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How to stay fit when working remotely – be minimalistic but consistent

We all have plenty of things to do every day. We need to work, and we want to cultivate our hobbies. Our families and friends require a quality time from us. It is interesting for those lucky ones who can work remotely. In theory, we have more time. Reality is – there are too many things to do every day. Unfortunately, staying fit is usually the first thing we give up when we try to decide on how to divide our precious time. The results could be fatal, so the question of how to stay fit when working remotely should be essential. 

When we are younger, staying fit takes care of itself. It is probably enough to eat relatively healthy food, and some times walk instead of driving. It all changes when we progress in the number of decades that we live on the Earth. The higher number appears in front of our age metric; the bigger number appears on the scale when we occasionally weight ourself. What we can do to avoid turning to couch potato, or worse before we have serious back problems that will prevent us from enjoying our life?

How to stay fit? Eat healthy!
2019, Breakfast In Amsterdam, Netherlands 🇳🇱

Find your real motivation to stay fit 🤔

Introducing a new habit should always start with the right motivation. In the post about annual planning, I have shared why I decided to buy bicycles for my family. It was the same realisation that motivated me to start exercising and to stay fit. I realised although I work remotely and I have a bit more time – staying fit was not my priority. I had plenty of excuses. Some of them were good – like spending time playing with kids. So, I asked myself five times why I wanted to stay fit. And the result was powerful. Because I want to be able to spend time and play with kids… in 20 years from now.  

Try many things and find what works for you 🚴‍♂️🏋🏻‍♂️🤸🏻‍♂️

I have tried many things. Following the trends, I subscribed to local gym. The idea was to build a new habit, routine that would be part of my bigger daily schedule. The problem was that my days are not that regular as I thought they are. 

Then I had the idea of running. It seems that every successful person practice running, right? I tried to start with walking first and then gradually started running. It didn’t work either.  Riding the bicycle seemed to be doing the job. However, it was a bit seasonal, and again I could not make it a habit, something that I would repeat every day.

Then, someone gave me a book about callisthenics. I loved the idea of slow and steady progress. Exercises are supposed to be done using just your body weight. You can start doing something immediately even if you are a couch potato. You don’t need a gym, all you need is motivation, time and a habit to automate it and make it part of your usual day.

Create a long-lasting habit that helps to stay fit 📆

I was enthusiastic. I started waking up earlier and I was determined to do something. And it was the problem.

The task of doing something early morning turns to be a serious work. If you add morning fatigue and the fact you are about to do something physically demanding, you are shooting yourself in the foot. And you play against your will. I tried hard, but my will power was not strong enough. I was failing. It felt bad. 

Then I bought a smartwatch and started digging into the topic of how digital gadget can help you in staying fit. I also got interested in morning routines, habits, and how our brain operates. I found an app called 7-minute workout. The idea is that you tap once, and the virtual coach starts your workout. Your job is to follow without too much thinking.

What 7-minute workout is not? ❌

There is an ongoing debate on the Interwebs about the effectiveness of the 7-minute workout. Some people use persuasive words to express their opinions and warn people that the program doesn’t work and leaves empty promises. Here is what I think. This program will not supplant your daily requirements for exercises. If you are already fit, you will find the whole training boring and easy.

7-minute workout will not help you to burn all calories per day, and it will not close your exercise ring on your iPhone. The length – 7 minutes – is somehow arbitrary and may work for some people, may not work for others. If you work remotely, it will not substitute ten thousand steps you should do per day. Having this said, It may help you to make the first step in a day. The first step to staying fit for a long time. Here is why. 

What is a 7-minute workout? 💯

We spelt out what 7-minute workout is not and when it will not work. Now, let’s focus on how this program can help to stay fit when working remotely. 7-minute workout is one of many high-intensity interval training programs. You have 12 exercises to perform for 30 seconds, following by 10 seconds to catch your breath. Then, you start the next activity. I like the simplicity of the app description in AppStore: 

Perform each of 12 exercises for 30 seconds with a 10 seconds break between. The intensity should hover around 8 on a scale of 1-10, making it feel unpleasant.
The good news is, after 7 minutes you are done.

It is an important detail. You need to perform every exercise at an intense pace. Activities themselves are rather straightforward. The difficulty comes from intense way of executing them. It will defer from person to person. If you are not fit at all, just trying to do them all will be challenging. If you are fit already, you can go crazy, do more repetitions. The app I use also offers many other programs and a set of exercises. In a free version, you have an extra set of activities per month of usage. You can also buy a subscription to unlock a significant number of available programs, covering every part of your body that you would like to train. 

How to stay fit when working remotely? 💪💻

The exercises are not difficult, and the time investment is not huge. You can decide to hit this snooze button, or you can wake up and go straight to your new routine. The book “Atomic Habits” introduces the concept of habit stacking. You try to build one habit. You should focus on one practice at the time to help yourself to be successful.

Once you create one, and you execute it automatically, you can add, chain or stack another thing that you would like to change or add into your life. 7-minute workout seems to be perfect to start building healthy habit of exercising in the morning. For some time, it will be the only thing that you do. It also goes along with another principle of creating a sticky habit – it has to be easy.

Creating a habit that is easy to start and follow 🧬📝

One of the reasons I was failing for so long was that I didn’t know what to do. I had a vague idea that I wanted to do exercise every morning. Then I was there with first win of the day – I woke up earlier – ready to do something. But forcing my brain to create my program ad-hoc was too much in the morning. Next time I was about to get up from my bad, my internal critic was already at work; “you woke up, and you are going to get up to do what exactly?“. Some times it was enough to stay in bed and not do anything.

7-minute workout helped me enormously in this matter. There are literally two taps on your mobile, or watch to start moving. The virtual coach will guide you on what to do next. After some time of following this program, you can decide what set of exercises you want to follow. Maybe you want to add extra repetition, or chain two programs together. The first step, the most crucial in building a habit, is as easy as it could be. There are no more excuses. 

Lessons learned during this coffee journey ðŸŽ“

  • We are all busy with our lives. Working remotely create you some time, but if staying fit is not priority, there will always be other things to do and fill this extra time. 
  • Be honest – staying fit when working remotely could be trickly.
  • It is good to find the right motivation when it comes to a new habit, especially when it is going to be demanding in the beginning. Asking ourselves five times “why” we want to stay fit, will help to get to the real motivation. 
  • To start a new habit, we have to apply “two-minute rule” from the book “Atomic Habits”. It has to be easy and automatic. It has to have low entrance costs.
  • Modern technology can help us to build good fitness habits. There are plenty of choices out there. 
  • You need to find what works for you, try many things, stick to what gives you the most joy and what is easy to implement in your environment.
  • Get healthy, stay fit and enjoy long quality time. Your family want to have full of you for a long time!

Do you have any habits when it comes to exercises? Are you morning or evening person? Do you find challenging working from home and staying fit?

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