Over the past several years, I have really focused on doing very efficient workouts. I like to get it done and exercise intensely. This has given me great results while working very well with my busy schedule. It isn't overwhelming and, even if you only have 10 to 12 minutes, you can get a great workout in that amount of time. My favorite exercises to do are a combination of both weights and plyometric Tabatas.
Tabatas are now becoming more popular and some are known as the 4-Minute Fat-Burning Workouts. Developed in the 1970s, they boost both anaerobic and aerobic capacity while boosting your metabolic rate. I first introduced them to my boot campers about two and a half years ago. For a Tabata, you do 20 seconds of the exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. You do this for a total of eight times, totaling four minutes.
[Read: The Secret to Sticking With Exercise.]
The great news about Tabatas is that you can do them anywhere since all you need is your body. Whether it is your bedroom, a hotel room or on your driveway with your iPhone playing your favorite workout tunes, Tabatas can help you achieve results without spending hours in the gym.
The following is an example of my exercise program. You can find videos on YouTube for exercise descriptions, but make sure it is from a certified trainer.
-- Bench press: three sets of 10 repetitions, gradually increasing the weight. I start with just the bar to warm up and then add 10 pounds to each side, followed by 15 pounds on each side and finish with 20 pounds on each side.
-- Chest fly: three sets of 10 repetitions. I use weights between 17.5 to 20 pounds.
-- Chest press: three sets of 10 repetitions. I use weights between 22.5 to 25 pounds.
-- Tricep kickbacks: three sets of 12 repetitions. I use 10-pound weights.
-- Tricep dips: three sets of 12 repetitions. I use the bench and keep my legs straight.
-- Tricep pushdowns: three sets of 12 repeitions. I set the weight at 40 pounds.
Here are four ways to get results with your exercise program:
1. HIIT it! High-intensity interval training is by far the best way to burn fat. HIIT is a type of cardio that makes you work out very intensely for a short amount of time followed by a quick break. You'll boost your metabolic rate, and your caloric burn will be even greater!
If you've gotten into the same cardio habits, try one of the following Tabatas: mountain climbers, burpees, jump squats or star jumps. These were always extremely effective with my boot-camp participants, and the great news is they can be done at home or out on your driveway.
2. Mix it up. Don't let your body get bored with the same ol' exercise day after day, month after month, year after year. Try taking a new fitness class with a qualified instructor who challenges your body and works muscle groups you didn't even know you had. If you like to run on a treadmill, give your joints a break, and try swimming or biking. Make sure you are also lifting some weights to boost your metabolism and work your upper body.
[Read: Spice Up Your Exercise Life.]
3. Just log it. Just as I recommend logging your food intake, you should also log your exercise. This will help you see your progress and also keeps you more accountable.
4. Avoid the all-or-nothing mentality. A key ingredient for you to achieve your fitness goals is to avoid thinking about your diet and workouts from an all-or-nothing perspective. You can still reach your goals by allowing occasional indulgences, but the key is getting right back on track the next meal and avoiding a week of poor eating and no exercise. Instead of giving up over a weight-loss plateau, make sure you follow the previous strategies to help you reach your goals!
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Mitzi Dulan, RD, CSSD, is a nationally recognized nutrition and fitness expert who inspires people to lose weight and get fit. Mitzi coauthored, with NFL Future Hall-of-Famer Tony Gonzalez, The All-Pro Diet, which helps people eat clean and get lean. Mitzi is team nutritionist for the Kansas City Royals and served as team nutritionist for the Kansas City Chiefs for several years. A sought-after media source for trusted nutrition and fitness advice, Mitzi has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Shape, Glamour, US Weekly, USA Today, CNN, and FOX News. Mitzi was named one of the "Top 20 Nutrition Experts to Follow on Twitter" by The Huffington Post. Follow Mitzi on Pinterest at NutritionExpert.