Years ago, I took a weightlifting class at the local community college. The instructor, a gentleman of about fifty, looked like he had jumped off the cover of a bodybuilding magazine. While I had no interest in increasing the size of my muscles by a factor of twenty, our teacher (who had won his age group in countless bodybuilding competitions) gave us an excellent fitness tip.
"All of you in here are going to focus on how much you can lift. That's not how you build muscle. Do you know the heaviest weight I workout with? Forty pounds. Muscles develop when they're stressed. It's about keeping the muscle under tension, lifting slow, and maintaining control of the weight."
That's why every movement in my No Excuses Workout is done for a count of four. Muscle develops when it's under tension. It's why I don't have to kill myself to get in shape. To burn fat, our bodies need lean muscle as fat-burning factories. The more lean muscle, the more fat our bodies burn. Each movement in The No Excuses Workout does exactly that - it builds what our bodies need to burn fat.
Today was much the same as yesterday, just a gradual increase with the addition of one exercise.
Table Top - three times
Hug and Release - one time, ten repetitions
Elevation - one time
And then the new exercise, Lift.
Laying flat on my back (the position I was in at the end of Elevation) I draw my feet up about half-way to my body (about where my knees are) and allow them to spread apart a comfortable distance. I pull my navel toward my spine, engage my abdominals, and with my shoulders on the mattress, I slowly lift my hips (for a three count) as high as I can comfortably lift them. I keep my lower back as straight as possible throughout the movement, rather than allowing my pelvis to tilt upward. At the top of the movement, I hold my hips in place and tighten my buttocks for a full count, and then slowly lower them again.
That's one repetition.
I felt crazy this morning and did ten instead of the scheduled five.
The morning walk went one block farther. That brought things up to twelve blocks total (one across, five up, one across, five back) for a distance of a little over a mile.
Exactly like the day before (I can't watch TV and workout if I have to think too much) with the addition of one exercise. The Popeye.
Twist (No Shout) - one time, five repetitions
Bobble Head - one time, five repetitions
Too Sexy - one time, five repetitions
Still standing, I move my elbows to my side. Beginning with my right arm, I slowly curl my arm, moving my hand toward my shoulder as if I were "making a muscle." The key is to flex my bicep through the entire upward motion, which continues for a count of four. Once I reach the top (I don't actually touch my shoulder, I just go through the range of motion), I relax my right arm and repeat the movement with my left.
Once I've done the movement on each side, I've completed one repetition.
Tonight I'll do five.
It may not seem like much, but each day I add two new pieces. Each day I workout a little harder, walk a little farther. If you were to imagine this workout a month from now, the average person wouldn't be able to simply jump into the middle of it. That means that simply adding a little bit each day, I'm getting in shape. It's not a race - it's a journey. Taking things slowly, adding regularly, and making fitness a habit is the best way that I know to reach my goals.