The 55th Minute Method

The 55th Minute MethodDuring a recent personal goal-setting session, I decided I wanted to lift weights every weekday to, you know, pump up those guns a bit! 😉

From past experience , I know that the number one challenge most people face when setting such a goal is in actually finding the time to dedicate to it! I don’t know about you, but in my already full schedule, carving out sufficient time each day (or even three times per week!) so I could have the pleasure of standing around recovering for 2 minutes for every 1 minute I actually exercised was both daunting and unappealing. But going with this estimate, that would mean that for every 15 minutes of actual exercise would equate to roughly 45 minutes at the gym.

Then one needs to factor in the time it would take to travel to the gym and back again (whether you walk, drive, cycle or travel to the gym some other way, you have to add this to your time commitment). Personally, the nearest gym is about a 10 minute drive away, so right there I have to add at least 20 minutes, and so now I have a commitment of at least 1 hour and 5 minutes.

Finally, there’s getting changed into my kit, and making time to shower afterwards – even though I have a home office, even I don’t want to share space with a stinky version of myself! And so it seems that to even consider this goal I was going to need to commit at least 1 hour and 20 minutes per day just so I could get a nice pump on!

I considered all of this, and picked through my schedule, looking for things I could tweak or adjust, reschedule or even drop altogether to free-up the necessary time. After managing to free up about 15 minutes per day, I was briefly at a loss; perhaps this goal just wasn’t going to “work” for me?

Baloney! There HAD to be another way!

Initially, I struck upon the idea of setting an alarm on my phone to sound every hour, on the hour, from 8 am until 5 pm. I bought some adjustable dumbbells from Amazon and set my plan such that when the alarm sounded I would jump up out of my chair, do a few star jumps to get the blood moving, grab some dumbbells and pump out one set each of five different exercises. By the end of the day, I figured, that would give me plenty of opportunities to “pump some iron” several times throughout the day.

The reality was quite different, and I quickly discovered I was always starting calls or other meetings on the hour, and so my approach quickly became unworkable. I was slightly disheartened, but as I sat down to the meditation session of my own Miracle Morning the following day, it hit me! I realized I was usually able to have a few minutes to breathe before each meeting, and so if I was a little more disciplined about ending other meetings on-time (or early!), then I should be able to carve out 5 minutes at the END of each hour (rather than at the start) to get the exercises done!

The 55th Minute Method Was Born

Here is my final daily dumbbell schedule for anyone who is interested:

  • 7:55 am, 8:55 am, 9:55 am – 1 set each of: Hammer curls, Concentration Curls, Seated Shoulder Presses, Upright Rows, Shrugs
  • 10:55 am, 11:55 am, 12:55 am – 1 set each of: Flat Chest Presses, Flat Chest Flies, Lateral Raises, Front Raises, Single Arm Row
  • 1:55 pm, 2:55 pm, 3:55 pm – 1 set each of: Overhead Triceps Extensions, French Presses, Triceps Kickbacks, Half Squats, Dumbbell Lunges

As this isn’t an exercise blog, I’ll refer you to another site for more information on these dumbbell exercises. Also note that I do change up these routines every few weeks, to prevent my body from getting too used to the same exercises.

If you’re paying attention, you’ll have noted that this leaves an unused slot at 4:55 pm; I leave this open so if a real emergency does crop up, I can move everything back 1 hour and still manage all the sets. Sometimes, I use it for “just one more set” (this is where the real gains happen!) Or, I get to complete my sets early! It’s up to me, and depends on how I feel in the moment. There is much freedom in the availability of choice 😉

Once I complete each 5-set session, I simply breathe for a few moments, and prepare myself mentally for my next call.

Benefits of The 55th Minute Method

Because the sets are spread out over the day, I don’t “sweat buckets”, so a shower at lunch time and another at the end of the day typically suffice (although the shower is just upstairs if I do need it!) And my metabolism has shot through the roof, as I am keeping the weight training going throughout the day, which has sent the calorie burning into overdrive!

I also find myself far less-stressed on calls, especially later in the day. Belting out a few sets every hour is a great stress reliever, and I use it to convert any negative energy (that may have stuck with me in the prior hour) into a couple of extra reps!

Of course, you could decide to use the last 5 minutes of each hour for something completely different. Perhaps reading a couple of pages of that book you want to finish, writing a few words for that blog post you need to complete today, or simply to get up, walk outside, breathe and be present! How you use that time is completely up to you, but when coupled with other lifestyle changes (such as The Miracle Morning, for example) I believe it’s a habit that, once formed, you’ll never want to relinquish!

I’d love to hear about how you have incorporated the 55th Minute Method into your life – be sure to leave a reply below letting me know how this has impacted you!