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This routine keeps you challenged by progressing in difficulty each time you do it, says Ashley Borden, coauthor of Your Perfect Fit. Complete the entire circuit three times, moving from one exercise to the next with little rest. Each move will tell you how to adjust the first, second, and third time you do it.
Each circuit takes about 15 minutes. Do the routine three times a week.What You'll Need
1st time: Stand on both legs (shown).
2nd time: Do 5 reps balancing on left leg, then 5 reps balancing on right leg.
3rd time: Stand on a folded thin yoga mat or bath towel and do 5 reps balancing on left leg, then 5 reps balancing on right leg.
1st time: Use light set of dumbbells (shown).
2nd time: Do 5 reps balancing on left leg, then 5 reps balancing on right leg; use medium set of dumbbells.
3rd time: Stand on a folded thin yoga mat or bath towel and do 5 reps balancing on left leg, then 5 reps balancing on right leg; use medium set of dumbbells.
1st time: Stand on both legs.
2nd time: Do 7 reps balancing on left leg (shown), then 7 reps balancing on right leg.
3rd time: Stand on a folded thin yoga mat or bath towel and do 7 reps balancing on left leg, then 7 reps balancing on right leg.
1st time: Keep hands interlaced on belly (shown).
2nd time: Do "running arms": Balancing on left leg, bring right arm forward with elbow bent and left arm extended behind you. As you stand up, bring left arm forward and right arm back.
3rd time: Do weighted running arms: Hold light dumbbells and do a biceps curl with right arm (bring weight toward shoulder) while doing a triceps extension (press weight behind you) with left arm. Reverse movement as you stand back up.
1st time: Bring arm to side of leg for 2 counts.
2nd time: Do a side plank, rotating to right side, extending right arm directly over shoulder (shown). Alternate sides.
3rd time: Do a push-up in between each side plank.
Rounds 1, 2, 3: No variations needed.
1st time: Interlace hands on belly (shown).
2nd time: Place interlaced hands behind head.
3rd time: Extend arms overhead in a V shape; keep elbows slightly bent with thumbs pointing behind you.
1st time: Extend arms forward with palms together (shown).
2nd time: Hold a light dumbbell with both hands.
3rd time: Hold a light dumbbell in each hand.
1st time: Keep hands interlaced on belly (above).
2nd time: Place interlaced hands behind head.
3rd time: Hold medium dumbbells in front of legs (shown).
Rounds1, 2, 3: No variations needed.
Want results that are both quick and long-lasting? Do a combination of cardio workouts that challenge you at different intensities and work different muscle fibers, says Borden.
How it works: Do the cardio routine of your choice four or five days a week. At least two of these workouts should be a steady-paced program. For the other two or three workouts, choose from the cardio blast, interval workout, or steady-paced options below.Workout 1: Steady Pace
Time: One hour
Calories burned: About 550
Break your favorite workouts into three 20-minute intervals. For example, do 20 minutes on a treadmill, 20 on a bike, and 20 on an elliptical. Outside, do a combo of running, walking, in-line skating, and cycling. Keep your intensity at a 7 out of 10 (you can speak only in short phrases).Workout 2: Speed intervals
Time: 35 Minutes
Calories burned: About 400
Do this outside or on any machine. Warm up for 3 minutes, then alternate 5 minutes of speed bursts (an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10; you're breathless) with 5 minutes of moderate-paced recovery (a 5 or 6 effort; you can say sentences). Do 3 intervals; cool down for 2 minutes.Workout 3: Cardio Blast
Time: 30 Minutes
Calories burned: About 200
This treadmill walking routine features intervals that vary in speed and incline.
|Speed (mph)||Incline (%)||RPE*|
|18:00- 19:00||2.7- 3.0||13||10|
|20:00- 30:00||3.3- 3.7||6||7|
RPE, rate of perceived exertion, is a measure of your exercise intensity based on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most effort. Adjust speed and incline to reach desired RPE above.
More than a dozen women tried the beta version of our winter "You Can Do It" plan. In just four weeks, on average, testers lost at least one inch from their waists. Even without dieting, over half lost an average of three pounds.
"I'm not a morning person, but I did this regularly before work. It was a great way to wake up. I lost one and a half inches from my waist and one inch from my thighs in four weeks."
-- Lindsey Groteluschen, 22
"Just two weeks in, I could feel my posture and core strength improving. By the end, I'd lost five pounds and almost 5 percent body fat!"
-- Merri Moser, 41
"I have an 8-month-old baby (plus two boys, ages 3 and 5), and this plan was what I needed to get back into my routine. I lowered my body fat by 3 percent and am almost at my pre-pregnancy weight!"
-- Michelle Hanson, 35
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2008.