Wednesday, February 10, 2016


By Dominick Hiddo

My eyes open up. I stare at the ceiling into blank space. And then, like most, my mind starts to race around and think about all the things I need to do today: make breakfast, make lunch, do laundry, make dinner reservations for me and my girlfriend's date night, run other errands, and let's not forget the good ol' work grind. All that, plus all the other things I'm planning for my life and the fact that I get sucked into the world of social media looking at Kylie Jenner's latest California Romp, seeking out beautiful food pics, or ogling some fashion designer's new collection on Instagram for another 10 minutes. And in the blink of an eye, 25 minutes have passed since I've been up. And now it's time to get moving for the day, and magically, I'm running late. But here presents another problem: I have to make time to workout, exercise, and meditate. Like I, legit, HAVE TO make time to do these things. My body needs it. My mind needs it. And it's pretty much how I function. And it's my version of wake and bake. 

So here's my solution. I developed a 25-minute workout and meditation plan that helps me feel good in the morning and gives me enough energy to start my day. It's not your killer make you drip sweat workout. Neither is it an intense super-scientific meditation practice with lots of visualization and breathing techniques. This here is simple stuff. Anyone can do it. And here's how I kick it off. 

Most people would think that they don't have time to work out in the morning before they start their day. On the other hand, many of us are avid runners, have trainers, or have gym memberships that motivate us to get that workout in at some point in the day. 

Personally, I don't belong to a gym. I used to; but oftentimes I find myself making excuses as to why I shouldn't go. For me, running gets a little boring. I used to run a lot of foot races and train a lot as a runner, but it didn't hold my interest. Yoga, I love. However, that in itself is like a 2-3 hour process: prepare for class (20min), get to class (20min), take class (60/90min), get back home (20min), shower (10min). See what I mean? WTF. Who has time for that in the morning BEFORE work? That's why I stick to my 25 minute routine to kick-start the day.  

I love calisthenics. You know: pushups, sit-ups, crunches, jumping jacks. All that stuff we did in Gym 101. I do some of these pretty much everyday. I spend no more than 10 minutes here. 

Method 1 - PUSH-UPS. 100 - 200 pushups is what I do: not in a row but in sets. You can do more if you're stronger, or less if you're not as strong. Do them in sets. For example, if your max is 10 pushups in a row, do 10 rest for 30 - 45 seconds and do 10 more. And then keep going until you've hit your goal for the day. If you can do 50 - 60 pushups straight, do the same routine: 50, rest 30 - 45 seconds, do 50 again. Aim for an amount of pushups that seems attainable. Then increase a little at a time over the course of a month. I do this method 3 days a week.

Method 2 - PUSH-UP / SIT-UP COMBO. Do your sets of pushups and in between your rest, do sit-ups. For example, do 30 pushups. When you're done, immediately do 30 sit-ups. Rest 30 - 45 seconds, then repeat. Keep this going until you reach your goal for the day. So if you're goal is 120 pushups and 120 sit-ups, then you're done. If you're goal is more, then it's more: if it's less then it's less. Just do what feels right. Aim for an amount of pushups / sit-ups combo that seems attainable. I do this method about 2 days a week.

Method 3. PUSH-UP / ARM CURL COMBO. Do your sets of pushups and in between your rest, do arm curls if you have a small weight set at home. If you don't have a weight set, make a tight fist and pretend you have weights in your hand: create resistance with the tension in your arm. And just like before, do your pushups, then do your arm curls: and do sets. 30 pushups, 30 arm curls. Rest 30 - 45 seconds. And repeat until you hit your goal. Again, aim for an attainable amount. I do this method 1 day a week.

Method 4. ARM CURL / JUMPING JACKS / SIT-UPS. It's not every day I do push-ups. And I realize that some people either can't do push-ups or hate doing them. So here's the alternative. I do 30 arm curls, 30 jumping jacks, 30 sit-ups: and that would be one set. I'll sometimes have a goal of about 90-90-90. 90 arm curls, 90 jumping jacks, 90 sit-ups. Whatever you set out to do, make sure you have a goal that is attainable and some what challenging. 

