Bikini Tips for Authors
As part of my never-ending quest to blur the line between silliness and reality – something I apparently don’t need to do as much considering how many people on Twitter thought the Titanic was just a movie (weep with me, people…) – I’ve got a new post for you today with a silly headline. But it hopefully got your attention and made you swing by to see what I’d say.
I got an email recently asking me how I stay in shape given the fact that as a writer, I’m sitting for long periods of time. It made me think of what I actually do during the course of the day and how I break things up. It also occurred to me that other authors might enjoy reading this and chime in with their own ideas. So, here we go.
1. Wake Up: I use a very simple yet effective series of movements from my martial arts called San Shin Kata to wake my body up each and every morning. When I started in this style of martial arts, my mornings began around 4am (sometimes earlier) and as tired as I was, I got into the habit and never got out of it. I spend about fifteen minutes going through these five exercises (earth, water, fire, wind, and void) waking up my joints, muscles, ligaments, breathing, and awareness. For those not in my style, you could accomplish the same thing by doing arm rotations at the shoulder and elbow and wrist as well as rotating your legs at the hips, knees, and ankles. After the San Shin, I usually do push-ups and leg raises or some other exercise. It doesn’t take long, but it’s incredibly effective at getting your systems moving after being asleep.
2. Sitting: It’s not good for you. Prolonged sitting is bad. So I try not to sit more than 45-60 minutes at any one time. For me, this works because most of my first draft chapters take about an hour to write. Once that’s done, I get up and move around. Usually by cranking out a set of push-ups, some deep squats, burpees, that sort of thing. Again, the goal is to keep things moving. By increasing my heart rate, more blood flows at a faster clip through my body, and I get more oxygen into where it needs to be.
3. Phone Calls: If you get a phone call, get up from your chair and walk around. You’re exercising without thinking about it at that point. I’ve probably logged miles walking around the second floor of my house while on the phone. You don’t have to speed walk, just do it normally. The key is to keep moving.
4. Water: Keep it with you all the time. Have a bottle by the desk and make sure that you carry it with you everywhere. Try to drink at least two standard-sized bottles every day. I’ve been on a kick to increase my own intake and this is where I’m at right now in terms of amounts. I also drink a lot of orange juice.
These are the four things I make sure I do every day – even if I can’t fit in a normal prolonged workout. I won’t waste time detailing how to do cardio or lift weights or anything like that since there are people far better qualified than I am to offer that advice and training. But I will say this, if you can manage to incorporate these four points into your day, you’ll be ahead of the game. I recently came off a long hiatus where I wasn’t doing much strenuous exercise, but always made sure to do the four things above. I credit it with keeping my fitness standard better than if I hadn’t done anything.
The key is to never let things sit idle. Constant movement (unless you happen to be meditating) ensures that blood flows to all areas of your body. Increasing your heart rate every hour or so helps keep you oxygenated, keeps your metabolism somewhat active, and keeps all your systems functioning. I tend to think that a lot of disease, toxicity, and body breakdown happens as a direct result of bad stuff not being purged from your body – and it’s not being purged because we don’t move as much as we should, so the junk gets a chance to pool in parts of your body and then it starts compounding itself. So try to stay in motion. Take more frequent breaks. Get yourself back into motion. And drink more water.
I’m not saying that this is the be-all-end-all cure for weight loss or the like. They’re merely a few suggestions that might help. And who knows, if you develop these things into habits, you just might be ready to sport a monokini on the beach…just like Jim Carrey.