We all have workout goals, whether you're new to working out, trying to fit exercise into a busy schedule, preparing for a wedding, hoping to feel confident for a vacation or coming back from having a baby.
The challenge: 9 to 5 grind
We paired Holly Rilinger, creator of LIFTED, a method that combines meditation and intentional movement, with Julia Dodds, a 25-year-old New York City-based senior talent acquisition associate at a tech company.
"I’ve had fitness trainers, I’ve taken classes, I’ve had nutritionists and I never really saw any results, so it has definitely taken a toll on me," Dodds said. "That has given me this side where I don’t really feel like fitting it into my schedule."
Rilinger, also a Nike master trainer and Flywheel master instructor, started the 30 days by telling Dodds, "We're in this together."
She and Dodds developed a four-part plan for success.
1. Train together twice per week: Dodds and Rilinger's sessions lasted one hour. They focused on resistance training and tailored the workouts to Dodds' needs each sesion.
2. Schedule workouts like a work commitment: Dodds made commitments each week to the times and types of workout she would do and put the workouts in her calendar as if they were appointments she could not cancel.
3. Be accountable with food: Dodds logged her food intake on an app and also texted photographs of her food to Rilinger.
4. Meditate daily: Rilinger called this the key to success. She and Dodds meditated for 10 minutes at either the beginning or the end of their sessions together. Meditating at the start of a workout allowed Dodds to clear her head from work and prepare to train, while meditating after a workout allowed her to reflect on her accomplishments.
"It's only 10 minutes," said Rilinger, who offers her LIFTED sessions remotely so people around the world can train with her. "It's super easy."
What happened after 30 days
Dodds said at the end of the 30 days she not only felt like a different person, but emerged with a different mindset too.
"I used to look for every excuse in the book not to have to work out that day and now I look for every reason to [work out]," she said. "I’m so happy and proud of myself, which is weird. I’ve never really felt that proud of myself."
Dodds added, "I feel strong and empowered and like I can do anything."
Four months after the Train My Way challenge, Dodds said she sees now that she used her busy lifestyle as an excuse to not exercise.
"I hope that it inspires other people to know that you can do anything you put your mind to," she said. "Now I know that I can do it and I have this positive lifestyle because of it."
Rilinger took away from training Dodds that the issue of finding time to workout is a "really, really hard thing for a lot of people."
"What I learned from Julia is the struggle is real with work," she said. "She’s taught me to have a lot of compassion for people when they say, 'I’m really just too tired to workout in my daily life.'"
Now here's an at-home workout for you
Rilinger demonstrated 10 exercises that can be done at home, at any time and without any equipment.
Combine them for a longer workout, or do them individually whenever you can.
1. Squat to overhead rotation: Lower down to a squat, then rotate through your spine and drive your arms to the ceiling, come back to center, squat to center and rotate on the opposite side.
2. Curtsy lunge to side kick: Drop one foot behind the other knee, a curtsy lunge, and then kick up to the side.
3. Lunge with an upper body rotation: Drop back into a reverse lung, rotate your upper body over the front knee, rotate back to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
4. Squat jack: Go down into a squat, dropping hand at the same time, jump feet together and repeat, alternating lowering arms. Modify by stepping in and out of a squat instead of jump.
5. Walking plank: Start in a high plank position, with hands directly under shoulders, lower arms one at a time to the elbow and then push back up to hands. Aim to keep hips square to the ground, with no rotation. Modify by placing knees on the ground.
6. V-up: Lay on your back, with legs and arms extended. Simultaneously lift upper body and legs together, crunching your body in, and aim to reach as close to your feet as possible.
7. Bear crawl: Start on all fours. Lift your knees off the ground. Move opposite hand and opposite foot to walk forward, do the same to walk backwards. Modify by holding the movement stationery.
8. Dead bug: Lay on the ground on your back. Lift legs to 90 degrees and press against one knee with both hands. Press lower back into the ground and extend opposite leg. Repeat on the other side.
9. High plank kick-through (break dance move): Set up in high plank. Kick one foot through the opposite side as you rotate and open up your body. Return foot and repeat with the other foot.
10. Glute bridge: Lay on your back, with your feet close to your body and toes in the air, heels planted down. Drive hips into the air and squeeze glutes. Arms should be extended to the side, palms facing up.
Finish the workout with meditation. Rilinger recommends starting with five minutes per day.