I've encountered a particularly troubling issue since I became a full-time freelancer: the full-time blogger fitness conundrum. The long hours and sedentary nature of the job leave little time or energy to maintain a proper physique, but since I work solo, there isn't someone to whom I can outsource daily blog posts, or social media interactions, or editing work from other writers.
As my career flourished, my BMI also increased. Over the course of three years, I gained about 20 pounds for the same reason just about everyone gains weight: consuming too many calories for their activity level. Put another way, I was eating (and drinking) too much and not moving around enough. I needed a fix, stat, preferably one that wouldn't force me to diet, kill my social life or require several hours in the gym.
I chose the Insanity workout program designed by Shaun T. and distributed through Beachbody. (No affiliate links here -- not now, not ever.) This 60-day conditioning routine features 10 DVDs that are all less than 60 minutes; the Beachbody website claims burns of up to 1,000 calories per hour-long workout.
Without delving into the specifics of physiology, Insanity is essentially a form of high-intensity interval training. Instead of steady bouts of exercise, like an easy three-mile jog, HIIT emphasizes brief spurts of intense exercise, like sprints or other explosive moves, followed by brief rest periods.
The Insanity program takes HIIT one step further by shortening the rest periods and lengthening the work periods.
Initially, I picked the Insanity workout program because it came highly recommended from a friend. The mix of sports drills and plyometric exercises also appealed to me -- I played softball in college, and was a four-sport athlete for most of my pre-Penn life. I also liked that the body-weight exercises absolved me from the hassle of purchasing and storing dumbbells.
From a productivity perspective, however, the Insanity workout emerged as one I had to try. I had ample space in my living room to do the DVDs, and each DVD is in the 30-to-60-minute range. Even though I knew I wouldn't actually get near the 1,000-calorie burn listed on the website, if the workout was even moderately challenging, I knew I'd burn some serious calories.
After completing the 60-day Insanity program, I unlocked a new level of fitness, shed some serious inches (and a few pounds), toned up and dropped several body fat percentage points. I also discovered that this type of high-intensity workout won't appeal to everyone.
The key to creating lasting habits, whether they are fitness-related or work-related, is finding methods that work for you. Insanity worked for me because it's intense and sports-related enough to evoke my competitive drive, but it isn't "boring" like other cardio workouts. (No offense to those who love to pound the pavement or motor out some serious elliptical/bike sessions -- I just can't seem to hold my focus for longer than a few minutes during repetitive exercise.)
I plan to restart the Insanity program and continue along, taking days off as necessary, until its exercises no longer invigorate my brain, body and schedule.
Full-time bloggers, how have you solved your fitness conundrum?