Get Fit While Flossing – The 4 Minute Workout

This is going to sound a little odd but, for the sake of sharing my story and, hopefully, helping out a few people along the way, I’ll suck it up.

I work out while I brush my teeth.

And that’s pretty much the only exercise I ever do.

Yup, that’s it. I, like 99% of the population (stat totally just assumed), don’t like working out. The thought of going to a gym chills me to my very core and, though I occasionally get up the motivation to do a quick jog around the block, I’m not exactly what you’d call a fitness fanatic. I’m barely even a fitness fair-weather friend.  I have the upper body strength of a (very weak) kitten.

I’m also a mother to a 9-month-old baby, so I appreciate how difficult it can be to carve out dedicated slots of time.

So what’s a gal to do? I know how important it is to keep fit but ugh, I just hate it. Know what else I hate doing that’s still important? Flossing.

So I just married my two big dislikes and BAM, now I get fit while I floss.

I don’t have a set routine, but this is what I started doing:

-+- Lunges while brushing my teeth. I can get about 30 done (15 each side). Approximate time: 2 minutes.

-+- Calf raises and butt clenches (stop laughing) while flossing. I can get about 40 done. Approximate time: 1 minute 30 seconds.

-+- Squats while rinsing with mouthwash. I can get 20 done, and I hold the last one for a count of 20. Approximate time: 30 seconds.

Feel the burn while brushing

Feel the burn while brushing

I try to switch it up sometimes so I don’t get bored (and so I can get a bit more of an all-round workout) by doing push-ups against the edge of the bath.

OK, I know it’s not groundbreaking, but there’s no point in me gushing about the benefits of a solid hour’s effort at the gym if it’s just not me. This site is all about sharing what works for ME, so that it might inspire YOU. (If you’re a gym bunny, you should’ve already stopped reading by now.)

Is it going to turn me into an Olympic athlete? – No.

Am I going to lose a bunch of weight? – No.

Am I going to have washboard abs? – No.

Am I going to increase my endurance and resistance, all while toning up? – Ever so slightly. And that’s good enough for me.

Is it better than nothing? – Definitely.

I’m certainly not advocating a sedentary lifestyle, nor am I suggesting for a second that this minuscule bit of exercise will somehow save you from heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, or any number of nasty things.

What I am saying is that if, like me, you detest working out and have made countless promises to get fit only to lose heart and motivation a month later, maybe start small like me.

As I said above, I also occasionally run (read: slowly huff and puff, with several walking breaks) around the block. I also sometimes do squats or jumping jacks if I’m waiting for something to heat in the microwave.

So if you’re really struggling to get any form of exercise, try to incorporate little things into your day. Identify small blocks of time and see if you can fit in some form of movement.

* Push-ups while waiting for your porridge to cool down

* Skipping instead of slumping up the stairs

* Running on the spot while running a bath

There are a million different ways you can incorporate some small amounts of exercise into your everyday life, no expensive gym membership required. Find a few and get cracking!

What small thing do you do to add a little energy to your day? Share with us in the comments!

If you don’t want to miss a TPBTS post, subscribe to the site by clicking the big ol’ SUBSCRIBE button at the top of the right-hand column. It’ll inject fresh content straight into your email inbox. You lucky thing.


How to achieve anything you set your mind to – the SMART way

So, it’s that time of year again – New Year’s resolutions. I used to start every year with the same goals – get fit, eat healthy foods, be better organised… And guess what? Like 99.9% of people who make resolutions, I failed. Miserably. Why? Because they weren’t SMART resolutions.

I had heard of the SMART way of setting goals while working in retail many years ago, but it meant nothing to me at the time. If I’d listened a bit more back then, I might not have wasted so much potential in the interim.

source: Shutterstock

source: Shutterstock

So how can you achieve pretty much anything you set your mind to?

You set SMART goals. That is, goals that are:


Let’s take the example of getting fit, which is one of the most popular resolutions people make every year. Does it fit the SMART criteria?

