My wonderful mother-in-law once told me “the best workout is work.” Coming from this petite grandmother who is still as strong as an ox into her 60’s, you can take that piece of advice to the bank. When I decided to do Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation, I came to his primal movement section and the concept rang true. Your body was built to move, so Move It!
There are opportunities in everyday life where primal movements can be incorporated. You simply must ask your body to work. Lift something heavy, sprint, get up and do something every 30-60 minutes… When you call upon your muscles to do so regularly, they respond. I think parents have the upper hand in this category. If you have kids, then you are familiar with the challenge of making it from the car to the house in one trip—no matter how heavy or awkward that load might be. Rachael Ray’s juggling act from the fridge to the prep counter has nothing on us! As a parent, you are constantly bending, lifting, crawling, juggling, etc. Use it to your advantage!
The reward for practicing good habits is that you’re ready for anything. So you will have no problem sprinting uphill with a full cart at Costco using one arm because your toddler is in other other. On that note, be sure to check the rear view mirror before throwing it into reverse… That’s my PSA for today.
On the contrary, if you don’t ask your body to work, then everything becomes a chore. I grew up with the ongoing joke that opening a tough jar of mayo was “getting your workout in” that day. Don’t sell yourself short!
But here’s reality. If you’re like me, then we both share in the intention of getting out for a run or making it to the gym regularly. Annnnnd if you’re like me, your day doesn’t usually go the way you want and too often your workout plans go out the window! This used to frustrate me to no end. I took a deep breath and called upon the wisdom of my mother-in-law. When I exhaled, this is what I figured out:
- I can do at least 25 air squats while my Keurig brews up a nice, hot cup of coffee in the morning.
- Walking lunges make for a pretty hilarious conga line.
- Running in the rain really isn’t that bad. When I pass another runner, we nod as if to say, “Yep, I’m out here too. Carry on.”
- My 2-yr-old is heavy and he likes to be tossed around. Did you know it’s quite easy to rock out some cleans and thrusters using a toddler?
- I can squat-walk to clean up toys. Sure it looks ridiculous, but if you think about it, it is reminiscent of foraging.
- Dropping down for 20 push-ups takes no time at all and can be done in jeans and bare feet. If I do this three times, I’ve done 60 push-ups that day. And if I’m lucky, a little person will come sit on my back for a ride… now THAT’S a workout!
- Scrub the bathrooms. That is all.
- I’m blessed with stairs. I’m blessed with kids who often leave their things downstairs that need to go back up – coincidence?
- My kids enjoy working out with me. Sometimes I throw on a yoga DVD in the evening and we all practice our Vinyasas together.
Now don’t think I’m making excuses for myself. These items will not substitute for the kinds of cardio and strength training workouts you should be doing, er… I should be doing, several times a week. But on the days it’s just not gonna happen, do what you can with what you have. Remember, it’s more important to be capable and healthy than obsess about wearing a certain size or hitting a number on the scale.
Am I gonna make it to the gym today? Likely not. But It’s not even noon and I’ve already been up and down my stairs ten times, brought in eight bags of groceries in one trip and I’m up 40 push-ups. I’m ok with that.
Namaste, from my Mini-Yogis.