New Year Resolutions: Writer’s Workout


It’s a four letter word (literally!) that is the bane of every man and woman who works from a chair. Eating ‘better’, taking the stairs, these actions can only counteract so many hours of inactive sitting and no more. The only true cure (or so the ‘Y’ tells me) is exercise.

Every year thousands, probably millions of people resolve to workout. And every year thousands (probably millions) are reminded why they stopped working out, or never bothered to in the first place.

It’s hard. It leaves you sore. It takes weeks to get into the routine and see any kind of positive change. It is the last thing any normal person wants to do after working all day (bravo to the superheroes of today who ENJOY working out. Bravo, I say, bravo!)

It gets worse. You look at the price of a gym membership. You see the price of running shoes. The hourly rate of personal trainers (which can be enough to make you seriously rethink certain life choices).

Married men look at bank statements and wonder why an article of clothing intended to get grungy costs $50 a pop.

And then, if you overcome all that, you are faced with the worst workout demon of all. The great and mighty Time-suck (Dah-dah-daaaah!).

Many of us have many things we WANT to do in our off hours and most of those things do not play well with working out. Every writer working a day job will know exactly what I mean.

But hold fast, oh brave and hardy souls, I am developing a solution!

A few months ago I saw an add for Tony Horton’s (of P90X fame) latest workout scheme. The major selling point is that it is a ten minute workout for busy people. Based on the theory that if less is more than a lot less should be a lot more, I developed my own plan, based on my top criteria: Cheap, quick exercise.

A few disclaimers. I am not a doctor, nor a personal trainer. Do not attempt this and then get mad at me if you hurt yourself. Especially don’t attempt this if recovering from Yoga injuries (I did. It sucked. A lot.) That said, on to the workout.

Take the following steps:
1) Find a bar that you can use for pullups.
2) Loosen up with your favorite stretches. I like touch-toes, windmills, and the hold-your-arm-across-your-chest ones.
3) Drop and do 10 pushups (of 15, or 20, or whatever is a reasonable number for you. Emphasis quality, not quantity).
4) On your feet and do 10 squats. Go slow. This is not a race. (or see the note on the pushups. Same concept applies.) *
5) Jump up to your pullup bar and do a reasonable number. If you can’t do one, pullup as high as you can, hold for a two count, and lower slowly. Do this as many times as you can. **
6) Drop lightly (heh heh heh) to the floor and enter the plank position. Hold for 60 seconds (or until you feel like an earthquake is rolling through the neighborhood). Use a timer or count slowly (heh heh heh).
7) Pat yourself on the back and go get some water. Do it every day for a week. Then do it the next week and try and increase your efforts by 50% (i.e. You did 10 pushups, do 15 next week. You did 20 squats, do 30 next week.)

Doesn’t seem to bad right? A warning. You will probably not get ripped on this workout. This is not a ‘beach body’ exercise routine.

BUT when I timed myself, it took all of three minutes. It cost me $0. And it had my heart racing. So if that sounds like what you need, give it a try. To my mind, a huge bonus is that it is adjustable to your physical abilities and it’s a daily workout, so it’s easy to learn.

*When doing squats, be sure to follow proper form and keep your knees behind your toes. You will have to lean forward (keep your back straight) to maintain your balance as you go lower.

** I like pullups/chinups. There are many forms. Wide grip is pushed because it is hard. Narrow grip (palms away) is a little easier. Narrow grips (palms facing to) is usually even easier. I have been trying them lately with my palms facing in to the bar, so that when I look straight ahead, I look down the length of the bar. When I pullup, I have to pull to the side to avoid cracking my head. I alternate the sides with each rep. If you Google mountain climber pullups, you should see what I’m talking about.

Good luck.


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