The Healthy Truth: My favorite exercises for a full-body workout

Dear Friends,

How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? Did you buy that gym membership like you promised yourself? And if you did, have you visited the gym at all? We’re nearing the end of the first month of 2017, and although it may be discouraging to be jumping off the fitness bandwagon already, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself.

There’s no doubt that exercise makes us feel good, but unfortunately we often don’t have the time nor the energy to get ourselves up and at it. Really, who has 60 or 90 minutes of their day to dedicate to a workout?

So when pressed for time, it’s important to make the best out of your workouts by targeting as many muscle groups as possible while optimizing fat burn.

My secret to a quick and efficient workout is known as tabata training, which incorporates high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with body-weight exercises.

The great thing about tabata training is that it is quick and will definitely yield results. So how does it work, you ask?

For starters, download a nifty tabata timer app on your phone so that you aren’t stopping and starting a stop-watch. Program the timer for six sets at 20 seconds a set with a five-second break in-between. If you are just starting out, you may want your rest to be 10 to 15 seconds between sets and work your way down to shorter breaks.

Now, pick two exercises. I find it’s best to pair a cardio exercise with a body-weight exercise, but you can strictly complete back-to-back cardio or back-to-back body-weight. An example of this would be completing burpees and the inchworm (stand at the end of your matt, walk out with your hands into a high plank, and walk your arms back in, so that you are standing straight up again).

Now set your timer. For sets 1, 3, and 5 you complete one exercise, and for sets 2, 4, and 6 you complete the other. Essentially, you are swapping back and forth between the two. Incorporating an exercise that spikes your heart rate with a slower moving one confuses your body, prompting it to burn more fat. The entire circuit takes less than three minutes!

Sure, completing one circuit of tabata training will be enough to get you feeling a burn, but for maximum results you can design three, five, or even six circuits to complete all after each other with different exercises. This will allow you to target all muscles groups while burning fat – all in less than 30 minutes! Now that is something we all have time for.
Can’t think of any exercises? Here are some of my favorites to get the heart racing and to target multiple muscle groups.

  • Burpees
  • Inchworm
  • Jumping Jacks
  • T.V.O. – holding free weights, draw out the letters T, V, O with your arms. This is great to work your shoulders and upper back.
  • Mountain climbers
  • Up-down planks – begin in a high plank position (on your hands), come down to your forearms one at a time, and then back on your hands. The quicker you do this, the more it will burn. Make sure to keep your butt down and your core nice and tight.
  • Running on the spot
  • Downward dog into high plank – begin in downward dog, then glide forward into a high plank. Continue to push back into downward dog and forward into plank.

There are enough exercises to put together a few different rounds of tabata circuits. Better yet, by combining all of these together, you can work out every muscle of your body in about 12 to 15 minutes! Adding in these shorter, high-intensity workouts is not only convenient, it yields the results, because you can complete them on a daily basis.

Even if you haven’t been that dedicated to your fitness plan for 2017, it’s not too late to get started. With these shorter workouts, you won’t have any trouble getting in enough fitness time into your week.

Until next week,

Emily Lunardo


Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.

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