13 Minutes to a Fitter You

Today’s article is short and to-the-point. I’m going to share with you a workout that takes just 13 minutes to do, works your entire body, and it’s a fat scorcher!

We often see people in the gym doing what are called “split” routines. They’ll do 1 or 2 body parts each work out, and will work out 3 to 5 times each week. A typical 5-day bodybuilder split routine might look like this:

1. Monday: Legs
2. Tuesday: Back and Biceps
3. Wednesday: Chest and Triceps
4. Thursday: Abs and Posterior Chain
5. Friday: Shoulders and Stretching

This is not written in stone, but you get the idea. This routine focusses on one body part each day, and it’s a fine way to work out. Typically people will work out for 45 minutes to 1 hour each day, do 3 to 4 exercises, and do 10 to 14 repetitions for 3 or 4 sets of each. That’s about 3 ¾ to 5 hours in the gym each week.

But what if you could get the same overall benefit, and keep it to under 45 minutes each week? That would be good, wouldn’t it? The routine I’m going to share here is not ideal for bodybuilding, but for general strength conditioning and overall health/fitness, it’s fantastic. The best news is, you can do it right in your home, with equipment that costs less than $100!

In the video I’m posting with this article, you’ll see my sister-in-law doing the workout. 3 sets of 3 exercises, done for 1 minute each, with 2 minute rests in between sets. That’s a total of 9 minutes of exercising, and 4 minutes resting: 13 minutes.

The first exercise is the squat, perhaps the single best exercise for all of the muscles in your body below your waist. Rather than doing a bunch of isolation exercises (think leg extensions and curls, using the adductor and abductor machines, etc.), why not hit it all with just one exercise?

The next is the pullup, done on an awesome piece of equipment called the “Lebert Equalizer” (see www.lebertfitness.com, or if you’re in Mississauga, come see me at Fitness Depot on Tuesdays and Wednesday mornings and you can get them for 10% off!). Developed by a Canadian, Marc Lebert, these have been used to train athletes and laypeople alike for years now. I love them.

Finally, the third exercise is the pushup, done on the Equalizer to make it somewhat easier for those who can’t do regular pushups for an entire minute.

The squat works everything below the belt. The pullup works your lats, traps, rhomboids, rear delts, biceps, brachialis and forearm flexors. By keeping your pelvis elevated, your posterior chain is also activated isometrically, helping to strengthen muscles involved in stabilizing your trunk (think less back pain while sitting at your desk!). The pushup works your pecs, triceps, front and lateral delts, and your abs (to keep your trunk from collapsing).

Point: this is a full-body workout! Also, because you don’t rests between exercises, your heart rate rises quickly, helping to build your anaerobic capacity and – to some extent – your cardiovascular capacity as well.

Watch the video, listen to the cues I offer about how to do each exercise, and get at it! Do this 3 times per week, with a day off in between, and you’ll see some major changes quickly. You’ve got nothing to lose, so grab a set of Equalizers and have fun!