Has this ever happened to you? You’re super excited because for the past few weeks, you’ve been exercising consistently. You’re starting to feel stronger and have more energy, but then WHAM!You get hit with a crazy week, and everything is thrown off. When life gets busy, we often feel like we just don’t have time to work out. To drive to the gym, do a full workout, and come home takes over an hour, and your schedule is so packed you just can’t squeeze it in. Well, guess what, sister?
It is possible to get in a great full-body workout in less than 15 minutes!
Using Weights Will Help Your Metabolism
With some of the exercises, we use weights. Let me just bust the myth right now: using weights will not make you big. If anything, it will help create lean muscle, which will aid in burning more body fat, and in the long run, make you leaner. One of the main reasons women gain weight as they age is because they lose muscle. Strength training really is the best way to boost your metabolism and is especially important for women over 40. Muscle uses or “burns through” calories at a faster rate than fat. In fact, muscle burns 13 kilogram calories (aka kcals, or “calories” how we think of it) while at rest as opposed to the 4.5 kcals that body fat burns at rest. Additionally, when we work out with weights, we build more muscle, which means we burn more calories at the end of the day because muscles require more calories to exist than body fat does.
Before you begin, it’s important you do a warmup. The best way to start a workout is with dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretches are active movements that allow your joints and muscles to go through a full range of motion. The last thing you want is to get injured due to working out cold muscles, so don’t skip this step. Spend about 3 minutes doing dynamic stretches. The best exercises to do when you are short on time are compound exercises. Compound exercises are movements that use multiple muscles at the same time. To get started, grab a pair of medium size weights (5-12lbs are great). Use lighter weights if you are still building your strength or notice your form is being compromised.
Five Exercises For a 15 Minute Full Body Workout
1. Side Squat with Upright Row
Try 8 per side for 16 total repetitions. You should reach failure by the time you finish your last repetition.
- Feet shoulder-width apart, step out to the side, and squat.
- Focus on keeping your core tight and your knees over your ankles versus in front of your toes.
- To make it a compound move, add the arms.
- With hands facing in, pull those weights up towards your collar bones as your elbows go wide to perform an upright row as you squat.
Too hard? Try this to make it easier:
- Don’t squat as low.
- Do the movements separately.
2. Step Back Lunge to Bicep Curl
Aim for 8 per side, or 16 total repetitions again.
- Standing feet shoulder-width apart, weights by your sides.
- Stepping back with one leg, the front leg will bend as you step back.
- The back leg will bend as the knee drops towards the ground.
- Be careful not to tap your knee to the ground, and be sure your front knee is not in front of your toe but just above your ankle.
- As you step back in from the lunge, push off that back foot and perform a bicep curl as you come to a standing position.
- Switch Legs and perform again until you reach your total.
If you need an easier option, try this:
- Don’t lunge quite as deep.
- Use lighter weights
3. Spiderman Mountain Climbers – Narrow And Wide
Combine Spidermans with Mountain Climbers for 20 total. And don’t use weights for this move. Speed doesn’t have to be super fast to get a great core burn and feel those shoulders too.
- In a plank position, hands directly below your shoulders.
- Focus on keeping your core nice and tight, drawing that belly button in.
- Alternating right/left, pull your knee out towards your side parallel to the ground and then place it back to plank position. Switch for the other side, drawing that knee out to the side and back to plank.
- Alternate right/left 10 on each side. Keeping that back flat, still in that plank, you will look like a spider.
- After rep 10 of spidermans, switch to draw your knee up towards your chest. Try not to tap that toe to the floor, but only upon return to that plank.
- Again alternating right/left 10 each side. You will look like you are climbing from a plank position.
The easier move looks like this:
- Perform the exercise from a tabletop position on your knees.
4. Standing Core Knee Pull
For this move, aim for 20 right and 20 left.
- Start with your weight on one leg.
- Reach towards the sky in a diagonal position, holding one weight between your hands.
- As you pull your opposite knee up towards your chest, simultaneously bring the weight back down towards your knee.
For an easier option, do not use a weight.
5. Fly With Hip Bridge
Aim for 16 repetitions or 8 right and left each if you’re going with the challenging, 1 leg option.
- On your back with arms out in a T for a chest-fly, legs are bent under your knees and shoulder-width apart.
- As you perform the fly, raise those hips into a hip thrust, squeezing that booty at the top. Lower the weights as you lower your body back to the floor and repeat.
For a challenge, you can do this on one leg, with one leg extended straight. This will work your hamstrings as well. Don’t forget to switch legs for an even burn.
Have Less Than 15 Minutes?
If you do not have time to get super sweaty, don’t have weights close by, or just need something quick while you have a few minutes, pick a move from those shown above and then aim for AMRAP with the time you have! AMRAP stands for “As Many Reps as Possible in __ Minutes.” I’ve done this with just one of the exercises and got in a great burn for even just a few minutes. Lastly, find some music that you’ll want to move to and then get to sweating! I can’t wait to hear how you did. I’m rooting for you. If you want to see all the moves from this full-body workout done together, or if you want to be walked through them, check out the video below!
The next time you feel your schedule is full, don’t let lack of time cause you to lose momentum. You will be amazed at how much good you can do for your body in only 15 minutes. Give these 5 exercises a try next time you’re short on time.
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