Have you ever finally gotten around to doing something that you’ve been procrastinating about and then thought, ‘Why was I so worked up over that?’

That happened to me this week, when I refreshed one of my old certifications. It’s kind of an understatement to say I’d been dreading doing that. The idea of studying — especially something I’d already theoretically mastered — didn’t sound like a whole heck of a lot of fun.

But the thing is, I needed to refresh the course in order to tackle a big goal. The last time I took this certification test was 16 years ago. In fitness, that’s like a couple centuries! Even though I keep up with continuing education, so much has changed over the years. I mean, back then people were standing on stability balls (DO NOT DO THAT) and lifting weights while standing on upside down BOSUs (DO NOT DO THAT EITHER). Oh, the horror stories I could tell from back in my Washington Sports Clubs days!

Beyond being a slacker when it came to the thought of actually studying, I was worried I had to unlearn things and break old habits. And then I became paralyzed with self-doubt: what if I took the exam and failed? How embarrassing would that be?

And then I thought: I’ll start tomorrow. The problem was that I thought that every day, and as you know, tomorrow never comes, right?

It’s kind of like when you plan on starting a new fitness regimen after a layoff. It’s easy not to start. It’s comfortable to stay where you are (except for the nagging thoughts in your head about why you should start, right?).

But then late last Wednesday afternoon, after weeks of being a total slacker, another social-media-meme-inspired thought crossed my mind.

A goal without a deadline is just a dream.

I needed to set a deadline. So without ever cracking open the book, I grabbed my phone and called to schedule the exam. The lady at the testing facility told me they had an opening on Monday morning.

Without hesitation, I said: “Sign me up!”

That gave me a mere four and a half days. I panicked for a sec but then I opened the book and it was fine. I already knew this stuff cold because I use it every day. Heck, some of the studying was even fun, and I liked how they had updated their curriculum to make it more realistic for most of my clients.

And then when I passed the test on Monday morning, I had to laugh at myself.

How much stress had I put myself through in order to avoid what I thought would be stress? What a waste of time that was!

Which is exactly how it feels after that first workout back we’ve been dreading, right? Inevitably, we’re glad we dragged ourselves into the gym (or to the track, or the pool, or the basement) and knocked it out.

So here’s to setting deadlines for those goals so we get them done! (Oh and important disclaimer, I would NEVER EVER EVER recommend to anyone without a long history as a fitness professional and who regularly takes continuing education courses that they try to pass an exam without at least a few months of study and practical application. 🙂 )

BONUS: I’ve got a great total-body workout for you that my studying inspired. Some of the moves in this workout are intermediate/advanced, so if you have any knee/back issues, follow the modifications. This one had my legs on fire the next day.

Core, Balance and Power

Warm up for 5-10 minutes with light cardio activity.

Then, core warmup: 2 times through (make sure to stabilize core muscles:
Marching abs, 10 each side
Prone cobras, 12, see below)

2 x through each side
Single-leg squat touchdown, 6 each side (repeat for two sets on each leg, see video below)

Then, 2x through, see video below:
Transverse box jumps with stabilization, 8-10 each side (beginner/intermediate: can be done without the box)
Box jump downs with stabilization, 8-10 (beginner/intermediate, do regular jump squats)

afm-winter-exercise-opt-stepbalancecurloverheadpress

Step up to balance with overhead press, from the NASM.

Three times through:
Step up to balance with overhead press, 10 each side
Chest press, 15
Cable row with stabilization (see video below), 15-20
Squat with dumbbells, 15
Dumbbell side raises, 15
Biceps curls, 15
Triceps dips or press downs, 15

Cool down to return heart rate to normal for 5-10 minutes.

Try this and let me know what you think!