Having been in the fitness industry for ten years, I can say from experience that one of the major roadblocks which impedes client’s progress is the “I don’t have enough time in the day for exercise” statement. As a firm believer in the idea that even 5 minutes (of intentional movement) a day will keep the doctor away, I was elated to meet David Levinger who is living proof of this philosophy. I wanted to share with you all the exercise routine he has created for himself, who he is, and what inspired him to commit to 5 minutes a day, twice per day plan. I don’t doubt for a second that his story will encourage anyone who is looking to jumpstart their game plan for optimal health.
“I’m a nearly 38-year-old career ‘Computer Guy’ that enjoys being active but rarely has to time for consistency. When I was younger, pre-marriage and kids, I’d hit the gym regularly doing weights and Spin classes, hiking, backpacking and martial arts. 8 years ago my youngest daughter was born and finding the time became increasingly hard. Since then I haven’t had a regular exercise routine.
My wife and I love to walk and hike a few times a week – it’s a great way to slow down, talk and get your body moving. However, it didn’t do much to slow my weight gain.
I knew what I wanted was to remove the tire around my middle, strengthen my back and increase my flexibility. All the exercises I included in my 5 minute routine had those goals in mind.”
Q & A
- What was the prime motivation for your 5 minutes a day, 2x per day routine?
I’m 5’10” and after a recent trip to visit family in New Orleans, I came back weighting 192lbs. This was a new high for me and I was not happy about it. I felt heavy, weighed down, and slow. At 38, I knew my metabolism wasn’t as fast as it used to be.
- Why 5 minutes?
I’d just finished reading a book called The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb and, while not at all about fitness, in one of the short chapters at the end of the book he described his thoughts on exercise. The following excerpt leaped out to me:
“If you consider your diet and exercise as simple energy deficits and excesses, with a straight calorie-in, calorie-burned equation, you will fall into the trap of misspecifying the system into simple causal and mechanical links. Your food intake becomes the equivalent of filling up the tank of your new BMW. If, on the other hand, you look at food and exercise as activating metabolic signals, with potential metabolic cascades and nonlinearities from network effects with recursive links, then welcome to complexity, hence: Extremist. Both food and workouts provide your body with information about stressors in the environment.”
Reading that made me wonder, would short but vigorous bouts of exercise trigger different things within my body and have a noticeable impact? With that thought in my head I went downstairs and started to exercise. I began by doing a few exercises I remembered using a medicine ball that I happened to have around. It took around 10 minutes and it was exhausting and depressing. I could hardly do anything I used to, but it was a start.
- When you do not ‘feel like doing it’, how do you stay on track?
That’s one of the other reasons I picked 5 minutes twice a day. When you don’t want to go to the gym for an hour a few times a week it’s easy to find an excuse. I don’t have time today! I’ll do it tomorrow. But 5 minutes? You always have 5 minutes. Get up a little early. Stay up a little late. If you can’t do 5 minutes then you’re CHOOSING to NOT do it. For me, that’s harder than choosing TO do something.
- How has your overall health changed?
Well for starters I dropped from 192 to 167 over the first month and a half. Secondly, my strength has improved a ton. Initially it was so hard to do even do the 10 minutes, but now while it still gets my heart going, it never feels unattainable. My flexibility has improved a bunch as well and whereas before I had persistent lower back pain that’s been gone for months! My energy level has gone up and it’s easier for me to start the day as well as fall asleep at the end of it.
- How long have you been doing this and how long do you foresee yourself continuing?
It’s been a consistent 5 months with no exceptions or missed days. I don’t see myself stopping. It’s 5 minutes. You always have 5 minutes.
- What does your routine typically consist of?
I start with a standing medicine ball twist. Then I do the touch the floor and arch my back from this link:https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=%23&ved=0ahUKEwi8mICcsI3ZAhVFyVQKHRwHDoMQwqsBCGcwBQ&usg=AOvVaw0VTJzWxrN8ZFOD4xbU2nov
Then I switch to three resistance band exercises picked up from this YouTube link https://youtu.be/9Ebx4N90qqg
- From roughly the 7 min mark I do a modified version where I keep my legs off the ground making sure I always come to a fully relaxed rest position with my arms but keep my legs off the floor.
- From the 10 min mark, but I do both legs at the same time most of the time. Helps stretch my lower back
- At the 9 min mark, pretty much in modified
Often times I will swap in several twisting exercises where I anchor the resistance bands within the door.
- Tell me in 10-20 words, how do you feel right after your early a.m. routine.
I feel focused, energized, ready to tackle the day, loose in my back, tightened up in my middle and excited.