If you’ve ever experienced an overwhelming sense of euphoria after indulging in a sweet piece of chocolate, you can relate to ‘the runner's high’ (just without the beads of sweat and heavy panting, we hope). That wonderfully pleasant sensation is also known as an endorphin rush. Designed to relieve stress, our natural endorphins are the body’s prescription for happiness and thankfully this enjoyable feeling is linked to many things, including one that makes you feel and look your best: exercise.
But let's face it, physical activity can be daunting, especially if you're out of practice. While breezing through a workout can make you feel unstoppable, struggling to get through an exercise can put you in a funk and discourage you from sticking to your fitness goals. That's why it's important to set up your routine in a manner that will make you feel accomplished after every session and encourage you to push yourself.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. fitness goals is a great way to focus on specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely objectives. Rather than aim too high and feeling discouraged, smaller achievable goals will put you on the right track to success by building your confidence with visible daily progress and allow you to see how far you’ve come.
Start with one of these seven-day challenges that will leave you feeling both physically and mentally stronger.
Don’t underestimate the power of a push-up! It’s proven to be one of the best exercises for strengthening and toning the upper body. Doing these regularly will lead to stronger, leaner arms and help with everyday movements such as lifting, pulling, and pushing.
Starting on either your toes or knees, raise your upper body above the ground and align your hands directly underneath your shoulders, keeping a neutral spine. Bending at the elbows, lower your body towards the ground until your chest grazes the floor. Push back up and repeat.
Your objective is to complete:
- 4 push-ups on Monday (or day one)
- 7 push-ups on Tuesday
- 9 push-ups on Wednesday
- 10 push-ups on Thursday
- 9 push-ups on Friday
- 7 push-ups on Saturday
- 4 push-ups on Sunday (or day seven)
By the end of the week you'll have done 50 push ups! What an amazing accomplishment! If that isn’t challenging enough for you, try doubling the daily numbers and aim for a whopping 100 push-ups! There's nothing wrong with completing half in the morning and half in the evening if that works better for you.
Every minute on the minute
EMOM stands for “Every Minute on the Minute” and focuses primarily on exercise quality over quantity. This type of training increases muscular endurance, improves cardio and is extremely efficient at burning body fat. In this five-minute challenge, you will be given two exercises and one full minute to complete them with the intention of finishing before the minute is up. If it only takes you 20 seconds to complete all repetitions, you will rest for the remaining 40 seconds until a new minute begins, at which point you will repeat the exercises again. Keep in mind that it’s normal for the rest periods to become shorter as the intensity increases.
Try this seven-day EMOM challenge:
- 4 wide leg squats and 4 push-ups every minute on the minute, on Monday (or day one)
- 5 squats and 5 push ups, on Tuesday
- 6 squats and 6 push ups, on Wednesday
- 7 squats and 7 push ups, on Thursday
- 8 squats and 8 push ups, on Friday
- 9 squats and 9 push ups, on Saturday,
- 10 squats and 10 push ups, on Sunday
Depending on your level of fitness, feel free to replace your ‘resting’ period, with a light jog in place to keep your heart rate up and earn more FitPoints!
When the week is over, pat yourself on the back giving the triceps a little stretch in the process and enjoy having achieved a goal that only a mere week ago may have seemed impossible.