Excuses, excuses. There are as many reasons to skip a workout as there are ways to get your sweat on. And while sometimes they're of the logistical sort (it's too snowy to get to the gym!), and other times they're the physical kind (I'm injured!), many times they're purely in your head and have everything to do with the mood you're in.
So says Rupa Mehta, founder of the popular Nalini Method fitness studio in New York City and author of The Nalini Method: 7 Workouts for 7 Moods. Yes, Mehta's come up with seven ways to work out using a combination of Pilates, barre, and strength training moves — each one tailored to the specific baggage you're carrying with you as you slip into your leggings.
"The goal is to tap into what you're feeling," Mehta says. "Not avoid them. Once you isolate what you're feeling, you can channel it into something useful and positive."
Not even sure what your mood is? No problem. Mehta makes it fairly easy to pinpoint what you're feeling with a checklist of emotions and examples of common thoughts for each mood and gives you a succinct mantra for each 20 to 30-move workout, with one move flowing yoga-like into the next.
Fun fact: Mehta didn't make up these mantras based solely on her own life's wisdom: Each one is based on a life lesson repeated many times over the years by her parents, Nalini and Pinak.
This routine taps into all that adrenaline already coursing through your system, helping you harness it into a fast-moving, challenging workout that's super-efficient. When you're mad, you need an outlet and don't want to waste a second of time, Mehta says.
Mantra: "The solution is born before the problem."
What you'll do: Energized moves including jumping jacks, jump squats, lunges, and push-ups.
Use your energy wisely, writes Mehta, by finding the balance between letting go and holding on. Relish a vibrant, active workout.
Mantra: "Let go. Live Love."
What you'll do: Revved up stuff including burpees, planks, bent-knee push-ups, and crunches.
When you're tied in knots with too much to do, try moves that will help you "turn off your mind chatter and your repetitive, debilitating thoughts," Mehta says. The centering and meditative nature of this workout will help lighten some of the weight that you're carrying around. Using a wall for support gives both literal and figurative support when you need it most.
Mantra: "Shut up. Sit. Smile."
What you'll do: Centering exercises including wall squats, wall planks, wall L-stands, and downward dogs at the — you guessed it — wall.
Mehta designed this routine's flow to tap into your blissed-out state of mind, so you can enjoy just being in the moment. This is a relaxed and loving routine you might find yourself easing into after a long day at the beach or the day after a fabulous party.
Mantra: "Love yourself dearly. Be yourself completely. Treat yourself occasionally."
What you'll do: Flow through moves including standing meditations, sun salutations, chair poses, seated twists, lying spinal twists, and happy baby.
Given that happiness often makes you feel light and buoyant, this workout capitalizes on those feelings to heighten your sense of reaching for the sky.
Mantra: "Thank you."
What you'll do: Standing marches, clap squats, boxing jabs, knee raise jogs, plank Spidermans, triceps dips, twisting bicycle abs, and "knee dancing" (harder, but more fun, than it sounds).
On a day tinged with self-doubt, moves that allow you to "slowly build your self-confidence will lift the weight of the world off your shoulders," Mehta says. "By the end of the workout you'll feel your internal and external strength."
Mantra: "No one can take away your happiness."
What you'll do: A slyly progressive series of poses that start slow, with mellow stuff like cat/cow, and then moves like forearm planks, one-legged down dog, lunges, warrior 1 and warrior 2.
Sometimes the best way to loosen the grip of anxiety is through the distraction of hard, focused work. "Constant motion plus challenging balance poses will keep your mind from dwelling on what's eating at you for a while, so you'll end the workout feeling energized, yet calmer and more centered," Mehta says.
Mantra: "Don't magnify success or failure."
What you'll do: Settle in for some intense, muscle-burning chair poses — including chair pose squat jumps, and chair pose heel raises — plus some wobble-inducing warrior 3 poses, standing splits, and three-legged planks balances.