LOSE FAT. GET STRONG. THE BEST WORKOUTS YOU CAN DO IN 30 MINUTES (OR LESS).
Are you spending hours in the gym and not seeing any results? Do busy days at home, work, or school find you constantly putting exercise on the back burner? Whether your goal is fat loss, strength, or just living a healthier lifestyle, committing to being active everyday is the first step to helping your body adapt and change. Below are a few of my favorite fat burning, strength building workout routines that you can tackle at home or the gym. All can be completed in less than 30 minutes and are accessible to athletes of all skill levels. For those of you that are just starting an exercise program, walking for 30 minutes should be your baseline goal to achieve daily. To supplement this activity, start throwing the below routines into the mix at least 1-2 times per week. Most require little to no equipment other than your bodyweight. If you don't have a stopwatch/wristwatch for a timer, there's two smartphone apps I'd recommend...UltraTimer (iPhone) and HIIT Interval Timer (Android). Important - always precede these workouts with a light 5-minute warmup to avoid injury as working out on stiff muscles can cause strain on tissues and joints. A few examples of warmup exercises: yoga (flow/non-static), jumping jacks, mountain climbers, jogging, jump rope, rowing, squat jumps, and pushups. Aim for movement patterns similar to those in your workout that will increase your heart rate and get blood flowing to active muscles.
-Brisk walking on the treadmill (incline) - set the incline between 8-10% and walk at a brisk pace between 3 - 4 mph for 30 minutes. Hands off the crossbar!
-LSD - is an acronym for Long Slow Distance and mainly applies to endurance sports...running, biking, rowing, and swimming. These types of workouts are very accessible to beginners and will improve your cardiovascular health with the added benefit of burning calories. Set a timer for 30 minutes and go at about 60-70% of your max (sprint) effort. If this seems daunting, start slow in your progression...ie. jog, swim, or bike at an easy pace and gradually increase your speed over subsequent sessions. If you get tight, cramp up, or feel lightheaded, take a short rest, catch your breath, drink some water, and continue.
-Jump Rope - if you're looking for one of the most effective calorie burns this is your exercise. Do as many reps as you can in a 30 minute period. If you're new to these, try breaking them up into 1 minute on, 1 minute off, and work your way up to 2 minutes on, 1 minute off, etc. I'll warn you that there's a steep learning curve to these but once you practice for 2-3 sessions you'll slowly begin to notice your form improve and they'll become substantially easier. Remember to stay on your toes, knees slightly bent. A scaled variation of this exercise is "standing hops" - or jumping without the rope.
-Tabata intervals - if you've been a client of mine for more than a month you've probably come to dread this phrase. 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds...running clock. Go as hard and fast as you can on round one (being mindful of good form) and try to match that number on proceeding rounds. For example, if pushups are your first exercise, complete as many reps as you can in 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then go again for another 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and so on. Your goal is to match the number of repetitions you completed in round one. You'll repeat this cycle for 8 rounds of one exercise then move on to another exercise. Pick any four exercises. A few examples...pushups, squats, squat jumps, lunges, pull ups (bar required), rowing, situps, running, planks, hip raises, burpees. Start with one exercise, do 8 rounds (20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest), take a short rest (less than a minute) then move onto the next exercise.
-Repetition based intervals - similar to the exercises listed in the Tabata workout except this is a rep based workout instead of a timed one...pushups, squats, squat jumps, lunges, pull ups, situps, planks, hip raises, burpees are a few examples. There's some additional ones listed above. Pick 3-4 exercises and work your way down a repetition based ladder. An example would be 30-20-10... ie. 30 squat jumps, 30 push ups, 30 situps, 20 squat jumps, 20 push ups, 20 situps, etc., cycling through till on your last set you hit 10 reps of everything. These can be structured any way you like...100-80-60-40-20, 50-40-30-20-10, etc. Try to shoot for no more than 15-20 minutes of continuous movement.
-Sprint intervals - cue the Rocky III beach montage. While this workout is more intense than the others, it's also the shortest and most effective for metabolism boost/fat burn. This can be done at the beach, on a track, or a straight walking path/road. If you have a timer on your phone with headphones or a stopwatch, sprint for 15 seconds (lean forward and stay on your toes) then rest for 45 seconds. Repeat this cycle for 10-12 rounds. If you don't have a timer take 33 giant walking steps and mark a start/stop point roughly 100 meters apart. Thanks RFS .
- 5 x 5 - For those of you that are trying to get stronger (or just detest doing cardio) and have access to a gym with freeweight equipment, download the free app for your phone called "Stronglifts 5 x 5". This will give you a solid strength foundation on the 5 biggest lifts - bench, shoulder press, bent over rows, squats, and deadlifts. The app will help you track your progress and even has a built in timer for rest periods. You start very light (using just the bar) to focus on form and add roughly 5 lbs each week. Remember...lifting weights builds muscle, muscle burns fat.