This is a guest article by Greg Mumm. Greg and I discussed the importance of staying fit, especially for those trying to be prepared for disasters and emergencies. For many of us (me included) working out isn’t one of our favorite things to do, and would prefer to do almost anything else. Greg has wrote a book about how to get a better workout and stay motivated and hate the whole ‘workout’ thing less. You can find out more on his website, HateExerciseLess.org.
by Greg Mumm
Is being strong and healthy part of your prepping? Is your time important? As a certified personal trainer I’ve found that exercise has a soft side (e.g., how to conquer boredom and how to get motivated) and a hard side (e.g., what routines boost energy, and what routines build muscle). How can you put these ideas together to make you strong and healthy but still leave plenty of time for prepping? Consider the following four steps.
What’s the first step? Figure out what you want from exercise. Do you want to become more healthy and live long enough to help your grandchildren prepare? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to gain energy? Do you want to get strong enough to hoist big storage boxes around? Do you want to stop losing muscle? (While inactive, you’ll lose muscle every year after the age of 25). When you figure out what you want, write it down with a date. Would you like to lose 15 pounds by May? Great, write it down. Would you like to be able to run four miles by April? Great, write them down. The stronger and more heartfelt the reasons, the bigger effect they will have. Post your goals in a conspicuous place where you can visualize them and your friends will be reminded to support you.
What’s the second step? Carve out some time. You do this by making exercise a priority (review those goals!) and pre-scheduling it. For five days of every week block off time to exercise. It’s that simple, it’s that hard. At the beginning of the week make the decision to push aside those activities that don’t lead to your goals. Nothing is allowed to intrude on the time slots you allocate every week. Push aside a tiny fraction of TV time. Push aside a tiny fraction of Internet surfing time. Make time for your future. Make time for you.
What’s the next step? Find some cardiovascular exercises you may enjoy and do them three times a week. Cardio gives you energy and builds up the heart and lungs. Running, biking, dancing and swimming are some examples. After every week evaluate and re-adjust. Did you really enjoy them? Which part did you like, which part did you dislike? What can you change to make it better?
What’s the key to a short, successful cardio workout? Vary the intensity of your cardio. Warm up for two minutes then shift your exertion level from one minute to another for twenty minutes. Shift from an intensity level of five or six to a level of eight or even nine. Is it a short workout? Yes. Is it an easy workout? No, but that’s the idea, pack some punch into a small time period.
What’s the final step? Twice a week, do some strength training. Strength training builds up your muscles and tendons and even keeps your bones strong. Lift some dumbbells in the living room if you like or use some machines at the gym if you like. Find a book or search the Internet if the power grid is up, and locate exercises for your legs, arms, chest and back. Do two sets per muscle group per week.
What’s the key to a short, successful strength workout? Exert yourself on the last rep or two. Make sure you can’t possibly squeeze out another rep before you stop. Are two sets per week enough? Yes. Does the last rep or two have to be so intense? Yes. Again, you’ll pack some punch into a small time period.
Here’s a tip to alleviate boredom: vary your workout. If you get tired of exercising in mid-morning, change, and try late afternoon. Change every day if you want. If you don’t like exercising alone, change, and find a partner, or listen to music, or get help from a coach. Change, change, change!
Here’s a tip to stay motivated: find people to help you. Preppers can be loners, but resist the temptation and get a partner, coach, mentor, friend, or even a dog. These people don’t have to understand the EMP effect or 5.56 penetration depth, they just need to support your workouts. Contact a coworker who likes to exercise, visit your neighbor who is always jogging by the house or seek a qualified trainer. Find people who are willing and able to help and keep them close to you.
Follow these four steps and you’ll spend less time in the gym and more time prepping. You’ll also be stronger, healthier and have more energy. Let me know how it goes, I’m willing to help. HateExerciseLess.org/contact.