by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer
Warning: this style of workout is WAY different than anything you've ever tried before and may result in a dramatically leaner, stronger body so that your friends no longer recognize you in a matter of weeks!
Alright, I exaggerated about your friends recognizing you, but this workout is still great for busy people that always use the excuse that they don't have time to go to the gym, or even for the normal gym rat to try out for a few weeks to break out of a plateau.
Please keep an open-mind and don't worry so much about what other people think, because this is quite different and you may get some funny looks, but you'll get the last laugh with your new rock hard body! To be honest, most people are too self conscious to try something like this. If that's the case for you, then that's your loss.
Here's how it works:
Instead of doing your traditional workouts of going to the gym 3-4 times a week and doing your normal weight training and cardio routines for an hour at a shot, with this program, you will be working out for just a couple minutes at a time, several times throughout each day, 5 days/week.
The program will consist of only bodyweight exercises done for about 2-3 minutes, 6-8 times per day, throughout each day. Now obviously if you work a normal office job, you are going to have to not be shy about doing a few exercises in your office and having your cube-mates watch you. Actually, I've found that some people that have tried this have actually gotten their co-workers to join them!
If you have a private office, then you don't have to worry about anybody watching you. If you work from home, or are a stay at home mom, there's no reason you can't fit these in throughout the day while at home. If you end up having a busy day with meetings and so forth, and can only fit a couple of these 2-minute workouts in, then so be it, but try to get as many done each day as you can.
If you're on a normal 9-5 office schedule, I recommend doing your 2-minute workouts every hour, on the hour, with the exception of lunch. For example, you could try 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, and 4 pm.
Some of the exercises that are the best to focus on are:
- bodyweight squats (and variations)
- pushups (and variations)
- forward, reverse, or walking lunges
- up & down a staircase if one is available
- floor planks (holding plank position from forearms and feet)
- floor abs exercises such as lying leg thrusts, ab bicycles, etc.
- one-legged bodyweight Romanian deadlifts
This list is not fully comprehensive, but I wanted to keep it relatively simple. If you know other good bodyweight exercises, you can add those to your routine also. If you want to keep it real simple and don't want to get down on the floor for anything, you can stick to squats, lunges, and pushups and still get great results.
The good thing about these workouts is that you do enough in 2-3 minutes to get your blood pumping, heart rate up a bit, a large portion of your body's muscles worked, and body temperature raised. However, it's usually not enough to break a sweat in only 2 or 3 minutes, so you don't have to worry about sweating in the office or where ever you may be. At most, you might just get a little moist on the skin.
Here's an example routine (adjust the reps up or down based on your capabilities):
9 am - 10 pushups/15 bodyweight squats, repeat 1X for 2 sets
10 am - plank holds (hold the planks as long as you can taking short rest breaks for a total of 3 minutes)
11 am - 5 pushups/10 bodyweight squats, repeat for 4 sets
1 pm - plank holds (hold as long as possible in 3 minutes)
2 pm - 8 pushups/12 bodyweight squats, repeat for 3 sets
3 pm - plank holds (hold as long as possible in 3 minutes)
4 pm - max pushups/max bodyweight squats in one set (no repeat)
9 am - 6 fwd lunges each leg/6 rev lunges, repeat 1X for 2 sets
10 am - one legged bw Romanian deadlifts (RDL) 6 each leg/floor abs for 20 sec, repeat 1X for 2 sets
11 am - 3 fwd lunges each leg/3 rev lunges, repeat for 4 sets
1 pm - one legged bw RDL 3 each leg/floor abs for 20 sec, repeat for 4 sets
2 pm - 5 fwd lunges each leg/5 rev lunges, repeat for 3 sets
3 pm - one legged bw RDL 10 each leg/floor abs for 30 sec (no repeat)
4 pm - max fwd lunges each leg/max rev lunges in one set (no repeat)
In order to progress on these workouts, you could either add 1 or 2 reps to each set per week, or you could progress to more difficult versions of each exercise each week (for example, close grip pushups, one leg raised pushups, squats with arms raised straight over head, etc.).
The above routines are just a couple examples of how you can use this very unique style of training. Use your creativity and come up with your own. Think about what you've accomplished with these "mini" workouts completed throughout each day... You've increased your heart rate and pumped up your muscles 6-8 different times throughout each day, burning a lot of extra calories and stimulating your metabolism.
Even though each "mini" workout was a very short duration, you've accumulated lots of repetitions for almost every muscle throughout your entire body, and you didn't even have to break a sweat during any of the "mini" workouts. And there's hardly any excuse for not being able to take a 2-minute break once per hour and do a couple of exercises.
Another benefit of this style of training is that now you don't have to devote any time before or after work to going to the gym because you already got your workouts little by little throughout the day. You've now got some extra free time on your hands!
Try this type of routine out for 3-4 weeks and then go back to your normal gym routines. I think you'll find that it was a great way to break out of a plateau and stimulate new results in your body. You can try mixing in a cycle of these "mini" workouts every couple of months to keep things fresh.
Keep in mind that this is only one method of training and doesn't mean that you should only stick to this method for eternity. You will hit a plateau on any given training method, so I'd recommend just rotating it into your arsenal of various training methods. And by all means, don't worry so much about what other people think...have the courage to try something a little different. In the end, you'll be the one laughing back at all of the "blubber-bellies" that are giving you funny looks while they eat their donuts!
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Feel free to email this link on to any friends or coworkers that you think would like to try these types of unique daily workouts. Heck, try to get your coworkers to do these with you if you can!