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Get the Biggest Bang for your Workout Minutes, Even if You Only Have a Few

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions that people strive to stick to each year is to exercise more. It’s also the one that most people tend to give up on before January is even over, often saying, “I just don’t have enough time.” The truth is, you have time for anything that you make a priority. Our lives are super busy with work, school, kids, etc., but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find at least a few minutes each day to focus on improving your fitness level. After all, any of exercise is better than nothing.

forearm plank

Here’s a list of the best bang for your buck in the amount of time that you have to exercise:

Got 4 minutes?

Try a Tabata workout. The idea behind the Tabata method is to work at your maximum level for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This pattern is repeated continuously eight times for a total of four minutes of training. If you’re doing more than one Tababta drill, take one minute to rest between exercises. I would recommend doing a total of no more than six sets total, since you’ll be working at such a high level of intensity. If you only have time for one Tabata, consider doing an exercise like burpees, which is more demanding and works muscles throughout the entire body.

 

Got 9 minutes?

Fire up your core with this plank circuit that strengthens the abs and obliques. Start off by holding a forearm plank for one minute. Hold your body weight on your forearms and toes and think about keeping your body in a straight line. Brace your core and keep your butt down. Raising your hips at an angle makes the exercise much easier and takes the work out of the abdominals. For a little more of a challenge, slowly rock back and forth.

Next, shift your body weight to the right for a side plank. Resting on your right forearm with your feet stacked on top of each other. Raise your left hip and reach your left arm straight up, fingers pointed to the ceiling. Hold for one minute. For more challenge, raise your left leg to be parallel with your body and hold it there. After a minute, shift over to your left side and perform a side plank, holding it for one minute.

Repeat this circuit three times, taking a short break between sets as needed.

 

Got 15 minutes?

Try 15 minutes of a Roll the Dice workout. This workout is totally customizable and can be done anywhere with no equipment. You also get to make your own rules! With a 15 minute window to fit in your exercise session, use just one dice and choose six different exercises. For a cardio intensive workout, choose exercises like mountain climbers, alternating dynamic lunges, and vertical jumps.

Roll your dice and perform the exercise that corresponds with the number for thirty seconds. Keep rolling the dice and making your way through the exercises, taking short breaks as needed.

 

Got 20 minutes?

I love this 20 minute total body circuit created for Dr. Oz. The routine was designed by celebrity trainer Joel Harper to improve muscular strength and flexibility. The exercises are simple to perform and require no additional equipment. Photographs and descriptions are provided for each exercises, which is helpful for those that may be new to you.

Harper’s total body circuit alternates between lower and upper body, core, and stretching exercises. The circuit can easily be performed in your living room and is suitable for all levels of fitness.

 

Got 30 minutes?

Burn some major calories with a cycle express class. Most indoor cycling classes are between 45-60 minutes and alternate between higher and lower intensity intervals. A cycle express class lasts for thirty minutes and begins with a warm-up and ends with a cool-down, just like a traditional class. Between the warm-up and cool-down is a high intensity ride that will raise your heart rate and make you sweat.

If your gym doesn’t offer a cycle express class, don’t worry- you can do the workout on your own! Create a playlist with 30 minutes of songs that get you pumped and hop on a spin bike. Alternate between adding more tension to the flywheel (to simulate climbing) and loosening the tension and increasing your RPM. Doing so will keep your heart pumping for the entire ride—just be sure take short recovery breaks as needed.

Also Read:

Use High Intensity Interval Training to Blast Fat Fast

10 Tips to Sneak a Workout into Your Day

The Hottest Fitness Trends of 2013- and a Preview of 2014

January 30th, 2014

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