Credit: Robert van der Steeg

My alarm goes off at about 4:40. Perfect. ‘Cause what I usually do is groan – loudly – while I snatch up my phone and hit the snooze button. “Ugh, just ten more minutes.”

It’s just ten minutes, right? But what’s the value of ten minutes?

Ten more minutes on my run is almost an extra 100 calories that I could be burning. It’s an extra few more sets of lifting weights. It’s ten minutes I could spend skipping rope, doing jumping jacks or even just getting my morning dance on to help me wake up. Ten more minutes could be time I devote to meditation and yoga. That’s ten more minutes that I could be spending learning how to do the crane position without feeling like I might bust my forehead wide open.

Ten minutes is so valuable in fitness. It’s ten minutes… but it is an opportunity. If nothing more, committing ten more minutes to yourself (even if you originally committed no minutes to yourself) is a mental exercise – it’s ten minutes of your day where you focus solely on your body and what you need.. and you teach yourself the benefits of devoting a little time to yourself. If that means you have to stop hitting the snooze button in order to get those extra ten minutes, then you need to work on that.

For me, my ten minutes can be interrupted by no client, no barking puppy, no hungry fishies, no ultra-dramatic toddler. My little one knows “the ten minute zone.” What does she do? She sits beside me and takes ten minutes, too. It’s good for her. She needs a moment to breathe every now and again away from the perils of being a hyperemotional three year old, too.

For you, ten minutes can be a little more time to sort out your day. Grab a planner and map out your responsibilities for the day. Is that fitness? You bet – de-stressing is a vital part of being able to not only operate optimally, but it is absolutely vital to losing weight. Ten minutes can be a little more time meditating. Sometimes, giving yourself an opportunity to remember what a clear head feels and looks like can be refreshing… and it can be just what we need to become the problem solvers we need to be.

Ten minutes can be an extra half mile, 3/4th of a mile or mile on your run… depending on how fast you move. It can be more distance on your bike. It can be more time swinging on a pole and trying to perfect that upside-down flip. Taking ten minutes more for ourselves can be an exercise in… simply taking time out from our day for ourselves and disassociating from everything else demanding something from you. It’s an exercise in making me a priority… and can prepare me for taking twenty minutes. It can prepare me for taking an hour for me. Ten minutes can be whatever you want it to be, so long as you make sure that you have that time available.

So, this week’s challenge is simple: just as it is so easy to take ten more minutes to sleep, take ten more minutes, each day, and devote it to you. No work, no chores, no kids, no significant others, nothing – ten minutes to devote to your mental and physical well-being. Use the time to de-stress and meditate, get in ten minutes more at the gym, add ten minutes to your walk, spend ten minutes doing a few more crunches, ten minutes devoted toward building your fit booty… whatever. It’s ten minutes, but it’s ten minutes devoted to making you better. Every day.

So, to quote one of my favorite people…

…are you in… or are you out?