Got 20 minutes? If you do, then this lunchtime workout is perfect for you. We've created this simple circuit that you should do during your hour lunch right before eating.
We recommend that you do this right before lunchtime (or any meal really) because you will be in a fasted state and your body will be forced to burn fat instead of muscle or energy that would have been sourced from food. Studies show that women who exercise in a fasted state use more stored fat than muscle.
Be sure to plan your meal beforehand, so you don't go into Monster Mayhem and devour an entire jar of peanut butter. After this workout, it would be smart to eat a balanced carb-protein-fat meal. Aim for 25-30 grams of protein and solid complex carbohydrate. A peanut butter sandwich and celery sticks wouldn't be bad. Or a protein smoothie (may we suggest a peanut butter banana smoothie).
If you are doing this before breakfast, maybe you will eat a spinach omelet, or a blueberry banana spinach smoothie. No matter what, make it a smart choice.
Okay, enough talking! Here's your workout:
Five minute walk up stairs or around the block.
100 Jumping Jacks
100 Mountain Climbers
5 Minutes of Jumping Rope
5 Minutes of Running up stairs (or around the block if you don't have stairs)
Five minute walk to cool down
Get ready to build firm abs and glutes with this fat-blasting abs and butt workout. We tried it and it was great, but be prepared because you will be sore the next day. Super sore. Definitely do this workout on the day before a rest day!
Take your Monday to the next level with this quick and killer circuit. The circuit is designed to target all major muscles. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds. Repeat the circuit 4 times. Do this every Monday for a month and tell us how it went!
What Is Tabata?
What a weird word, right? Well, this training style is named after the person who created it. No big deal. The training style is touted for its exceptional fat loss and muscle gaining abilities...if performed correctly.
Here's a little history:
Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata conducted an experiment that examined two groups of athletes. Group one performed moderate-intensity exercise for 5 days per week for one hour each session. Group two performed high-intensity exercise 4 times per week for four minutes and twenty seconds.
Guess what happened?
Group 1 improved their aerobic system with little change to their anaerobic system.
Group 2 improved their aerobic system well over group 1. AND, they improved their anaerobic system by nearly 30%.
What does that mean? Not only did Group 2 vastly enhance their cardiovascular system, but they improved muscle mass. The study demonstrated that short, high-intensity workouts are more productive than steady state cardio. BOOM!
Why are we running or jogging or anything for hours at a time when we could be sprinting for four minutes and get better results? No idea, but maybe it's time to stop, yeah? Tabata training is difficult and that is why less people engage in tabata training. It tests your limits. It goes one step further than HIIT because it flips the rest-work times. In a tabata workout, you dedicate more time to the high intensity and less time to the recovery.
We should point out that Tabata's original study had the participants working at 170% of their VO2 Max, which for a "normal" athlete is damn near impossible. But that doesn't mean you can't get results from this protocol.
Here we are going to cover a few ways to incorporate tabata into your week, and maybe you will find yourself dropping the chronic cardio in favor of these short workouts. After all, who doesn't want more time to do other things?
We've said it before and we'll say it again, "Walking is an excellent form of active movement." Why are we always promoting walking as your main form of movement? Well, walking improves your mental and physical health, and hey, we all need some calm energy in our lives.
But really, walking is more than just exercise. And it's more than just a mental pick-me-up. Walking is perfect for losing weight, maintaining weight, and building strong legs (and core!). You've probably read our nutritionist's post post on maintaining a healthy pregnancy and learned that she did nothing but walk throughout her pregnancy...and hey her four-pack showed after just weeks of giving birth.
Even if you aren't looking for your abs, walking will help you shed unwanted, unhealthy stores of adipose tissue. But you are going to have to do more than just walk around Target. Walking for fitness combines periods of moderate lingering with a "I'm gonna pee my pants" pace. Seriously. You need to walk as if you are going to soak your pants if you don't find a bathroom. Never had to pee that badly before? Then pretend that Ben & Jerry's is giving away calorie-free ice cream, but there's only 10 pints left.