Is it specific?

Uh oh, a stumble at the first hurdle. Being “fit” means different things to different people, but I think it’s safe to say it will involve some form of exercise. How much? And what type? “Fit” to one person might mean being able to run a 5k race, but “fit” to an overweight chain-smoker might mean being able to climb a flight of stairs without gasping for breath.

Do you consider a yoga practitioner fit? Or someone who runs a marathon once a year? Or does your idea of “fit” involve bulging biceps? Figure out what “fit” means to you. Maybe it’s something as simple as being able to keep up with your kids.

Get specific about what you want.

Is it measureable?

Leading on from the above, how do you measure fitness? There is always room for improvement, so you need to define the point at which you will consider yourself fit. Is it when you can complete a series of yoga positions with ease? Is it when you can swim 50 laps of the pool without stopping?

Set a tangible target that, when hit, will tell you that you’ve reached your goal.

Is it achievable?

There’s no point giving yourself a goal of running a marathon if you’ve barely been off the couch. It’s OK to be positive and to set your sights a little higher than before, but it also needs to be well within the realms of possibility. A 5k race is much more achievable, while still stretching your abilities. Once that’s done, set your sights on a 10k. Once you’ve mastered that with relative ease, then perhaps consider a marathon.

If you’re unsure if something is achievable, set yourself a smaller goal and then build on it.

Building on success

Is it realistic?

Let’s say you want to get fit in order to climb Mount Everest. Sure, that’s quite specific, and yes, if you plant a flag on the peak, that’s a pretty good measurable indicator. It’s even an achievable goal, in theory. But is it realistic? You might start out climbing hills, and then increase the altitudes, but this goal will require a lot more than “getting fit”; This goal will require a lot of time and a LOT of money.

Climbing the local mountain range on weekends is one thing – taking several weeks off from work and family, and buying expensive equipment and airplane tickets is quite another.

Examine what exactly is involved, and be honest with yourself.

Is it timely?

That is, is it measurable in time? This is a very important one. Your goal to get fit might meet all of the above criteria, but unless you set a time frame, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Without a deadline, a goal is merely a wish. You might wish you could run a 5k race, but until you challenge yourself to run it within the next 10 weeks, your chances of actual completion are slim. You’ll always be working on it, but never be able to check it off your list.

Similarly, a deadline that’s far into the future may as well be no deadline at all. Do you think that if I tell myself I’ll be able to do 100 sit-ups by the end of the year that I’m going to make any progress at all for the first 11 months? Giving myself 4 weeks, however, will help to focus my mind a lot more and give me something concrete to work towards.

Some things will require one deadline and that’s it. For instance, you might have “run a marathon” on your bucket list, but have no desire to maintain that level of fitness after you’ve completed it, and that’s totally fine.

But some things aren’t just about deadlines, or one single point in time. I might push myself to the limits on deadline day and just barely manage 100 sit-ups. Does that mean I’m now “fit”? Of course not. What most people mean when they say they want to get fit is that they want to reach a certain level of fitness, and then either stay there or continue to improve gradually. They want to be able to do 100 sit-ups 3 times a week, or swim 50 laps of the pool once a week, or run a marathon once a year…

Set yourself a deadline and, if necessary, a way of tracking your progress over time.

Creating SMART goals

Example of a pre-SMART resolution: get fit.

Example of a post-SMART resolution: complete a beginners yoga class within 10 weeks, and then practice yoga for 10 minutes at least twice a week.

Specific (yoga practitioner), Measurable (class completed and twice weekly sessions), Achievable (beginners level), Realistic (one course, and short sessions thereafter), and Timely (10 weeks initially, then weekly goals).

Now it’s your turn. Have you made some resolutions? Examine each in turn and see if they meet the SMART criteria.

Comment below and let me know what your resolutions look like pre-and post-SMART.

