Monday, June 20, 2011

The No Excuses Workout - Day 1

It's time for me to get back in shape.  I don't know about you, but I'm pretty freakin' unmotivated to workout.  There are countless, "Get In Shape In 30 Days," exercise plans out there that I look at and think, "Yeah... right.  Like I'll actually do that."

To be honest, I've been in excellent shape for years at a time.  Then life got in the way.  I know how to get where I want to go to reach my fitness goals.  I know all of the tricks. And I take a very different approach to it than everyone else does.

So here's my "No Excuses Workout."  I'm not suggesting that YOU should do this, just that it's what I'm doing.  Feel free to follow along at your own risk.  (Ah, the joys of living in a litigious society...)

I call this the "No Excuses Workout" because that's the hardest part about getting in shape - excuses.  We find all kinds of reasons why we can't workout - lack of time, lack of energy - and the first step in getting in shape is eliminating those excuses.

My approach?  I start with a workout so simple that it's impossible to find valid excuses NOT to workout.


I call this exercise The Table Top.  What I do is climb up on my bed and get on my hands and knees.  I position myself so that my thighs and arms are at 90 degree angles to my body and I make sure that my back is completely flat.  Holding that position, I pull my navel up toward my spine and hold it there.  As many abdominal muscles as I can find, I also pull them up toward my spine (one at a time if necessary) and hold them as well.  Then, I hold all of those muscles in place until I can't do it anymore or for 30 seconds - whichever comes first.

That's the entire workout.

Don't worry, it builds a little each day.  The most challenging aspect of any exercise plan is finding the motivation to do it.  I use the, "Really? You're serious?" approach as in, "Really?  You're serious?  You don't have time to do one exercise today?  C'mon! Do it!"

Even I can't find a way out of that one.


What exercise plan is complete without cardio.  Today, I walked around the block.  Just once.  Seriously.  That's it.

Run a mile?  That I can make an excuse about.  I can't find time to walk around the block?  C'mon!  I can totally do that!

And yes, this was really my workout today.  I'm writing this having completed it.  The blog is just an extra way to kill those excuses.  It's called "accountability."


It may not seem like much, but I began today's workout by slowly strengthening my core - which I define as your torso (front and back) which excludes your arms, legs and neck.  The Table Top focuses on my core - which creates strength and stability for every exercise that follows and is critical to solid physical fitness.

While walking around the block may not seem like much, the average block is approximately 1/10 of a mile.  If I tell my brain, "Go walk 40% of a mile," my brain is most likely going to respond with, "Get bent!"  If I tell my brain, "Go walk around the block," it replies with, "Yeah... I really don't have an excuse for that one."

That's it.  Lao Tzu once wrote, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step," so that's all I took this morning.  One step.  Tomorrow?  I'll take another step, maybe a step and a half.  It's not a race.  What's important is that I reach my goal and removing all of the excuses from that journey makes in much more likely I'll succeed.


  1. So true. It all starts little by little.

    I dance for my cardio and muscle tone. No excuses needed to do something I love. AND it WORKS.


  2. Awesome! I really like that approach. :D I'll have to employ it when I really, really don't "feel" for going swimming, lol. ;)

    Accountability is goooood stuff. :)

  3. I think I'll join you in this workout. :D

  4. @Misha: I came across this concept when I was living in Baltimore. Lean muscle burns fat. The more lean muscle you have, the more fat you burn. So I created a workout that was too easy for me not to do.

    After three months of just eating reasonably (notice there's no diet to follow), walking, and doing this workout I had dropped fifty pounds, I was incredibly toned and strong, and had 6.4% body fat.

    While I'm not shooting for that level of fitness, this is honestly how I did it, step-by-step. :)

  5. @Becky: Awesome! Even when I'm hitting the gym, I still do this workout. What's crazy is that, as we move to different body parts, it makes everything you do more efficient. For instance, if I'm doing this workout and going to the gym, the weight I lift jumps between 10% and 20% on every lift. So it should make swimming even more fun. :)

  6. @Amy: Woohoo! I love the company! :)