Who Needs Cross-Fit? Five Minutes Is All You Need

September 26, 2013   33 Comments

Snack Girl recently heard about a gym that charges $160 per month for something called "Cross-Fit".

5 Minute Fitness

For that kind of money, all sorts of things better get fit. Wowza.

Many of us think we need to do something extreme to get fit, but I disagree. A pal of mine asked me how to get fit and I found myself saying, "Start with five minutes."

Most of us think that if we didn't go to the gym, sweat for an hour lifting strange objects or run like a gerbil - we didn't work out. And some of us, ahem, just give up THINKING about the gym and the gerbils.

That person is already overwhelmed before she even starts! A personal trainer friend told me about five minutes. She was helping me get back on track after having spent too many hours in a library consuming M&M's and sitting on my butt.

Yes, I had stopped moving and I couldn't conceive of what it would take to get me in any sort of shape where I felt good again. So, five minutes.

I put on my watch, walked out my door, and walked for 2.5 minutes away from my house and then I walked 2.5 minutes back to my house. I committed to doing this every other day for a week.

Then, the next week I committed to 10 minutes (5 away and 5 back). The third week of walking included 15 minutes - and then I noticed something profound.

I felt like walking!

If you had asked me before I started my five minutes - "Do you want to walk today?" - I would have said, "No way, I want to sit on this couch and turn on the boob tube."

After a couple of weeks of doing just a WEE bit of exercise - I felt like getting off the couch. More importantly, if I took a day off from my walk - I missed it!

Strange, no?

Recently, a study was published on the effect of a wee bit of exercise on people in Taiwan (see 15 minutes of Daily Exercise Can Help).

The study found those who exercised just 15 minutes a day — or 90 minutes a week — cut their risk of death by 14 percent and extended their life expectancy by three years compared with those who did no exercise.

Yes, I want three more years of life. And, yes, I can find 90 minutes a week for exercise!

The message is that any physical activity is better than ZERO physical activity. We all have our excuses for not being fit - time and money are the most prevalent.

You see, I don't have $160 a month for "Cross-Fit", and I don't have an hour a day to exercise there anyway.

I DO have shoes and 15 minutes, though.

Please share your thoughts on time, money, and exercise.

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 33 )

YES! This is exactly how I started exercising after years on the couch in front of the tv. I used every excuse in the books not to exercise (it's too hot, too cold, too late, too early, too dark....) but I started with walking out the front door and telling myself I could walk for 5 minutes. That was 1 1/2 years ago. Now I run/walk, do yoga, take all kinds of different classes and have met a ton of nice people in the process. No matter how far or fast you go you are doing it farther and faster than someone sitting on the couch (the old me). I love it!

I started running about 2.5 years ago and really like it. I used to be the person who said "I only run if I'm being chased" but it turns out I can do it for fun. I found a 5k in my area and signed up to give myself a goal and I haven't looked back. I haven't gotten caught up in NEEDING to do a marathon or even a half but I do enjoy getting outside. I run slow and not very far, but the feeling of accomplishment is enough to keep me going.

YES!! When I started, my WW leader said, "If you have not done ANYTHING ever or for a while, just 5 minutes. Can you commit to 5 minutes?" I could. Well, what I thought would take 5 really took 10 and I was so out of shape, I huffed-n-puffed the entire time. But I did it.

My problem now is not getting to the gym or walking a half-hour (or more) a day, it's just getting up from my desk job to do 5 minutes an hour. There are so many days I feel like I'm chained to it..... :(

I totally agree. After I injured my knee running and had to sit out a month, I had lost all the momentum I had gained over the previous 2 months. It was daunting to start back, but I decided to just say, right, I'll go out for 15 minutes and then come back. Not too hard, and not too time consuming and a heck of a lot more motivating than saying, I'll head out for 45 minutes. Now if I feel like going a bit longer, great, if not, I have at least completed what I set out to do and I feel better for it and more motivated next time. Great post! PS wish I had the money and physique for crossfit :-)

I started out doing 5 minutes a day after being a couch potato for about 2 years. It really does help to just get moving. I've learned that when I don't have an hour or more to put in for exercise, I can at least do 30 minutes each day. It's so worth it for your health. I have even gotten my best friend interested in joining me for a daily 2 mile walk/jog session. Starting out at 5 minutes a day has really pushed me into bigger and better things regarding fitness.

Walking truly is an awesome exercise. For me it clears my mind, gets my creative juices flowing and gives me energy. Why pay more when you can walk!

Right on! Walking is doable for so many of us. I would resume it again after recovering from each of 5 foot surgeries and one knee repair surgery. Each time it was obvious how much I had "lost" due to sitting on my fanny for 6 weeks of recovery time. And yes, things do deteriorate more quickly as you age.

I would use my trust pedometer instead of counting the minutes. Each time out the door would be increased just enough to make me feel I'd progressed a bit further.

There does come a time when you actually crave going out walking, whether it hurts or not.

Clearing the mind, rejunvenating spirit and body - all good stuff.

Walking also helps battle the belly fat.

For walks of several miles I listen to audio books. They keep me going "just a little bit longer" in order to hear more of whatever book I am involved in.

Walking is free but for the shoes.

My only ongoing expenditure is for the audio books, although lots are available for free at many libraries.

