Hi Spring, here’s a ten-minute workout!

It’s been a long winter here in Canada. It’s been a long winter filled with depressing news from around the world and small joys in the little circle of my life. It’s been a long winter with many excuses to sit: on the couch watching Netflix, at my computer writing and working, and on the floor waiting for two little boys to come at me with running hugs.

But in the past week the sun has come back and with it my restless legs. So, in honour of spring, here’s a quick workout in case you find yourself with ten minutes to move … and in case you find yourself inundated with chocolate eggs one day soon.Picture of bunny ears in a sunny field

Warm-up
1. Run up and down the stairs 10x (switch starting leg each time)
2. Downward dog to runner’s lunge 10x (switch legs each time)

Workout – do all moves 3-4 times, no rest
1. 10 burpees
2. Walking lunges with weights (6 forward, 6 back = 3 per leg forward, 3 per leg back)
3. 10 biceps curls to overhead press

Optional Finisher
1. 30 bent-over triceps extension
2. 1-minute plank (or whatever challenges you!)

The Twenty-Second Workout

We can do anything for twenty seconds, right?

American wartime propaganda poster with the words "We Can Do It" and an image of a female factory worker (Rosie the Riveter) flexing an arm

There’s lots of research out there showing that twenty seconds of maximum effort can have huge health benefits (e.g. this 2016 study from McMaster University, showing that workouts involving three twenty-second intervals of all-out effort had the same health benefits as “regular” fifty-minute workouts). But that’s maximum effort and how many of us can push ourselves to maximum effort at home?

For me, staying fit is more about fitting in movement where I can into my day and doing things I enjoy. So today, for example, my “exercise” included swinging my kids around, dancing to Daft Punk in my kitchen, and walking around the block. At the end of the day, I still had some energy though, so I decided to fit in a ten-minute workout before switching to pajamas.

When I’m working out at the end of the day (or any other un-motivating time), I aim for maximum variety. For times like these, a 20/20/20 design is perfect. Switching up the move every twenty seconds makes ten minutes fly by. I also designed this workout to focus on my form, so I sandwiched some isometric work in between bodyweight and plyometric exercises. So here it is, a workout that switches up every twenty seconds … for the most part.

  1. Jumping jacks, high knee run, butt kick run – 20 seconds each
  2. Body weight squats, isometric squat, jump squats – 20 seconds each
  3. Right leg lunge, isometric lunge, plyometric lunge – 20 seconds each
  4. Slow mountain climber, high plank, fast mountain climber – 20 seconds each
  5. 1 MINUTE BURPEES!
  6. Repeat 1-5, using left leg for lunges

Disclaimer: As always, consult a physician or other health professional before starting any workout program. This blog is solely for informational purposes. If you choose to do any of the exercises discussed here, you do so at your own risk.

Three ways to add core to your 10 minute yoga flow

A picture of side plank position

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away (i.e. before I had kids, when I was cool and lived in the city), I could easily find ten minutes a day to do some yoga. I ended every workout with ten minutes of core and a luxurious ten minutes of stretching. Every week or two I’d go to a full 1.5 hour yoga class in an actual yoga studio and I would lie there afterwards in savasana, wondering why everyone was in such a rush to roll up their mat and get out the door. Those days are long gone, my friends.

Today, I get to a yoga class every couple of months. I’m lucky if I have time after a quick at-home workout to fit in two minutes of stretching before children are climbing on me, pressing all the buttons on my computer, or dumping my water on my yoga mat. So some days I set a reasonable goal: find ten minutes to do some yoga. I have to make the most out of that ten minutes, so I try to incorporate a whole body stretch and some strengthening moves. I’ve been practicing yoga for long enough that I can generally do my own thing and not follow a particular routine, but I thought I would offer a few of the moves I incorporate to add some extra core-activation.

  1. Downward dog to plank – inhale forward into a high plank and exhale back to downward dog. Repeat 10x.
  2. Knee hovers – from downward dog, lift your right leg. Shift forward on exhale into high plank, bringing your right knee to your right elbow. Inhale back to “three legged dog” and shift forward on exhale, bringing right knee to your nose. Inhale back to three legged dog and shift forward on exhale, bringing right knee to left elbow. Repeat as many time as you like using your right leg, then make sure you balance out with the left.
  3. Push-up/side plank – from high plank, do a push-up, then rotate into side plank (pictured above). Repeat the push-up and rotate to side plank on the other side. Repeat as many times as you like.

You can insert some or all of the above moves into a simple sun salutation or into whatever flow you are feeling. Now it’s time for me to get off the computer and do the same before the kid invasion begins!

Disclaimer: As always, consult a physician or other health professional before starting any workout program. This blog is solely for informational purposes. If you choose to do any of the exercises discussed here, you do so at your own risk.

Eight-Minute Workout

pay-2426850_1920The toddler is napping and I went to bed at 9:00 pm last night. I have no excuses about fitting a workout in, except for all the fun writing I’d rather be doing. Solution? An eight-minute workout! (Okay, it’s actually ten if you count the warmup, but I like alliteration, if number alliteration is even a thing).

Start by warming up for 1-2 minutes – dance, jog, sun salutations – whatever works for you!

  1. Eight squats.
  2. Eight jumping jacks.
  3. Eight alternating lunges.
  4. Eight jumping jacks.
  5. Eight push-ups.
  6. Eight plank jacks.
  7. Eight supermans.
  8. Eight plank jacks.

Repeat as many reps as possible (AMRAP) for eight minutes!

Disclaimer: As always, consult a physician or other health professional before starting any workout program. This blog is solely for informational purposes. If you choose to do any of the exercises discussed here, you do so at your own risk.

I go through phases

This is something I say all too often and it applies to both fitness and writing. I go through phases in which I write every day and phases in which I don’t write for months. I go through phases in which I’m teaching bootcamp classes regularly and phases in which a twenty minute walk is a decent workout.

Right now, the weather is (finally) getting colder and I have a kid in JK and a kid in daycare (i.e. every surface in my house has a virus on it). Blankets, tea, and couches are all conspiring to keep me from doing anything productive. It’s not exactly the most auspicious time to be starting a blog, but I’m currently on strike at my day job, so I’m working my way through my To Do list. Yes, somewhere deep on my To Do list for a few years now has been “start a blog”.

photo-montage-488177_1920

So what is this blog going to be about? The title is a bit misleading. It’s rare that I write and squat and then write again, and rarer still that I write while squatting. But, I’m trying to both write and exercise regularly, and I know many of you out there on the interwebs are too, so I’m here to share some of the things I’m trying to keep typing, scribbling, thinking, moving, and creating. I’ll post quick workouts, writing prompts, submission calls, and other such things. To kick things off, here’s a submission call I’ve just sent a story off to and here is a ten minute workout I did today:

  1. Run up and down the stairs 4x.
  2. Step up and down 10x each leg.
  3. 15 push-ups.
  4. 20 rows with band or weights.
  5. Knee roll-in with stability ball 10x (or plank if you don’t have a ball) – .

Repeat 3x total.

Do you go through phases too? What keeps you moving and creating?

Disclaimer: As always, consult a physician or other health professional before starting any workout program. This blog is solely for informational purposes. If you choose to do any of the exercises discussed here, you do so at your own risk.