My new workout routine : Simple and Efficient

For most of us, staying fit after crossing teenage is a mission, not a given. It takes work, efforts, and dedication to stay in a desirable shape.

Unfortunately though, this point coincides with the time when we start with our careers, which wouldn’t be a problem if most jobs weren’t as sedentary as they are. Being seated for the most part of the day doesn’t go well with the declining metabolism. The effects are visible and even if we choose to ignore them, our friends and families are kind enough to bring these to our attention. Despite that, life’s other “important” causes take priority and we tend to not do much about that increasing waistline.

But there is hope. At the beginning of every year, sales of Gym memberships shoot up. We make resolutions to try and do better and plan to get fit finally, one more time. Sometimes it is not a new year, but a certain achievement that this mission depends on, for its initiation.

I decided to make such an attempt last November, after getting an admission offer from ISB. “No more excuses”, I said to myself, “Must use this time before the session starts in April”. Taking lessons from many previous not-so-successful attempts, I decided to follow a simpler plan that enables me in being ‘regular’. While it has been only four months since I started, this approach has been extremely beneficial. This is what prompted me to write this post. Here’s a brief description:

1. 20-minutes ONLY – I am not in the Gym for more than that. It is enough to complete a workout session which consists of a few cardio exercises and two rounds of five different weight training exercises with about 16 repetitions in each set. Why so short? Two reasons. First, it doesn’t leave me exhausted and therefore doesn’t affect the rest of my day, especially work. Second, and the more important one is that the small duration reduces the willpower threshold significantly. “Just twenty minutes” is what I tell myself on those days on which I am really tempted to give in to laziness and skip.

2. Four-day Routine –
Day 1 : Beast Mode – Lift up as heavy as I can while not causing any kind of exhaustion.
Day 2 : Baby Mode – Lift up only as much weights as I can comfortably i.e. about 10 pounds less than Day 1.
Day 3 : Easy Mode – Only cardio. Mostly, a combination of few minutes on the elliptical trainer and speed-walking on treadmill. I prefer it to jogging or running.
Day 4 : Rest Day. Some may scoff, but I feel it is helpful in keeping myself motivated to continue over a long period of weeks and months. A small break at regular intervals is great for both body and mind. It lets the muscles heal and build up for the future challenges. Also, it avoids the workouts from turning mundane and dull.

3. Clear idea of the goals and benefits that I am looking for –
a) Good sleep. The big one! Before I started, it was tough for me to get enough sleep. Being awake till late at night and yet getting out of bed by 7 or even 6 am almost every day caused me numerous headaches. Tired (and a little torn?) muscles is the best antidote to irregular sleep cycles.
b) Motivation to keep my diet in check. It is otherwise impossible for me to stay disciplined and not eat the high-calories foods. Even a short workout every day is enough for me to say no to those sweets, those fried, and processed foods. Wouldn’t want to let all the efforts in gym get so easily washed away!
c) Better shape. The obvious benefit one could look for but a little more distinct in my case. Who doesn’t want to fit in those body hugging clothes a little better OR who wants their tummy making its presence felt?

I hope to continue with this routine and take work-out from hobbies to habit this year, even though that may leave me juggling time between academics and all the other tempting activities at the school.

Wish me luck!