Get in Shape in 5 minutes a day

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So in my last post about fitness, I wrote about how simply changing my lifestyle to include fitness has helped improve my mood.  Here, I will talk about how five minutes a day can drastically change your mood, give you more energy throughout the day, and help you get fit.  Before I begin, let me explain to anyone following this that these exercises WILL NOT perform miracles for you.  If you are looking for a quick fix to get tone and slim down fast, this is not for you.  I’m not going to sit here and tell you how you can lose 40lbs in 30 days or some idiotic bull shit like that.  No, this is about helping your mental health and making fitness a part of your every day lifestyle.  It took me a long time to understand that making fitness a part of my life was the only way I was going to see any real results that last a lifetime.  Now that that is out of the way, here it goes.  This is also a mix of different routines that I follow and I will get more into them as I go. Here is how I get in shape in 5 minutes a day

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1.  Taking my dog out at 6am is not my ideal wake up call but there is a positive (besides my dog not peeing in my apartment).  When I take my dog out, I do 30 lunges.  I am not a morning person but once I get up with the dog, I’m awake. So why not do something while the dog is doing his business?

 

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2.  Of course, when I come in I HAVE to make my coffee!  With or without exercise, I am no good without my coffee!  While I’m waiting though, I do some stretching.  I stretch my arms, my neck, and my legs, holding each stretch for 8 counts.  Then, I do 30 planks.  That’s about 45 seconds and I am already starting to feel energized.  Coffee is done!

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3.  After I’ve had my coffee (sometimes while drinking it), I do 30 crunches, 30 squats (with 8lb dumbells but that is optional), and 30 push-ups (on my knees because my upper body strength isn’t quite there yet to do a full body push-up).  This takes me about 1 1/2 minutes.

4.  After I have finished my coffee, I am now ready to do some quick yoga moves.  My favorite moves to help get me going are the Downward Dog, Upward Dog, and my absolute favorite: Warrior Pose.  I hold each one for 16 counts.  You can start with 8 counts each if 16 is too much for you.

5.  After I have done all of these I am feeling energized and ready to start my day but not quite yet.  There is still one more thing to do but it’s the most important.  EAT BREAKFAST!!!  I know, I know, easier said than done.  I’m not much of a breakfast person either but I really have found that eating breakfast, especially something high in protein and/or fiber, keeps me from binge eating in the evenings.  My favorite breakfast is cheese omelets.  I make three of them and I have another cup of coffee to go with it.  Can’t forget about the coffee!

Now, a few times a week I will work out with my Xbox Fitness.  I love doing the Mossa weights, Mossa Fight, and Mossa Groove.  I also do some power yoga, boot camps, and they recently added an awesome Tai Chi workout.  I don’t do all of these at once though.  As a busy mom, I don’t have time to do all at once plus, I don’t really want to.  So, I switch exercises.  This is great for me because it keeps me on a morning routine of working out (the best time of day for me), and keeps me from getting too bored with doing the same workout day in and day out.

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While there are other things that I would like to do both for myself and for my kids (like martial arts, archery, and sports) I can’t afford those things right now so I make due with physical activity that doesn’t cost me anything.  Oh, and the 30 lunges, 30 squats, 30 planks, 30 crunches, and 30 push-ups are all a part of the Spartan 30 day challenge that you can look up HERE . If you like what you see and have fun with this, look at their webpage.  They also have a Facebook page. Check them out and don’t forget to have fun!

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Thanks so much for Reading!

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How Fitness Improves My Mental Health

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As you Know by now, I am in recovery from PTSD. While most of my symptoms have subsided, some are still active. Depression, for example, really tries to kick my ass. While therapy has helped me a great deal, I also do other things to fight my depression and my mood swings (which are also just a part of who I am). I have found a sure-fire way of combating my PTSD symptoms with exercise. Fitness has always been a minor passion of mine but I never really fully committed to it until recently when I finally realized that the biggest benefit of fitness is improving my mental health.

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You see, when I would work out in the past, I did it for the wrong reason: to look good. Now, that may be great for other people but for me, that just wasn’t enough of a motivation to do what I knew I needed to do. I even worked out with Marines, who helped me get into shape for boot camp (that is another story for another time). So, I made excuse after excuse as to why I don’t need to work out. I’m sure many of you are familiar with some of these excuses: “I’m too tired. I’m too busy.” Or if you are really honest with yourself, “I’m just too damn lazy.”

 

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I’ve used all of these excuses but several years ago, when I was in the throws of my PTSD, I had made the choice to go on medication. Not only did the medication make me feel like a zombie (I tried a few different ones) but it also made me balloon to 180lbs. I’m only 5 ft tall and in no way should be that weight. I never weighed that much at nine months pregnant with either child and my oldest was a 9lb baby. It really scared me. Now, people can argue all they want about SSRI’s not causing weight gain but understand that medication, whatever they may be, are different for everyone. Everyone reacts differently to medication. My mental and physical reactions to the medications I was on are different from someone else on the same medication. This is MY experience, not someone else’s.

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With the help of my doctor, I gradually weaned myself off of the medication because I needed to, not just for the weight problem but also for my total lack of ME when I was on it. However, I was still struggling with my mental disorder. I can’t remember how I came to realize that exercise was the key because it is something that happened gradually, over time.  Once I had this epiphany though, I knew I needed to not just do exercise every now and then but I needed to make it a part of my life. I needed to make it a part of who I am and the lifestyle I choose to live.

Now, being a busy mom and struggling with PTSD, working out wasn’t exactly on the forefront of my mind but I knew that if I wanted to attain some semblance of sanity while I was working through my issues, I needed to be physical.  At first, it was kickboxing. The kickboxing actually helped with my anger issues. Apparently, I found over time that I had a lot of pent up aggression because I never dealt with my traumatic childhood.  I lived in a state of denial for a long time and that left me holding everything in. The kickboxing really helped with that.

 

images (1)I went to the gym at college on and off but I get easily bored at the gym, doing the same things all the time.  That was my biggest problem with exercise.  While I need a routine to keep me active, doing the same thing over and over again got boring and that made me lose my motivation.  Over the years I have tried different things including six months of Tae Kwon Do (many years ago), running, gym classes (I did a cardio kickboxing class that was a lot of fun), and most recently Tai Chi. I now have a pretty steady routine that also provides me with just enjoying physical activities without really letting my brain register that it’s exercise. In my next post I will discuss what my routine is now and how I make it work but the trick for me is to not any physical activity as working out but rather view it as having fun. I do anything from hiking to Tai Chi and many things in between and that works for me.

Finding time for exercise can sometimes be a problem but I always fit in yoga at least once a day. How about you? How do you find time? What does your routine look like?

Thanks so much for Reading!

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