Drop and Give Me Twenty! Okay, One.

by Rachel Hauck, @RachelHauck

All right, writers. I’m going to say a word most of you will hate: exercise. Yeah, I know, the excuses are long and many.

“I hate it.”

“I don’t have time for it.”

“It’s too cold.”
“It’s too hot.”

“My legs hurt. My arms…”

“I sprained my eyelashes.”
Okay, I get it. But as writers, we need to take care of our bodies as much as our hearts and minds.

Sitting all day is hard on writer. A few years ago I realized my entire body hurt. I was starting to think I was going to have to life with pain in my shoulders, hips and back the rest of my writing life. While I wasn’t happy about it, I wasn’t sure what to do.

Other than hot baths.

And over time, those didn’t work as well. I had a neck warmer thingy with beads in it that I’d heat up in the microwave. Until I finally burned up the insides.

Then I found Tony Horton’s P90X. I’ve always been an exerciser – biking, lifting weights, running, spinning, aerobics – but I wasn’t purposeful.

Tony Horton made me more purposeful. His P90X program is intense. Not for everyone. And the routines are long so it’s hard to fit in an average day, but along the way, I learned a few strengthening tricks that eradicated my pain.

One, I got a good chair. I’d been sitting in an Executive chair for years. The kind where the seat and back are concave. But the sides of the seat were padded so half my back side was down, half up, shifting my hip out of whack.

The lack of support on my back caused me to hunch my shoulders and arch my back. Over time, I knotted up and stayed knotted.

I splurged and bought a nice, ergonomically correct chair. I love it and do not miss my Executive chair at all!

Two, I started working out with Tony Horton. He had me doing dips and push-ups, and all kinds of mean squats, but my shoulders and arms began to get built up.

My hips and buttocks got stronger so sitting all day wasn’t such a strain. I sit and stand straighter now.
I couldn’t do one push up when I started. Now I can do ten – military style.

Another routine I added is yoga. I’ve been very leery of this discipline for years because of the spiritual aspect behind the practice. But I found a good class at my gym that leaves out the spiritual stuff and focuses on stretching and breathing. If they start talking about “opening your mind” or whatever, I fix on Jesus. Or pray.

I can’t believe how much I sweat in a yoga class. The routines strengthen my legs and back, and core.

Core. Let’s talk core. Very important. And probably the last place most of us focus. Core is from you neck down to your thighs. Sit ups and crunches, push-ups, squats, all the stuff we did in elementary P.E. class is core for our cores!

Because I’m on deadline, I’m crunched for time. So, if I can’t get to the gym, I do push-ups and squats at home, and put in Tony Horton’s Ab Ripper X DVD and work my core for fifteen minutes.

I see results almost immediately. A strong core also helps us lose and keep off weight.

Lately I’ve been seeing an ad for ten minute exercises by Tony Horton. I’m thinking of getting them because I can spare ten minutes. And, what a great afternoon break activity! Get my blood and body going by doing another ten minute set.

What are you doing to keep your body strong? Are you going from the bed to the car to the office chair to the dining room table to the couch and finally back to bed?

Do you have joint and muscle pain? I think you can rid yourself of some of it with a few good, purposeful exercises.

Here’s some tip recaps.

1. Get a good chair. If you can’t afford one, pray for the Lord to give you one. It makes a huge difference. A good mattress too. We got a new mattress and my last hip pain left.

2. Drop and give me one! One good push up. Work up to ten or more a day. By push up, I’m legs extended in the plank position. Not on your knees, girls.

3. Do some squats. Stand with your feet a few inches apart and sit down into a squat, raising your arms in front of you. Do that five or ten times, building as you go. I do 25. Or squat by sitting into the squat, touching your fingers to the ground. That’s harder, but really works you. Stand with your feet a few feet apart, squat, bring your hands toward the ground between your

feet. Stand, raising arms over head and repeat the squat. If you get ambitions, you can jump for the last few squats.

4. Work your core. Sit ups, crunches, oblique exercises.

5. Really, get a good work out DVD or go to a good class at your gym and learn tools you can use at home when you’re too pressed to exercise.

6. Improvise. I’ll put on a fun worship CD and boogie around the house, maybe do some “whacky-jacks” in the midst of it, work my obliques.

7. Try yoga or Pilates.

8. Try to eat a bit healthier.
Have fruit on hand for snacks instead of chips. I love chips. But I’ve been buying less chips lately.

So, what changes can you make to start building your body to be a better and stronger writer?


New York Times, USA Today ​and Wall Street Journal best-selling, award-winning author Rachel Hauck loves a great story. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a past ACFW mentor of the year. A worship leader and Buckeye football fan, Rachel lives in Florida with her husband and ornery cat, Hepzibah. Read more about Rachel at www.rachelhauck.com.