I don’t have hours in my day to dedicate to working out, and frankly, I don’t have the desire either.
My goals are simple: to feel strong, and be a good example for my kids of what strength, health, and balance look like.
With all of the above being said, moving my body is never the means to an end. There’s never really a finish line. I don’t have a “goal weight” or a certain amount of push-ups that I want to be able to do in a minute. Those are not my goals.
Just give me 10-15 minutes a day
Last year I was sparked to purposefully move my body for a minimum of 10 minutes every single day. I did it for 8 weeks leading up to my first knee surgery, and I felt like a million bucks.
I felt strong, I felt like I pushed myself on the days that I didn’t want to, and I felt like I really made myself a priority, even though it was only 10 minutes a day.
As a group fitness instructor at a local gym, there were absolutely days where I worked out for far longer than 10 minutes, but my 10-minute goal had me staying accountable to myself on the days that I didn’t teach. This was new to me.
I came up with different sets that I could do at home or at the gym, with lots of equipment or just body weight exercises. Some days were straight cardio, or weights, or just 10 minutes of plain torture…but I did it.
You may be skeptical at this point that 10 minutes a day could actually help achieve or attain any number of fitness goals, but let me ask you this: Isn’t just 10 or 15 minutes a day better than nothing??
I tried to keep up my consistency as best I could after my knee surgery, but honestly, I didn’t really want to. The fact that I didn’t want to unfortunately didn’t really matter. I had to get stronger in order to recover. I wasn’t nearly as consistent, but I was starting to get back into a groove.
Once COVID hit, nearly all of my motivation was gone (I feel like I probably wasn’t alone on that one…). I had another knee surgery and was very comfortable allowing all of the little muscles that I had spent years working to build to just waste away.
It was summertime when I kicked myself in the ass and got going again. I started back with just 10 minutes a day, and I did it for a whole month.
The next month, I bumped it up to at least 15 minutes a day, and I’m going on my third month in a row of doing that. I’m not gonna lie: It feels so good.
Most days I do more than 15 minutes…but dang it, there are just some days where 15 minutes is all I can show up for, and I’m ok with that.
Again, my goal is not a number.
My goal is CONSISTENCY.
My current “plan” isn’t complicated: to move my body intentionally for at least 15 minutes for every single day of the month.
If I miss a day (because I’m real with myself), then I just add on the minutes to the next day’s activity. I can make up minutes that I’ve missed, but I can never “bank” minutes to plan for missing in the future.
Since July 2020, this means that I’ve worked out at least 1,225 minutes (as of the day that I’m writing this), though I know it’s been more than that.
Those minutes are motivating to me. That is inspiring to me. Working with and around my knee injury and recovery has me all believing in myself and showing me that I can overcome obstacles. Seeing the boobsweat marks on my sports bra reminds me of how grateful I am that my body is capable of moving, and that makes me grateful.
I flex at myself in the mirror and I am proud of myself, even when my scale isn’t so kind. Knowing that I can crush it in the gym or at home empowers me. The only boundary that I have is myself.
My hope as a fitness instructor has always been to make people believe in themselves, knowing that they *can* do it. Now, after three knee surgeries and 40lb weight loss, I want even more for others to know that you don’t have to carve out hours or more in your day to dedicate to working out in order to feel stronger.
You don’t have to spend a bunch of money on fitness programs or training (though admittedly, investing in my health has absolutely helped me to be accountable to myself). You really just need your body and some killer jams…everything else can be added and subtracted as it works for you.
Move. Yo. Body.
In regard to moving your body, there are literally a bazillion different ways that you can accomplish that every day. I would absolutely encourage both cardio works as well as strength training (weights, resistance bands, etc.) to keep your heart strong and build your muscles.
I’m going to list some of my favorite exercises and sets, all for just 15 minutes. Combine them if you want to do more. Some of the exercises or sets require equipment, and I’ll link what I use (and a discount code if I’ve got one), but if you already have stuff that you like better, by all means, use that.
Tips for Moving Your Body
All of your movements should be controlled. This is how you engage your muscles and don’t just use momentum. Especially for resistance stuff, the slower you go the more it will hurt (this is a good thing).
When doing anything with legs, always keep your weight in your heels and try not to let your knees go over your toes. Always try to engage your core and keep it flexed as much as you can.
At home, we have a trainer that my road bike is currently on. It is definitely not the same as a spin bike, but it is a much more affordable alternative.
I have so many spin sets that I’ve created from teaching, and now I just know what my cues would be when I have my music on…mostly I increase the resistance or decrease the resistance based on the beats of the song.
Super upbeat means it’s more of a sprint song and if it is slower than I would jack up the resistance and pedal hard. Push on the chorus or when the beat drops. Dig those heels in to engage your hamstrings and glutes (ya booty).
Here’s an idea of what a timed song may look like (sprint=lower resistance, push=high resistance…but always have at least a little bit of resistance on the bike when you’re sprinting so you don’t jack up your knees or hips):
15 sec sprint/push
15 sec recovery
20 sec sprint/push
10 sec recovery
30 sec sprint/push
15 sec recovery
I love these and these (use code MoveoJenelle for a 20% discount off of everything on the site).
They’re fabric, so they don’t pinch and they’re not a bitch to put on…also #womenowned. For these sets, place the band on your legs just above your knees.
1 min squats (make sure to squeeze your booty at the top)
1 min squat pulses (keep it low)
1 min wall sit (don’t rest your hands on your legs)
I literally have exercise sets for everything and I mix it up all the time. If you have questions, need motivation, support, or even just a little love, I am legit here for you and you can DM me @renobellejenelle.
I cannot even express how much I would love to help. Nevada Moms also has a Facebook group that you can join for tips, motivation, and some sah-weet sweaty selfies.
Being a mom and finding time to take care of your needs is hard, but I promise just dedicating at least 15 minutes a day to moving your body will be worth it.
See how long you can keep it up, and then clap for yourself for every single time you show up for YOU.
Jenelle Stathes married her high-school sweetheart and they share their love with their three darling and fierce daughters. She works as the CEO of their small family business and as a group fitness instructor for a local gym. Jenelle was born and raised right here in Reno, Nevada, and is doing her best at living a non-judgy and tribe-loving mom life. She has experience with infertility, weight loss, body positivity, fitness, and most recently, a tummy tuck. You can follow Jenelle to laugh either with her or at her as she traverses through the daily adventures of motherhood.