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Exercising the Creative Mind

I’m a firm believer that excerise and creativity go together like peas and carrots. I asked fitness guru Jon Le Tocq to share some workouts that everyone can do, in their home office or elsewhere.

Even before the dawn of the current economic crisis many business owners from huge corporations to the one-man band are now facing the problem of highly saturated markets where competing on cost is no longer viable. He or she who can develop a fresh, creative perspective for their industry and package it with high value to the customer will win the day.

Creativity is no longer a fun option but a necessity for business survival. Unfortunately there are many obstacles to such innovative thinking. Stress, lack of time due to administrative tasks, and never escaping the claustrophobia of the working environment.

The phrase “all work and no play” springs to mind! If something’s not working, we work harder and longer to find a solution which only serves to block the creative channels and worsen the situation.

Intense exercise is without doubt the single most effective way to shut your brain off, focus on something else and then come back full of ideas and inspiration. Sometimes we have to turn things off first to have them surge back to life again.

Many claim doing it in the great outdoors near running water doubles the pleasure and stimulates the creative part of the brain. Having climbed the highest mountain in Malaysia in a heavy downpour I have first hand experience of such life changing moments.

The problem is finding the time. Every day there’s something more important to do so there just isn’t time for an effective gym session. Or is there?

The reason is a grossly misinformed belief that exercise takes a lot of time to be effective and they can’t spare 2 hours of their day which could be spent generating more wealth.

As entrepreneurs we have all reached that point in a dead-end job where we decide that our time can be exchanged for more money by branching out on our own. However, we soon find out that this is rarely the case, particularly not for the first few years (if ever!)

Suddenly we are faced with working even longer hours, usually for less money until our business builds. The initial delight of being released from the grasp of the corporate rat-race gives us all the energy we need to take on the world.

But soon, the gloss comes off as we become increasingly tired, stressed and overworked. The thought of exercise is enough to cause panic attacks. There is no longer time to exercise as 60 minutes in the gym (plus travel time) just isn’t possible if we are to stimulate and maintain business growth and grasp every opportunity to grow.

This can be catastrophic for both established corporations with hundreds of employees and the newbie to the business world. Poor health means poor performance at work.

Also, consider that 72% of employers believe obesity means negative characteristics in an employee. You may own your own business but what are potential customers and clients thinking when you show up at their door?

Fortunately there are easy ways to reverse the downward spiral and dramatically improve how you look, feel and perform every day! Here are the two greatest lies about getting fit and how to turn them upside down.

1. Long, moderately paced cardio is required to burn fat whilst weight training just makes you big.

Wrong. Focus on high-intensity sessions which combine cardio interval training and weight training for maximum ‘bang for your buck’. Even if you could find time to train for 5 hours each week, it still leaves 163 hours each week when you need to maximizing calorie burn to keep your fat stores down.
Also you need to keep running further and further to challenge your body but this just takes even more time!

Short but intense weight training and intervals can elevate your metabolism for up to 38 hours after the session which means you burn more calories when your slaving away at the laptop!

You will also keep stress hormones down in comparison to long runs – you have enough of them from worrying about your balance sheet!

2. You need gym membership

Wrong. Your body will react best to training with free weights and short cardio intervals. This can be done with dumbbells and kettlebells at home or in the park where you can sprint (not jog…).

You could also benefit from the fresh air which will stimulate your brain and almost always lead to fresh ideas on how you can move projects forward.

In fact, unless you are an advanced fitness fanatic, you can rapidly change your body and energy levels through bodyweight-only circuits – for free!

These are three of the best fat burning exercises and can all be done at home. You’ll see they are all full body exercises using lots of muscles – no bicep curls!

Kettlebell Swings, Dumbbell Thrusters, Burpees

I’ve been known to run through forests jumping over trees and throwing logs; climb 30ft vines in the Borneo rainforest and sprint the last few yards on the top of Mount Kinabalu just to feel part of nature and come back to life! Every experience opened my mind to new paths in my life and I crave the day I can go back.

You spend a lot of time worrying about ROI on your capital expenditure yet you completely ignore the fact that you shell out hundreds of pounds on gym membership but never see any noticeable results from year to year. Time for something different maybe?

Try this for a week at home or in the gym (or office).

Session 1 and 3
6-10 reverse lunges (power lunges for advanced)

6-10 bodyweight squats (jump squats for advanced)

6-10 push ups (on knees for beginners)

6-10 burpees

Do three to five rounds as fast as possible. Record your time and beat it second time around!

Many more exercises like these can be found at on my Youtube channel.

Session 2
Choose any form of cardio to do these intervals (rowing, running, skipping, burpees, cycling or swimming).

Work as hard as you can for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds.

Repeat this process 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.

Rest 1 minute

Choose another exercise and repeat the 5 minute block.

The key to benefiting massively from exercise is suspending your current beliefs about fitness. Be open to new ideas which don’t involve the daily trudge at the gym and your business and life will benefit.

Remember what Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Jon Le Tocq owns Storm Force Fitness, an online fitness company dedicated to getting busy people fit through short workouts and clean eating. You can get his 42 day step-by-step guide to stripping off body fat without gym membership here.