How to Work Out When You’re Not Feeling It? The “1-Minute Method”

Photo: Stocksy/Micky Wiswedel
If my sore muscles need a recovery day from working out, I'm all for it. I'll happily set up shop on my couch to rest (and watch Curb Your Enthusiasm until I fall asleep). But it's those days where I really want to hypothetically work out (yet can't seem to get moving) that are especially frustrating.

Sometimes, it just feels like there's a mysterious force of gravity at work that's preventing me from lacing up or schlepping to the gym despite my best intentions (really though, it's just my own willpower). But in the depths of a Livestrong Facebook thread filled with people's own fitness motivation tips, I found actual gold.

Want to literally trick yourself into a workout? All you need is one minute. "Tell yourself you're going to do just one minute of yoga, or one minute of squats, or one minute of push-ups—whatever it may be—and once you get started, you'll likely end up doing more," the true genius writes. They're 100-percent right—getting started is often the most mentally challenging part of any workout.

Trainers back this up. "I love this concept," gushes fitness instructor Mark Osmundsen, creator of Movement Culture Co. "It's simply Newton's Law—an object that gets in motion will stay in motion. If you can just start by getting up and moving, the endorphins will take over, and before you know it—you've done a full workout." Ahh, so it's not just physical fitness, it's physics, you guys.

Even the physical changes that happen when you exercise will start to kick in within that one minute, making it even more irresistible to stop. "During the first 60 seconds of movement, your breath deepens, sending more oxygen to your brain and your blood starts pumping and increasing circulation," says Claudia Germuga, instructor at Fithouse and SLT. "Your focus gets pulled into coordinating your physical body, and away from mental obligations." She goes on to add that even something as simple as a squat will begin to break up stagnancy in your body, and you get warmed up. "If we're feeling better within that first minute, naturally we'll want to see how much better we'll be able to feel in 20 or 30, maybe even 50 minutes," she says.

Osmundsen tells me that he gives this one-minute piece of advice to his clients all the time, because "it's always better to do a little something than nothing at all." Even if your workout ends up being just 10 minutes, that still counts—micro-workouts are a thing, after all, and they're legit, so just take it one minute at a time.

Other small workouts you can do once you get moving are this 8-minute Pilates ring workout, and this 7-minute yoga-for-abs flow that you can do at home.

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