Your new 20 minute workout – no gym required

by Nora Tobin

Black exercise lady

With the holidays just around the corner, traveling, parties, shopping, and other seasonal outings may start to take over your schedule, leaving little time for the gym. This does not mean your rockstar body (which you worked so hard for all year long) is going to vanish right before your eyes.

Your prevention plan: Change up your routine so you can get in a full-body workout in half the time—no gym needed.

This at-home cardio workout is an efficient way to burn off extra calories and keep your metabolism stoked through the holiday season. It also works wonders for your attitude and mindset. Instead of feeling guilty after splurging on the pumpkin bread, knowing that you’ve kept up with your workouts will help you feel satisfied and strong.

Try this cardio workout in the morning and you’ll be energized and empowered throughout your day.

How it works: Perform the 4-move warm-up, and then immediately move into the main circuit. Do each exercise as fast as possible for 1 minute, without resting between moves. After you finish the whole circuit, rest for 1 minute, and then repeat the main circuit (no warm-up) 2 more times, 3 if you have the time and energy. Finish off your fat-blasting session with the yoga cool-down.

Warm-Up: Reverse Lunges:

Take a big step back with your left foot. Bend both knees to lower into a lunge, making sure your right knee is above the ankle and does not go too far beyond your toes. Drive off the ball of your right big toe to return to standing. Repeat, this time stepping back with your right leg. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps total, keeping your chest up the whole time.

Warm-Up: Squats with Arms Overhead:

Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms up, palms facing each other. Bend both knees and shift your hips back as though you are sitting in a chair. Draw shoulder blades down and back. Use your glutes to return to standing. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps total.

Warm-Up: Bridges:

Lie faceup on the floor (mat optional) with your feet directly below your knees. Keep your hands by your sides and engage your glutes to lift your hips off the ground. Slowly lower back to the floor. Keep your neck and back relaxed as you use your glutes and hamstrings to lift up and down 10 times total.

Warm-Up: Plank with Shoulder Touches:

Come into a straight-arm plank position with hands directly under shoulders, forming a straight line from neck to feet. Without moving hips, touch right hand to left shoulder. Bring hand back underneath shoulder. Touch left hand to right shoulder. Repeat 10 times each side.

Main Set: Mountain Climbers:

Come into a straight-arm plank position with your hands directly below your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from neck to your ankles. Lift your right foot and drive your right knee up into the center of your body. Quickly switch legs, driving left knee up into the center of your body. Try to keep your hips level and your shoulders directly above your wrists. Do as many as possible for 1 minute.

Main Set: Burpees:

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Bend both knees, swing arms back, and drive off ground as high as possible. Land softly and immediately bend your knees, place hands on the floor in front of you, and jump your feet all the way back so you end up in a plank position. Lower your chest to perform a pushup. Jump both feet back in and stand. Immediately jump up to repeat. Continue to do as many reps as possible for 1 minute.

Main Set: Squat Jumps:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat (in preparation to leap). Explosively jump as high as you can. Land softly, and then immediately squat down to jump again. Imagine that you’re pushing the floor away from you as you leap. You can use your arms to help you jump higher. Do as many squat jumps as possible for 1 minute.

Main Set: Skier Jumps

Stand tall with your feet, ankles, and knees glued together. Jump from side to side as fast as possible, keeping your chest lifted and landing softly. The height of the jump does not matter. Focus on the speed. Do as many jumps as possible for 1 minute

Main Set: Pilates 100

Lie faceup with your knees and hips bent 90 degrees, hands by your side. Lift your head, shoulders, and upper back off the ground, and begin to pulse your arms, taking long, deep breaths (inhale for 10 counts, exhale for 10 counts). Your core should be engaged the entire time so that everything but your arms stays completely still. Continue taking deep breaths until you get to 100 arms pulses.

Cool-Down: Downward Dog

Come onto your hands and knees with hands directly below your shoulders and knees directly below hips. Spread your fingers wide and tuck your toes under. Inhale and lift your knees off the floor, pressing your hips up toward the ceiling. Draw your heels down to the floor or keep a slight bend in your knees. Press your hands firmly into the mat and draw your shoulder blades down. Keep the head between the arms (don’t let it hang). Take 5 deep breaths or as many as desired.

Cool-Down: Cat and Cow

Come onto your hands and knees with hands directly below your shoulders and knees directly below your hips. Inhale to lengthen your spine. Without bending elbows or moving hips, roll your spine forward to arch your back. Lift your chin, chest, and hips to the ceiling, allowing your stomach to sink toward the floor. Once you’ve reached the fullest expression of your arch, round your spine toward the ceiling and release your head toward the floor. Move in a fluid motion for 5 deep breaths or as many as desired.

Cool-Down: Warrior II

Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart. Turn your right toes out and left toes slightly inward. Bend your right knee and lower your hips down. Make sure your right knee is directly above your ankle. Extend your arms straight out from your shoulders and press the outside of the left foot into the mat. Continue to sink lower into your hips as spine stays long. Take 5 deep breaths or as many as desired.


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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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