Part 1: The Why, Who, What, Where and When
Strength and conditioning. When we first launched our content, the very first thing we did was to give an overview of the physical activity guidelines of the:
- The National Health Service (NHS),
- The American Heart Association (AHA) and
- Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
In terms of your Million Steps Challenge, there are three critical areas:
- Daily step count
- Brisk walking for moderate/vigorous-intensity physical activity (Active Minutes)
- All-day movement (Your hourly steps if you can get them in)
But the physical activity guidelines did include something else. Muscle Strengthening Exercises.
This article may seem long. But PLEASE take the time to read it because it will explain
- our thinking,
- speak some very important home truths,
- get you to think about those truths
- allow you to believe in yourself
- and our vision at millionsteps.com to create a toolkit for that celebration of movement and wellbeing.
THE SAFETY AND HEALTH WARNING
Before we proceed, we want you to understand that these articles and the content we provide are based on simple daily increments and it is EXTREMELY important not just for understanding what success is but also how not to injure yourself. (i.e. it’s not success)
As a Million Step Participant, you have already agreed to our health and guidelines on safety. BUT we ask that you read them again HERE.
For anyone else reading this, again, we ask that you use common sense, do only what you can and also read our guidelines HERE.
Because beyond the Million Steps Challenge and walking, all the physical activity guidelines recommend muscle-strengthening activities for at least twice a week to keep muscles, bones and joints strong.
This is an excellent poster from the UK Chief Medical Officer’s Office.
But notice again, “some is good, more is better” and the critical statement: “At Least”.
The chart below is for Adults 18 and Over.
NOTE: For the physical activity guidelines and more infographics explaining the physical activity needed for general health benefits for all age groups, disabled adults, pregnant women and women after childbirth click here.
At One Million Steps, we know how amazing walking alone is.
But to meet our vision of ‘A Celebration of Movement and Well Being’, we wanted to give users the option of doing the important strength and conditioning exercises too.
And that’s The Why
This was our next difficult task. We went through dozens of trainers. To be honest it took over a year. And we almost gave up.
Then we stumbled across a very interesting profile and did some digging about. Without further ado, we would like to introduce you to Marin Jayden (MJ) Gordon.
MJ’s life story really resonated with us. And it’s one of a constant push to succeed despite setbacks and one of personal discovery.
And along the way realising that simplicity and core values are key. (Everything we feel at Million Steps).
There is no BS like “NO Pain, NO Gain” or “Sweat is only my fat crying” — but slow steady steps with an awareness of every moment that we live.
This is something we really believe in at One Million Steps. We have articulated our beliefs with our articles on Growing: Building Habits and Growing: Habit Trackers and our mindfulness articles where we repeatedly emphasised “Awareness. Awareness. Awareness”
So we really felt a connection with MJ’s beliefs.
MJ has a 500 RYT and NCEP certification and more importantly she hit our critical criteria of sunny, cheery, happy, fun, encouraging and definitely NO Gung Ho!
And MJ and her team brought with them an incredible amount of patience, knowledge and importantly, professionalism.
So you cannot even imagine how pleased we are to have found MJ and had the pleasure of working with her, especially as we had almost given up.
Another critical factor we really loved is MJ’s attitude to life.
How are YOU showing up to the world lately? Are you introducing yourself to people the same way you did 5, maybe even 10 years ago? If so, you can change that today.
On a personal level, something resonated with my vision for One Million Steps, when MJ says:
“There have been so many gifts over the last ten years and a lot of challenges along the way but amongst it all, I’ve learned some of the greatest values of all
- less is more
- energy is everything and
- nothing is worth compromising your ability to live the best life possible
Sometimes we diverge on our path to discover something new or to instil our truths more deeply. This is all just a part of life, our adventure, our journey.”
You can see MJ’s life video here
Toolkit. That’s the word we kept going back to when we looked at our vision of The Million Steps Challenge, and from our conversations with so many Personal Trainers, and health professionals.
It forms a core belief of our vision that we need to give our users a starting point AND the understanding that persistence and repetition can do the rest.
Because The History of the Gym is a relatively modern phenomenon. Even in the 1980s and 1990s, I can safely say that not one of my friends ever visited a gym.
Besides a leisure centre run by a local authority, or a hotel, there were incredibly few gyms. And if there were, they were only in the big cities.
The franchise and chain models of cheap memberships had not really come to the fore or commonplace. In fact, in the 1990s and 2000s there were numerous scandals and scams of no get-out clauses and gyms that had shut down by the spring after taking year-long membership payments in the January rush.
But the whole model has exploded since the 2010s because of easy and cheap targeted advertising via social media (and selling a somewhat unattainable dream)
We want to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with going to the gym. It can be a great anchor and a hugely supportive environment.
But what did the ordinary person do when they did “exercise”. Well, we looked back and thought of the basics, spoke to quite a few people over the age of 50, the key everyday exercises and also looked at what possibly the biggest gym chain in the world does. The Armed Forces.
We did not really have to even delve too deeply, but I also tapped into my time in the Army. (Yea, I know right? Me! National Service, Singapore for two and a half years. I wasn’t the best, to be honest, but I did learn a few important things)
But of course, we knew the answers. They were always there. Because the facts had never changed.
There are standard routines. And there are only variations to THOSE standard routines. That’s the hard truth.
No matter where we looked or how we broke it down, cross referenced what I learned in the Army. It was always the same, no matter how much you dressed it up as the latest booty celebrity work out fad.
