This post appears as part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three WebMD team members as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their journeys here.
By Bill Kimm
I was put to the test last week. (Spoiler alert: I passed!)
My daughter is a competitive cheerleader, and last weekend we had an out-of-town competition. In the past, that meant eating out for every meal and lots of sitting around, but with a focus on a Healthier 2021, I couldn’t treat this cheer competition like the previous ones. I had to do better.
My amazing wife of 23 years, Marlene, who is also on this Healthier 2021 journey with me, came up with a brilliant, albeit simple, game plan for us to make sure we didn’t take a step back after 2 weeks of great progress. Be ready to have your mind blown! We brought food with us to the hotel to make sure we didn’t need to eat out every meal. Simple, right? We knew we had a fridge in our hotel room, so we packed up our cooler with healthy options and ate at the hotel, not at a restaurant. Due to our cheer schedule, we ate brunch each day instead of breakfast and lunch. We brought low-calorie tortillas, lunchmeat, lettuce, and cheese, and made wraps. We brought baked chips, apples and peanut butter, grapes, and other low-calorie snack options, and it was perfect.
Not only did we stick to our calorie and healthy-eating goals, but because we were good during the day, it allowed us to splurge a little bit when we went out to dinner (and we did!). I think this is going to be the new normal for us moving forward when we are out of town. It was incredibly easy.
Knowing I was going to have a lot of downtime, I brought my workout clothes with me with every intention of hitting the treadmill on both Saturday and Sunday to finally get my exercise going. I was heartbroken when I arrived at the hotel and learned the gym was closed due to COVID-19. Not to be deterred, I went to plan B, and it’s one I find myself doing more and more.
A couple of years ago, I created a HIIT workout for myself that uses no equipment and gives me a good sweat and sore muscles every time. It features 12 exercises, focusing on four groups: cardio, legs, arms, and abs. Here is what it looks like:
Warm-Up: 5 minutes of stretches
Cardio: Jumping Jacks, High Knees, Mountain Climbers
Arms: Push-Ups, Chair Dips, Overhead Arm Press
Legs: Wall Sit, Squats, Lunges
Abs: Crunches, Plank, Leg Raises
I am a firm believer that all of us can do anything for 30 seconds, so that is the basis for this workout. Do each of the 12 exercises once, in whatever order you want, to the best of your ability, for 30 seconds, and take a 15-second break between each exercise. That’s 9 minutes, and because I like an even number, I run in place for 1 minute at the end for some extra cardio. On Saturday I was able to do a full circuit twice for a 25-minute workout, but Sunday I was sore and did it once. But I did it!
The gym was closed, but that’s not an excuse anymore. It was too cold to run outside, but that’s not an excuse anymore, either. There are no more excuses.
This weekend was a big boost for my confidence: Even though I was out of town, I not only ate healthy and stayed under my calorie goal, but I exercised both days! On top of that, my daughter’s two teams finished second and fourth in their divisions, so all in all, a very successful weekend!