Mini Morning Workouts: When Getting Up (Even) Earlier Just Isn’t An Option

Workouts – like anything important in life – are something you need to make time for.

For me, mornings are the ideal time to work out.  Starting my day with a good sweat means that I will feel more energized and at ease throughout the day.  It also has the effect of leading to smarter, more healthful choices throughout the day.  I learned this about myself after years of working out in the evenings.  Most days I could rally, but I skipped many workouts due to exhaustion after a long day, evening plans, working late, or a laundry list of excuses that were much too easy to make.

Being an AM warrior is a big commitment, especially in the winter months when it’s still dark out at 7 AM.  Right now, I am in the midst of a 40-day long run streak (which I will write more about in a separate post), so if I wasn’t already addicted to the many benefits of my AM workouts, I would still be locked in.  I am running every day from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, so even on my “off days”, I still need to run at least one mile.

On those “off days”, I often squeeze my mile in on a treadmill in the middle of a cardio cross training workout, or as a warm-up just before moving on to strength training.  But there are some days when I just don’t have time to get to the gym; days when before-work appointments make fitting in a workout a real challenge.  The trick is to carve out thirty minutes.  That’s all you’ll need.

Here are some of the Mini AM Workouts that I have done over the past couple of weeks, when I needed to work in my mile (and then some) before an interview, doctor’s appointment or other morning commitment:

Outdoor Energizer

Minute 1:  High lunge (30 seconds with right leg forward, 30 seconds with left leg forward)
Minutes 1-3:  Walk briskly
Minutes 3-15 (approximately):  1.5 mile trail run
Minutes 15-25:  While still outside, do 3 sets each of 15 reps of the following:  squats, lunges (alternating legs), park bench tricep dips
Minutes 25-30:  Standing yoga stretches

While still outside, hold each of the following for five breaths (start on one side and flow from one pose to the next):

High lunge
Warrior one
Warrior two
Reverse warrior
Side angle
Triangle
— repeat on opposite side —
Forward fold
Mountain pose

Indoor/Outdoor Ab Blast

Minutes 1-15:  Same as above
Minutes 15-24:  Walk briskly
Minutes 24-29:  Core-focused strength training

Indoors on a yoga mat, do 3 sets each of 15 reps of the following (alternating exercises) while fully engaging your core:

Tricep dips
Push ups
Reverse curl & lift

Minute 29-30: Stretch in seated forward fold

Run, Sculpt and Stretch

Minutes 1-2:  Run down two flights of stairs
Minutes 2-3:  High lunge (30 seconds with right leg forward, 30 seconds with left leg forward)
Minutes 3-4:  Walk briskly
Minutes 4-13 (approximately):  1.2 mile hilly road run
Minutes 13-15:  Walk briskly
Minutes 15-16:  Hold a squat stretch for thirty seconds, then hold side lunge for thirty seconds (15 seconds each side)
Minutes 16-18:  Run up two flights of stairs
Minutes 18-26 (approximately):  Upper body strength training

Using 10 lb weights, do 3 sets each of 15 reps of the following (alternating exercises):

Single-arm tricep extension (complete 15 reps on one side, then repeat on opposite side for one set)
Bicep curls
Close grip rows
Triceps push-back

Minutes 26-29:  Stretches on the yoga mat

Holding each of the following for three-to-five breaths (alternating sides):

Figure 4
Eagle pose
Cow face pose
Seated side twist
Seated side stretch

Minute 29-30:  Center yourself.  Bring your hands to your lap, palms facing up.  Close your eyes and listen to the sound of your breath for three-to-five breaths.

Dancing Runner

Minutes 1-18:  Same as above
Minute 18-28:  Barre inspired series (for all exercises:  stand with heels together, toes apart, in a V shaped position; with legs turned outward)

Facing a chair, hands on back of chair:

15 demi plies
15 grand plies
15 demi plies

With chair at your left, place left hand on back of chair and extend right arm out to the side:

15 right leg side raises
15 right leg forward raises
15 right leg reverse raises
15 demi plies
Repeat on opposite side
15 demi plies

With chair at your left, place left hand on back of chair and extend right arm out to the side:

15 rond de jambe
15 rond de jambe in reverse direction
15 demi plies
Repeat on opposite side

Facing a chair, hands on back of chair:

15 grand plies
15 demi plies

Minute 28-29:   With hands on back of chair, hold figure four pose for thirty seconds on each side

Minute 29-30:  Hold dancer pose for five breaths on each side; follow with mountain pose for five breaths

What’s your go-to routine when you have less than 30 minutes to break a sweat?

For more recommendations on yoga poses and barre exercises for runners, I recommend the following from Lululemon:

Running en Pointe

Five Pre-Run Poses for Better Running

Five Post-Run Poses for Better Recovery

My little disclaimer:  I am not a doctor or medical professional; nor am I a certified personal trainer.  The information provided in this post is a description of my own experience and opinions.  What works for me may not work for you.  If you are interested in beginning a new exercise routine, please contact your physician.

 

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