The 10-Minute Rule

This morning I squirted hand soap on my toothbrush.


Fortunately for me, I figured out something wasn’t quite right before I stuck it in my mouth. Maybe it was the smell. Either way, it was a piss-off and just added to the giant heap of suck that today was turning into. I’m fighting a cold, didn’t sleep well last night, and when I went to the basement to move the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer, climbing the 14 stairs back to the main floor left me gasping for air.

The last thing I wanted to do in the whole world was work out today.

I have a rule for days like today. Because we all have days when the thought of working out is about as appealing as brushing your teeth with hand soap. Yup, even trainers. (This one, anyway.) This rule has served me well over the years and helped me stay consistent with my workouts even when everything sucks – ESPECIALLY when everything sucks! The rule is this:


Often just getting out of my head and into my body is enough to keep going. In fact, 99% of the time, at ten minutes in, I’m having fun and happy I forced myself over that hump. Most of the time I have an okay workout and at the very least, get to the end of the day happy that I embraced the suck and made it happen. Sometimes, beast mode appears on the days that I feel the worst and I end up surprising myself, kicking ass, and turning the suckage right around. And some days, after ten minutes, my muscles are aching and my energy level has taken up residence in the bottom of a construction-site port-a-john. And on those days, I am completely okay with just dragging my carcass to the couch because it is not a workout day. If you’ve tried to get going and are still feeling the HELL NO after ten minutes then likely your body is feeling stressed and the risk of working out outweighs the potential reward. Don’t do it.

So, with the 10-min rule in mind, off I went to the gym at lunchtime. My plan was to do a quick posterior-chain smash (still fighting with my moody left hamstring) and then some steady-state cardio to get my heart rate up a little bit so that I could get through the afternoon without falling asleep. The verdict? It was a low-energy kinda day. Nothing wrong with that, because…


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