We’re in the process of transitioning from an electric stove to a gas stove.
That single, harmless sounding sentence contains six months worth of price shopping, no-show workmen, and enough angst to take us to the end of 2017 and halfway into 2018.
Let me explain.
This may take awhile, so grab yourself some popcorn, cancel all appointments for the day, and pull up a lawn chair.
First, let’s address the most obvious question in any logical mind: This sounds reminiscent of last week’s tirade about an “almost lightning strike” that was another over-dramatized event over pretty much nothing.
I assure you, it’s worse than any actual lightning strike because at least the lightning itself could’ve cooked something.
Without a stove, I’m stuck with rubbing two sticks together, using the electric fireplace, or eating Chinese takeout the rest of my life.
None of these options float my boat.
But let me be clear, it’s not as if I’m some gourmet chef. I consider heating up two mugs of water for tea “entertaining.”
I just like cooking with gas when I do.
If you’re a fan of home improvement shows where people upgrade from a straw hut to a mansion worthy of royalty – all within seven days – while flirting with a pair of hot twin brothers, you may also be thinking: sounds like fun to me.
Then there’s also the “hilarious” banter and dancing in the kitchen followed by hammering down drywall like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
That is… until you discover an old photograph stuck in a wall, which unleashes an evil spirit that ends up haunting your house and you have to move out anyway.
But I digress.
In general, home improvement shows are about as reality based as Star Wars.
In real life, you face weeks of waiting, shopping, dealing with workmen with butt cleavage and everything taking three times longer to complete than promised.
Switching from an electric stove to a gas model is not simply a matter of buying a different stove.
Not even close.
Buying the stove itself was the easiest part. It’s been in a box in our living room for about six weeks now so I can personally vouch for that.
We needed to first hire someone to install the gas lines. Estimates ranged from $400 to $2,400 for the same job.
And no, I’m not exaggerating by a single dollar.
So after three estimates, weeks of waiting, and two shoebox size holes in the wall to run the lines, we finished step ONE.
It’s the only time I’ve ever been happy to say the words, “I have gas.”
Then there’s the installation of the stove itself.
Again, each estimate varied ridiculously, and one told us we now need a cabinet maker to tear down the front of the counter to fit in the stove.
Oh, I forgot to mention the problem with the downdraft. I’ll leave that up to your imagination based on what I’ve already said.
As it stands now, by the time you read these words the stove may actually be installed. But that may just be crazy talk.
Since this is a fitness blog — now an award-winning one, by the way! – here’s where I connect these two seemingly distant topics.
The common thread: simplicity.
You should not need to consult 15 different books, seven personal trainers, a boatload of articles and sources to replace a stove OR put together a simple workout routine.
The exception may be if you’re an Olympic athlete. In that case yes, you’ll want a team to help you structure a nutrition plan and workout that enable you to stand on that center podium.
Let’s assume you just want a basic plan on which you can build.
Here’s how to distill it down to the bare bones…
1. Resistance training: 2 to 3x a week
The American College of Sports Medicine defines resistance training as: A form of physical activity that is designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a muscle or a muscle group against external resistance.
This may be your own body weight (push-ups, pull-ups, planks, etc.), or the use of dumbbells, kettlebells, fitness tubing, sandbags, barbells, buckets of water or cans of soup.
Whatever it takes, as long as you include all major muscle groups (chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs, glutes, core) and work beyond your comfort zone a bit.
Reps: 12 to 15 for two to three sets
2. Cardio/aerobic training: 5+ days a week
Strive for five to six days a week of 30 minutes of activity. You don’t need to do a full half hour at once; you get the same heart health benefits in three, 10-minute mini bouts of cardio.
If you don’t have time to do a structured walking workout, for example, park 10 minutes from work and you can count the walk each way for ⅔ of your workout. Just add another 10 minutes at some point and you’re golden.
You can also mix cardio and resistance training, but you’ll need to keep moving to maintain a cardio level heart rate.
(Ideally, you want to get in one or two interval workouts as well. But I said I’d keep this simple so I’ll leave it at that.)
3. Stretching/flexibility: 7 days a week
Everyday. Yes, I said it. Stretching while watching TV or otherwise sitting around is the perfect time to get it done before you know it.
You don’t have to stretch every muscle every day, but if back pain is an issue, for example, a few daily stretches — takes maybe two, three minutes — makes a HUGE difference. My back muscles give me grief unless I do a few targeted stretches every night.
Specific recommendations depend on many factors*, but that’s the gist of a solid, overall fitness regime.
How does your routine compare? Do you fall short in one or more areas and why? Let me know in the comments section below…
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*Looking for a custom plan? Check out my Total Body Firm-Up Plan or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.