Life gets busy and sometimes you don’t have an hour or more to head to the gym. Luckily, there are plenty of time efficient exercise routines that can help you stay healthy, even with your busy lifestyle. If you are looking to kickstart immediate weight loss, book a weight loss vacation or a one- or two-week program at a weight loss resort. However, if you want to get started at home, here are two simple, time efficient exercise routines that will lead to weight loss when practiced regularly over an extended period of time. Remember to wear a stopwatch to track your time.
Cardio and Weights in a Flash
Time required: 20 minutes
Materials needed: Floor mat, jump rope, 5- or 10-pound weights
A cardiovascular workout promotes healthy weight loss by increasing your heart rate and blood flow throughout your body. The aerobic nature of a cardio workout draws on fat supplies as a primary fuel source and also encourages your heart and lungs to use oxygen as a fuel source.
Stretch: 1 minute
Start by stretching your hamstrings (10 seconds each leg),then fold forward with a flat back (slowly count to 20) then slowly unfold back up to a standing position. Now you’re ready to begin your workout.
Air-bicycles: 6 minutes
Lay flat on your back with your hands on your hips. Lift your knees to your chest and circle your legs in a steady, non-stop motion, as if you are on an invisible upside-down bicycle. After completing one three-minute set, reverse your direction and complete another three-minute set.
Flies and Curls: 4 minutes
While remaining on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, lift your weights above your chest with your palms toward one another. Lower the weights down to your sides while bending your elbows to a 90-degree angle, with your weights always remaining skyward. Feel the stretch across your chest, then reverse the motion until you have lifted the weights above your chest again. Do three sets of 15.
Rise to a standing position with your feet firmly planted on the ground, shoulder-width apart. With one dumbbell in each hand, exhale while you bend your elbows and curl the weights up toward your chest. Twist your arms so when your weights reach shoulder-level, your palms are facing up. Pause for a moment, then reverse the motion to lower your weights to your starting position. Complete three sets of 15, taking a breather between each set.
Jump rope: 3 minutes
Grab your jump rope and begin skipping at a pace that is steady and comfortable for you. Continue skipping for three one-minute sets, increasing your pace slightly between each set. Lift your legs only as much as needed to maintain a steady pace.
Running: 6 minutes
Set your timer for three minutes and begin a run around the block at a brisk but maintainable pace. Once you have reached the three-minute mark, retrace your path to return home.
Body Weight Burn
Time required: 10 minutes
Materials needed: This routine doesn’t require any special equipment beyond your body weight and some open floor space.
These exercises tone your abs, thighs and arms, which are often the places on your body that will show visible weight loss after sustained training.
Stretch: 2 minutes
Bend slowly at the waist to touch your toes. Hold for thirty seconds. Stretch your hamstrings (10 seconds each leg), followed by a gentle twist at the waist to stretch the sides of your back. Spread your legs approximately three feet apart and reach overhead with alternating arms for a deep side stretch. Now you’re ready to begin.
Squats: 2 minutes
Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Keep your toes pointed forward. Relax your spine while you extend your arms straight out in front of you, palms facing down. Now push your hips backward while you sink down into a squatting position, as if you are sitting down into a chair. As you sink, bend your elbows so your hands reach a “prayer”-like position. Keep your chest lifted and stop your squat at the point where your elbows meet your knees. Keep your back straight while you lift with your thighs back into a standing position. Do as many reps as possible during four 30-second sets.
Lunges: 2 minutes
Begin with one leg extended in front of the other, as if you are stepping forward. Make sure that your feet are about three feet apart. Keep your shoulders back, your chest lifted and your abdominals tight while you drop your back knee straight down into the lunge position, until your knee nearly touches the floor. Make sure your weight is pressing into the heel of your front foot, in order to maintain balance and proper posture. To return to a standing position, simply straighten your back leg and rise. After you complete one set, switch so your other leg is in front. Repeat as many times as possible during two 30-second sets for each leg.
Sit-ups: 1-2 minutes
Lay down with a flat back, bent knees, and your feet planted firmly on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest, or behind your head. Use your abdominal muscles to curl your torso up into a sitting position. Be sure not to jerk your arms forward as a means of lifting your chest. Once you have reached a sitting position, relax your abs and release your torso back toward the floor. Keep your back slightly elevated off the floor (so you’re not laying completely flat) throughout the duration of your sit-ups. Do three sets of 10, stopping to take a 5-second breather between each set. Over time, you may work your way up to five sets of 10.
Push-ups: 1-2 minutes
Turn over so the front of your body is facing the floor. Start by extending your legs straight behind you, with your feet about 1 foot apart. Be sure to keep your back strong and straight so your hips don’t sink. Place your hands flat on the floor to the outer sides of your body, in line with your pectoral muscles. Stay on the tips of your toes. Clench your abs while using only your arm muscles to lower yourself to the floor. Make sure that your chest, not your hips, touches the floor first. Then press yourself back up to where you started. Start by doing one set of 10 and work your way up over time to 2-3 sets of 10.
The path to healthy weight loss can begin wherever you are, with whatever time you have available. Which time efficient exercise routines have worked for you? Share your suggestions below.