In case anyone was wondering, there was toilet paper on the roll–on the dispenser even!–this morning. Thanks for your concern. I think it’s gonna be a good day!
Last week, we got through two and a half of my “5 Quick Tricks to Up Your Fitness Game NOW.” If you didn’t read it yet, you should. (I might be biased, but I think it’s worth your time.) Regardless, here’s a little recap:
Basically, I said that, if you are experiencing a plateau in your fitness–perhaps fat-loss, maybe strength gains, even motivation–you should try one of these 5 tips right away:
- Abandon ship! Ditch today’s scheduled workout in lieu of movement you love.
- Food log (via written log or photo log) and share it in “real time” with an accountability partner.
- Commit to 5 minutes daily.
- Choose a skill to dominate.
- Determine a specific strength goal and chase it
I wrote about postponing a dreaded scheduled workout to instead engage in another exercise activity that you will enjoy. I gave some ideas about increasing your nutritional awareness through food-logging with accountability. Then, I preached consistency as a tool for fat-loss and other goals. Remember that? Of course you do.
Let’s meditate on that latter one a little longer. Let’s pick up right where we left off.
Let’s explore the depths of the 5-minute commitment…
Third, commit to 5 minutes daily: If you don’t have five minutes, you are fooling yourself. Fat-loss, in particular, is the result of consistency. (Although, not-so-incidentally, so is skill acquisition.)
Here are some truths:
- Something is better than nothing. Five minutes is better than zero. (…in 99.99999999999% of all situations.)
- Five minutes daily builds a habit. Five minutes proves that you can stick to your intention. It’s a small daily win.
- Five minute bursts really can add up for overall health improvements.
- Five minutes often expands. Once you get your blooding pumping, once you break that sweat, once your endorphins make themselves known, once you remember how good it feels to move, how much easier will it be to go another five? Maybe another ten? Now we’re talking about a 15-minute workout, and a whole lotta good can be done in a 15-minute workout!
- A five-minute commitment is mental. It’s not physical. Increase your mental strength and fortitude. Increase your mental discipline.
- Alas, I wasn’t planning on going here, but nonetheless: Five minutes daily equals 35 minutes weekly. Thirty-five minutes weekly equals 1,820 minutes annually, which is more than 30 hours. When the average American gains between 5 and 8 pounds of bodyweight each year, doesn’t that 30-hour effort sound extra-enticing?
Fourth, choose a skill to dominate: There’s nothing quite so motivating as trying to learn something new–if, of course, it’s something you want to learn! Whether it’s a party trick or something you can only show off at the gym (or, fine, something you just want to know you can do for nothing other than your own satisfaction), choose a skill and then work it consistently. Five minutes per day, anyone?
When you are invested in this way, it adds a mental focus to your workout. It’s no longer about going through the motions, it’s about getting better. Noticing actual improvement. Need an idea? Look no further than some basic gymnastics moves: pistol squat, handstand, or muscle-up. Or, aim for mastering a new medium, like learning an Olympic lift or a kettlebell move. A one-arm push-up or pull-up might come in handy, too, when you’re walking your puppy or your friend’s baby through the local park. Wink, wink.
Fifth, determine a specific strength goal and chase it: If you are looking for direction at the gym, nothing will drive your program more effectively than putting a bulls-eye on a strength PR. If you dictate a 2.5x bodyweight deadlift goal, your other distractions will surely fade away. No more dilly-dallying. You’ve got laser-beam focus. You’ve got trackable progress. You’ve got yourself an exciting reason to show up and do work.
If you are feeling overwhelmed despite my best efforts to give you clear, concise, and immediate steps to invigorate your workouts…
First, I’m sorry. I’ll try harder next time.
Second, perhaps look into Pat’s Pocket-Sized Programming (recently revamped and better than ever!), or his fall group coaching. Pat may look ridiculous in his muscle shirts, but he knows a thing or two about getting results in the gym.
I hope you didn’t think for a second that I would leave you without a five-minute challenge.
In the spirit of “the fourth tip,” pick ONE body-weight skill and work it for five minutes.
Some ideas if you’re running dry:
Pistol (one-legged) squat
Headstand or stand
Go get it this week, and let me know how it goes!
P.S. Halfway through this post, I took a potty break. Guess what? Door Number 1 revealed a nearly-empty toilet paper roll. Would you judge me if I told you that I casually closed Door Number 1 and stealthily entered Door Number 2 (where there was, in fact, a fully stocked TP dispenser)?