Here’s how it works: Whatever time of day you can set aside for working out (before work, after work, after the kids are put to bed, etc.), grab a timer and set it for 5 minutes. Find your favorite (or least hated) exercise from the workout at the end of this article, and start with the specified amount of repetitions for that exercise. Once you’ve finished, move on to your next favorite exercise from the list and keep this up for 5 minutes. Once the alarm on your phone or timer rings, stop whatever you’re doing, and you are allowed to be done and can give yourself a pat on the back for working out that day. But, if when the timer dings and you are feeling good and want to continue, go ahead and finish the workout in its entirety.
You’ll soon realize that getting started is the hardest part and once you’re moving, you’re going to want to keep pushing. If you give yourself the option of stopping after 5 minutes its easy to start because you know you have an out. Some days you may stop after 5 minutes because you really do have no energy or aren’t up for it. That’s ok! At least you gave it 5 good minutes and will have lots of energy for your workout the next day. No harm no foul. Also, the excuse of time no longer exists. None of these exercises require any equipment and can be done virtually anywhere. You may have a sporadic 5 minutes you didn’t know you were going to have and can get your workout in then. I’ll even do you one better and eliminate the excuse of being in “workout clothes”. If you work an office job, set your timer for 5 minutes and WALK. I know for a fact you can do that! You won’t even break a sweat and mess up your nice blouse or work shirt.
One of my long-distance clients was doing well with her nutrition but was having trouble finding time and motivation to get her workouts in. I gave her the suggestion above and asked her to move for 5 minutes and see what happened. On the first day she did 5 minutes of stairs and stopped, which was fine. On day 2 she set out to run for 5 minutes and ended up doing 3 miles! It’s funny how once she got started; the motivation (and time) suddenly appeared! She’s continuing to get more and more consistent with her training, but I always tell her that on days she isn’t up for it, to give it 5 good minutes and see what happens.
Now I realize that implementing these ideas isn’t going to give you a six-pack overnight or help you lose 10 lbs in a week. But what it does is get you moving and heading in the direction. Starting a program is the hardest part and sticking to it can be tough too-but not when all you need is 5 minutes! Once you get on a roll with this and want something more, add a minute to it each day. Commit to 5 minutes Monday, 6 minutes Tuesday, 7 minutes Wednesday, etc. Also, you may want to look at other options to up the intensity and help you get results much quicker. When you’re ready for that, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll point you in the right direction and help you find something that’s suitable for your goals. As always, before starting any exercise program, make sure you clear it with your health care professional.
The 5-Minute Workout
15 Squats (or squat jumps)
15 Jumping Jacks
15 Alternating Lunges
:30 Plank Hold
Work from one exercise to the next, resting as little as possible. Work up to 3 rounds through the workout. If you need a modification, or aren’t sure of an exercise, email me or post in the comment section below.
Other 5 Minute Options:
Stairs (run or walk)
Do something active with your kids