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Last Updated on March 20, 2018

Exercise Routine That Best Fits You (With 3 Difficulty Levels to Choose)

Exercise Routine That Best Fits You (With 3 Difficulty Levels to Choose)

Do you find it difficult sticking with an exercise routine? Do you love the idea of creating a routine, yet still lack the motivation to apply your creation? If so, you are not alone. If you have not heard of my 24 Hour Workout, let me introduce you to the ultimate exercise routine hack.

Let’s examine the routine by splitting it into three levels as my routine can seem a little intimidating at times.

Why you need an exercise routine

The ultimate exercise routine identified here is different than most routines in that it requires no gym membership and can be done anywhere at any time. The benefits of exercise (and maintaining an exercise routine) will lead to an overall healthy life.

Simply adopting this exercise routine will completely change your life. Let’s examine 11 Benefits of Exercise provided by Dr. Axe:[1]

  1. Boost happiness levels
  2. Learn to set and achieve goals
  3. Reduce risk of heart disease
  4. Improved sleep
  5. Boost in overall energy
  6. Increased strength and flexibility
  7. Improved memory
  8. Increased self-confidence
  9. Perform better at work
  10. Less susceptible to disease
  11. You will live longer

An exercise routine (combined with a morning routine) is the ultimate life hack. Not only will it provide you with a way to think, look, and feel great, but it will also boost your productivity, increase your energy level and intelligence, improve your memory, and increase your overall quality of life.

Equally important, you can begin an exercise routine at any stage in your life.

The 3 levels of exercise routine

This exercise plan is designed based onthe American Council on Exercise (ACE) Health-Fitness-Performance (HFP) Continuum as a guide for better health, fitness and performance:

    I have broken the fitness program into three different difficulty level: beginners, intermediate and advanced.

    Workout routine for beginners

      It is easy to imagine starting an exercise routine, yet it is very difficult to begin doing the actual work. That’s why it is actually the hardest level.

      The following is a beginner’s exercise routine:

      1. Exercise hourly or High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

      When:

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      Monday, Wednesday, Friday

      • Where: Anywhere and Everywhere
      • How long: 2 months

      Both options are exercises that can be done at home (or anywhere indoors).

      Option A – Exercise hourly (if possible)

      Using a version of the Pomodoro Technique, use a timer and set it for every 60 minutes.

      Once the timer goes off, do the following:

      Power Push-up. Start with 10 push-ups and do these five times a day. Watch the following video:

      Plank. Hold the plank for at least 30 seconds (five times a day). Watch the following video:

      Option B – High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts for beginners at Home (morning or evening)

      Before beginning the following workout, make sure you warm up for 3 minutes (jumping jacks, quick jog, etc.). After you have completed the workout, rest for at least 1 minute and stretch.

      The HIIT Workout for Beginners at Home by Anytimestrength.com outlines the perfect alternative to my 24 Workout.[2] Follow Circuits 1-4 in the image below:

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        2. Cardio workout exercises of your interest (works with Option A or B)

        • When: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
        • Where: Anywhere and Everywhere
        • How long: 2 months

        Do some form of cardio (i.e. jogging, elliptical, stair climber, jumping rope, swimming, cycling, etc.) for at least 20 minutes.

        Before you do any cardio exercises, do this 5-minute warmup routine to prevent injuries:

        Fitness tips for the beginner level

        • Stand while you work. This simple change will improve posture, reduce lower back pain, and prevent neck strain.
        • Drink more water as it will increase your energy, relieve fatigue, promote weight loss, and flush out toxins.
        • Take a cold shower to wake up.

        Workout routine for intermediate level

          After 2 months you will want to step it up. At this point you should start seeing some of the benefits of your new exercise routine. The following is an intermediate guide:

          1. Exercise hourly or 10-minute home fat burning workout

          • When: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday
          • Where: Anywhere and Everywhere
          • How long: 4 months

          Option A – Exercise hourly (if possible)

          Using a version of the Pomodoro Technique, use a timer and set it for every 60 minutes. Once the timer goes off, do the following:

          Power Push-up. Do 20 push-ups (five times a day).

          Plank. Hold the plank for at least 50 seconds (five times a day).

          Option B – 10 minute home fat burning workout (morning or evening)

          Before beginning the following workout, make sure you warm up for 3 minutes (jumping jacks, quick jog, etc.). After you have completed the workout, rest for at least 1 minute and stretch.

          ATHLEAN-X provides a fantastic (and killer) workout you can perform in the morning or evening if you are not able to exercise hourly.[3]

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          Watch and follow along with the following video:

          2. Cardio workout exercises of your interest (works with Option A or B)

          • When: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
          • Where: Anywhere and Everywhere
          • How long: 4 months

          Do some form of cardio (i.e. jogging, elliptical, stair climber, jumping rope, swimming, cycling, etc.) for (at a minimum) 30 minutes.

          Don’t forget to do this warmup routine to prevent injuries:

          Fitness tips for the intermediate level

          • Stand while you work. This simple change will improve posture, reduce lower back pain, and prevent neck strain.
          • Drink more water as it will increase your energy, relieve fatigue, promote weight loss, and flush out toxins.
          • Take a cold shower to wake up.

