Improve your life in just 30 minutes |

Improve your life in just 30 minutes

Rhonda Beckham

Last week, you set your alarm clock ahead not an hour, but an hour and a half so that you can make the time to exercise for 30 minutes per day. You’ve been repeating to yourself that “I am willing to do whatever it takes to be healthy and fit.” If you didn’t, here’s another chance to commit to a new and beautiful life.

Think about it: You can do something to increase your energy, self-confidence and attractiveness, and reduce stress in 30 minutes per day. That’s half an episode of “Lost.”

If you think that you can’t really create change in a mere 30 minutes, think of it as 1,800 seconds. It’s a start: the more you do it, the better you’ll feel and the more you’ll want to do.

An effective workout can be accomplished in a shorter amount of time; it just takes a little planning. Speaking of planning, think ahead of what type of protein snack you’ll consume right after your workout.

The increased physical activity will kick-start your metabolism, and you’ll be ravenous. The protein will satisfy your hunger and give your muscles the nutrient they need to repair themselves.

Resistance can be from body weight (push-ups), resistant bands, free weights, machines or a combination of these.

Work several muscles in one exercise: Another way to fit weightlifting into your busy schedule is to choose exercises that work several major muscle groups at the same time. Squats work the quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks and calves. Essentially, you will be training four muscle groups at the same time.

Skip the usual minute or so of resting time between exercises. You can do this by doing supersets, which involves doing two or more successive exercises for a given muscle group without rest in between. For example, do a set of push-ups and follow them immediately with a set of dumbbell chest-flies.

To maximize the benefits, your 30-minute workout should consist of both resistance training and cardiovascular training. Here is a sample plan for you to start today:

Choose one: brisk walk, jog in place, climb stairs or do jumping jacks.

Find a clear spot on the floor and lay down. You want to hold your body straight on your elbows and toes (or knees for beginners). You’re creating a plank – one long, smooth diagonal from your shoulders to your ankles. Hold this position for a three-count, using your glutes and abs to hold you firm. Repeat three times with 15 seconds of rest between sets. This will take about one minute.

Roll over and lay on your back. You want to press your hands flat to the floor next to your hips. Bend your knees up with your feet still flat on the floor and raise your hips up so that you are resting on your shoulders (not your neck) and your feet. Hold this position for a count of three, then relax. Repeat three times with 15 seconds of rest between sets. This will take about one minute.

These exercises will work your chest and your core muscles.

Add push-ups, doing two sets of 10 for the upper body, and some walking lunges, performing two sets of 10 for your legs. This should only take about five minutes. Finish with 20 minutes of concentrated cardio.

For those who already are on a regular workout program, boost your gains and vow to add 30 minutes three times a week to your usual routine.

– Rhonda Beckham is a nationally certified personal trainer, with teaching certificates in Pilates and kickboxing.

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