Here is smart way to incorporate this style of walking into your day:
Consider doing every day in the morning on your way to work, if you can walk. Otherwise, make it an after-dinner affair.
You read that title right. This is an "all-day" workout. This workout is designed for folks who are busy sitting at a desk all day, or at home and only have a few minutes to spare every now and again. You aren't really working out all day.
The idea is to perform a strength training or cardio-style exercise every hour. By doing so, you are keeping fit, building muscle, and giving your body the movement that it needs. Remember, our bodies were not designed to be sitting in a chair all day.
For every 1 hour that you sit, you need to take 5-10 minutes to workout or move around. Below, you will find a few ideas on how to accomplish this workout:
Of course, you can do this multiple ways with multiple exercises. The goal is to keep your metabolism burning, giving it a jump start every hour. You will be amazed at how fit you begin to look if you add this into your day. These exercises are not meant to be done to exhaustion. You don't even need to get sweaty. I recommend doing the all-day workout every single day you have to be sedentary.
I've told you before in my other posts that my main form of cardiovascular exercise is walking. I'm thirty years old and I am in excellent shape. Oftentimes I am asked by others how many miles do I run each week, and every time they are surprised to find out that I an not a steady-state runner.
I am an advocate for walking. Walking slowly. Walking quickly. Walking up the stairs to my fifteenth-floor apartment. Walking to the zoo instead of taking the bus. I walk.
A few years ago I discovered that my running was linked to chronic inflammation within my body. I was running 4 times per week with lifting scattered throughout the week too. I was experiencing red skin rashes, constant fatigue, and severe crankiness. That's an understatement-- I was a downright asshole. I even felt a little depressed. After meeting with several doctors who didn't have any information, I sought the advice of a naturopathic doctor.
She asked me what level of exercise I was doing. I explained. And she explained that my running "habit" may be the underlying cause of my symptoms.
She advised that I switch to walking. I was baffled. How was I supposed to stay healthy with just walking? At the time, I was already a walker...I always have been. But, I didn't realize that it could be my main source for fitness.
I dropped the running and swapped in five miles of walking every day. Fast forward now and I am still doing that. I haven't lost muscle...in fact, I'd say that I've built more muscle and lost more body fat.
Some days I walk 8-10 miles. Other days I don't count, but we end up walking through the city all day (6-8 hours) with little stopping.
Walking is incredibly beneficial for your health and I would recommend trying a walking routine if you have been a runner for many years. You may find that you feel better. You may find that you lose unwanted fat. And hell, you may feel more relaxed. I know I do.
I will let you know that I do add in a four-minute sprint session once per week and do strength training 3-4 times per week. But I am gym-free. I rely on body weight. But this post isn't about that; it's about the benefits of walking.
Here are the main benefits of walking:
Like I said, I walk five miles per day. Depending on your fitness level, that is somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 hours per day. I would encourage you to buy a pedometer OR just focus on staying in motion throughout the day. I know that it can be hard to do if you work in an office, but there are ways to sneak it in.
You could include "walk breaks" into your schedule. For every hour that you are sedentary, you take 15 minutes to walk. In a ten-hour span that builds to two hours of walking.
You could wake up an hour earlier and take an hour-long, brisk walk. If you really want to rev up the fat loss, then don't eat before you. Drink some water and power through it. Studies show that walking in a "fasting" state triggers your body to burn fat stores.
All right, that's all for now!
I don't know about you, but I'm a big fan of workouts I can do anywhere. The gym has never felt "real" to me. I prefer to be out in the world. I want to feel the wind and jump up and down from real logs, not manufactured boxes...sometimes I just gotta be in the world. And hey, sometimes, I just don't want to go to the gym.
Because of this need for nature and aversion to the gym, I stick to a lot of circuit strength training workouts. Relying on body weight and being in tune with my body has helped me build better muscle and lose body fat where it isn't needed (hello tummy, I'm talkin' to you!). I designed this workout after having my baby and it really helped me pull everything back together. But whether you just had a baby or have never had a baby, this circuit workout will strengthen the whole body.