Star tip! How To Increase Your Water Intake

So we all know how important it is to keep our bodies hydrated – it helps our organs function better, it clears up our skin and, depending on who you talk to, it flushes out toxins too. And, with me being six months’ pregnant, I find it more important than ever to drink water to keep my body and my baby happy and healthy. In short, the benefits are numerous. And the downsides? Well, you’ll initially need to use the loo a little more frequently, but don’t worry, your body will quickly adapt.

If you don’t drink your recommended eight glasses a day, fear not! It can be done. As with everything related to your diet, if you’re in any way unsure, it’s always best to check with a medical professional first. And, as with anything you’re trying to turn into a habit, it’s best to start small and gradually increase your efforts. If you currently don’t drink any water, or very little, jumping straight in with eight glasses a day is probably not a recipe for lasting success. Start with just one glass. Drink one glass a day for a week, until you get used to it (and your bladder adapts), and then increase it to two. If you increase by just one glass each week, you’ll be hitting the recommended amount in just eight short weeks.

Ideally, you should drink your first glass of water first thing in the morning, as your body hasn’t been hydrated in several hours and may even have lost a lot of fluid during the night through sweating. (Eating a healthy breakfast is also important to re-fuel your body. But that’s for another post.)

But if you’re starting from scratch, and you don’t feel that drinking a full glass first thing in the morning is right for you, then consider just a quick mouthful, followed by a few more mouthfuls during the day. I hated water when I first started drinking it, so I used to drink a small amount right before each meal. That way I was still drinking it, but quickly following it with something I actually enjoyed.

So you’ve started increasing your H2O intake, but how do you keep it up? For me, I found it easy to forget to drink a glass, or I lost track of how many I’d already downed. What you need here is a bottle! Obviously, go for a reusable one over a disposable plastic one. Here’s mine:


Reusable bottles can be picked up quite cheaply, and I got this for free when I bought our water filter! The size you buy is entirely up to you. Eight glasses is approximately two litres but, personally, I would find a two-litre bottle far too intimidating if I filled it first thing in the morning and knew I had to make my way through the entire thing. My bottle holds 500mls, so I need to drink four a day, but I find it much more manageable. Work out what’s best for you.

But, even with all that, it can still be easy to forget it – you get caught up in other things and before you know it you’re heading for bed. So here’s what to do:


ImageLeave your bottle in a place you pass frequently, and drink a quick mouthful every time you pass.


For me, that spot is the sofa in the sitting room. The corner closest to the door, to be precise. I spend a lot of my time at home in that room – the TV is there, my laptop is there, my diaries and notepads are there. But I also pass in and out quite often, between going to the bathroom, going to the kitchen to make dinner or a snack, answering the door, etc. Every time I leave or enter the sitting room, I drink a mouthful. If the bottle is close to empty the next time I go to take a mouthful, I drain it and immediately bring it to the kitchen to re-fill it.

Maybe you work at a desk. Leave your bottle on the side of your desk and take a mouthful every time you get up to do something. Maybe you’re in and out of your car all day. Leave the bottle in your car and take a mouthful every time you hop out. (Always start the day with a fresh bottle, though – don’t leave it sitting out overnight.)

So there you have it. Start small, and gradually increase. Don’t forget to give your bottle a good clean out every now and again to prevent any nasty build-up. After all, there’s no point drinking lovely clean water (it is clean, yes?) if you’re putting it into a unclean bottle. And, just because I’m feeling generous, here’s another tip:


ImageUse a cocktail stick to clean the rings on the top of the bottle and inside the cap. Just run it right along the edge, the whole way around.


One final word: your water intake will obviously depend on your lifestyle. Although eight glasses is what’s recommended for the average person, if you’re out there running several miles a day or doing a lot of exercise, you’re going to need more water than someone who sits at a desk all day. Use eight glasses as a target, but definitely add an extra glass for each few minutes of exercise you do.

And that’s it! That’s how I manage to drink two litres of water a day. (Don’t forget that your pets also need to keep hydrated, so leave fresh water out for them too.)

If you have any other tips or tricks, I’d love to hear them. Post them in the comments section below.