Could 10 minute workouts be the answer???

I’ve never been a fan of going to the gym, it just seems inconvenient from so many aspects.  Going before work means lugging my work clothes, make-up, hair stuff, to the gym, showering there, etc.  Forget about talking myself into going after work, especially in the Winter when it’s cold outside, I’m tired and all I want to do is go home!  Then there’s the hassle of waiting in line to use the gym equipment you want, germs and sweat on everything you touch… blek!

I feel much more comfortable and motivated (I use that term loosely) to work out at home.  I’ve turned a room in my basement into a little workout room.  It started with just a yoga mat, an old TV and some DVD’s but over the years I’ve gradually added a few dumbells, a weight machine and some mirrors.  I think even if you didn’t have much room you could still get a pretty good workout at home just utilizing a spare bedroom or even a corner of your living room.  Home is clean, convenient, I can workout whenever I want, even while I’m still in my pajamas!  I don’t have to pack a gym bag or haul work clothes, and there is no waiting for someone else to finish with the equipment I want to use.  (Looks like my fat cat could hit the gym a few nights a week too!)

Every year I try to set a new fitness goal.  Last year my goal was to incorporate more yoga into my routine.  It all started with an eight week challenge of just 10 minutes of yoga every evening.  You can find that post in my archives.  It has become a habit and although I don’t do it every night, it does happen most nights!  This year I am focusing on strength training.  Cardio has never been a problem for me, I’m a runner and I find all kinds of determination to get a run scheduled into my day!  Strength training is another story though.  I’m always starting a new workout routine that eventually gets derailed for weeks or sometimes even months for one reason or another.

Studies have shown that strength training after the age of fifty boosts metabolism and burns fat.  It helps bones stay strong by increasing bone mass, helps to prevent diseases, relieves stiff joints and reduces inflammation.  Building muscle can improve endurance in running and help prevent injuries.  But even knowing about all the benefits, talking myself into doing it every day has not been easy.

To get started in a routine I decided to commit myself to doing ten minute strength workouts, several mornings a week for eight weeks, just to see if I can notice any improvement.  Each week I have two days of Upper Body, two days of Lower Body  and two days of Core.  I made myself a list of exercises from each of those categories.  On the mornings that I have a strength workout I will choose three or four exercises from one category on my list and just do a few super-sets with about a two minute rest between each super-set. For example on a Lower Body day I might choose Deadlifts, Lunges and Squats.  I’ll do a set of each with no rest in between.  Then rest a couple of minutes and repeat for 3 or 4 supersets.  I’ll do a quick warm-up before and cool-down after.

Three days a week I do a 30 to 60 minute cardio workout after work which will mean going for a run (weather permitting) or using one of my cardio DVDs.  I will do those in combination with my 10 to 20 minute yoga sessions in the evening.  I made up a calendar to keep myself on track.

Occasionally on my lunch break at work I throw in a bonus workout by going for a short walk or doing some stair-climbing.  At this point you’re probably thinking I must have no life but remember, this is just ten minutes here and there throughout the day.  I know it looks like I don’t have any rest days scheduled but since these are just short workouts, I will just take a rest day when I feel it’s needed and then continue on with my schedule the next day.

I’m hoping that ten minutes will become a habit that will gradually turn into longer sessions.  For now though, instead of blowing it off completely, I just tell myself it’s only ten minutes!  My goal is to gain muscle and strength.  I may have to buy a small set of weights if I want to accomplish this goal in my home-gym.  My dumbbells only go up to 10 lbs!  I’m anxious to see where I’m at in two months.  Will  ten minute workouts make any difference?  The challenge is on!

For added motivation I painted a banner around the top of the walls in the room with some reasons to work out.