I have three downloaded apps, thank you very much.
My husband called me out last night for having “only one app” that didn’t come already installed on my iPhone.
After I vehemently defended myself, I unknowingly began digging myself a deeper hole by proudly announcing that, in fact, I had three apps that I downloaded myself.
In response to peer pressure, I listed them aloud to the group. SnapChat and Instagram were nothing short of embarrassing (although I do have a peculiar arrogance in regard to not having the facebook app); however, the third app is one that I swear by.
And so it happened that I was reminded of how much I utilize my timer app. Sure, SnapChat is fun. And I suppose that sometimes I am in the mood to drool over #foodporn on Instagram.
But my timer app? That’s on a whole different level. Apparently, those who have not experienced a good timer app are unaware of the life-changing qualities of a good time app…Here, have a listen at what transpired:
Me: …And then, of course, there’s my timer app.
Friend 1: Like a stopwatch? Did you know that comes on your phone already?
Me: No. A timer app.
Friend 2: Oh, so it counts up or something?
Husband: Dude, she’s all about it. It’s a timer app. It does, like…I don’t know…a bunch of different times.
Thorough and descriptive. Anthony has a way with words.
As great of an explanation as this is, I feel as though I should elaborate.
I am obsessed with my timer app because I can spend 30 seconds setting it for my workout and then go HARD without a thought while my phone dings me through warm-ups, cool-downs, circuits, rounds, Tabata or other intervals, right side/left side splits, with 10-second warnings, countdowns, count-ups, count-overs, and words of encouragement like “keep going, you’re butt looks fantastic!”
Disclaimer: I might have gotten a little carried away. I don’t know what count-ups or count-overs would consist of (but I do wholeheartedly believe you could find an app for that).
Also, I have not yet found an app that shouts sentiments of admiration but am totally on the lookout, so please let me know if you have one. (I usually just spend a few moments during the cool-down appreciating how great my pump looks and telling myself how awesome I am. If you don’t do this already, I definitely recommend it.)
In other words, a good timer app allows you to make the most of your time and focus your energy in the right places. Here are some benefits:
- allows for maximal effort workouts by taking out your subjectivity
- fights against mental boredom and fitness ruts
- easily encourages gradual progressions
You know when you are really winded and so you grab a drink? You might not intend to be taking a break, but your body and your brain finds a way to justify a bit of rest. I wouldn’t necessarily call this mental weakness, but it sure as heck doesn’t feel like mental toughness.
Timers don’t allow for that. Timers dictate all. You start when it says you start and you don’t take a drink until it says you do. This ensures you dish out maximal effort during the scheduled period of maximal effort. No cutting yourself short by looking at the clock a few moments too early. No gray area for debate. You haven’t done a Tabata interval until you’ve done one with time out of sight and nothing but the beep to command your energy expenditure. (More on Tabatas in the next few weeks. Keep an eye out!)
Sick of counting reps? Feeling uninspired? Need a change in your routine? (Might I suggest Pocket Sized Workouts?)
Self-promotion aside, switch it up by adding a timer. If you normally get 15 reps in about 25 seconds, ramp up your routine simply by going “on for 30 seconds.”
You might be surprised by how this slight change in your approach will impact your intensity level. If you are experiencing a mental or physical plateau, just convert your overused rep/set scheme workouts; stimulate your mind and body, tricking it into progress, by using your favorite movements in a new way.
More on making the most of your timer app next week. For now, here’s an easy application:
Set your timer to ding every 30s and fill your mind with literally anything but rep or time counts while you hold a 5-minute plank. If you hit the shaking point and have already refocused,squeezing to engage nearly every single muscle in your body, let go and relax for no longer than “until the next beep. ” You just might impress yourself!
-30s up/down planks
-30s side plank L
-30s side plank R
-30s alternating crossover knee-elbow taps (controlled)
-30s side plank L
-30s side plank R
-30 s alternating same-side outside knee-elbow taps (controlled)
-2x30s high plank hold
-30s low plank hold
*Finish by telling yourself how tough you are and reveling in the compliments.
Love it? Hate it? Let me know!
Oh, but before I forget—I use the Seconds timer app. It’s free and has lots of options. Of course, because I haven’t upgraded, I can’t save any of my timers, but it only takes a few moments to set up. Do you have a timer app already? Inspired to get one now? Leave a comment below to let us know what you have and how you use it.