Don’t be surprised when that devious little excuse-maker inside your head spouts out those dreaded words when starting a new exercise program. When it happens, politely thank that little demon for his opinion, and then figure out how you can do it.
Perhaps you’re starting a new kettlebell routine, which is a great way to cross-train indoors while waiting for better Trikking weather. Perhaps you’ve had a long day at work followed by an arduous commute home. Perhaps you’re still shaking the tail end of a head cold, and would really, really, REALLY like to just crawl in bed for the night.
But then you remember your New Year’s resolution to exercise, and you just heard the weather report for the weekend ahead. It’s going to be in the high-50’s to low-60’s, and it sure would be nice to give your muscles some warming up before setting out on your first Trikke ride of the year. You decide to do your kettlebell workout, knowing that it’ll be tough, but remembering that if you do it regularly it’ll get easier each time.
So you change into your workout clothes, and mull over some ways that you can get through the 25 minute workout video . . .
Lighten Your Load:
Newcomers to kettlebells often over-estimate the weight they should select. A 10 or 20 pound kettlebell may be no sweat to pick up off the store shelf, but you’ll gain a whole new respect for it after your first dozen squats and swings. If the weight you’ve selected has your muscles quivering after a few reps, step it down to a lighter weight. I briefly upgraded to a 10 pound weight after completing the full 6-week program last summer, but after my hiatus from the workouts, I’ve realized there’s no shame in backing down to the 5 pounder for a while.
Doing something is better than doing nothing:
Perhaps you can’t do 20 reps in 40 seconds like the instructor in the video. Perhaps you can’t do a full pushup yet. Perhaps you can’t speed up your pace for the last few reps. It’s okay. Go at your own pace, and get in as many reps as you can in the allotted time. Doing 10 reps is better than deciding that working out is “too hard” and doing 0 reps. Perhaps today you can only do 10, but next time you can do 12. In a few weeks you’re delighted to find you’re now keeping pace with the instructor.
You can also modify an exercise you can’t do into something that you can. For example, I can’t do full pushups, so I drop to my knees and do modified pushups instead. A common exercise in the Kettleworx videos is the “baseball catcher heel raise.” You squat like a baseball catcher with the kettlebell held in front of you. You then raise and lower yourself on and off your heels. I couldn’t do the raise part of the exercise for my first month. So I simply held the squat position for the duration of the exercise until my muscles developed enough to allow me to rise up and down.
Everyone is going to have unique difficulties, so be creative and figure out what you can do instead of just giving up on a particular exercise.
Give yourself a break:
The Kettleworx videos flow quickly from one exercise to another. You’re not at a gym and you’re not holding up the class, so it’s perfectly okay to hit the pause button to catch your breath. Shake out any tense muscles and drink your water until you’re ready to resume the workout. It may stretch a 25 minute workout into a 35 minute one, but it sure beats not doing it at all.
The format for all Kettleworx videos is the same: a short warm-up followed by two sets of exercises for the Cardio and Resistance videos. The Core videos feature three sets. Then you have a rewarding short cool-down. If you are really struggling, why not call it a day after just one set? Doing half of the main workout is certainly better than lounging around on your couch making excuses. If you take this option, just fast-forward to the cool-down session and call it an early day.
I have frequently considered this option, but can honestly say I’ve never taken it. What I have found is that despite being tired, the second set is often easier than the first because my muscles are more warmed up by that point. But I did want to throw the idea out there in case you find it useful.
It’s not always easy to motivate ourselves to workout, especially when we’re tired and real life is wearing us down. But it’s worth talking yourself into doing something, even if you have to modify what you do just to make it possible. So cast off that demon that tries to tell you it’s okay to wait until you’re “ready” for the harder workouts, because the only way to be “ready” is to start slow and do what you can at first. I can tell you from experience that if you stick with it, and commit to the recommended three workouts a week, you will quickly find that you are capable of a lot more than you ever imagined.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”