When my nest first emptied, I took a look at myself and realized that I needed to up my fitness game. I had to admit that I’d used the kids as an excuse to skip workouts way too many times. Now that my little excuses had moved out, I needed to get serious about my workouts. Anyone relate?
Somehow, though, it seems our workouts get longer the older we get! If you don’t warm up properly before cardio, you are apt to pull a hammy or something, right? Yikes! Also, the older we get, the less flexible we become, so stretching at the end of a workout is essential. But we’re all busy, and sometimes there’s just no time for a big ole’ one-hour workout. The holy grail? A full body workout that can be done in under 15 minutes! (If you add in a warmup and stretching, you can usually get the whole thing done in less than 20.) I’m not a personal trainer or an expert on exercise, but you all know I’m fanatical about researching anything I’m going to recommend. Today I’m sharing the full body workout I do when I’m pressed for time.
First of all, let me remind you that I am not a person who enjoys exercise. I exercise because I know it’s good for me, and I want to stay strong and healthy so I can do everything I want to do. When my photographer and I shot these photos, I had her do it in the exact spot where I usually do this workout. Yep, we’re in my bedroom, right at the end of my bed! (Although I have to tell you that the bed is not usually made when I do it first thing in the morning!) #fulldisclosure 🙂
The basic move of this workout? Jumping jacks. They’re a great cardio move for women because they elevate the heart rate, build bone strength, and they work the muscles in your legs, booty, arms, back, and abs. As a bonus, they work on coordination and flexibility in the shoulders and hips, and they’re tough to cheat on near the end of the workout when you’re tired. (Oh, I will cheat if I can!)
There are two spots in the workout where you have to do crunches. The first time you do 50, and the second you do 25. There are so many variations of crunches out there, and they all work different abdominal muscles, so I would advise you to pick two different ones to do in the course of this workout. In my post “Fitness Over Fifty” Five Exercises Everyone 50+ Should Be Doing” I shared that I learned one called the “dead bug” when I had to go to physical therapy for a lower back strain. It’s a great ab exercise because it protects your lower back – something not necessarily true of other ab exercises. For more on how to do it, see that post. By the way, in case you haven’t heard the (sad) news, abdominal exercises don’t do anything to reduce belly fat (something that plagues midlife women). To lose belly fat, you need to reduce your weight and do cardio to burn calories and use stored fat. Remember though, one of the most time-efficient ways to burn more calories continually is by developing more muscle. This full body workout routine will help you do that, as well as providing cardio!
Squats are relatively simple exercises that tone and tighten your booty, abs, and legs. They’ve gotten a bad rap as an exercise that is hard on your knees, but research shows that when done properly, squats actually improve knee stability and strengthen connective tissue. I like this article from Real Simple that gives the specifics on the proper form for squats.
Jump lunges are challenging, especially if you are going to do 40 of them, as this workout requires. I like them because the jumping action is bone-building, they work your hip flexors, glutes, and legs and doing them ups the cardio factor of this workout. If you’ve never done them before, or if you’ve got knee problems, you might want to do regular lunges instead. To do a jump lunge, start with your right leg in a basic lunge, and your elbows bent 90 degrees. Keep your knees slightly bent. Then engage your core and push off the bottom of both feet into a jump, switching your legs in midair, and landing in a lunge with your left leg forward. Repeat this movement without rest, alternating which leg is in front. Make sure your back leg is bent directly underneath your body, and your front leg is bent at 90 degrees at the knee and hip. Near the end of the set of 40, you’ll be tempted to “cheat,” and your form may suffer. It’s better to rest and resume when you feel able than use bad form and risk injury!
To do a proper push-up, think of your body as a straight line (that means your booty shouldn’t be sticking way up in the air or sagging). Engage your abs by clenching your behind and tightening your abs to help with this. Next, lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. I usually do as many push-ups as I can before I wimp out and go to my knees to complete the set! Again, do what you can, work up to doing the entire 35 in the standard push up form, and don’t worry too much about it! (I give you permission!)
By the time you finish your set of 30 burpees, you will hate me and this workout. I think this is the most challenging section of the entire routine! To get through it with proper form, I have to slow my pace, and really concentrate! First, squat and place your hands on the floor. Next, jump your feet back in a plank position (For your enjoyment, please see the photo below where I look like this is no problem whatsoever, and I am having a fabulous time banging out these burpees.)
Then jump your feet back to a squat and jump up, reaching your arms overhead. (Think of it as praise hands, because the workout gets a little easier after this.) #yesssssss
If you are an overachiever or somewhat sadistic, you can add a push up when you’re in the plank position. 🙂
Those are the basic moves. Now go forth and get your full body workout on, sisters. You can do it! Start slow, and know that you’ll get better and faster as you get stronger. What’s your go-to workout when you’re pressed for time? Leave me a comment and let me know if you’ve got a good one I should try!
My Workout Look
I don’t like to spend a lot on my workout wear, so my high-waisted leggings and sports bra are from Target! My tennis shoes are by New Balance. This shirt…this shirt, though, y’all!!!! It says, “Everything Hurts and I’m Dying”—which is pretty much how I feel the entire time I’m doing this (or any) workout! It comes in several color and lettering choices. I bought it in pink with black glitter lettering for my daughter and she says gets tons of compliments every time she wears it. I’ve also linked the inexpensive (and fun!) faux fur Euro pillows, the cozy pink throw you see on my bed.
Happy Workout Wednesday. We’re half-way to the weekend!
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Photos by Megan Weaver.
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