It IS hard to find a full hour to exercise so I divide it up. I can do 15 minutes here and there and doing that 4 times a day is my hour!

Thank you - this was exactly what I needed to get me motivated to walk again.

I wish I could get someone in my life to understand this. She currently pays for a personal trainer, which is great, but does nothing on the 5 other days she isn't with the trainer. My daughter and I try to get her to talk walks with us, but it never happens.

Another great thing I have noticed about being more active, it passes on to my children. I recently started taking a yoga class and now my 6 year old wants to take one!

I've been working out for several years, and can't even conceive missing a day or messing up my schedule for anything! Obsessed? Well maybe a little. But everyday when I look at myself in the mirror, and see the results of my efforts, not to mention the fact that I feel GREAT and I'm hardly ever sick, well there's my payoff.

5 minutes is a great start to a lifetime goal of being happy, healthy and living a little longer.

Yeah, it's worth it, because YOU ARE.

I sit in front of the TV and lift weights. I hate getting sweaty and I never used my old gym membership. So one day I decided to cancel the membership and lift weights while watching TV. One episode of Big Bang Theory later and my arms felt like jello but I was done. Within a few weeks, I had added a few new moves for other areas and I noticed real results in my waist line. Within a few more weeks, I started dropping pounds. I have since gotten out of the routine because I moved and slacked off but am getting back into it.

Thanks Snack Girl and everyone!! This is also the motivation I need to get myself off the couch and do just a few minutes of SOMETHING! I have arthritis really bad in my knees, arms, and hands, so when I get home from work (dealing with students all day) I am exhausted in every way. I have been feeling guilty about not doing some kind of exercise, and I have always enjoyed walking, once I was doing it. I promise to start out this weekend with at least 5 minutes per day of walking. Who's with me?


My husband and I do CrossFit and all I can say is don't knock it until you have first hand knowledge! For me, I have way too much going on in my life and I will not stop and do some sort of exercise on my own. However, I can make time for it if it is actually scheduled into my day. That is the only thing that works for me. I have in my calendar every M, T, Th, and F at 4pm-5pm I have CrossFit, I change my clothes at work, go directly to my gym and an hour later I am done. I go pick up my son from Montessori school after I am done and get on with my life. CrossFit can work for anyone, becuase you modify to where you are. You don't have to have a certain body type and you don't have to be "fit" to start. I have arthritis and a bum knee, I had a life-threatening staph infection 3 weeks after having my son and they removed a portion of my ab muscles and I struggle doing core work...I still do CrossFit, I just do the best I can. I suck at running...I still do the running the best I can even though I am last every time. When my knee is bothering me, I skip the running and doing the row machine and THAT IS OK! Sure, it is pricey, but I won't stick with anything else, I won't go to a Y or a regular gym because I won't push myself if it is hard, I will make excuses that I need to clean the house or do other things besides going to the gym or out for a walk/run. But when I have a coach and people that ask where I am when I miss it is an accountability thing. It works for some and until you have actually tried it you can't knock it.

I have to agree with Jennifer... and just to add to that, whether or not a certain workout or exercise regime is successful for you or not, depends on your fitness goals as much as your financial and time restraints. If you are content with walking 15-20min a day, then great. Personally, I seek to be able to be stronger, faster, more mobile, etc. that I would simply never attain from walking regularly. Don't get me wrong, any exercise is better than none! But really, everyone has to figure our for themselves, what works best for them. It's different for everyone!

I was not trying to knock Cross-Fit - except for the fact that it is too expensive and time intensive for many. I have friends who love it and I do think it is wonderful if you can make it work for you. I was trying to talk to the folks who are overwhelmed. Thanks for your comment!

I understand the title is tongue in cheek, and I agree that the best way to start is to start small and build on it. For many people, just getting off the couch for 5 or 10 minutes a day is an amazing and applaudable accomplishment. However, I do wish the title was Who Needs a Gym? 5 Minutes is All You Need. Crossfit has been under a lot of undeserved scrutiny and hatred lately by and from people who've never even looked at a Crossfit box let alone enter one and join in for a (typically) free introductory workout. It's more than a brutal workout, and contrary to misinformed belief, it probably won't kill you unless you're one of those people who are dumb enough to be a danger to themselves. I don't know if you allow links in comments. If not, please read this blog post yourself for a real feel of what you may face in a crossfit box.…

The object is to keep moving, If you are doing Crossfit, more power to you. I've been walking 15 years with a neighbor for 45 minutes 3 to 5 days a week and find it very relaxing at the end of the day. I happening to be lucky enough to have a job that I am constantly on the move and try to get to the gym 3-4 days a week. But the point is, you don't have to spend money to stay fit.

Thanks Snack Girl! I needed this today. I'm expecting a baby, due in 11 days, and after a difficult pregnancy, once I have the baby I'll have no choice but to start with 5 minutes a day. In fact, walking for 5 minutes without excruciating back pain sounds lovely! As much as I'd love to just get off the couch one day and run a 5k, my body conditions slowly, and I'm with you on not having the time or money for a gym membership. I really needed this reminder that it's okay to start out with 5 minutes and that it WILL make a difference. I don't have to sit on my couch and feel sorry for myself because I don't look or feel like my friends who run marathons!!!

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