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The Four Alarm Workout For Powerful, Portable Fitness

The world has never turned faster. We are chasing the kids out of the house, battling traffic, rushing to meetings, and constantly responding to email. Engulfed by this whack-a-mole lifestyle, many simply conclude they no longer have time to exercise. Yet, there is something else at play, as well.

We are busy, no doubt, but that compulsion to check your email every 20-minutes is often accompanied, by a five-minute social media scan. Then a ten-minute reboot as you try to figure out how to best use the time you have before the next meeting. Over and over, mismanaged time interrupts actual productivity, leaving you with a twenty minute blocks too short for re-engaging any large focus-driven project. There is nothing to do, but fill the time with more email and social media scans, or whatever outlet is your smartphone vice.

Take Advantage of Wasted Time

What if we created a system to use those many chunks throughout the day to hit the most important habit for amplifying all our other efforts—a really good exercise dose. According to a 2016 study, the average person spends 116 minutes per day on social media. It is amazing how lots of little chunks of time can add up.

You can get a phenomenal workout in just 20-minutes. Most gym-goers are in and out in an hour and that includes the change of clothes, the small-talk, the time waiting for stations to open and the time spent racking other people’s weights. Within an hour workout, there is probably no more than 20-minutes of actual work.

Who says you have to accomplish all your exercise in one time and in one place? Everyone can find four, seven-minute blocks throughout their day. That is 28-minutes of awesome work that can be seamlessly integrated into your day to leave you alert and enriched, rather than lost in another mindless scroll.

We Can All Find TIme

For this Four-Alarm Workout, I’ll provide daily workouts, each complete with four, seven-minute blocks of work. Each block starts with a low-impact mini-circuit to transition your body into the effective exercise dose that is to follow.

First, you have to find your times. I highly recommend waking to your first seven-minute block. This is an easy, consistent cue and a great way to set the day’s intent. If you “don’t have time in the morning,” just set the alarm ten-minutes earlier. This allows you to shake off any cobwebs and even throw in a brief mobility prior to this first exercise block of the day.

Similarly, you can always get seven-minutes right at the end of the workday. Boot down seven-minutes earlier, or just add seven-minutes at the end of the workday. The time difference is negligible, especially compared to the gym-trip you probably once tried to fit in.

Another easy, consistent block is the beginning of your lunch break, right before you eat. You could pack your lunch to save time, money, and the stress of rushing out and back. Seven minutes is literally the amount of time steamed broccoli and carrots will take in your microwave. That’s three exercise blocks found.

From there, you only need to look at your schedule and pull out one more seven-minute period. This is probably obvious depending on the day. In fact, you can probably find a couple, mitigating the need for that end of the work-day 7-minute block. Similar to my five-alarm method, you can set phone alarms to plan and dictate these best times for your exercise blocks. When the alarm chimes, you go!

Create a game with yourself. Each day’s workout is split into four seven-minute blocks. Set your four-alarms, but if you can finish early that is a big win! Maybe time opened up in the mid-morning. Maybe you knock two blocks out at once. There will be days that are harder. Worst case scenario, your 4th block goes right before bed. This is less than ideal, but better than missing.

The reality is we can all make this program work. We just have to commit to answering the alarm every time. No entertaining the internal monologue. No backing out. The hardest part will be overcoming the inertia to get started. Allow yourself no wiggle-room. Willpower is a muscle that will grow stronger with training. Establish a mantra. I always tell myself, 99% is a wimp. Author, Rachel Hollis, says she, “never breaks promises to herself.” The point is the same. You make a deal with yourself that you go, no matter what.

Now that you know the how let’s get to the what. Without further ado, here is your weekly Four-Alarm Workout Plan for equipment free, anywhere, anytime exercise.

The Workout Program

Monday is day 1. Follow this pattern:

Day 1, Day 2, Off, Day 1, Day 2, Off, Off

Day 1: Block 1

Mini-Circuit—3 rounds of:

Bird Dog x5/side
Straddle Stance Thoracic Rotation x5/side
Y-W Handcuffs x10

3 rounds of:

Frogger Hip Thruster x30
Bear Crawl x10 forward and 10 back
Superman x10
Side Plank x15 secs/side

Day 1: Block 2

Mini-Circuit—2 rounds of:

Quadraped Knee Circles x5/side
Down Dog to Up Dog and Back x5

3 rounds of:

Split Squats (5-5-*) x5/side
Push-Up (5-1-*) x5
Lying Leg Lifts x10

Day 1: Block 3

Mini-Circuit—2 rounds of:

World’s Greatest Lunge x5
Thoracic Hip Bridge x5/side

3 rounds of:

Plank Jacks x30
Bent-Over Y-Raises x10
Jump Lunges x3/side

Day 1: Block 4

Mini-circuit—2 rounds of:

Donkey Kickbacks x5/side
Y,T,W’s x5 @ each exercise
Lunge Matrix x3 steps per leg

3 rounds of:

Rotating Chops x5/side
Judo Push-Ups x5
1-Leg Glute Bridge x5/side
Donkey Kicks x15

Day 2: Block 1

Mini-circuit—3 rounds of:

Bird Dog x5/side
Straddle Stance Thoracic Rotation x5/side
Y-W Handcuffs x10

3 rounds of:

Breakdancer (jumping to make harder) x5/side
Superman x10
Dynamic Lateral Lunge x5/side

Day 2: Block 2

Mini-circuit—2 rounds of:

Quadraped Knee Circles x5/side
Down Dog to Up Dog and Back x5

3 rounds of:

Blastoff Push-Ups x5
Hindu Squat x15
Russian Twists x15/side

Day 2: Block 3

Mini-circuit—2 rounds of:

World’s Greatest Lunge x5
Thoracic Hip Bridge x5/side
Mountain Climbers or Plank Jacks

Day 2: Block 4

Mini-circuit—2 rounds of:

Donkey Kickbacks x5/side
Y,T,W’s x5 @ each exercise
Lunge Matrix x3 steps per leg

3 rounds of:

Diagonal Chop (throw it out) x10/side
Bicycles x20
Scales (5 second hold) x1/side

This fitness plan is completely equipment free. Imagine what we could do with just one kettlebell, one dumbbell, or one exercise band. Don’t worry, these plans are coming. The point is, exercise, more than any other activity, changes the trajectory of your life. It is too important to miss. Don’t find an excuse—find a way.

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