Any combination of one or all of these four methods are great to get the blood flowing in the morning. And remember, we only spend 10 minutes here and then we move on. It's fast. It's intense. And it's energetic. So get in, get it, and move on.

So after your 10 minute strength training, do these 5 stretches to help remove any sort of stagnant energy from the body and loosen the body up for the day. 

Baddha Konasana
A. Butterfly (Baddha Konasana) - Sit up right. Bring your feet together so that the soles of your feet are touching. Then bring your heels in as close to your groin as possible without straining. Grab onto your feet. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, fold forward. Stay here for about 10 - 20 breaths. 

Janu Sirsasana
B. Runner's Stretch (Janu Sirsasana) - Sit up right. Keep your right leg straight and bend your left knee. Bring your left foot to meet the inside thigh of your right leg. If bringing it to your right thigh is too difficult, bring it to your knee. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, fold forward. Stay here for about 10 - 20 breaths. Then do the second side. Left leg straight. Bend the right leg to the inside of left leg. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, fold forward. Stay here for about 10 - 20 breaths.

C. Sitting Forward Fold (Pachimottanasana) - Sit up right. Keep both legs straight. Inhale deeply, while raising both arms to the ceiling and as you exhale, fold forward and attempt to grab your feet. If you cannot grab your feet, grab your ankles or even your shins. Drop your head. Breathe. Stay here for about 10 - 20 breaths.

D. Bridge Pose (Sarvangasana) - Lay down on your back. Arms along side of your body. Keep your hands with your palms facing the ground. First push your heels into the ground. Inhale deeply, exhale and lift your butt and hips up as high as you can. Now, your chin will naturally want to be close to your chest. Move your chin away from your chest and push the back of your head into the ground. Keep your heels actively pushing into the ground. Keep lifting your butt and hips up. All while pushing your head back.  Breathe. Stay here for about 10 - 20 breaths.

E. Wind Releasing Pose (Pavanmuktasana) - Lay down on your back. Bend your right knee into your chest. Keep your left leg straight. Grab a hold of your knee by interlocking your fingers and holding your knee. If your knee does not make it into your chest, just make your best effort without straining. Inhale deeply, exhale deeply. Hold here for about 10 - 20 breaths. Switch sides. Keep the right leg straight. Bend the left knee towards the chest. Grab a hold of your knee interlocking your fingers. Inhale deeply, exhale deeply. Hold here for about 10 - 20 breaths. 

Any combination of one or both of these methods are great to release tension and stress: and reenergizing the body. It is also great for stretching out the spine and muscles within the entire body. And remember, we only spend 10 minutes here and then we move on. It may take a while to get used to the stretching and breathing rhythms associated, but eventually you'll get it. If I can do it, you can do it.

There are many ways to meditate. Some people don't like the word itself because of the different connotations it may have. That being said, if you have a particular way you like to meditate, you must do that one.  However, here is the one I do daily: and I never miss a day.

Find a comfortable seat. Sit cross legged if that works for you. Sit on a blanket if you prefer. Or simply sit on a chair. I personally like to sit cross-legged on the floor. I close my eyes. I inhale deeply through my nose, I exhale deeply through my mouth. I do this 3 times. Then on the third time, when I inhale, I hold my breath for 15 seconds. Then I exhale through my mouth. This is what I use to settle my body. Then I start the concentration. I inhale to a count of three through my nose, and I exhale to a count of three through my nose. That's it. I keep that rhythm going and focusing only on the sound of my breath. Breath in, breath out. Sit steady. Focus on the sound of your breath. It's really simple. The hardest part really is committing to sit still for 5 minutes. 

All it takes is 25 minutes a day. The body has worked out, stretched out, and is now ready to steady itself with mental empowerment of concentration, meditation, and release. Once my practice is over, I get back to letting my mind run all over the place. Then I get back to trolling social media, liking and commenting, and checking-in wherever I can. First practice. Then play. 

Feel free to let me know how your progress is going on Facebook. Let me know if you need something a little different that what I'm offering here. 

Now get to work.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...