Today's topic is a departure from my usual, but is a topic that I think we often ignore. We live in an "all-or-nothing" society. There is only one Super Bowl Champion, only one Kentucky Derby Winner, only one Best Picture Oscar, only one World Series MVP. I write to you every week telling how you need to do X, Y, and Z to get in the best shape of your life, you buy Beachbody products which have 6-day a week schedules for 90 straight days. You have to give up alcohol, sweets, soda and eating anything before bed if you want to lose a substantial amount of weight. And yet, who here is perfect? Not me! The reality is that we should all strive to do all the things I outline in these emails every week, but when life hits us and for some reason we can't, you must remember that something is better than nothing. I encourage you to eliminate the excuses and just buckle down and take over your life already! You are the only person in the world that can do that - we all know I can't do it for you! BUT by the same token, don't give up when you A) Fall off the wagon and think you'll never get back on, B) Hit a road bump, or C) Your body is telling you need a break.
Many of you are probably experiencing one of those 3 factors even as we speak. So my advice to you is to not treat this like "all or nothing," but rather accomplish what you can do right now, and perhaps just slightly more. Many of us believe if we can't do it all the way, we shouldn't do anything at all. Quite the contrary! Today's topic is "Just do Something!"
This rule really applies when it comes to dieting. If you want to get into peak health, you need to commit to a healtlhy diet, as often as possible. But let's just get realistic for a second. A complete diet overhaul in one day is expensive and nearly impossible to stay on track with. What if you made a couple changes right now. Like stop drinking soda, or start planning for a healthy breakfast every morning, and start packing a homemade lunch. Let's just forget about dinner and after dinner for a second. If "before" you were skipping breakfast, eating fast food for lunch, and having a glass of soda a day, I don't care what you have for dinner! If you make those three changes, you will be in 1000x better position to get in better health than before.
I have to admit, I'm a professional musician and many nights a week I have rehearsal and can't eat at home. I have several go-to places where I know I can get healthy food, but there are days when I can't pack 4 meals worth of food with me when I go off to work. But, if you remember that something is better than nothing, if I eat a wholesome breakfast of eggs and steel cut oats, fruit for a snack around 9:30, workout at 11 while at work, eat a big salad with tuna fish for lunch, and have Shakeology at 3:00, it almost doesn't matter what I have for dinner, as long as I don't blow my calories out of proportion. And what does that take to prepare? Breakfast is cooked at home. I bring an apple, a jar of peanut butter, a banana, a bag of lettuce, a can of tuna, and have a blender and my Shakeology at work and I have 80% of a day planned out healthily. And that is a big "something," way better than if I didn't prepare and ate Subway and Burger King.
You're Sick, or You're Injured
Injury is no joke, nor is sickness. In another article I use the following rule of thumb when you are sick: if the infection is above the chest, it's ok to work out lightly. If the infection is chest or below, skip it. If you have a fever over 100, skip it, you don't want to mess with raising that body temperature anymore. If you have one of the more serious conditions listed here, "nothing" is better than something. BUT if you can get in a short cardio workout when you have a head cold, you might actually aid in your recovery, and you won't feel as lethargic because you actually got up out of bed and got the blood flowing!
With injury, my advice is if you have to ask me, you need to see a doctor! Let's be realistic about what I can do for you: I am a certified sports nutrition consultant, which means I can help you dial in the right amount of calories and proportion of carbs, proteins, and fats in your diet for optimal performance and achieving your weight loss goals. I am NOT a doctor of sports medicine, so if you tell me "my left lower ankle is hurting," I can't give you advice, except to go see a doctor. My rule of thumb for injury is when you feel you are ready to work out again, wait another week! Now, let's see you injured your knee. You might not be able to do Insanity, but you might be able to go to the gym and lift weights 30 minutes. Or you might be able to do the Core Cardio and Balance DVD which is much lower impact. Or maybe you put in a DVD but listen to your body and sit out the moves that will tweak your injury. Either way, don't let a minor injury, soreness, or discomfort sideline you completely. Make the proper adjustments and keep going!
Fast Workouts for When you Don't Have Time
I didn't have time isn't the best excuse, but there are days when you really just don't have time. I played for an 8 hour choir festival rehearsal into a night concert recently. The venue was an hour drive away, I had to leave at 6:00 a.m., rehearse from 7:30-3:30. Slight break, dinner, concert at 7:00 p.m., home at 10:30 p.m. Sorry - not working out that day - at least not a full workout.
What can you do instead?
-Stretch/yoga first thing in the morning. You can do this in 20 minutes before you take your shower.
-Push-ups! How many pushups can you do till exhaustion? Try to match that number 8 times during the day. I've done pushups in a men's room, in a side hallway, in a parking lot, or in wide open in front of people. Do 8 sets of 30, MAN now we're talking. And if you spread it out through a whole day it burns quite a good amount of calories. I even went into a men's room and did pull-ups on the cross bar at the top of the doors to the stalls once when I was rehearsing for a concert at a college recital hall. Thank God nobody walked in on me!
-Do everything harder! Washing the dishes? BRING IT! Take the stairs, power walk. Give me some curls with your text book while you are going up the stairs to your class. Don't just walk the dog, jog, or sprint to the stop sign and back to your house. This is not a substitute for regular exercise, but if you can burn more calories, do it!
-10 Minute Trainer. Beachbody is brilliant in creating this workout. It is 5 x 10 minute routines led by Tony Horton that work your upper body, lower body, abs, and cardio. You really get a sweat going, and depending on the time you have, you can do multiple discs, making it a 20 or 30 minute workout. http://teambeachbody.com/shop/-/shopping/10mintrainer?referringRepId=72418
-Shorter DVD's, like Fast and Furious. Many of the Beachbody DVD's come with a bonus workout that is nice and short. Fast and Furious is a 20 minute "pure cardio" style workout that really works you! In fact today I knew I had a screwy schedule so I did 20 minute shoulders routine at home in the morning, and then did Fast and Furious later at work. Great mini-workouts, added up to be something pretty nice
-P90XShort. You know P90X Classic and Lean. I now introduce P90X short. It only affects days 1, 3, and 5. Chest and Back: do the first round (12 exercises) and stop. Shoulders and arms: use the workout sheet and do each sequence only one time, not each set back to back twice. Legs and Back do the first half and end with switch grip pull-ups. Core Syn: end with exercise 12, Plank to Chataranga runs. Chest/Shoulder/Tri: end with lying triceps extensions (don't smash your face). Back and Biceps: end with Static Arm curls, and optional, add the strip set biceps curls for fun at the end! 80% of the "work" happens in the first round, or first 30 minutes of these strength workouts. You continue to increase calorie burn and work on muscle endurance. When Tony says "Most workouts would be over...but not OU-RS!" he isn't lying. So on days when you don't have time, do P90XShort!