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Since our move in June, we’ve been rearranging and organizing, moving furniture here and moving it there. We had one word in mind when we were house hunting, “retreat,” and we feel like we’ve found that in our cozy home in the woods.

Cozy, I say, because most of our rooms are set up for relaxation. A comfortable couch, a plush chair, and our beloved TV. While our outdoor spaces are open for play, I haven’t really designed an indoor room or corner for fitness. (And from what I’ve learned from various shows on HGTV, you want spaces for activity, play/games/entertainment, conversation, rest, and storage.)

We do have one living space that I find very perplexing. It’s long and a bit narrow, and features a fireplace and large glass patio door. Right now, it’s home to a bookcase, futon, piano, and guitar. We recently moved an antique game table by one wall, but it doesn’t quite fit, so back it goes to another room.

With all the floor space, it seems like it could work well for exercise. There’s the bonus of natural light coming in from the door, and the ceilings are high enough for jumping rope.

So I moved my equipment into the bookcase, a collection which includes:

  • a 10-pound kettlebell
  • a 25-pound kettlebell
  • 5-pound dumbbells
  • 10-pound dumbbells
  • a jump rope
  • an ab wheel
  • resistance bands

I mixed and matched a few items for a circuit, added some body-weight moves like push-ups and lunges, and felt mostly clear on what I needed to do. After all, I spent good money on trainer Shane who taught me soooo much about fitness and how to move my body, not to mention all The Workout programs designed by top trainers and coaches I’ve fact-checked for the magazine. Just pick a program, any program, and I’ll be on my way.

Here’s the thing: When it comes to my workouts, I like to be told what to do. Ten squat thrusters, then 10 star jacks — go! I can write out my plan to follow, but there’s something about a coach directing me that keeps my intensity up.

So I surfed the Web and found some great videos, this one that only uses body weight, and tried my hand at our December kettlebell workout. I’d throw in some dynamic stretching and felt motivated to move even more. And there’s my point: My theory is that a good home-workout routine, whether indoors or a run in your neighborhood, incites more healthy behavior and even more activity.

My vision for an ideal active day: Rise to meditate, journal, drink tea. Exercise with, say, push-ups, burpees, lunges, and weights or resistance bands. Include a fitness or yoga DVD to advance. Feel great! Go to work, walk at lunch, eat well. Feel even better! So much so that I want to keep it going and pop in to the gym to lift weights or take an indoor cycling class. Pound my chest, my day has been awesome.

See where I’m going with this?

Shaun T. for our June 2012 cover story. (Photo by Kwaku Alston.)

So one day, while surfing the tube in the previously described cozy space, I came across an infomercial for personal trainer Shaun T.’s newest workout: Focus T25. He packed some of the hardcore moves from Insanity into 25 minutes. After testing his Insanity-inspired workout that he designed for our June 2012 issue (see video below), I felt compelled to try this abbreviated version. (Plus, I’m a sucker for both Shaun T.’s charm and the presentation of infomercials. I also ordered the NutriBullet, which I’m really enjoying, but then had to ban myself from watching any more infomericals in order to protect my pocketbook.)

For those of you that are Life Time members, Insanity classes are offered at several clubs around the country. Let me know if you’ve tried it in the comments section below.

Focus T25 set up so that I do it five days a week, during the weekdays, with rest days on Saturdays and Sundays. Wish me luck for my first day on Monday!


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