Are you tired of paying for a gym membership and never going? I was.
The beginning of the year typically see high enrollment numbers from people looking to start losing weight and “getting into shape”.
With Thanksgiving and the Christmas and New Years parties over, people are looking to lose the 5-10 pounds they gained eating all that great food. I know I gained about 5 pounds.
But spending $100’s of dollars to join a gym isn’t needed to lose weight.
And besides, doesn’t it seem absurd that we’ll get in our cars to drive a few miles to the gym instead of walking there?
You don’t need fancy machines and weight to get into a smaller pair of jeans or a dress.
Make A Plan- Don’t Buy A Membership
What you need is about 20 minutes and a plan.
I’ve recently started putting together 20 minute work outs that push you to do your best, 1 minute at a time.
While doing warm-ups/exercises for the karate classes I teach, I’ve found that most of those that were coming regularly weren’t being pushed hard enough. They could do 10-20 of the exercise we were doing. The kids or newbies were struggling at times, but not those that had gotten used to the 20-30 exercises we seem to cycle through.
Challenge By Choice
The solution was to challenge each person to do their best for 60 seconds at a time. For some, doing 15 push-ups in a minute was tough. For others, they could do 60 push-ups in that same minute.
So what I came up with is a 4 exercise workout.
Pick an upper body, lower body, core, and cardio exercise.
Do it for 60 seconds and then rest for 40 seconds. Then move onto the next exercise, etc.
The key to meeting any goal is to track your progress.
Some days on your journey you will make a lot of progress. Other days, you will camp out where you are. Still on others, you might back track.
To help you track your progress, you can download and print out this 4 Exercise Challenge Sheet.
Pick Your Exercises and Get Started
Pick one exercise from each category.
Do your 1st exercise for 60 seconds and rest for 40 seconds. Record your results. Repeat this for your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th exercise. This completes the 1st round. Do a total of 3 rounds and you should have completed 20 minutes of exercise.
You can also do 5 rounds of 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off to get your 20 minutes in.
Do what works best for you. You might want to get a timer to help you. I personally use RoundTimer by Plain And Simple Software (affiliate link). You can also check out other round timers here (affiliate link).
Upper Body Exercises
1. Push ups: Place your hands shoulder-width apart. With your head up, back straight, and either on your knees or the balls of your feet bend your arms and push yourself back up. Make sure you keep your back straight and abs engaged.
2. Jab/cross: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Start with your left foot forward. Stand on the balls of your feet, with your knees slightly bent. Jab forward with your left hand, then cross over with your right. Do as many as possible in 30 seconds minute on your left and then switch to your right side for the rest of the round.
3. Tricep dips: Place your hands on a stair or between 2 sturdy chairs. With your feet straight out in front of you, dip down until your arms are at a 90 degree angle and then push back up. Make sure you keep your back and legs straight.
Lower Body Exercises
1. Squats: make sure to peel your toes back so that you are putting your weight on your heels and not leaning forward.
2. Calf raises: These can be done standing on the floor or for a more challenging work out, stand on a step, book, etc. While on the balls of your feet, push yourself up onto your tippy toes. Then let your feet come back down, but don’t touch the ground. If you are elevated on a step and want a bigger challenge, let your feet go passed the step.
3. Wall Sit: Image that you are sitting against a wall. Bring your back down a wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Keep your back straight against the wall. Also make sure your knees are directly above the ankles- you can do this by making sure your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle.
1. Leg raises: lay on your back. Keep your chin on your chest and lift your straight legs up to a 45 degree angle. Lower your straight legs back down, but do not let them touch the ground. You want to engage your abdominal muscles through the whole exercise.
2. Planks: Begin in full push-up position, making sure you are on the balls of your feet. Put your elbows, fore arms, and palms on the ground. Hold this position as long as you can, making sure your back is straight and your abs are tight.
3. Planks with Cross-Overs: For a bigger challenge, begin like a regular plank, but then pull your right knee toward your left elbow. Remember to keep your abs tight and back flat. Return to start and then bring your left knee to your right elbow. Brings each knee to the opposite side makes for a complete rep.
1. Jumping jacks: Start with your feet together. While jumping to move your feet to shoulder-width, bring your arms up in an arc and touch your hands over your head. While jumping again to bring your feet together, bring your hands back to your sides.
2. High knees: put your hands a little bit above your waist. Walk in place, bringing your knees up past your waist and into your hand. Bringing each leg up counts as 1 rep.
3. Mountain climbers: Begin in full push-up position, making sure you are on the balls of your feet. Bring your left knee to your left elbow and return to your starting position. Repeat with your right knee. Repeat as quickly as you can. Bringing each leg up counts as 1 rep.
Conclusion: Get Started
Just like that gym membership that people buy and don’t use, this simple 4 exercise challenge won’t get you into shape unless you do it.
Every 2 weeks or so, change it up so you don’t get bored.