5-minute Workouts on Days You Don’t Want to Go
On the days I’m unmotivated I tell myself I am going to the gym to do just 5 minutes of work. This sets the bar extremely low thus it makes it easy to actual go to the gym.
Once I get to the gym, I start working for five minutes, maybe it’s on a rower, bike, or elliptical. When I get to the five-minute mark very rarely will I ever just workout for five minutes. If still I unmotivated at the five-minute mark, I usually tell myself five more minutes.
Usually the five minutes is enough to warm me up and break the inertia allowing me to focus on a larger goal for the session. Sometimes my best days in the gym are the ones that start off with the 5-minute workout. Eventually the sheer momentum of showing up and moving will push you into a solid workout.
Even as I write this, I understand how dumb it seems, however it works every time! Even though I know it’s a trick. The failsafe in all of this, is that after 5 minutes if I feel bad enough that it’s time to go home, I still stacked a small win for showing up.
I promise you if you showed up to the gym 10 days in a row for a five-minute workout you’d get in some great workouts along the way.
Workout Only Shoes
I tend to have one pair of workout shoes. I found having one pair allows me to treat the shoes like a mental switch. My brain associates the shoes to workout out. I always make sure when I’m wearing my workout specific shoes that I do some type of intense physical movement. It doesn’t happen instantly, however when the connection is made between the act of putting on my specific shoes and going to the gym I will almost feel a complete sense of certainty.
What makes this a relatively easy connection to create is that in the beginning you will have to proactively put the shoes on and then push yourself into the gym to start working out. This means avoiding creative distractions, and talking to your gym bros. Put the shoes on and start working. You do it a dozen times and the seeds exist for this amazing trigger.
Think of Pavlov, his dog, and the bell.
Break Down Longer Workouts into Smaller Chunks
Whether I’m doing a high volume set of squats, riding the bike for miles, or doing a Metcon I use the clock, or number of reps to break the total work load down to smaller chunks.
For example when doing 100 squats if the rep scheme is 10 sets of 10 reps I break the work up mentally 2 ways. First in each individual set of 10 I focus on doing 6-8 reps in a row. When I reach the 6thor 8threp I will focus on my form and think about sets of one with small pauses at the top each time until I get to 10. Second with the 10 sets I will think about the first 5 sets as if I am going uphill. Set 6 is a plateau at the top of the hill, then sets 7-10 I am going downhill. Each set a step towards either the top of the hill or reaching the bottom.
On the bike I will use land marks, specific distances, or chunks of time to put forth focused concentrated bursts of effort. Think of it like a self-generated app that would tell you to go hard for 2 minutes then easy for 1 minute. I will do that in my head continuously to stay engaged, and to keep up my intensity.
The old saying goes you eat an elephant one chunk at a time.
One question I get asked is about how I push myself. One of the key strategies I use is the idea of “never again”. I will never again ever in my life be in the same moment every again. I can take the same bike trail, or get on the same machine, or do the same lift 1000x and the conditions under which I do them will never be the same. Because I will never have the luxury of existing in that place again ever again, I want to make sure I give it everything I have in that moment. If I have given it every last ounce of my sweat, I don’t care about the result because I know on that day time and place it was my best.
What happens every time I workout is that once I’ve told myself “never again” I find incremental moments of progress which eventually stack and turn into giant wins.
When I go out to eat, I reduce based on a %.
One of the hardest activities to engage in during weight loss is eating out. I can’t control portions served to me; and I can’t control ingredients of specific dishes…good thing is I can control how much of a serving I consume and what dishes I choose.
First off, I can’t go eating a cherry pie with ice cream because I’m with family or friends. I have to at least make good choices based on my dietary goals, in this case the Keto Diet. So, when I do go out, I will taste most things because I like food (a literal bite) what I won’t do is eat an entire plate of something I know isn’t Keto.
More importantly even if I order the right foods, I will eat less than the whole serving. Depending on the serving size I will take 25% – 33% of the plate and just push it away.
If you want to lose weight, guess what???
It takes discipline. If you don’t think you can portion control in this way, I highly recommend you stay home and only eat what you make.
This strategy can also be used when you are starting your journey of weight loss and fitness. There’s so much information these days and it can be overwhelming. A simple way to get you started on the path is to take each of your meals and reduce it by 25%. It’s that simple.