Read through the questions below and click on the question to see the answer.
I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about and you might be surprised to know you aren’t alone.
It sounds like you’ve got a little insight into your situation…you’re afraid of something.
I know that, when I avoid something, it’s usually because I’m afraid of failing at it. Let me give you my take, just with the little info you’ve given me. You used to workout regularly and, life changed and threw you off your workouts and you’ve been struggling ever since. Did you ever figure out why you stopped exercise? Was it just there a lot of stress? What’s happened in your life that exercise dropped off your priority list? Maybe you could go back to that and just think about what happened there. Our lives don’t stand still, they just don’t.
Next, I would think about what’s stopping you from exercise NOW. What are you afraid of? Are you afraid you’ll fail? Afraid to face a different body, a different fitness level than what you had before? There’s a fear in there and I think if you can name it, you can probably overcome it. Your body is different and you won’t be able to do what you did before – And that’s okay. You just have to work up to it and give yourself permission to be where you are.
Here’s an idea…why not give yourself permission to just TRY something…anything! Forget complicated workouts or DVDs – maybe those workouts are just too intimidating for you right now. Maybe you need to start with something simple – something you KNOW you can do. I’m talking the simplest thing – like one of my really quick core workouts. What if you said, “This is my workout today and I’m going to do it.” You don’t even have to change clothes for it! Once you do it, you can say, “I did it! I started working out again.”
Really, I think if you can just start somewhere, you’ll find some momentum and that’s a big part of exercise. You’ve gotten into the habit of not exercising – now you have to get back to it.
Studies have shown that splitting your workouts can be just as effective as doing it all in one go, but it does depend on what you’re doing. Doing 50 reps at one time will certainly fatigue your muscles (perhaps even cripple you! that’s a lot of reps 🙂 and doing 10 at a time may not offer the same level of intensity.
If you do need to split your workouts because of time constraints, I would think about the intensity. For example, for bodyweight squats, you could make them more intense by doing them very slowly (say 8 counts down and 8 counts up). Another option would be to do them very slowly and add a jump each time you stand up for more intensity. You could even do 10 slow reps on one leg and then 10 slow reps on the other leg – Doing them one leg at a time will certainly add intensity.
The bottom line is how hard you work. If you split your workouts, you need to find a way to challenge your muscles so that you get the most out of your time.
While I love nothing more than lunges for working the lower body, some knees have no love for them. Luckily there are tons of ways to work your glutes without tweaking the knees:
Sit and Stand
Now this is sort of a version of a squat, but it involves sitting down on a bench (or chair) and then standing up. That’s something most of us do all day long, so it’s a great functional exercise. Obviously, if this bothers your knees, you should skip it.
This one’s a bit tricky, so try not to snap yourself. Wrap a resistance band around a flexed foot and then grab onto the handles. Keeping your foot flexed, press the leg straight out behind you. Lower and repeat.
Get on the forearms and knees and put a weight (optional) behind the right knee. Then lift the bent knee up to hip level, squeezing the butt until the bottom of the foot faces the ceiling. Lower and repeat.
Take one foot behind you, resting on the toe and hold weight in both hands. Keeping the front knee slightly bent, tip from the hips (back flat, shoulders back, abs in) and lower the weight until you feel a stretch in the front hamstring. The knee should not bend during the exercise. Squeeze the glutes to stand back up.
Butt Lifts on the Ball
Lie on an exercise ball (you can do this on the floor if you don’t have a ball) so that your head is supported and you’re in a bridge position – Everything straight enough that I could eat dinner off your torso (which I have no intention of doing). Hold weights for added intensity and drop the hips towards the floor without rolling on the ball. Squeeze the butt to come up and repeat.
Overall, it doesn’t really matter, but I’ll tell you when I would choose one over the other. If I want to go up in my weight and it’s a little heavy, sometimes I’ll choose one arm or, more commonly, alternating arms. Alternating arms gives each arm a brief rest, allowing you to finish the set, even if things get heavy.
Generally, I like training both arms at the same time – It’s a bit more efficient, just because you don’t have to do one whole set for one arm and then one whole set for the other. However, if you have one arm that’s noticeably weaker than the other, you might want to work them one at a time, just to let that weaker arm get your complete focus.
If your goal is to lose weight or just generally get fit, I actually recommend doing both. The best way to do that is with circuit training. This is a very efficient way to train because you move quickly from one exercise to the next, which keeps your heart rate elevated and helps you burn more calories, and you save time without any rest periods.
This can also be an intense way to train, so it’s important to choose exercises that fit your fitness level. Want one you can try right now? I have a 15-30 Minute Circuit Workout that fits just about any fitness level and goal.