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MINUTES TO THIN IT

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MINUTES TO THIN IT by Allyson Marrs


You'll pay—pay in sweat.

The most effective workouts are those that leave you dripping. If you still look good by the end of it, you didn't do it right. Pink cheeks? Sweat dripping down your chin? Wild hair? Perfection. When it comes to burning calories and toning up, you need to work to the point of fatigue (not sickness), and different workouts have different levels of effectiveness.

It's common to want quick results, but losing weight and building muscle will take time. However, that doesn't mean your daily workout has to eat two hours out of your day, every day. If you're strapped for time, it's best to fit something in, rather than nothing at all. You can do some real work in a matter of 20 minutes, as long as you maintain an intensity level that keeps your heart rate elevated and your forehead sweating.

Execution is everything, and if you want to see results, you're going to have to make those minutes count.

One Day at a Time
The best way to make something really stick is to switch it up a bit. You need to keep your body guessing, so when starting with a new workout plan, think of it as a whole, over the course of a week. From there, you can do a daily routine. If you're new to working out consistently, give yourself one day to recover, opting for a walk instead. Variety isn't only the spice of life; it's the main ingredient in slimming down.

MONDAY
Start the week by getting your heart rate up; it's a key element when trying to lose weight, or maintain your fitness level, so doing activities that will keep that number in the ideal zone is important.

• 20 body-weight squats
• 10 pushups
• One minute of jumping rope or jumping jacks
• 20 slow bicycles 

Repeat five times.

"Incorporate your entire body during the workout, and focus on the major muscle groups, such as legs, chest, back and core. Think of it as four basic movements: squat, hinge, push and pull. These movements will provide you with the greatest strength gain and energy expenditure for your health and fitness."
—Bellevue Club Personal Trainer Karrie Dutton

TUESDAY
Dive into day two with an even bigger challenge. Your body is prepped from the day before—maybe a little sore—and a circuit will require more effort, which means more sweat and more calories burned.

You have to challenge your body each day; otherwise, it'll begin to memorize the same ol' routine and not work as hard. Adding in a circuit keeps you breathing hard while your body works even harder.

Some equipment may be required.

Circuit No. 1
(30 seconds on each exercise)
• Squat
• Pushup 
• Inverted Row
• Plank 
• Jump Rope

Circuit No. 2
(30 seconds on each exercise)
• Dead Lift
• Overhead Press
• Chin Up
• Squat Jumps
• Mountain Climbers

Execute each circuit twice, with no more than 30-second rest periods.

"You'll hit your entire body and feel great!"
—Bellevue Club Personal Trainer Tyler Greer

WEDNESDAY
It's the middle of the week—perfect time to focus on your core and your legs—your stabilizers! Focusing on different muscle groups throughout the week is one way to surprise your body and devote necessary time to each section.

Designating days also helps ensure that each group receives some special attention.
If you're a skier or a snowboarder, this routine will be especially beneficial. Trainer Christin Tercek recommends these exercises:

Use a chair or bathtub as needed.

• Alternating forward lunges
• Triceps dips on chair or bathtub edge. Keep your chest lifted tall. Your hand width should be width of hips. Don't shrug your shoulders.
• Single-leg squats. With your free leg extended forward, sit down on a chair and stand back up. Always make sure your hips are reaching back and that your knee is not in front of your toes. Keep your weight in your heel.
• Seated Russian twists. Sitting with knees tucked up, lean your body back at a 45-degree angle. Hold your hands out in front, and twist left to right.
• Bicycle

Perform each exercise for one minute, two to three times in a circuit format. Allow for 15 seconds of recovery.

THURSDAY
At this point in the week, your legs may be a little sore. So give them a break and focus on your abs—with some help from your arms.

The ultimate ab workout is about building strength and relying on your core. As usual, the best resistance is your own body weight.

• Plank Knee Twist. Start in plank position, drawing your abs in tight. Starting with your right knee, bend it across your body, toward your left elbow, allowing your hips to twist. Repeat with left leg. Repeat with both legs 10 times.
• Single-leg Dip. Start seated, knees bent and your feet flat. Place your hands just behind your hips, and lift your hips up off the floor, pressing down. Lift your right leg and extend it towards the ceiling. Bend your elbows and lower yourself to just above the floor. Press back up. Repeat 10 times with each leg.
• Hovering Situp. Lift both your feet off the ground and put your hands behind your head. Lean back, extending legs, and crunch back up, making sure your shoulders and legs never touch the ground. Repeat 10 times.
• Circle Crunch. Stay in your seated position, leaning back on your forearms and lifting your legs, knees bent. Maintain a 90-degree angle, and trace a circle with your legs from right to left. Don't let the motion do the work; focus on your core. Make five circles to the right and five to the left for one set. Repeat once.

Cycle through the routine two to three times, or until your muscles are fatigued.

FRIDAY
You've been gradually moving up the body as the week progresses, and you've reached the arms. You may not want a pair of guns, but toned arms can go a long way when it comes to strength. Whether you have extra flab, or you're skin and bones, these python exercises will make you ache.

Hand weights recommended.

• Monkey Arms. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold weights in each hand and raise up along your sides, bringing them to your armpits. Your elbows should be pointed out. From there, extend your arms out, palms down and parallel to the ground. Reverse motion and repeat for two sets of 20.
• Pompom Circle. Standing in the same position, hold your arms slightly out to the sides in an upside-down V. Extend arms over your head, making five small circles with each hand on the way up, until you form a V. Reverse circles on way down, and repeat for two sets of 10.
• Oblique/Triceps Push. Lie down on your right side, and hug your rib cage with right arm, placing left hand on the floor below right shoulder. Bend your bottom leg at the knee, and lift top leg to hip level, pointing toes. Press through your left palm to lift upper body off floor until arm is extended. Simultaneously lift top leg. Lower and repeat for two sets of 20.

Cycle through the routine two to three times, or until your muscles are fatigued.

SATURDAY
Give it one last push on Saturday by cycling through any two of the circuits performed earlier in the week. Your best bet is to pick one from Monday or Tuesday—where your whole body got the shakedown—and combine it with a zone-specific routine. Choose the workout that was most challenging because that will be the most beneficial.

Exert as much effort as you can muster. Tomorrow, you will get a little break, so really make it count while you can. If you're still restricted by those precious 20 minutes, pick and choose exercises from the various workouts and create your own.

SUNDAY
Take a breather and go on a 30-minute walk. You earned it!

 At the end of the day, fitness should be fun. Yes, it should be work. Yes, it should be challenging, but it should also be something you can enjoy. Most experts recommend fitting in some form of exercise each day, saying it's almost as essential as breathing. If nothing else, crunch those abs, jump those jacks and curl those biceps real quick before bed. Just think of it as a fresh breath of air.


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