Tuesday, March 15, 2011

From Simple Movement to Complex Exercises

The above quote can be found at the very beginning of an article in a recent issue of To Your Health. I've chosen to post it here today because I find it to be very inspiring. The truth, after all, will set you free. That's what they say, right? Believe in the above and you'll set yourself free from the weight you've been carrying, free from the aches and pains commonly associated with inactivity and out-of-shapeness. Free from thoughts of weakness and struggles with low energy. The truth in this situation? That you can't just sit on your butt all day and feel good inside, even if you do feel a bit relaxed. I know, I know:

"But my schedule just doesn't allow it."
"I have kids and they rule my life."
"I eat healthy, so I don't need to exercise."
"I can't. It's too hard."
"I don't know how to exercise."
"I don't look good enough for a gym."
Insert your favorite excuse here.

(Warning: Tough love ahead.) All of those excuses are backed by bullhonkey. Your body was built to move, and it really needs to do just that. I've said this before and I'll say it again: It's never too late, and every last bit counts. If you want to feel better, if you want to look better...hell, if you simply want to move better...then get up and move! Don't get me wrong, I totally understand that starting an exercise program can cause great fear and anxiety. But let me tell you, you don't have to completely overhaul your life in one fell swoop. Make small changes, and then build upon those changes when they become second nature. Start parking further away from the door. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get up and go to your colleague instead of sending them an email. These little things, these little tweaks—they are the keys that will unlock a healthier version of your current you. And I promise you won't find these keys in between the cushions of your couch. (You might find candy wrappers and pennies, though.) You have to get up, you have to move around to find these keys. And the more you move, the more keys you find—and soon enough you might find yourself doing complex exercises you've never even dreamed of doing before.

What's a complex exercise? You might already be doing them if you've got yourself a nice little ring full of keys. Complex exercises string along multiple exercises to keep you moving. An example: planks, followed by pushups and mountain climbers. Or dead lifts with bent rows. And no, you can't pause between each set. You want to feel the burn, right? I've talked about this concept before in terms of getting more done in your workouts, and while that fact remains true, it's also worth noting that complexes challenge just about every aspect of your body. From strength to cardio to flexibility and core stability—the complex puts everything in motion. Oh, yes...I tied it back to motion!

So, see? The point is to start simply. Don't worry about the fancy pants exercises (or exercisers). Just do what you can to get yourself moving. The rest will fall in place, and I bet you'll even start to crave those harder, more challenging ways of moving. That's the beauty of exercise. It's like a cupcake. Give yourself a taste, and there's no denying you'll want more.

Speaking of wanting more, I had yet another bowl of amaranth for breakfast today in between things at the gym. Only this time, I mixed it up with some other grains. Into my 1/3-cup measuring bowl, I poured equal parts Scottish oats, old-fashioned oats and amaranth. Add water, cook...blah, blah. I topped the finished product off with some peanut butter, a kiwi, half a banana and some Chia seeds. It ended up looking like this:

And it tasted divine.

Question: Can you remember when you first started loving exercise? What did it for you?

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