And we realised that we could actually have a toolkit IF we got some critical messages across.
Before gyms, we just got on with it. And we did it anywhere. And we did them everyday.
And for some people we remembered from our childhood, they did them every day. For life. Just 10–20 mins a day.
Same thing. Every day. For Life.
Repetition. Persistence. Habit
We have said in our sections on Habits:
“If it’s that important to you, schedule it!”
The number one rule for success is turning up. If you are late or miss your schedule completely, bring awareness to it, make adjustments and don’t make the same mistake twice.
And we all have to realise one important thing
Everything that you need for a fitter life is already within you and importantly, at home.
If those were our core beliefs, we at Million Steps realised we had a framework to develop that starting point. The basic essentials of a toolkit for life.
Here’s what we did and what we will deliver this week.
- We put together a draft list of the 30–50 most common routines
A key part of our toolkit
We narrowed it down and looked around for a set of 30.
We knew we needed full instructional videos NOT ROPEY DODGY PICTURES!
And we wanted voice-over instructions too.
And that’s what we will deliver as a whole package BUT also split over 5 days, with six videos each.
Why? We want you to explore the exercises and try them out in a curious way. As if it’s the first time you have ever seen them.
Check to see how your body feels when you try each routine. Be aware of any sensations, take it easy and slow.
It’s just an exploration stage. No need to go all wild. You have the rest of your life to keep coming back to them.
2. We put our learning into a 5-minute Dynamic Mobility Warm-up (with MJ Gordon)
This forms the second part of our vision of the toolkit.
We wanted something you could use:
- in the morning
- before going for a walk or run
- when you were feeling a little sluggish
- it should all the elements of a good old fashioned loosening up of the muscles and joints and a slow build-up to getting that blood pumping.
- it had to be 5 mins.
So we worked through our list and explained it all to MJ with some suggestions.
It includes neck rolls, arm circles, loose arm swings, hip rotations, knee rotations, squats, alternating reaches, side to side step skaters, knee cross standing crunches, overhead reaches and jumping jacks.
All in 5 mins and in an extremely gentle way.
3. Our 15-minute Essential Core and Strength Toolkit for Life (with MJ Gordon)
We looked at the 30 instructional videos and worked with MJ to discuss a routine that we felt best covered
- as many of the muscle groups as possible
- with a constant rotation of positions.
We then agreed it should only be for 30 seconds each with 30 seconds of jogging on the spot to get the muscle group workouts and gentle cardio.
1 Lunge (standing)
2 Plank (Floor Exercise Face Down)
3 Squat (standing)
4 Push-ups (Floor Exercise Face floor)
5 Flutter kicks (Floor Exercise Face Ceiling)
6 Mountain climbers (floor Exercise Face Floor)
7 Burpees (Standing)
8 Donkey Kicks (Floor Exercise Face Floor)
9 Glute Bridges with a variation of single-leg glute bridge (Floor Exercise Face Ceiling)
10 Super Man (Floor Exercise Face Floor)
11. Side plank (15 seconds left/right) (Floor Exercise Face Sideways)
12 Bird Dog (Floor Exercise Face Floor)
13 Side Lunge (standing)
14 Bicycle Crunches (Floor Exercise Face Ceiling)
15 Star Jumps (standing)
We’ll be honest and say this rocks but it’s probably not going to be easy to start off with.
BUT we want you to understand that you don’t need to attempt it all as one, fail and give up.
There are ways to get really great at this and we will explain it this week.
Remember James Clear 1 push up a day? We want you to come to this every day and stop as soon as you are tired.
DON’T do a “no pain no gain”. Just stop.
Come back again tomorrow and start again and see how far you get. And stop.
And keep coming back to it every day until you finally get to the end in one whole session.
And then repeat. Until one day you get to the end again.
And come back to it again the next day.
And as the days go by, keep coming to it until you get to the end with no effort at all.
And then just keep at it. For life.
4. Our 28-day plan.
Ok ok, we created the essential tool kit for life. And then we hit a snag.
We wanted to keep it simple, but there were suggestions and requests for us to do a little extra for those who want some variation.
So when we got our 30 instructional videos, we also asked for a 28-day plan. And we have created playlists for this with 30-second jog-on-the-spot breaks in between each exercise routine.
This means we will also deliver a package for those who wish to have some variation
5. And lastly, we will show you how to create your own playlists!
And if all else fails, and your really want to go all independent, we have put all the 30 instructional videos on Youtube so you can create your own exercise routines by making your own playlists!
HOW AWESOME IS THAT!
That way, if you really don’t like an exercise, or are just targeting one part of your body, you can set up your own routines.
The Where and The When
The simple part.
Because we believe in little increments and not a “No Pain, No Gain” model, it means that you can come back to these when you feel it’s right.
We will cover this in our article “Greasing the Groove”.
Listen to your body. Try a little more every day. Stop as soon as you feel you have reached your optimal amount. And don’t reach a [point where you are forcing yourself.
Even if you reach the same point as yesterday, that’s ok. Give yourself a big cheer. You turned up, and you did your best.
There is always tomorrow and the day after.
And every day you will grow in strength and as a person as your repeat and persist and make it a habit.
We can’t wait to share our videos with you so make sure you look out for them
To find out more about the Million Steps Challenge and how we can help you, your business or charity, please visit https://millionsteps.com
Or Register your organisation interest: Million Steps CoVid-19 Package here