Pebbles to Sand 4: Exercise

Today’s the last post in my Pebbles to Sand series.  In EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey, he says a budget tells our money where to go instead of wondering where it went….and then he observes that it’s the same with Time Management.  We either tell our day what to do or we will wonder where it went.  “The weird thing is that the more efficient, on task, on goal you are with your time, the more energy you have.  Working with no traction, or for that matter simply wasting away a day, does not relax you, it drains you.” (p.44)

That’s so true.  Over the last week or so, I’ve talked about a few of the pebbles I’ve learned to break down into sand in order to fit them in my life’s jar.  Today I’m going to conclude with the pebble that has been the bane of my existence.

EXERCISE has always been hard for me to do consistently.  It isn’t fun, and I’d rather clean a bathroom, even though I hate that, just because cleaning’s faster.  Even though I know physical exercise is important (especially as I get older and blood pressure rises and weight creeps up), it’s still easy to procrastinate.  But wasting away my days neglecting it has drained me, like Ramsey said.  My new routine I’ve tested over the last couple months has energized me.

My son showed me a new exercise format called Tabata that runs in 4 minute intervals.  You can google Tabata and find more in depth descriptions and timers for it, but basically it boils down to this:  Exercise for 20 seconds hard, then rest 10 seconds; and repeat 7 times.

When I threw an extra 20-second interval on at the end, I came out with 3 intense minutes of exercise.  I made a chart with pairs of exercises (from my Jillian videos), and tallied up each time I did one of these Tabata intervals.  At the end of the day, I multiplied my Tabatas by 3 and came out with how many minutes I exercised.

Breaking up exercise into sand-size grains has helped me make it a daily occurrence.  It’s amazing how much time we really have in a day—in bite-size morsels.  It’s hard to find time to squeeze a 30 minute exercise video into my day, but I haven’t found it hard to fit 30 minutes of exercise in during the day in 3 minute increments.

I turn the stove on to boil water, and instead of standing around the kitchen twiddling my thumbs (which doesn’t burn many calories), I bring up a Tabata timer on the computer and do an interval while I’m waiting (maybe sit ups and jumping jacks).  There are lots of times I can do other Tabata circuits as I’m just waiting.  As the day progresses, I check off boxes for exercise and find it very rewarding at the end of the day to see that I fit my whole Exercise pebble into the jar…just in teeny tiny pieces.

What I’ve like about exercising this way is that since it’s so short, I don’t work up too much of a sweat, and don’t need a shower right afterward (it’s extremely hard to fit in a 30 minute video and a shower when you have other things to go to at night).

You don’t have to do Tabata, like me, to break up your Exercise Pebble.  You can exercise how you want with your spare minutes.  If you have a few minutes before you have to run to the doctor, then spend them doing lunges or running in place (whatever exercise you like).  Just do something physical…and you’ll be amazed at the exercise you squeeze in during odd times.  I have.

If you feel overwhelmed and drained by life, then break some of your pebbles into grains of sand and watch the magic happen.  Energy abounds, because accomplishing goals and tasks gives you a warm, tingly feeling.  Many times it is through small and simple means that great things are brought to pass.  So go for the simple.


Other Posts in this Series

21 thoughts on “Pebbles to Sand 4: Exercise

  1. These pebbles to sand posts are wonderful. Great advice. I’ll try this. I’m doing good on the eating so far. Thanks for jump starting healthier eating for me.

    By the way, still working on your book. It’s really good. Complex, too. Great writing and very well edited. I LOVE Jamie. What wonderful messages you have in the context of his character. You have impressed me, my friend!

    • Glad you’re doing good on the eating. This is my detox week. I just spent a week at girl’s camp as a chef for 300 girls, so I soothed my aches and pains and stress with a LOT of chocolate milk and twinkies. Sigh! There was no other comfort though. I’m glad you’re liking my book. I was trying to make my characters opposite ends of the spectrum–squeaky clean and super wordly. I love Jamie too. He’s like my little brother…except cool and handsome (hee hee).

  2. I love Tabata-style exercise. I have a couple workout DVDs using this method. And you are spot on–exercise can be broken up throughout the day if that’s all you have time for. Good for you for seeing it as a priority. As I preach to my kids: We only have one body. We have to treat it with respect. 🙂

    • Yes, it’s been super easy for me to take my body for granted most of my life. But age (dang it) is kicking in and I am reaping what I sowed…and slowly trying to overcome bad, lazy habits. Thankfully, my kids aren’t growing up as clueless as I did.

      • It’s never too late to start. The older we get, the more important it becomes to strength train, given we lose muscle mass each year. That really stinks. 🙂

  3. This has been a great series of posts! I’m trying this technique on housecleaning, and hopefully it will work. For me, I’d much rather work out for 60 minutes than clean a bathroom! 🙂

    • I love how I feel after exercising…it’s just getting my mind over matter that is the hard part. My mind is stronger than my matter…and it says, “I don’t want to feel sweat trickling over me!”

    • Yes, when I read that analogy, I had one of those “Ah Hah!” Moments that was illuminating. As I’ve done these little experiments over the last couple months, I’ve been shocked at how much time I wasted before. All those little 5 minute intervals add up to lots of valuable time.

  4. What a great idea! I think the agressive exercise guidelines turn off many people from trying to achieve them. I probably don’t exercise as much as I should, but I try to count other things as exercise: the time I walk every morning back and forth from my car to the school, especially since I park up the hill, or the 20 times a day I go up and down my stairs. I really like your idea of doing some strength building while waiting for water to boil or the microwave to beep. I do spend idle time in the kitchen and this is a great way to make my minutes more productive. Thanks for the tips!

  5. This is a great idea. I have the same problem. I find myself standing during phone meetings and exercizing at my desk… finding 30 minutes is just so dern hard… especially when you are a writer, which is sedintary.

  6. Pretty much I’m forced to participate in whatever exercise my children are doing. So, one day it’s baseball, later it’s walking, another it’s swimming, or they’ll do the Wii Fitness. The only consistent exercise regimen I have is walking in the morning, but it’s to walk my dog and we don’t go far because she is scared of cars.

    I keep telling myself I’ll get back to a full-blown workout session, because I really do miss it.

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