I have a confession to make: I have a dad bod. There, I said it. When I was in my 20s, I lived an active lifestyle in Colorado. I skied and played hockey multiple days per week. I lifted weights 4-5 days per week, and went hiking during my “off days.” And then things changed. Now see if this part sounds familiar. Today, I have more responsibility. I’m married and have two little girls at home, ages 1 and 4. Exercise has moved toward the bottom of my priority list. I’m not training for the Olympics, but I’d like to gain some lean muscle mass and lose 5-10 pounds. I want to be a healthier version of myself for both my sake and for the sake of my daughters, but between working and raising a family, there leaves little downtime, let alone time to exercise.
Time. It’s a precious commodity and the most common excuse people give for not exercising. Myself included. Like many of you, I often struggle to meet the physical activity guidelines recommended by the CDC:
2.5 hours (150 min) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (brisk walking) per week or 1 hour and 15 min (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (running/jogging) per week AND 2 days per week of strength training of all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
Wow. Thirty minutes a day of aerobic activity 5x/week. Strength training 2x/week. That sounds like a lot. But is it? The CDC goes on to state that you don’t need to perform all 30 minutes of exercise in a single session. You can break it up into 10- minute bouts, 3x/day, to better fit your schedule. So here’s an idea:
While my schedule is busy, this time of year I always seem to have time for football. Some of you might feel the same. Rather than eating pizza and wings while throwing back a few cold ones, give this a try: Perform one exercise per quarter during every commercial break. Here was my routine during a recent Monday Night Football game.
Quarter 1: 20 body weight squats per commercial break x 6 breaks = 120 squats
Quarter 2: 10 pushups per commercial break x 7 breaks = 70 pushups
Halftime: 25 burpees
Quarter 3: 30 second planks x 6 commercial breaks = 6 planks, 30 seconds each
Quarter 4: 25 jumping jacks x 6 commercial breaks = 150 jumping jacks
Squats for the legs and glutes. Pushups for the chest, back, arms, and shoulders. Planks to help stabilize my core, and burpees/jumping jacks for some aerobic activity. I got my workout in and watched the game at the same time. Done.
Remember, it’s simple physics: A body in motion will stay in motion, while a body at rest will remain at rest. So get up and move. Be creative. Exercise with your spouse and hold each other accountable. Walk or bike to work. Park as far as you can from the front door of the grocery store. Have a desk job? Set an alarm on your phone and perform body weight exercises for 5 minutes every hour. Take the stairs. Make exercise a part of your daily routine, like taking a shower or brushing your teeth. In time, it will become second nature. Automatic. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your fitness goals will take time, but they start with a single step.