Stuck. Fed up. Bored stiff. For every way we express our mind-numbing exercise frustrations, there’s a totally simple way to break past it, says exercise physiologist Amy Dixon. Make gym time fun time with these energizing tips and bust out of your workout rut.
1. The most important part of getting fit is to stop making excuses not to, Dixon says. We all are crunched for time, sore, and just looking for an excuse to stay in our jammies.
But no excuse is good enough for you not to take care of your health. Start taking a “no-ifs,-ands,-or-buts-about-it” attitude toward fitness.
The ‘I’m Too Busy to Work Out’ Workout
Too busy to burn calories? Try this once-a-week 20-minute workout routine that will preserve stamina and build muscle in no time
he Best of Less
Do one set of 10 to 12 reps of each move once a week with 3- to 8-pound dumbbells. Between exercises, hop on a stationary bike or run in place at a moderate intensity for 2 1/2 minutes.
Then begin the next exercise without resting. Repeat the strength-cardio sequence throughout the fitness workout. You’ll be done in less than 20 minutes.
Grab a dumbbell in each hand and let your arms hang at your sides, palms facing in. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend forward while extending your left leg straight behind you until your body forms a “T.” Let your arms hang straight down, palms facing each other. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and bring your elbows toward the ceiling. Do five or six reps, then switch legs and repeat. That’s one set.
Keep neck in line with spine.
Keep shoulders down and elbows close to your body as you row.
Draw your navel toward your spine and contract your abs for balance.
Pretend you’re squeezing a tennis ball between your shoulder blades as you pull the weights toward your chest.
Tighten your glutes to take pressure off your back.
Keep hips square to the floor. Avoid raising the hip of your lifted leg.
Grab a dumbbell in each hand and rest your midback on an exercise ball (A). Contract your abs and curl your head, shoulders, and torso off the ball. Then, extend your right arm across your body while twisting slightly to the left (B). Immediately lower the weight and repeat with the left arm while twisting slightly to the right. That’s one rep. Return to start and repeat.
Grab a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet hip- to shoulder-width apart. With your palms facing your thighs, bend your knees and drop your butt back as though sitting in a chair (A). Push back to start, bending your elbows and curling the weights to your chest (B). As you reach the standing position, immediately press the weights overhead (C). Lower the weights to your sides and repeat.
Assume a pushup position with your hands directly beneath your shoulders on a low step and feet on the floor (A). Simultaneously raise your right arm to ear level and lift your left foot to hip height, pointing your toes and keeping your arms and legs straight (B). Return to start, then repeat with your left arm and right foot. That’s one rep.
Grab a dumbbell with your left hand and stand with your feet hip-distance apart (A). Take a giant step back with your left leg, crossing it behind your right. Bend your knees and lower your hips until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. At the same time, raise your left arm straight out in front of you to shoulder height (B). Return to the starting position. Complete a full set, then switch sides.
Grab a dumbbell in each hand and let your arms hang naturally at your sides, palms forward. Stand in a wide straddle stance with toes pointed out (A). Squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your knees should not travel past your toes, and your butt should not dip lower than your knees. As you squat, bend your elbows and curl the weights toward your shoulders (B). Return to start and repeat.
Assume a pushup position with your feet on a low step and your hands on the floor directly beneath your shoulders (A). Bend your elbows and lower your chest until your upper arms are parallel to the floor (B). Press back to start. Make it easier: Start with your knees on the floor.
Grab a dumbbell in each hand and keep your arms at your sides. Stand in a lunge position with your right foot forward and both knees bent so your left knee grazes the floor (A). Straighten your right leg and extend and lift your left foot off the floor, pointing your toes (B). Press back to start, keeping your back leg extended and allowing only your toes to touch the floor. Complete a set, then switch sides.
Lie face up on the floor, with feet raised, knees bent and calves parallel to the floor. Place your hands loosely behind your head. Pull your navel to your spine and contract your abs to bring your head and shoulders off the floor. Twist your right shoulder toward your left knee, straightening your right leg (extend your right arm to the outside of the knee for a bonus challenge). Return to start and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.
Works biceps, shoulders, and upper back
Grab a 3- to 8-pound dumbbell in each hand. Keep your arms at your sides, palms facing back. Bend forward at the hips (A). Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the dumbbells to either side of your ribs (B), then lower them to start.