Yesterday, I mentioned:


…so here’s today’s…

Giving Suggestion #2: Use your time and energy to run a race for a good cause. Here’s a great one if you’re local to me (but there are charity/ministry organized runs all over the nation): Run for Sight 5K.

Today’s post is actually a guest-post that I wrote what seems like ages ago right after I started blogging, and I’m guessing quite a few of you haven’t seen it yet. (On a side note, I have never had time fly by so quickly—it never feels like there are enough hours in the day—and yet have a starting point seem soooooo long ago; it’s hard to remember life before blogging in other words; phrases like “free time” come to mind…what is that anyway?).

If you have already read it, I’m sorry. I wrote this brand spankin’ new, completely original, never-before-seen introductory paragraph just for you guys. Happy now?

Anyhoo, I get asked often how I stay motivated to squeeze exercising into a rather hectic schedule. I have a very simple answer really: I get paid to do it.  That doesn’t mean I do it for the money because I don’t. But because I’m the one teaching the class and there is monetary remuneration involved (didja like how I worked 16 unnecessary syllables into that phrase when I could have just said, “money?”), the level of motivation kind of shoots through the roof. I can be just as lazy as the next guy, but not when people are depending on me. And paying me. Check, check.

So, that’s my answer. But being a fitness instructor is definitely not for everyone. Which is why today’s post is all about working little bits of exercise into the everyday, mundane details of life and surprising yourself with what a good workout you can get out of it.

So…without further ado, I give you: me, guest-posting for myself. Take it away, Abs! (Wow, that was weird).

Today, I’m here to help with a common fitness conundrum: how do you get fitter and healthier, without losing your sanity, your family time, or your Kindle time?

In a word (or two, actually): fitness multitasking.


Here are some suggestions of what that might look like:

While you’re playing with your kids…

    • run suicides—if you aren’t familiar with these, it’s probably because you blocked them out of your mind from a traumatic junior high gym class experience. But you don’t have to literally want to kill yourself when you’re done to get something beneficial out of this exercise.  If you’ve got little (or even big) tykes, set up a mark 20-30 feet away (you can use anything—a football, a cone, an Ironman action figure…can you tell I have boys?), and then challenge your kids to a race.  Sprint (or jog…whatever is difficult for you) toward the mark and then back to your starting point three times, then, once your kids catch up (assuming they didn’t outrun you! : )), challenge them to a “walk-off” to see who can do the same distance walking the fastest. Wash, rinse, repeat. The benefit: interval training (alternating high/low activities to vary your heart-rate), which is the most effective form of calorie/fat burning. Try to make your playtime last for at least 15 minutes.
    • give horsey rides: having a wiggly sack of potatoes on your back will add extra resistance and the crawling motion will force you to use most muscles in your body, including those all-important ab muscles everyone is so eager to tighten.  The benefit: elevated heart rate for fat-burning and resistance for muscle tone. Try for 3-4 rounds of horsey rides that last 5 minutes each throughout your day.

While you’re watching tv…

    • Alternate between push-ups, dips, and squats. Grab a chair for the tricep dips, and then knock out sets of 5 each, moving from dips (see video tutorial here)  to squats (check out this body-weight squat tutorial) to push-ups (you can read my push-up tutorial for the standard variety), circuit-style (which just means that you repeat the same sequence of exercises once you’ve completed one round). The benefit: elevated heart-rate for fat-burning and multiple reps for conditioning/muscle tone. Try to do 3 circuits (dips, squats, push-ups = 1 circuit) with a 2 minute break in between for the length of a 30 minute TV show. 
    • Do yoga/pilates: you can Google any number of simple poses/stretches (lots of tutorials on youtube) and then use your tv/movie-watching time to get acquainted with your inner yogi. The benefits: stress reduction (especially if you practice taking deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth), increased flexibility—which decreases your chances of injury and improves the appearance of your muscles—and increased muscle tone.  Try to learn a simple vinyasa flow sequence (Google this phrase) and complete it as many times as possible with a 1 minute break between each sequence during the length of a 30 minute TV show.

While you’re Kindling it up…

    • Find a step/stair of some kind (even a very low stool will work if you’re careful) and do calf-raises while you read.  You’ll be toning your legs while you distract your mind, and the smooth movement won’t distract your eyes from the words on the page, electronic or paper. The benefit: toned calf muscles, stronger lower body.  Try to do at least 10 sets of 10 at varying speeds (singles= up 1, down 1, pulses=same idea, but faster, 2-2’s=up for 2 counts, and down for 2 counts, 3-1’s= up for 3, down for 1, etc.).  If your calves haven’t burst into flame yet, try a simple up-up, down-down step sequence to work out the burn and get the heart-rate up a little.
    • It may seem too obvious to mention, but Kindles or large-print books are also ideal companions for that treadmill or elliptical you’ve been using as hat-rack in your garage for the last two years.

While you’re being the maid…

    • Turn up the tunes, and scrub with a sense of purpose. Sweeping and mopping floors is very few folks’ idea of a good time, but if you dial up the volume on your radio or mp3 player, you’re much more likely to get after that dried-on cereal on the tile floor.  Music with a driving beat (even if it’s just a bee-boppy number from the Go Fish Guys…although I’m partial to Motown…that your three-year-old will love too) has been proven to make you work harder and get your heart-rate higher.  The benefit: besides making chores more fun?—an elevated heart-rate for fat-burning. Try to scrub, sweep, bend down for, polish, and dust with twice your normal speed and vigor for about an hour. You’ll have seared off at least 200 cals.
    • Run the stairs between laundry loads.  Keep your music blasting and sprint/jog/power-walk your stairs (if you have them) or take a lap around your living room (if you don’t) after you sort your laundry, then after you load it, then after you put the soap in, then…well, you get the idea. The benefit: increased heart-rate for fat-burning, with the added benefit of interval training.

These simple tips may not get you ready for the 2012 Olympics, but if you manage to consistently implement even two of them during your daily routine, you’re likely to notice a change in not only your body and your energy, but also your attitude about exercising.

Wow! Wasn’t that such an inspirational and well-written post, you guys? Thank you, Abbie, for stopping by, and don’t forget to read her blog, Five days…5 ways, every single weekday. Oh, and even better, I hear she has a HUGE giveaway/fundraiser stuffed with great prizes that benefits a bunch of really special kids in Uganda going on.  You should definitely check that out and enter (which is free) or maybe even give a little (whatever you do give is doubled!)

Aaaand, now I have a mild case of schizophrenia not to mention a headache, but I am sure I’ll be right as rain after a (small) bowl of ice cream (that’s my other big fitness motivator, by the way. I. like. sugar).

See you tomorrow for Try-it Tuesday. We’ll both be here.

P.S. The theme for this week’s Five Things Thursday shouldn’t surprise you too much. It’s:

Giving Hands




  1. i love our post-with two small boys i have had absolutely no time to take out for a proper gyms schedule and your article has just made my day! thank you for the motivation!

  2. I love the first two suggestions. My daughter loves horsey rides and I didn’t even realize that it would be a good work out. I also have a 3 story townhome so I can give her rides up and down the stairs.

I love hearing from you guys!