Several weeks ago, I was bouncing around the web, checking out a few new health and fitness sites that had been recommended to me. I was just casually scoping things out, looking for a little inspiration, when suddenly, something hit me. Maybe it was the 16th article titled “Lose the Belly Fat Fast!” or the random blog commenter asking what she needs to do to look like Victoria Beckham (seriously? you want to look like a pipe cleaner with fake boobs?), but whatever it was, it was clear; fitness content around the web is losing sight of the big picture.
It seems like more and more these days, people are demanding, and creators are producing, content that is geared towards the superficial. It’s all about how can I look better. Now, before we go any further, I’ll admit, wanting to look good is not in and of itself a bad thing. If that’s what motivates you to get off your butt and go to the gym, so be it. Personally, it’s a big factor in what dictates my intense regimen. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good. But from a content creator side of things (you know, the person or people who are producing the workouts and fitness articles you’re reading) we’re doing you a disservice by not paying attention to all aspects of your being.
At least around here, I think I do a pretty good job of trying to balance posts that are….a bit superficial in nature, shall we say (Anyone Want a Bubblicious Butt?), with others that conveys important physiological health and wellness information (Why the Number on the Scale Doesn’t Matter). But the truth of the matter is, if you stumbled upon only one of our articles, you might not get the full picture of what we’re all about. I truly want to help you from top to bottom, while getting you into the best shape of your life, both inside and out. With that in mind, I got to work on the a plan that respects all aspects of your health; mind, body, and soul.
This mind, body, and soul workout is unlike anything else you’ll find on Share it Fitness. It takes a three-pronged approach towards you and your health. Not only is it focused on improving your health and aesthetics (things like flattening your stomach, toning your arms, etc) but it strives to strengthen your mind and nourish your soul. This was a bit of a challenge. How can a workout really improve your soul? Well, it took some careful thinking, a little consulting with a couple of yogi’s I know, but I think we successfully put together something that achieves all three goals.
The workout I created is tough, both physically and mentally. The physical aspect of the workout I’m about to share with you takes more than strength or endurance; it takes determination and will-power. You’ll quickly figure out if you have the will-power to make it through this workout, let alone, stick with it over an extended period of time. This is where the mental aspect comes into play. Far too often, workouts are created like a grocery list. You start at the top, perform each exercise, and move on. There isn’t enough structure to push you to your limits. With this workout, exercises are carefully balanced and rest times precisely placed to give you that “I don’t know if I can make it through this entire workout” feeling. That feeling is what builds mental toughness. Strong mental tenacity is at the core of almost every one of those insanely fit (and insanely healthy) people, so many of you are striving to be.
As mentioned, I wanted to delve a little deeper and design something that took a more holistic approach to your health and wellness. Those yogi friends of mine helped me put together a guided meditation practice that will feed your soul, just as the physical aspect of this workout feeds your body and physical well-being. By using meditation and learning how to turn your thoughts inward, you’re able to channel your energy and come away a stronger, happier, and healthier person in the long run.
Now, on to the workouts….
Working the Mind, Body, and Soul
The Mind and Body
The workout format is as follows:
Two strength exercises followed by one cardio exercise (in bold). Each exercise consists of 36 repetitions, broken up into 6 sets of 6 repetitions. On strength exercises, shoot to use a weight that is roughly 10-20% heavier than you would for a standard 3 sets of 10 repetition format. For example, if you typically perform 3 sets of 10 reps on bench press with 100 pounds, bump it up to 110-120lbs for 6 x 6. Only decrease weights if you are losing your form and/or unable to reach the full 6 repetitions in later sets.
What makes this workout so hard is the strict rest times. We’re going to overload the muscle, so be sure to abide by the times listed. Wear a watch, keep an eye on the clock on the wall…do whatever you have to do. Continue to push and don’t let those rest breaks deviate from what is indicated below.
Shoot to perform this workout two times a week to start. Feel free to continue with any additional cardiovascular or strength training you’re currently doing. Just be sure you aren’t over training sore muscles; give yourself a solid 48 hours between strength workouts.
- 6 x 6 Smith Machine or Barbell Squats, 30 seconds rest between sets
- 6 x 6 Kettlebell/Dumbbell Swings, 30 seconds rest between sets
- 6 x 6 Box Jumps (perform tuck jumps if no box/bench available), 10 seconds rest between sets
- 6 x 6 Bent Over Rows, 30 seconds rest between sets
- 6 x 6 Bench Press, 30 seconds rest between sets
- 6 x 6 Burpees, 10 seconds rest between sets
- 6 x 6 Pull Ups (do dead hangs if you can’t do pull ups), 20 seconds rest between sets
- 6 x 6 Lat Pulldowns, 30 seconds rest between sets
- 6 x 6 Twist Jumps, 10 seconds rest between sets
- 6 x 6 Farmer Walks (holding dumbbells in both hands, walk the length of the room; ~10 feet = 1 repetition). 30 seconds rest between sets.
- 6 x 6 Curl Press, 30 seconds rest between sets
- 6 x 6 Russian Lunges, 10 seconds rest between sets
With the physically tough stuff out-of-the-way, we’re going to now turn our attention to nourishing your soul. A lot has been written about mindfulness and the physical benefits derived from meditation. Meditation transcends the physical and improves the things you simply cannot measure. Learning to meditate, clear your mind, and channel your energy within yourself can help you become a happier, more thoughtful human being, and open up new doors within the mind.
I’m not going to lie, meditation is hard if you’re brand new to the practice. My first attempt at meditation didn’t exactly go as planned. What was supposed to be a 30 minute meditation session turned into a two and a half hour nap, as I awoke to find myself sprawled out on the ground. Needless to say, I got a little too relaxed. To avoid running into issues of your own, we’re going to have you start slowly. For your “soul training” you’re only going to mediate for six minutes at a time, six days a week. That’s it. Six, short minutes.
6 x 6 Meditation Practice
Originally, I wanted to lay out a different meditative focus for each of the six days. The yogi’s, knowing better, suggested I leave that part to the individual. Following their direction, I’m simply going to list some meditative options that I think you may find interesting. Feel free to come up with your own if none of the below appeal to you.
- Our precious human life
- Death and impermanence
- Remembering the kindness of living beings
- Wishing love
For a full list, check out some others I found on this website.
Some other options I personally find beneficial:
- Envisioning yourself attaining a goal
- How to become a better human being
- A particular teaching from your preferred religion, if applicable.
- Nothing at all - keeping a clear and open mind, allowing thoughts to calmly flow in and out, like a wave on the shore.
Remember, when you meditate, try to keep all of your thoughts and energy on that ONE focus. While outside influences and thoughts may invade your mental space, do not fight them. Recognize them for what they are, allow them to come in, before allowing them to slowly fade away. Do not grasp on to them or attempt to banish them. Just realize this is all part of the process. Over time, your ability to stay focused and present in the moment will increase, as well as your ability to increase the length of your meditation sessions. Do what’s right for you and proceed with your “soul training” as you see fit.
This mind, body, and soul workout is probably unlike anything you’ve ever attempted. I’m a true believer that incorporating the unfamiliar and potentially uncomfortable into our lives is how we achieve maximal growth. This powerful workout plan is designed to help you improve your body, mind, and soul with a carefully constructed method that uses a holistic approach to improving you as a human being, inside and out. Use all, or parts of it as you see fit, and be ready and open to experience change like you never thought possible.