Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Summer Slim Down Part III: The 20 minute rule

It may not surprise you that I've fallen victim to the P90X craze on more than one occasion, but typically around workout 8 I give up. While I'm certainly not knocking those who can push themselves to work out for more than an hour every day of the week, I am just not one of those people. Every week I try to fit in at least 1 intense workout that lasts (GASP) longer than an hour, but that's it for me.

So, after many a failed SSD, I revised my plan from a full on attack on my fat, to a constant prodding until it goes away approach. That's where the 20 minute rule came in. When I am trying to get back into shape, I follow a strict rule that every day I will do SOMETHING EXTRA for 20 minutes.

20 minutes could equal anywhere from 100-300 calories depending on your weight and the activity you're doing. That's 2 glasses of wine honey! It may not sound like a lot, but think of it this way-- when you kick your ass in a monster workout and burn say 700 calories... but then you don't do anything for the next three days (and subsequently dread your next work out, like I do) you're burning nearly the same amount over that time period.

Now, don't forget that it has to be something extra.... it is often tempting for me to count my 20 minute bike ride to work... but since I do that every day and I was doing it during the time period I beefed up, I know I need to do something else.

For me it's best to keep a running list of activities that I can do, and choose what I feel like doing at the time. I normally do my 20 minutes in the morning, so I like activities that aren't high intensity. Here are some of my favorites:

- Denise Austin's Mat Based Pilates- This video is both cheesy and totally 80s but it is amazing. I notice a huge change in my posture and core strength after this video, and it includes two 20 minute workouts (perfect!) They aren't super high intensity, so sometimes I do this one in my PJ's while drinking my coffee in the morning.

- 20 minute jog with the puppy- Sometimes the classics are best. I like this one when I am feeling energetic in the morning, or when I need to take the dog out and kill 2 birds with one stone.

- Circuts- There are a million circut training workouts out there, and I have to say it's the best way to get results in a short time. I'm not always up for the high intensity, but sometimes when I'm feeling ambitious I go for it. Here's my circut:
2 minutes walking lunges
2 minutes mountain climbers
2 minutes step ups (1 min each leg)
2 minutes plank (40 seconds front, 40 seconds L side, 40 seconds R side)
2 minutes bicycle crunches

-20 minute Dance Off- Although you may think I am joking, I used to turn on the music in my house and dance until I could barely stand for exercise (hey it's like aerobics right?) Thankfully for my husband, we got Dance Central for Xbox and now I can 'exercise' in a much more controlled way.

- Stairs- This one is... hell really... but I have done it. When we were living on the 13th floor, I used to go up and down the stairs until my time was up (which was usually about 2.5 times... it's HARD) but again, if you're in the mood for something intense, find some stairs and start running/walking/crawling up and down them!

Have you got a 20 minute workout? Leave a comment!

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