I recommend performing this circuit daily or every other day. This workout is perfect for those worried about chronic inflammation or other body issues. You can perform these circuits in conjunction with one day of sprints to see similar result to somebody training for an endurance race. I know this because I am living proof. I look like I run every day, but I don't. Not any more. I find that moving a lot at a slow pace keeps me healthier. I've built this circuit into a handy, printable calendar that includes suggested cardio after the "Read More" break.
Pregnancy can take a toll on the body, even if you did maintain workouts and healthy eating throughout the ten months. My 12-week postpartum training program will help you get back into shape after you’ve allowed yourself time to recover. I would recommend starting this program as soon as you feel strong enough, whether that is two, four, six or twelve weeks after you’ve given birth. And ladies who didn’t just have a baby, but want to regain their post-baby body years after having children can start this workout immediately.
The program is split up into three phases.
Phase one focuses on your core and overall fitness through a series of circuit workouts. I am a big fan of circuit training because you can burn energy and accomplish more in less time, which we all know is a must with a newborn in the house.
Phase two eases you into strength training with upper, lower, and total body workouts combined with cardio.
Phase three is heavily focused on lifting to help you build muscle.
You will notice that in all phases, I did not include steady-state cardio such as running. I want you to focus on walk and rebuilding your core. Eventually, you will add in one day of sprints, but that's it. I have found that my clients burn more fat and avoid overtraining by doing sprints once a week in combination with strength training and walking. You may actually find that you don't need to engage in RUNNING every other day to be strong. In fact, I found that when I reduced my running to walking and added once-per-week sprints, I got leaner.
NOTE: For all of you newly-born mothers, be sure that you have evaluated your abdominal muscles for diastasis recti. Your main focus should be on regaining that core strength. You can begin walking and working on your core days after giving birth if you feel good. Don’t let anybody tell you that it is unsafe. It isn’t. Just keep in touch with your body. If you feel tired or you begin to bleed more than normal, slow down, sit down, and wait until tomorrow. I would also recommend that you do “Phase One, Week One” for an entire month before you begin the scheduled program. It will help you regain core strength without overexerting yourself.
I have outlined the program in an easy-to-print, downloadable format. Each phase lists the workouts that you’ll be performing followed by the weekly schedules. At the end of this document, I have created a workout log sheet that you can use for each workout Simply print it out, place it one of those nifty plastic sheet covers and use a dry-erase marker to track your workout. Saves paper and helps the environment.
Perform 4 sets of 12 reps for each exercise:
If you forgot to get up this morning or just don't have time after to work to get a full workout in, the may we suggest you focus on those triceps? Triceps can be hard to maintain, and they can be even harder to tone up...so don't be sad that you can't get everything done...just get those arms moving!
The exercises included in this post should be performed at 3 sets for roughly 12-15 reps.
Akin to running stair, jumping rope is an excellent for of cardiovascular exercise that shows the benefits much quicker than running or walking (at least we think so!). The best part about incorporating jump rope into your routine is that isn't take much money or space.
Jumping rope uses all of your muscles and help you build a super duper strong core. If you haven't done a jump rope workout before, we suggest that you add in one-minute intervals to your current cardio routine before taking on a full 15 minutes of it! It's going to burn.
Ready to ramp up your fitness routine? This 12-week program will ramp up your heart rate, increase your endurance and build muscles in places that you didn't know muscles existed.
The routine uses a jump rope, dumbbells and a medicine ball. More importantly, this routine involves circuits. Circuit workouts help avoid fatigue, but they also prevent your body from anticipating the next move.
As always, a free download of the workout is available! It will be a lot simpler to print this one out.
In a workout rut? Or perhaps you've hit the dreaded plateau? Either way, you will love this workout. It challenges you by pushing beyond your comfort zone and embrace your true strengths. The workout program is built to span the entire week, but feel free to take a rest day if needed.
This workout requires dumbbells and good running shoes. For parents with small children, you can pop your child into a jogging stroller and complete the cardio sessions with ease.
Have you always wanted to learn how to run, but didn't know where to start? Our 4-week running jumpstart routine will give you the basic needed to run. Running takes skills. A few of those skills include breathing properly, and holding proper form. After you master those, and get used to running on a regular basis, you will find yourself in love with a new form of cardio.
