The Daily Minimum
Written by TJ O’Brien

So I was having a conversation with someone the other day that went like this: 

“Yo dude, I missed the workout today, work was crazy. Do you think it’s too much to work out twice tomorrow, once at 6am and again at noon?” 

“No, that’s not ‘crazy,’ people do two a days and I’m sure you could handle the volume. But better would be if you could resolve the underlying guilt you feel from not showing up to the gym, instead of trying to ‘get back to even'” 

To be clear: 1 hour of time in the gym is PLENTY for most of you, and this dude probably could handle it based on what I’ve seen him do in the past. 

But that’s not the point…the point is that he feels like a piece when he doesn’t show up, and with his job, sometimes his schedule is going to mean just that.

Enter “The Daily Minimum”…

This is an idea, a customizable routine that you can complete in however much time you have that day, so that when your head hits the pillow, you can rest easy knowing you did what you could. 

An example: A few years ago, when I was working a job with very demanding hours, I couldn’t always make it to the gym. My daily minimum was to do 100 burpees for time. It allowed me to sweat, curse, and feel like I got something in, it took literally 5-6 minutes, and it was hard enough for me to feel proud of myself for biting the bullet and getting it done. 

Nowadays, believe it or not, I don’t reap a sense of pride out of crushing my body, but instead, out of caring for it. It’s been a JOURNEY to get here, and I still struggle the same way our guy in the example does, when I don’t get to do what I wanted.

These days, my daily minimum changes based on the day. Just yesterday, I was pooped from the weekend, took a nap instead of working out, did admin work, and just couldn’t stay focused. I decided my daily minimum would be to do 20 minutes of stretching before I went to bed. Slept like a baby. 

Another day, it might be to meditate 15 for minutes. And yet another day, it might be to go for a 20-minute jog around the park. 

Daily minimums should be just that – minimal in the effort involved to complete them – low to no equipment, low time commitment, and don’t leave you feeling worse than when you started. 

So think for a second: What is the LEAST I could do, that at the end of it, I’ll feel ok missing the gym if life deals me lemons that day? 

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Amy Maschue
Amy Maschue
May 2, 2021 4:44 pm

Great article! I think there a lot of us out here who feel that same “regret” or “remorse” and resort to berating, belittling or getting down on ourselves for our lack of discipline, on any given day. I’ve learned to listen to my body but it’s taken years. I’ve been a crossfit athlete for 8+years, and a part of the Invictus competition programming for about 4 years now and I love the grind and the amazing programming! I am also 52. Many women “my age” can’t do one pull up, cannot walk on their hands or sling a barbell like… Read more »