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Save Time With the 'Minute Workout'

10/16/2015 08:01 EDT | Updated 10/16/2016 05:12 EDT
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A woman relaxing in her bedroom after exercise

My current favourite workout is the "Minute Workout." It is effective, but more important, it is both efficient and convenient. The Minute Workout provides an intense full-body workout in 20 to 45 minutes, and since you are not married to any particular pieces of equipment, you can do it anywhere. You have no excuse to skip your workout!

I always tell my clients that the more convenient your workout is, the better. You are way more likely to do the workout consistently if it is convenient. When it comes to achieving any health and wellness goal, consistency is key.

The Minute Workout

Start by warming up for five minutes.

Pick one:

A. Do five minutes on any cardio machine, skip rope, dance around or walk or jog outside.

OR

B. Do a 5/10/15/10/5 pyramid set of jumping jacks and mountain climbers. Start with five jumping jacks, followed by five mountain climbers on each leg. Then do 10 of each exercise. Then 15. Then 10 and finish with five of each.

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Mountain Climbers

Main set -- the minutes:

Details: Pick four strength exercises and two core exercises. Do one minute of each exercise, followed by one to three minutes of intense cardio. Aim to fit in as many good reps as possible for each strength exercise within the one-minute time frame. Rest for one minute. Repeat the cycle one-three more times.

How to pick your exercises

Make your first exercise a "push" exercise. Push exercises work your chest, shoulders and triceps. Try any variation of the push-up or bench press. If you are looking for something slightly more inventive try the "pec deck plank."

Pec deck plank: Grab two towels (or two gliders if your gym has them). If you are working out on carpet use two paper plates. Start in a plank position resting on your forearms and toes with one towel, glider or plate under each forearm. This is a very challenging exercise. I suggest starting on your knees.

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Maintain your plank as you slide your forearms out to the side. Maintain a 90 degree angle at your elbows. Use your chest to pull your arms back in. The movement should resemble the motion used on the pec deck machine at the gym.

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If you can maintain good form from your knees feel free to try the exercise from your toes.

Make your second minute a "pull" exercise. Pull exercises primarily work your back and biceps. Try bent over dumbbell rows, machine rows or pull-ups.

Make your third exercise some version of the squat. Use your own body weight, dumbbells or a barbell. For an extra challenge do squats while standing on a bosu.

Make your fourth exercise your "favourite" type of lunge. Try walking lunges, stationary lunges or bosu lunges. For some variety try a "glider burnout lunge."

Glider burnout lunge: Start standing with your right toes on a towel. If your gym has gliders, use one of those. If you are training on carpet use a paper plate.

Bend your left knee and slide your right leg behind you into a low lunge. Hold there. 2015-10-15-1444867864-7682688-lunge1.jpg

Without standing up simply slide your right knee in and out. Keep your left leg still. 2015-10-15-1444867990-9004938-lunge2.jpg

Don't bounce up and down. Try 30 seconds on each leg. If you really want to challenge yourself try a minute on each leg.

For your two core exercises try any variation of the front plank, side plank or V sit. If you decide to do a core exercise that involves flexing forward -- like a crunch -- make sure you make your second core exercise an extension exercise like the superman or superwoman. If you are sick of basic planks, try "plank and hooks."

Plank and hooks: Grab two towels (or two gliders if your gym has them). If you are working out on carpet use two paper plates.

Start in a plank position on your forearms and toes with one towel, glider or plate under each forearm. Keep your pelvis stable as you slide your right arm along the floor in an arc around your left arm, like you are trying to reproduce a boxer's jab. Move your right arm for 30 seconds. Then do 30 seconds moving the other arm.

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Do the cardio intervals on any cardio machine. If you're not at the gym, run up and down your household stairs, do burpies or high knees, skip rope or dance around.

Make sure you cool down and stretch before heading to the shower.

The main take-away is this: I don't just love the Minute Workout because it is intense; I recommend it because it is convenient. To achieve any health and fitness goal you need to be consistently active, and the more convenient the workout, the more likely you will do it consistently.

We all have enough reasons to skip a workout; don't make convenience one of them. Pick an activity that is convenient -- don't forget to consider location, timing and length. A workout doesn't have to be long or take place in a gym to be effective or intense.

Just commit to something realistic -- anything -- and do it!

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