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Do you have 10 minutes to spare? You could be on your way to a better mood, healthier immunity, more energy, higher-quality sleep, and a stronger sex drive. The myriad benefits of exercise don’t require grueling hours on a treadmill—good news if your biggest barrier to working out is finding the time.

Of course, if you struggle to achieve consistency with exercise, our new normal probably hasn’t made it easier. The realities of working from home, taking on second jobs as schoolteachers and caretakers, and hitting “pause” on the routines of our day-to-day lives have left many of us reconciling our concept of time in the absence of structure. And it’s not only because gyms and fitness studios were among the first businesses to shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re reeling from an unprecedented collective trauma. No matter how much you believe in the restorative effects of a regular movement practice, carving out the time can feel like added pressure when we’re already strained.

For a celebrity trainer who’s built a community through her Sculpt Society method, teaching classes at Project by Equinox and Energi in NYC to a cult following (including influencers and top models), you might expect the rise of the at-home workout necessitated by sheltering in place to be troubling. But that’s not the case with Megan Roup—in fact, she thinks the shift may bring more people over to her side. “People are now seeing that they can get a really great workout at home,” she says. “For those who haven’t had a chance to get into a schedule with their workouts, maybe this time at home will show them all the benefits.”

And back to that issue of time. Roup rejects the popular notion that people (and especially women) need to spend an hour doing cardio to get a decent workout. “It can be 15 minutes,” she says. “If people realized how good it feels to be consistent, how getting even just 15 minutes a day can really change your mood, I think they would be more motivated.” Though she’s known for sculpting supermodel bodies, Roup evangelizes about the mental health benefits of exercise even more fervently than the physical results. When she talks about the feel-good vibes that come from working out, it genuinely makes you want to get up and move. And that’s her hope: that people will get one hit of that all-natural euphoria and be convinced to make the ongoing commitment to themselves.

Let’s take the pressure off and do more of what feels good.

Roup’s passion for helping people realize their happiest, healthiest lives through movement seems as fired-up as ever, and the non-essential business shutdown in her home base of New York City hasn’t slowed her down. In addition to transitioning her normal morning workout classes from the studio to Instagram Live, Roup was already prepared to flourish amid these new circumstances. Her app, The Sculpt Society, offers easy-to-follow videos of her signature dance cardio and resistance training workouts. The routines are built into easy-to-follow weekly plans (including a special 28-day challenge created especially for these unique times), and can be done from home, with minimal space and no special equipment required. 

Even with a wealth of digital workout content at our disposal, the issue of motivation remains. It might comfort you to know that even Roup, chiseled and energetic as she is, sometimes has to talk herself into lacing up her sneakers. “What gets me motivated is knowing how different I’m going to feel in 15 minutes after moving my body,” she explains. “Exercise is my moving meditation. It clears my head. I get a lot of anxiety and stress out through movement.” Roup adds that when she needs a boost, she follows a three-step routine that starts with a personal pep talk. “‘I know you don’t feel like doing it right now, but it’s going to be like night and day after you move your body.’ And then it’s just putting on some good music and putting on a cute workout outfit that I feel confident in,” she continues. She also adds that the simple step of scheduling your workout into your day can make a big difference. “Then you don’t have to have the internal battle with yourself of whether to do it or not, which is sometimes more exhausting than the actual workout.”

Exercise is my moving meditation.

One last thing: ditch the unnecessary pressure. Megan’s philosophy about fitness is that enjoyment is as important as results, and she’s turned off by the idea of beach-body programs or chasing a quarantine six-pack. She favors joyful movement that lifts energy levels and spirits. “I want to change the conversation, especially for women,” she asserts. “Let’s take the pressure off and do more of what feels good.”

The 10-Minute Movement Break

Whether at your laptop or on the couch, chances are you’re sitting more than normal these days. If you’re experiencing stiffness or discomfort in your hips and low back, lazy glute muscles and tight hip flexors could be the culprit. Counteract all that sitting with this mini workout from Roup that will wake up your glutes while strengthening your core. Complete the entire circuit once or twice through on the right side, then repeat on the left.

Start on your hands and knees, shoulders aligned with wrists and hips aligned with knees.

MOVE #1: Bend your knee at 90 degrees (fire hydrant position) and extend your leg straight back. Do 15 to 25 reps.

MOVE #2: Straighten and extend your leg straight back behind you and pulse up and down at hip height, keeping the range of motion small. Do 15 to 25 reps. 

MOVE #3: Keeping your leg straight, tap your foot down to the floor, then lift your leg up to hip height. Do 15 to 25 reps. 

Get a month of access to The Sculpt Society, along with four consecutive weeks of Sakara meal delivery, exclusive gifts (including a pair of high-performance shoes from Athletic Propulsion Labs—Roup’s choice for sculpting workouts like the one above), and expert coaching by signing up for The Healthy Body Project.



SPEED ROUND: Megan’s Favorite…

Workout apparel: “Right now I am loving the Center Stage Legging from All Access.”

Workout shoes: “Asics for dance cardio and APL for sculpting.” 

Workout soundtrack: “Any 90s R&B and hip-hop.” 

Pre/post-workout meal: “I love fruit in the morning, or I'll have scrambled eggs or Ezekiel toast with smashed avocado.”


More At-Home Fitness Essentials

Playlist: A Heart-Opening Exercise

Recipe: Super Power Protein Bites

Filed Under: Well-being, Wellbeing

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