Your tip for Day 5 of our 21 Day Exercise Challenge is this:


Exercise and working out doesn’t have to be done on a machine or in a gym to count.  Many of you really enjoy the structure of coming to MCC for your exercise session and there’s nothing wrong with that!  It’s a full-body workout that is designed for you by your trainer, and all you need to do is show up and give it your best!   What happens if something gets in your way… a forgotten gym bag at the front door or a meeting that ran late?  If your only definition of exercise is a gym workout, chances are you might miss it.

It’s time to start thinking outside the box!

I had a gym membership for over 20 years because I loved going…no big surprise given my career choice!  I joined for the first time when I was 15 and sidelined from my school gym classes and all physical activities after learning my knee pain was arthritis.  I don’t have a gym membership any more… for many reasons.  When my daughter was born I found that I needed to think outside the box a lot more to keep daily (and quality) exercise a part of my life.  This was the beginning of my current, flexible and varied plan of attack for not only staying active, but being in the best shape I’ve been in since my early 20’s.  In the last 3 years, my exercise regime has included:

  • Stroller fit classes in my neighbourhood
  • community centre track access pass (it was $5 for a year!)
  • playground workouts using picnic tables, monkey bars and the grass
  • night-time power walks with moms I know (sans kids!)
  • strength-training DVD series
  • a Halton parks season’s pass (hello gorgeous fall hikes on the escarpment!)
  • 10-20 minute home workout challenges (self-made)
  • workouts at MCC (so convenient after my work-day… and because I don’t have a TRX at home!)

Find out what makes you tick…

Think about what you like to do….  If you hate “traditional workouts” in the gym, it makes sense that you haven`t been able to stick to a program because you’d always associate the habit of exercise with displeasure!  It’s perfectly all right to base your exercise routine on things you actually like to do, and you’re much more likely to stick with a plan you enjoy! 

  • If you love dancing, enroll in a local ballroom or salsa class, or try Zumba (no partner needed!)
  • If you love swimming, get a pool pass (inexpensive and flexible!)
  • If you’re an outdoorsy type, plan to go bike riding or hiking (the weather is perfect!)
  • If you played hockey in your younger days, join a league now!  (competitive or not)

Even though these aren’t your “traditional” ways of exercising, you’re still getting good cardio and muscle conditioning benefits. The trick is to make sure that you’re taking part in these activities on a regular basis and not just once-in-a-while.  I still recommend strength-training sessions for the many benefits provided, but when you’re trying to build the habit of daily exercise, you’ll be motivated when you’re regularly doing things you love. Our goal:  Never make another New Year’s resolution to work out every day.  Resolve now, during this challenge, to stay active doing the things you love!

For today, I want you to devote some thought to  “exercising outside the box”  this fall.  Find a local dance studio you can call today for a free trial class this week!  Add your name to the hockey league starting up soon!  Let’s get the ideas flowing everybody!!!   Post your plans on the blog!

And now, for a little physical challenge while figure out our “non-traditional” plans…

Here is a simple lower body and core workout that requires no equipment and is done in 10 minutes.  Sweet.  Once completed, share your feedback.  Remember – if this feels too easy, try higher level options next time (and I have plenty in my repertoire!)  If it feels too challenging, dial back the intensity to 30 second intervals or less demanding versions of the exercises listed.

10-Minute Lower-body and core Pair-Up Workout

Part One:

  • Side plank for 60 seconds on each side, and without resting…
  • Squat hold 60 seconds (wall squat, aiming for thighs parallel to floor)
  • Repeat!

Part Two:

  • Regular plank for 60 seconds, and without resting…
  • L leg lunge hold 30 seconds and then R leg lunge hold 30 seconds
  • Repeat!

(The whole thing takes exactly 10 minutes)

Enjoy the workout and remember – share your activity inspirations, personal solutions and tips that work for you.  I will award bonus points throughout the challenge if you post an at-home workout challenge of your own design!!