As a busy mom and professional, I completely understand your wanting to get the most mileage out of your fitness program. That’s why I created the following exercise routine that is not only simple, time efficient and easy to follow, but uses some of the most foundational exercises that anyone can do, which produce astounding results.
In 40 minutes a day, you can reshape your body and be confident in the woman staring back at you in the mirror. Know that you are worth the time investment. Plan for it. Commit to it. Follow through. It is the only way to have a fit, lean, sexy and shapely body. Today’s modern moms are cool, sexy and fit. There is no need to be or feel matronly and frumpy after childbirth. Your stomach can be flatter. You can have shapely shoulders, a tight butt and feel sexy again. It’s guaranteed with the right fitness plan, and the good news is that it is spelled out here for you.
If you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced exerciser, perform one, two or three sets respectively for each strength training exercise. All of these exercises can be done in the comfort and convenience of your home with very little investment in equipment. All that is required is your body, a fitness large ball and some dumbbells (less than a $50 investment).
Us the following guidelines to get the most dramatic results from your program:
Strength Training Guidelines
- Warm up for 5 minutes by walking prior to strength training.
- Select a resistance that allows you to perform 10 to 15 repetitions.
- Complete the exercises in the order shown.
- Perform the exercises on alternating days.
- Complete each exercise in 30 to 90 seconds.
- Rest for 30 seconds between each exercise or set.
- Move with control throughout the exercise.
- Perform strength training before cardio.
- Increase your speed gradually for the first few minutes.
- Alternate your speed based on how you are feeling. For example, when you are feeling warmed up, accelerate until you feel your heart rate is elevated and you are taking a breath to complete a sentence. Maintain that for as long as possible, and then slow down and recover. Repeat. Varying intensities throughout your workouts is key.
- Wear supportive foot wear. If your sneakers are more than five months old and are worn regularly, treat yourself to a new pair you reserve only for exercise.
- If you have a heart rate monitor, wear it to see how hard you are working, how in tune you are with your body and how you are adapting to exercise.
- Strive to do slightly more each session than the last regarding intensity.
- Perform a variety of cardio exercises varying from walking, jogging, running, biking, kickboxing, swimming or using videos and group fitness classes.
- Perform stretching immediately after your cardiovascular workout.
- Perform one stretch for each muscle group.
- Hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Perform each stretch 1 to 3 times.
- Stretch to the point of mild tension, never pain.
- Consider a yoga class or stretching video to enhance your flexibility.
The ideal schedule is as follows. Do your very best to commit to it. You are worth it!
Monday, Wednesday and Friday – strength train (20 minutes) + cardio (15 minutes) + stretch for 5 minutes
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – cardio (30 minutes) + stretch (10 minutes)
Sunday – rest
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
- Warm up by walking for 5 minutes.
- Perform the following strength exercises:
- Push ups
- Chest Fly
- One-arm Row
- Pull Over
- Reverse Fly
- Side Lunge
- Single Leg Lunge
- Abdominal Curl
- Bicycle Maneuver
- Seated Abdominal Hold
- Double Crunch with ball
- 20 minutes of interval training (walk, jog, run & repeat).
- Stretch for 5 minutes.
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
- 30 minutes of cardio: Use an interval training program where you vary your intensity by changing your speed, increasing the resistance or increasing the incline as an example.
- 10 minutes of stretching.
Aim for 40 minutes each session. This will give your metabolism a boost, help you to burn more calories even after you session and produce fabulous results. Do the best you can every session, and if you miss a workout or have to cut a session short, get right back on track with the next workout. Your health and happiness are priceless. Keep your commitment.
Eating to Be Lean
To complement your workout routine, abide by the following 6 rules for eating to be lean:
- Drink plenty of water. Always have a water bottle with you. Drink at least 16 ounces during your workout.
- Choose wholesome and nutritious foods. Choose foods that are fresh, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, chicken, beans, nuts and rice. Avoid all processed foods.
- Include a lean protein in each meal. For example, breakfast might include a veggie omelet with yogurt and melon. A snack could be an apple with peanut butter. Lunch might feature grilled shrimp over a salad. For an afternoon snack, try fruit with yogurt and flax seeds. Dinner might include chicken with whipped cauliflower and sautéed spinach with almonds.
- Eat every three to four hours. This helps to stave off hunger, which many times leads to bingeing. It also helps to keep your metabolism at its peak and keeps you from feeling deprived.
- Plan ahead. Grocery shop when you are full. Avoid buffets. Bring your lunch to work. Cook several meals on Sunday and freeze them. If you are dining out, reserve your calories during the day. Serve your food on a plate, and put the rest in the fridge and so on.
- Clean out the pantry of tempting, unhealthy foods.
Where will you be in 6 weeks, 6 months and 6 years if you begin your fitness plan today? Where will you be if you don’t? If you want to attain a fit body, you can! The results are guaranteed if you follow the program outlined above. You cannot put a price on your health. Feel no guilt in taking 40 minutes a day to reshape your body and improve your health. You can watch your body transform before your eyes and love the reflection that stares back at you in the mirror.
Kelli Calabrese is an exercise physiologist and 2004 Personal Trainer of the Year.