Whether you want to shed those excess pounds, turn your family pack into a six pack or are just looking for a more efficient workout, there are a million and one exercise routines out there, from the more spiritual Yoga and Tai Chi to the more aggressive Bootcamp and Crossfit to Thai Boxing and downright silly-looking new stylee Planking.
So how do you choose the best for you?
Well, that’s why we’re here – to do the research for you and deliver the three best, bite-sized routines that you can do whatever your fitness levels. But whichever you choose, remember the importance of warming up first – we don’t want you pulling hamstrings or worse, not being able to walk for two days because you’ve overdone your first routine, as that would be stupid (Hands up, I’ve done it!)
20-Minute HIT Workout
While adding any exercise to your day is a bonus, even steady walking – most of the sports science community is in agreement that elevating your heart rate for short, recurring bursts is the best way to burn fat. High Intensity Training (sometimes called HIIT- High Intensity Interval Training) is the perfect way to burn calories quickly, and comes with the added bonus of not needing to spend hours in the gym.
This simple but challenging High Intensity Training workout uses Metabolic Conditioning to maximize calorific burn and utilizes five easy-to-follow movements. Complete as many reps as possible during a 45-second interval, then rest for 15 seconds before repeating.
Push-ups: If you can’t do a full push-up rest your knees on the ground.
Bodyweight Squats: Remember to keep your feet in line, under your hips.
Butt Kicks: Walk or jog on the spot, then kick alternate heels up to touch your bottom.
Tricep dips: Place your hands on a low wall (or sturdy chair) with your back facing it. Straighten your legs and balance on your palms. Bending from your elbows, lower as far as you can, then press up to the original position.
Side Lunges: Step to the left in a deep lateral lunge, keeping your knee above your toes. Alternate legs. Easy!
After a couple of weeks of HIT, you’ll be able to hit that dancefloor like never before!
Weights and Cardio
Cardio or weights? Weights or cardio? The topic makes up a whopping 86.8% of male conversation in gyms across the USA. The question is unanswerable, but one school of thought suggests 1 + 1 can equal 3 by mixing up weight training with cardio for double the benefit.
This workout uses aerobics with weights before going for some quite high intensity cardio. The weights section is open to your own interpretation – use a weight you’re comfortable with, even a tiny 5kg if starting out, and you can use barbells, dumbbells or leap like a mad thing between the machines in your gym.
Tip of the day: Place your water bottle, towel and other sweaty-dripping items next to the machines to reserve them! Let’s get cracking.
Squat: 12 squats with a barbell weight of your choice held behind your head.
Shoulder Press: 12 shoulder presses with two similarly weighted dumbbells, or on the machine.
Lunge: 12 lunges with a barbell weight of your choice held behind your head.
Chest Press: 12 chest presses lying down with dumbbells (or on the machine or traditional press up)
Lat Pull Down: 12 lat pull downs on the lat machine (not really a machine, just a pully, pulley thing)
Then, rinse and repeat circuit for 3-4 sets with a one minute rest between sets before hitting the treadmill for 20 minutes of cardio! A brisk walk sounds easy, but just you wait!
This hike through the beautiful Californian sunshine (well, other people’s sweaty towels and water bottles) needs only a brisk walking pace of 5.5 – 6.0 km/hr. Where’s the burn in that?
Well – we’re going to bring the mountain to Mohammed because in this cardio workout, it’s the incline that makes you do the work. Mwu-ha-ha!
Minute 1: Incline 6. Easy!
Minute 2: Incline 8. What’s the problem?
Minute 3: Incline 10. I can hike this!
Minute 4: Incline 12. There’s the burn!
Minute 5: Incline 14. Aggggh. My glutes!
Repeat from the start four times. 1 set = 5 mins. 4 sets = 20 mins. Good luck!
So far, our workouts have focused on burning calories but what if like 98.2% of the population, you’re simply too busy for twelve reps of weights followed by an uphill mountain climb? Well, we love to mix things up with fresh and exciting routines and Tabata is going to be the next new thing in aerobic and anaerobic training.
Discovered by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata, Tabata needs only four minutes of high-intensity interval training consisting of 20 seconds of all-out effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times. You don’t need any specialised equipment (well, sometimes a skip rope) and you don’t even need to leave the house. Now that’s efficient!
Push-ups (4 minutes)
Bodyweight Squats (4 minutes)
Burpees (4 minutes)
Mountain Climbers (4 minutes)
Start with 20 seconds of high-intensity push-ups. Rest for 10 seconds,then go back to doing push-ups for 20 seconds. Once you complete eight sets of push-ups, rest for one full minute.
Next, move on to squats and repeat the sequence of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off.
Once you finish eight sets of squats, rest for one minute, and then do burpees.
After burpees, finish the workout with mountain climbers.
Whichever of our 3 Efficient Exercise Routines you choose, remember not to overdo it. The most important part of the phrase “exercise routine” is the ‘routine’ part – make it a daily thang or even just three or four days a week and you’ll be 82.6% more likely to attract a mate within a month!
Please note that while 96.4% of statistics are made up on the spot, we’ve fact-checked with The American Bureau of Statistics who concur that 100% of statistics in this post are science fact. That said, we’re still waiting to hear back from them on our 1+1 = 3 but in the meantime, go get ‘em, tiger!