The key to breathing while running is breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. If you do all mouth breathing, you are going to feel exhausted, and quickly. Of course, some runners prefer to inhale and exhale solely through the mouth, but we have found that this increases dehydration. Whatever you choose, stick with it. If breathing through your nose feels like a chore, then switch to mouth-only, but be sure to keep extra fluids on hand.
Once you have found a breathing method that works for you, you need to learn to pace your breathing. A steady INHALE 3, EXHALE 3-6 counts is common, but again, nobody breaths the same way.
To learn breathing control, take a one-minute walk, focusing on your breathing pattern (it should be deep and regular). Pick up the pace to a fast walk and try to keep the same breathing pattern. Next jog and then run. Each time, keep your mind on breathing at the same rate that you started with.
Our fitness expert says that she is constantly listening to her breathing pattern. In fact, she doesn't listen to music or anything because her main focus is internal. Try running without music for at least the first few weeks of running before adding in music, if you must.
Improper form is the main cause of running injuries. Even the best runners struggle with form. Here are a key tips to maintaining proper running form:
Now that we have discussed breathing and form, click on to get the 4-week running program.
Sometimes you have to sweat to really feel the workout. And sometimes, you don’t have time to complete an entire workout. What do you do?
You split it up throughout the day. This workout is designed so you can either complete it in one go, or split it up throughout the day. All you need for this workout out is a nice pair of shoes and a pair of dumbbells.
Repeat the workout for 4-6 weeks, or keep it up for longer being sure to increase your weight load every few weeks.
If you’re a parent or somebody who just doesn’t have the time (or money?) to go to the gym, then this workout will be your lifesaver. It will also remove all excuses you may have to avoid working out.
The workout was designed for non-gym goers. The seven-day workout can be repeated for as long as you desire. We suggest that you keep it up for at least 12 weeks before you alternate to a different routine. Routine alternation is key to avoiding plateau and boredom.
You will need a set of weights (5-10 pounds), a resistance band, or a few heavy objects. One of our mothers used their infant on some of the exercises!
Of course, you could do the exercises that require weights without them and you will tone your muscles, but you won’t see an extensive muscle gain. We had two women try this workout, one with weights and the other without weights, and both saw an increase in muscle tone.
Read on to get the workout. Free download available!
Want to know a secret for staying fit? Running (or walking) the stairs. Living in the city has its advantages. It also has the ability to make you a little lazy. The escalators. The public transportation. The elevators. My building has two elevators and being the 15th floor, I use the "up" machine daily.
To counteract the potential to be lazy, I made a pact to take active forms of "transportation" whenever possible. I found that adding stairs to every day positively impacted my muscle tone ALL OVER. Not even kidding. I have been a runner for my entire life, and I love running, but I think I found a new love: stairs. Running stairs. Walking stairs. Dancing up the stairs. Incorporating stairs into my daily routine gave me muscle and leaned my "hiking" thighs...which I love/hate.
After seeing the results, I did what I do best, research the physiological benefits of running stairs. Guess what? Evidence shows that men and women who run at least four flights of stairs each day could lose nearly a dress size in one year. And that is without doing anything else. The workouts that I added below, incorporate more than four flights and add strength into the circuits. I didn't stop running or lifting, rather I added this to my daily routine to get the best results.
Maybe you're tired of your current workout, or you got a late start on that New Years Resolution that everybody else has been bragging about. Either way, we have the perfect muscle toning, fat blasting workout for you. Combine cardio with a variety of strength training exercises, and you have got yourself ready to feel better from the inside out, at least eventually...after the burning sensation subsides that is.
This workout is designed for men and women who are already in decent shape. If you've never ran a mile or picked up a weight, we'd suggest you ease into it by doing walk-run combos. Or, you can get on board with the rest of our gang and gt your copy of The Well Balanced Body today.
Sites We Love
The Baker Chick
The Candida Diet
Super Healthy Kids
Wake Up World
No Meat Athlete
American Nutrition Assoc.
Lean it Up
Muscle and Fitness