3 Ways to make Muscle Work more Fun!
Recently I’ve been sharing lots of benefits of doing resistance work. Whether that’s using weights or body weight exercises, resistance bands or machines, there are and loads of benefits. Doing resistance work can:
- Help you to be stronger
- Make you less likely to fall over
- Make you less likely to break bones
- Give you better posture
- lower your body fat levels
- increase your metabolism
- help if you’ve got any insulin sensitivity problems
There are so many benefits to working out your muscles and, in this video and in the blog below, I give you 3 ideas for making this kind of exercise more fun.
From the age of 30 we start losing muscle mass. As with your teeth, if you ignore your muscles, you will lose them. And so that why it’s recommended that all adults do strength work, but particularly over 55s. The current recommendation is that over 55s should be doing 3 strength training sessions a week. That message might not have reached you, or if you have heard it, you may have resisted it, because, let’s face it, cardio can be a little bit more fun. Activities like going out for a walk, going for a run, walking up a hill with a nice view, going for a bike ride can all be more enjoyable than muscle work, unless you’re in a situation where you’ve lost mobility and you are learning to walk again, or if you are learning to run, these kinds of activities are unlikely to be too strenuous unless you consciously push yourself. So often we can opt for cardio instead of doing strength work.
I’ve been asking those of you in our MotivationFish group on Facebook what you think about muscle work. Do you do it because you know the benefits and enjoy it? Do you know that should do it, but actually never quite start? Do you not know what to do or do you find it a little bit boring? Some people said they had to be honest and do find it a bit boring, and I can see where they are coming from. And that’s why I am passionate about keeping it brief, keeping it intentional, keeping it focused and keeping it results-driven.
In our last blog post I shared my 12-minute resistance work exercise plan: just 12 minutes a day, 5 days a week that will change your body shape and give you all-over health benefits. This is a great resource to show you where to start… and this post gives you 3 ideas for making muscle work more fun!
- 1. Bundle it with something else. If you’re following my plan, that’s only 12 minutes, so think about what you can bundle your exercise with. I like to watch breakfast television while doing muscle work – it’s a real treat that I never get to do at any other time. Other options for me would be a Joyce Meyer 15-minute audio, or another podcast, or listening to three or four musical theatre songs. It works best if you don’t do those things at any other time, so perhaps it becomes your ‘listen to a Bible story’ time, or ‘listen to a certain podcast’ time. What could you do in those 12 minutes? It could be listening to worship Wednesdays with Lou and Nathan Fellingham, or even listening to a Fitfish blog! And if you know that as you’re doing your exercise, you’re also filling yourself spiritually and emotionally, then it’s ticking several boxes and you reap the rewards of both things, which makes it more enjoyable for you and more likely that you’ll actually want to do it.
2. Take away the counting. In the 12-minute program I suggest that you do 3 different exercises and for each of these, do 3 sets of 12 reps. To make it more fun, when you have more familiar with the exercises, you can take away the counting and just set a timer for 3 lots of 4 minutes. Start with the first exercise, and rather than counting, go until you are exhausted and feel you can’t do another repetition. Rest for a little, do the same again, rest for a little and do the third set until the timer buzzes at 4 minutes. Then repeat for the second and third exercise. That way you can be distracted and listen to something else without the counting going on. It can be really helpful doing it to time instead of counting repetitions, as long as you are not resting for the whole 4 minutes! By working to exhaustion, you should be averaging between 10 and 15 reps each time with the right weight and technique, which allows you to forget about the counting and frees you up to get lost in that 12 minutes, and they’ll just speed by!
3. See quick progress. And you will! A huge benefit of these strength exercises is that you will see progress super quickly – within the first 2 weeks. And the best way of seeing this is by physically looking, either in the mirror or by taking a photo. You could take a photo when you start, of your upper body, your arms and shoulders, your stomach area, or wherever it might be that you want to see results, then take another one two weeks later. You do need to stick to it and you need to be consistent. It’s only 12 minutes a day and you need to do it 5 times a week for 2 weeks to start noticing a difference. And hopefully the exercises will be more fun when you realise you can see your body shape changing. Of course, for this to work you also need to be eating sensibly and not overeating during that time, but you will see results.
I did an experiment couple of summers ago when I couldn’t do cardio exercise. I’d hurt my foot and instead I just did 12 minutes of strength exercises a day for about 10 to 12 weeks. I took photos along the way and there’s a huge difference in my body shape from beginning to end, but it was within the first couple of weeks I noticed the biggest difference. So, reward yourself with actually seeing results quicker than you do with any another forms of exercise.
If you come to the online Fitfish exercise sessions in the mornings it’s all covered off, but if you don’t and you don’t already do any other strength exercise, then please have a look at our 12-minute programme. It’s suitable for everyone: whatever age and whatever ability, it will help you!
You can find see the schedule and sign up for Fitfish exercise sessions here and if you are on Facebook and not yet part of our Motivationfish group come and join our friendly and supportive community there too.