Some of my regular readers know that I quit the gym a few months ago. Since then, I’ve been struggling with what to do for exercise.
I loathe running. Mostly because I look like this when I run. I actually threw up after a 5k. I wish that said marathon.
I’ve also been battling depression. Some of my challenges relate to how I get overwhelmed with the extras–what I’m “supposed” to be doing. Exercise relieves stress for me. I knew I needed to get back to it, in some way. But what could I do?
I have no gym membership. We’ve sold most of my exercise equipment. (Yes, I used to own a Total Gym, Nordic Track, elliptical trainer, a Thigh Master, an Ab Roller and a set of Tae Bo video tapes.) Oops, almost forgot to mention my shake weight. Here it is:
I still own Jillian Michael DVD’s but I’m uncomfortable watching them in front of my daughter. The encouragement on the videos is to exercise so you look hot–so people will notice your hard booty. I don’t want my young daughter to be fed the lies that being thin and fit determine a woman’s value.
Alas, I continued to do nothing but “think” about working out. . . Until, one day last month. . .
I discovered Rend Collective’s “The Art of Celebration” album. Rend Collective is an Irish band with incredible and contagious energy. I knew “My Lighthouse” (It’s my four-year-old’s fave and he’s adorable singing it.) but hadn’t heard any of their other songs. Here’s a sampling of how fun this band is. (I dare you to try to sit still while watching this!)
I downloaded the album and my kids and I had it blaring one day. They couldn’t help but dance. So, I joined them. Soon, we were jumping and moving and, well, I hate to call it exercise because that makes it sound so stiff and boring but, truth is, that’s what it was! I found myself working out and I thought to myself, “Hmmm . . .maybe I should just do this regularly?”
But, I have unreliable knees. High impact activities take their toll pretty quickly thanks to years of kickboxing. How could I do this dancing and jumping for a longer period of time without killing my joints?
Enter the $30 trampoline. It’s not fancy. But, it holds up to 250 pounds, is totally portable (it weighs less than twenty pounds) and can fit just about anywhere. (This is a spruced up version for a little bit more!)
After my husband put together my new toy, I took my bluetooth speaker and my iPhone (three favorite Rend Collective songs loaded) out to the garage (where my trampoline lives) and I started jumping. Each song is about four minutes long, so the total workout took twelve minutes. And, I can assure you of two things:
My legs hurt. And, I felt more joyful. Don’t believe me? Every workout program has before and after photos. Here are mine:
I’m really enjoying my new workout. So much so, I decided to name it. Then I thought, Hmm…maybe some of my readers would like this workout too.
So, here it is! (**Consult with our physician before you start any physical exercise program. The doctor will tell you if you can/should do this or if you need to adjust it!**)
Though I can’t promise you that you will lose twenty pounds in two weeks, I can promise you that you will feel MORE JOYFUL in 12 minutes. And, that may help your body image more than anything!
Some words of caution and encouragement before you start:
1) Wear sneakers. This will help you with my next tip below.
2) KEEP YOUR KNEES a tad bit BENT and your feet “flat.” If you are bouncing on your toes the whole time your calves will give out on you. If you try to keep a more squat like position, with your heels on the ground too, you’ll force your quad, hamstrings and gluteal muscles (your butt) to do some work too. *You don’t have to use a trampoline, you can use the ground if your knees are better than mine!
3) The more you move the arms, the higher and faster your legs will go. Moving your arms overhead and forward will also work your abs and midsection. But, it takes more energy to do this –so start slow if this tires you out too quickly.
4) If you have jiggly parts, you will hear them jiggle. The sound of skin slapping skin bothers me, so I turn my music up really, really loud. This helps keep the joy intact.
5) Note: this workout isn’t overly scripted. Too many details and complicated moves will SUCK the JOY out of the JOY Workout. Just have fun, dance and move as you feel you want to, and you’ll feel it. The more comfortable you get with the trampoline, the more fun you can have. But, don’t worry if the first several weeks you are just jogging or doing light bounces. That counts too!
6) As you get in better shape and do it more frequently, you can repeat the three song rotation for a 24 minute workout. This is what I do now. I add other songs I love like “Remember” from Passion Conference to warm up or “Christ in Me” by Jeremy Camp to cool down. The Rend Collective songs will also work great for running, cycling, or other high impact aerobic activities because of their fast paced tempo. If it feels too fast at first–use a song like “My Lighthouse” from the same album and warm up with it.
THE JOY WORKOUT
Song start to 45 seconds-1 minute — Warm up with a light jog on the trampoline.
From 1 minute in until about 2 minute mark — Jump on the trampoline with arms pretending to spin a jump rope.
From 2 minutes in until about 3 minute mark –Back to a jog on the trampoline.
From 3 minutes in until song ends — Jump with arms like jump rope.
**Extra points for jumping higher when they say “Hey!”
Song #2: “Burn Like a Star” by Rend Collective (4 minutes and 8 seconds long)
Focus on jump squats for most of this song. You can spread your legs under your shoulders (or to the perimeter of your trampoline – mine are a little closer than that) and try to bend your knees and sit into your bottom. Then, jump with your arms straight in front of you.
From song start until the first chorus: Jog with high knees
First chorus til end of the song: Sets of 8-10 small jump squats (jump and come down in a squat position arms forward) with light jogging as “rest” periods.
Song #3: “Create in Me” by Rend Collective (3 minutes and 40 seconds long)
Focus on moving arms (this also works your abs) while your legs keep jumping.
Here are some things you can do, as you feel comfortable:
**Boxing moves– You can jab, hook, or cross punch with your arms as you bounce or jump with your legs.
**Jumping Jacks – Move your arms over your head as if you were doing jumping jacks
**Crazy Mosh Pit/Dance Moves – “Raise the roof” by pressing both your arms over your head over and over again. Jumping while doing this move helps firm your abdominal muscles, requires more energy (and strength) than jumping alone, and will raise your heart rate. Plus, you’ll be dancing and praising like I envision David did when he wrote the words in Psalms that inspired this song.
Afterwards, I do some lunges (one leg on the trampoline), some squats (also one leg on the trampoline), and then (sometimes) some abs. It’s always best to stretch after you workout too. That’s when your muscles are most happy to be flexible! I hate stretching. I’ll be honest. But, the older I get the more I realize how much I need to do it!
I hope this JOY workout brings you as much joy as it does me.
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