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Get Fit in 5 Minutes a Day with the Ultimate Body Weight Exercise

Get Fit in 5 Minutes a Day with the Ultimate Body Weight Exercise

How long is your list of excuses for not working out? I’m pretty sure I have used them all but give it a shot—surprise me!  People get very creative with excuses and sometimes an excuse become a mantra to rationalize to yourself why not to work out, with expressions ranging from “I don’t have the time” to ” I don’t have the equipment”. However, there’s one fantastic exercise that wins over these two excuses (and most others), leaving you with only your weak character left to overcome.

Body Weight Exercise

    It’s a great conditioning exercise that engages your entire body; it builds strength, and you can adjust the intensity from a light mobility exercise to making you feel like you’ve been run over by a truck. All this after only 5 min of exercise, without equipment and in just 20 square feet of space. Moreover, this particular exercise is engaging at least 5 of the 10 skills of fitness. It will work your cardiovascular endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, and speed, depending a bit on how you perform the exercise.

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    The ultimate exercise is…

    This fantastic exercise is called “the burpee” and it’s a simple, not easy, body weight exercise that you can perform in minimal space.

    It’s essentially an exercise combing the Hindu squat, the push-up and a vertical jump.

    1. Stand straight, with your feet in a neutral stance.
    2. Squat down to and place your hands approximately one foot in front of your feet, slightly wider than shoulder width.
    3. With your weight on straight, vertical arms, jump back with both feet into plank position (same as the top position of the push-up).
    4. Perform a push-up with your chest touching ground in the bottom position, and up to plank position again.
    5. From plank position, jump forward with both feet, raise your upper body and land in the bottom of the squat.
    6. Jump straight up from the bottom of the squat, raise your arms and clap your hands over head. Landing back in position 1.
    7. Repeat.

    Sounds easy? Don’t let the simplicity fool you. I’ve seen Ironman distance triathletes (some people consider triathletes fit) and competitive boxers totally crumble under the mighty burpee. If you think you’re fit I am pretty sure that the first 10 will make you cocky, but at around 25 you’re surprised how tough it is.

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    Check out the video instructions to help you get burpeein’!

    Beginners

    Complete beginners must first learn to perform a correct Hindu squat, after which you can work yourself up to 10 repetitions of each component of the burpee in isolation: that’s 10 Hindu squats, followed by 10 push-ups, and finally 10 vertical jumps—hands from floor to overhead clap. When you feel comfortable with the Hindu squat and can perform these 30 repetitions uninterrupted, it’s time to burpee.

    Start with 10 burpees uninterrupted, and work yourself up 25 in a nice steady flow—don’t think about time.

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    Beginner variations

    The most common limitation to the burpee is that people can’t keep up with the push-ups, so instead of giving up early, I suggest that you do push-ups with your knees on the ground. If needed, you can even start without the push-up: just jump out to plank position and back (skip step 4 above).

    Beyond beginner: 5-minute burpee flow

    When you have worked passed the beginner stage above, it’s time to increase the volume and/or work faster. To improve, you must measure time, so use a stopwatch. Set your countdown timer to 5 minutes, and do as many burpees as you can. As you keep to the 5 minutes, it’s easy to keep track of your progress and stay motivated. Always make sure to keep good form though: you want to improve because of increased work capacity— not sloppier, potentially unsafe, form.

    When you can do 5 minutes uninterrupted, I suggest you test yourself on 100 of these to get an idea of your time: the world fitness elite does 100 burpees in around 4 minutes, but get below 8 minutes and you can be proud.

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    In addition to it being a great exercise while traveling, I use 100 burpees for time as a benchmark for my own fitness level. My personal record is 100 repetitions in 7 min, and when I get over 8 min it feels like slap in the face, letting me know that it’s time to get serious with training again. Honestly, now that the December holidays have passed, it’s burpee time!

    Let me know how it goes! Which Lifehack reader can do the most burpees in 5 min?

    Featured photo credit:  Running Sport. Runners on road in endurance run outdoors via Shutterstock

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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