There are 101 wimpy excuses for not working out—and I know because I’ve used all of them. I’m tired. My favorite show is on TV. I’m hungry. I really should reorganize my kitchen cabinets. But when the weather is really nasty or you’re super-busy, you have a valid reason for forgoing exercise, right? Wrong. Here are 7 simple at-home workouts, many of which can be done in less than 20 minutes.
“Jumping rope is amazing for your body,” says Samantha Clayton, personal trainer and co-star of YouTube’s Be Fit In 90. “All you have to do is look at a boxer’s tight, toned body to know it’s a major fat-blaster.” You’re toning your upper and lower body at the same time, while quickly boosting your heart rate. The result: a 160-pound person can torch more than 350 calories in 30 minutes. Check out this jump rope fitness guide for tips and workout ideas.
Don’t have the room to swing the rope? Try “ghost jumping,” mimicking the movement without the actual rope. “This is just as effective in keeping your heart rate up,” says Clayton. To keep it interesting, try doing fast intervals with short recoveries in between, challenge your balance by jumping on one leg, double-dutch with the kids, or jump to the beat of your favorite songs.
No barbells, dumbbells, or resistance bands? No problem. “Your own body is the best piece of equipment you own,” says Clayton. You can get an amazing workout in a small space by mixing and matching basic moves like lunges, squats, mountain climbers, planks, and push-ups. “Squats and lunges tone your legs and butt, and push-ups are great for your chest and arms,” says Clayton. Planks and mountain climbers are fantastic for your abs. Aim to do 3 sets of 10 reps for each move. To boost your calorie burn, keep rests between each move no longer than 20 to 30 seconds. To amp calories even more, add a 1-minute cardio blast—like jumping jacks—between each set. (These 7 most effective bodyweight exercises will torch calories and help you achieve your fitness goals.)
See how to do the perfect push-up:
The Perfect Push Upby PreventionPlay Video
“A kettlebell workout can be done in less than half the time of typical workouts and burns twice as many calories,” says Sarah Lurie, author of Kettlebells for Dummies. How many calories are we talking? Up to 20 per minute, according to a 2010 study, or up to 400 calories in a 20-minute session. Here’s why it works so well: “Most kettlebell exercises give you a cardiovascular workout and a full-body strength workout at the same time,” says Lurie. “The basic kettlebell swing works every major muscle group and taxes your cardiovascular system at the same time. Even adding just two kettlebell workouts a week into your routine will transform your body.” Check out our 20-minute kettlebell workout that delivers more fat-fighting and body-toning benefits than doing 30 minutes on the treadmill and 30 minutes of traditional weight lifting.