I love being in the gym. It’s “fun” for me.
In a perfect world, I would dedicate five days a week to leisurely strolling into the gym and starting off with a nice, brisk paced walk on the treadmill before transitioning to a 5–to-10 minute dynamic warm up. Eventually, once the stars have aligned and I’m 100% mentally & physically prepared, I’d go ahead and move on to my first exercise of the day.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Not every day, at least.
Nothing’s wrong with making a plan. I make one for nearly every day of my life. But I’m also aware that at any given time, life could decide that it has plans of its own, and that’s when having the flexibility to autoregulate proves itself invaluable.
On the days that life gets in the way of my regularly scheduled gym session, I’ll still try my absolute best to do something. I may not have an hour to get in the major strength session I had planned, but I’ve almost certainly got 5 minutes.
The next time life changes your plans for you, consider giving this quick upper body “pump circuit” a try as a substitution for whatever other fitness related activity you had to cancel.
- Jumping jacks x 15 sec.
Push ups x 10
Overhand pull-aparts x 10
Jumping jacks x 30 sec.
Push ups x 15
Overhand pull-aparts x 15
Jumping jacks x 45 sec.
“Diamond” push ups x 10
Mini band bicep curls x 10
Jumping jacks x 60 sec.
“Diamond” push ups x 15
Mini Band Curls x 15
Complete the circuit as quickly as possible. On average, you’re going to be looking at around 5 minutes to make it all the way through. Of course, that number will vary from person to person.
Move fast, but don’t compromise quality of movement for speed. Keep a running stopwatch and track how long it took for you to complete the circuit. Come back later that week and beat your own record. Have fun with it.
And don’t be afraid to scale the workout to your specific needs. (as is the case with ANY workout — no matter what the piece of paper or the computer screen has written on it)
Can’t quite handle sets of 10–15 push ups? Do sets of 5. Or 3. Or just 1. Keep track of your progress and watch the reps go up as you adapt to the new stimulus.
Are you already “super fit” and just needed something to hold you over in between training sessions? Do another round!
However you choose to get the job done, remember the most important reason why we’re doing this in the first place: we’re not letting life get in the way of us being active, healthy, functional people.
Investing even 5 minutes of your day into just moving will pay dividends over the long run. This habit is especially important to instill in anybody who may still be getting used to having a weekly workout routine. Those that have been in the game for long enough will tell you that the key to all things “fit” is being consistent.
Lastly, keep in mind that this circuit is just one of many examples of how much work you can truly get done in about 5 minutes if you’re willing to put the effort in. Maybe in your case, you’d benefit more from a 5 minute mobility flow. Maybe you’re someone that can knock out 100 push ups in 5 minutes or less. To each their own.
We all come in different shapes & sizes and we all have different goals, so structure your fitness according to that — but we’re ALL in it together in the fight against Father Time, and every day is a new opportunity to shift the odds in our favor through the power of consistency.