          Workout routine for advanced level

            After 6 months you should start to think, look, and feel really good. It’s now time to enter into beast mode! The following is an advanced guide:

            1. Exercise hourly, or Bodyweight only HIIT workout

            • When: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday
            • Where: Anywhere and Everywhere (try it in an airport!)
            • How long: the rest of your life!

            Option A – Exercise hourly (if possible)

            Using a version of the Pomodoro Technique, use a timer and set it for every 45-60 minutes. Once the timer goes off, do the following:

            Power Push-up. Do them until they hurt (ten times a day).

            Plank. Hold the plank until it hurts (ten times a day).

            Bicep curls with a resistance band (as many as you can ten times a day – can be done anywhere and everywhere). Learn how to do it with this video:

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            Pull-ups (as many as you can 5 times a day). Watch this video to do it right:

            Option B – Insane HIIT Challenge – Bodyweight Only HIIT Workout (morning or evening)

            Before beginning the following workout, make sure you warm up for 3 minutes (jumping jacks, quick jog, etc.). After you have completed the workout, rest for at least 1 minute and stretch.

            FitnessBlender.com provides an insane HIIT workout and I recommend it as an alternative to my 24 Hour Workout if you are unable to exercise hourly. [4] Watch and follow along with the following video:

            2. Cardio workout exercises of your interest (works with Option A or B)

            • When: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
            • Where: Anywhere and Everywhere
            • How long: the rest of your life!

            Do some form of cardio (i.e. jogging, elliptical, stair climber, jumping rope, swimming, cycling, etc.) for (at a minimum) 30 minutes. Bump it up to 60 minutes or more when training for an event (i.e. a marathon).

            Always remember, warming up your body before any exercises is important:

            Fitness tips for the advanced level

            • Stand while you work. This simple change will improve posture, reduce lower back pain, and prevent neck strain.
            • Take a Vitamin B-12 to increase energy and improve cardiovascular support.
            • Take a Nootropic. Known as “Smart Drugs” will boost your memory, increase focus, and can provide mood enhancing benefits.[5]
            • Drink more water as it will increase your energy, relieve fatigue, promote weight loss, and flush out toxins.
            • Take a cold shower to wake up.
            • Listen to audiobooks while you exercise.
            • Read a book while you plank.
            • Sign up for an event (i.e. a marathon).

            Adopting an exercise routine is a life-changing experience. I guarantee, if you adopt the exercise routine discussed here, you will see significant improvements in your life. You will find that your “happy” chemicals in your body will receive a boost, your stress levels will reduce, your ability to cope with stress will get better, your self-confidence will increase, and your mental capacity will improve.

            Essentially, you will think – look – and feel better than ever!

            Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

            Reference

            More by this author

            Dr. Jamie Schwandt

            Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

            10 Hacks to Increase Your Brain IQ, Focus and Creativity 9 Game Changing Tips on How to Write Goals (and Reach Them!) Creative Brain Test: 10 Best Ways To Test Your Creative Intelligence How to Be a Maverick and Develop a Maverick Mindset Being Self Aware Is the Key to Success: How to Boost Self Awareness

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            Published on November 14, 2018

            Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

            Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

            With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

            For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

            In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

            Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

            Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

            It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

            For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

            Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

            Symptoms of Fatigue

            Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

            • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
            • mental blocks
            • lack of motivation
            • headache
            • dizziness
            • muscle weakness
            • slowed reflexes and responses
            • impaired decision-making and judgement
            • moodiness, such as irritability
            • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
            • reduced immune system function
            • blurry vision
            • short-term memory problems
            • poor concentration
            • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

            Causes of Fatigue

            The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

            • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
            • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
            • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
            • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

            Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

            Medical Causes of Fatigue

            If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

            Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

            Anemia

            Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

            Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

            There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

            Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

            Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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            This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

            Diabetes

            Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

            Sleep Apnea

            Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

            Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

            Thyroid disease

            An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

            Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

            • Lack of sleep
            • Too much sleep 
            • Alcohol and drugs 
            • Sleep disturbances 
            • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
            • Poor diet 

            Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

            • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
            • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
            • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
            • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

            Psychological Causes of Fatigue

            Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

            • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
            • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
            • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

            How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

            Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

            1. Tell The Truth

            Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

            To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

            Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

            The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

            One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

            • How you feel
            • What time of day it is
            • What may have contributed to your fatigue
            • How your mind and body reacts

            This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

            2. Reduce Your Commitments

            When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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            If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

            When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

            Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

            3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

            If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

            Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

            If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

            Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

            Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

            4. Express More Gratitude

            Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

            It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

            Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

            5. Focus On Yourself

            Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

            There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

            But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

            We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

            6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

            Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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            Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

            The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

            Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

            7. Take a Power Nap

            When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

            Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

            This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

            8. Take More Exercise

            The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

            Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

            The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

            You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

            9. Get More Quality Sleep

            To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

            Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

            My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

            10. Improve Your Diet

            Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

            Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

            On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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            To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

            Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

            Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

            11. Manage Your Stress Levels

            Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

            When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

            Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

            My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

            12. Get Hydrated

            Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

            Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

            If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

            The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

            The Bottom Line

            These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

            If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

            Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
            [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
            [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
            [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
            [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
            [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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