What’s Holding You Back?

To start anything from a dietary change, a new job, buying a puppy or a taking on an exercise routine take a couple of things.

First off, a motivator to start that ‘something’. From the motivator spins off the why, the reason to take on that ‘something’.

Secondly, a plan of action steps follows suit.

After those two factors there are lots of wee things, fluff that messes up our heads, or let’s call them excuses or perceived stumbling blocks.

Today though, I’m not going to talk too much planning or motivation, those are topics I’ll leave for someone much smarter than me to talk about.

I am going to talk about starting a strength and exercise plan and the stuff that holds you back and options to get over it.

image from 'thedailybrick.co.uk'

image from ‘thedailybrick.co.uk’

Unless Wonder Woman is holding you back, then you’ve really not got many reasons outside of health issues, that are genuinely going to stop you from making a start.

A list of excuses might look something like this: (feel free to pick one)

  • No time
  • Don’t know what to do
  • Don’t want to join a gym
  • Kids take my energy and time
  • I’m busy at work, busy busy busy
  • I joined a gym but never go
  • I don’t like X exercise (replace X with any disliked exercise)
  • I don’t like getting warm and sweaty – sigh!
  • I don’t want to hurt myself
  • I’m tired
  • I’ve no stuff to use

The list could go on and in fact, I’d love to hear your excuses too. Reply in the comment box below – go on, have a moan.

I think that in a lot of cases, there is this perception that to exercise, you must do all this ‘stuff’ for a block of time that for many reasons, seems unreasonable.

Now, if you’re an athlete (and by athlete I mean someone who’s job is to exercise for sport and not a gym attendee who trains a few times a week) your motivator is to perform at your best to win, support your team and chase your dreams. This is fine. I’ve been there, got lots of T-shirts and made huge sacrifices to chase it.

In the case of career exercising, a lot of those excuses listed above apply to other life stuff outside of exercising but, if your career is an office based occupation, services, health care, looking after family etc, then yes, time and energy is your currency.

There are exercise police that dictate that you must exercise for 1 hour a day 3-4 days a week. If your goal is to exercise reasonably frequently for health and general strength and fitness, maybe some weight loss, then the rules are flexible. You do what you can when you can.

An ideal exercise plan should include a few components to tick the boxes.

For strength we should include the short list now made popular by coach Dan John. This comprises of the 6 pillars that include the Squat, Hip Hinge, Push, Pull, Abdominal Bracing and a loaded Carry.

For general health longevity we can include the simplest of activities, like walking. Sure, if our bodies allow for it, we can get all sexy and do some intervals and high explosive exercises, but to be honest, when exercising at this point is already pushing the likelihood buttons, let’s not risk injuries or further obstacles.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 1.28.43 PM

Let’s look at that list of 6 pillars again. Just six exercises. Only 6 exercises. I might say just 6 but you may be thinking (as a beginner looking for excuses not to exercise) “Wow, I’ve to do six things!”

In an ideal world where time wasn’t a major trading currency, completing these six, for multiple sets in a training session wouldn’t be a problem but that’s not us in this.

So, let’s just do ONE. 

Yep, there is nothing wrong with doing just one thing per day in an exercise routine. If you were to spend 10 mins a day doing just one thing to improve your life and health, after a week you’ll have acquired 70 mins of dedicated and focussed exercise. Not bad hey?

Now this isn’t just pure fancy, it’s a strategy that I have given to clients over the years that works wonders for starting out, sustaining, time-limited periods or for putting in little blocks of practice time for new skills. You see, exercising is a skill. When you practice a movement, your skill levels increases and the body will adapt.

My current situation is my prime motivator to share this with you today. I am spending a month visiting family over seas for a wedding, catching up, showing my daughter the wonders of my homeland and eating all the foods I grew up with.

I still want to exercise but time, space, weather and equipment is my currency.

What I am planning per day is a rotation of mobility (keeping loose and pain free) and strength training. One day I complete a 10 min routine of mobility moves and the other day I focus on one strength movement for up to 10 minutes.

Today I squat. 

Squat wordcloud

ONE thing is my focus today, a squat movement. I’ve not got any kettlebells, bars or anything else, so I shall take a variation of a squat and I’ll play with that over a short period of time. So, to cover one of those excuses, “I don’t like X exercise”, there are a multitude of variations for each of those 6 pillars we should include every week. The little word cloud above shows a selection of leg exercises that I can use and in fact, today the Lego squat, a new favourite of mine is on the menu.

Here’s a demo from the archives: This one includes a combination

Tomorrow we’ve a wedding, so my plan is to complete a mobility routine early in the day, 10 minutes again. The following day I’ll probably do a short routine to include again, one movement, like a rowing (pulling) motion of pushing.

Whilst it could be easy to just go, “ah sure, I’m on holidays, I can rest”, I know I’ll feel better for keeping up a minimal plan so when time becomes more available in the future, I’ll have a good foundation from which to build up.

My Goal for my exercising is to increase health and strength longevity. I’m not looking to set world records, I want to add life to my years without falling apart too young. My goal therefor, is to keep the goal the goal. If all I have to do is move well and often, than 10 mins a day sure ticks a box.

10 minutes a day of focussed exercise equals 60 hours a year of focussed exercise!

Not bad hey?

If you want to make a start to adding life to your years and maybe are not too sure how and where to start, get in touch. Whether you are near or far, I can surely help you.

Yours in health,