It’s Sweatember! I’m amping up the exercise for the month, before I descend into the darkness of Eatober. Anyway, this month, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite workouts, fitness ideas, and more.
We’re all time-crunched, so here’s my favorite, motivating workout that fits in around 30 minutes. You can warm up, get a tough whole-body workout, cool down, and shower in in less than an hour. It’ll make you fitter, stronger, and leaner. And it’s called satellites.
Choose Five Exercises
Pick five exercises that don’t exercise the same body parts, and that you can do within a small corner of the gym. You’re going to be moving between the exercises frequently, so make it easy to switch between any pair. You’re going to be doing each one (maybe) 80 times, so don’t make them too challenging.
Here’s a few examples that I like:
- Push ups – there are tens of variations. An easy variation is to find something at chest height that you can lean against at a 45 degree angle. A hard variation is a regular push up with your feet raised on the stairs
- Squats – on the easy end, sit in a chair, stand up, and sit down again. On the hard end, try that on one leg without allowing yourself to actually sit (just touch)
- Abdominal crunches – there’s more variations on these guys than any other exercise
- Burpees – the basic variant goes like this: start in a push up (plank) position, jump your feet forward, reach your hands up into the air, put your hands back on the ground, and jump back into the plank
- Jump rope – it’s good to have an aerobic exercise in the mix
This morning I chose jump rope, medicine ball slams (ball above head, slam into ground, catch, repeat), burpees, kettle bell swings, and an abs exercise (that’d take too long to explain).
You could try inverted rows, riding a stationery bike, boxing, running across the basketball court, using the rowing machine, jumping (star jumps, box jumps, hopping, and so on), something new school with a kettlebell, or something old school that looks good in the mirror (bicep curls, shoulder presses).
Write your exercises down and number them 1 to 5
Here’s an example: (1) Push ups (2) Box jumps (3) One arm kettlebell swings (4) Inverted row (5) Burpees
Prepare for satellites
Here’s the concept: each time you work through the exercises, one of them is the “planet” and the others kind of orbit as “satellites”. You’re going to do five sets, since there are five exercises.
The first set, your first exercise is the “planet”, and you go back to it between each other exercise. You do exercise 1, then 2, then 1 again, then 3, then 1 again, then 4, then 1 again, and finally 5. Shorthand: 1-2-1-3-1-4-1-5.
Since we’re getting this done in 30 minutes total, let’s do 20 seconds of each exercise, and give ourselves 10 seconds to change exercises and rest. That means you’ll get through this set in 4 minutes: 160 seconds of exercising, and 80 seconds of resting. (If you want to be picky, it’s really 3:50 since you don’t need the rest at the end.)
Once you’re done, rest for 1 minute.
Now exercise 2 is the satellite, and so on:
- Set 2: 2-3-2-4-2-5-2-1. Rest 1 minute
- Set 3: 3-4-3-5-3-1-3-2. Rest 1 minute
- Set 4: 4-5-4-1-4-2-4-3. Rest 1 minute
- And, finally, Set 5: 5-1-5-2-5-3-5-4
Five sets, four minutes each, and four minutes of resting. All done in 24 minutes. 3 minutes to warm up, and 3 minutes to stretch when you’re done. Total 30 minutes. Plenty of time for the shower.
Timing your workout
Time is hard to track when you’re sweating it out. I’d suggest getting an app for your iPhone – I like Tabata Pro, though HiiTTimer is ok too. These beep when it’s time to move to the next exercise, and they play your music in the background. You can also buy a timer online that you can hang on your wall – just like they use in boxing gyms! If all else fails, use the online-stopwatch in your web browser.
If you want it tougher, increase the length of the exercises – try 30 or 45 seconds – or make the exercises tougher.
One last tip: I like to arrange my five exercises in a line on the ground. I might put my medicine ball next to my jump rope, next to my bosu ball, next to my towel, next to a kettle bell — all in a neat line. This helps me not make mistakes and get lost — I can see which exercise is number one, two, three, four, and five, and I can easily tell what’s next.
Give it a try — enjoy Satellites!
I’m not an exercise professional. Do this at your own risk. Talk to a professional before beginning an exercise program.