workout. If you get bored and want to mix in some other exercises, they've also included descriptions of 33 Resistance Band Exercises You Can Do Anywhere.

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