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Three Gym-Free Workouts

If you want a killer bod without a pesky gym fee, try these three workouts at home! 

When you see photos of stars like Kim Kardashian and Jessica Biel looking fabulous, do you think, “Sure, I could have a body like that if I could afford a personal trainer!” Well, we've found the no-excuses workout that will give you a killer body without the killer expense. California trainer Kristin Anderson created a workout that you can do in a small space, without going to a gym or buying fancy equipment. “I call this a body-by-you workout,” she says. “You are a portable gym, because using your body is a great weight. You don’t need equipment to use your body.”

Within the 20 to 40 minutes that most people have to work out, says Kristin, “There are five exercises that are crucial in getting the most out of your workout. If you do a minute of each of these exercises for 3–5 cycles, you’ll get an amazing full body workout by working all parts of your body. You’ll burn a ton of calories and you’ll keep burning calories for twenty-four hours afterward.”

For the body-by-you workout, Kristin says, you’ll need a space about the size of a yoga mat, or a 4 ft. x 4 ft. area to have plenty of room. You don’t need a mat unless you have a hard floor and are uncomfortable.

The Plank
This warm-up exercise is essentially a stationary push up position: your hands are on the floor, your arms are straight under your shoulders, legs are extended out behind you, stomach is pulled in. Says Kristin, “Everything should be tight and engaged in order to burn the most amounts of calories and to keep your body safe – there’s no extreme load in any joints. Hold yourself in this plank position, constantly checking the parts of your body to make sure every muscle is engaged and in the right position.” Kristin suggests holding this position for one minute or for as long as you feel comfortable.

The Push-up
If you don’t need a rest, says Kristin, “go directly into your push-ups.” Inhale as you bend your arms and lower your body to the ground, and exhale as you push yourself back up. “Hold your stomach really tight as you come down,” Kristin says, “and squeeze it again as you press up—this is what is going to protect your lower back. If you can’t do a push-up in the plank position, you will get the same workout by bending your knees so that they’re resting on the ground.” Avoid overworking yourself, but, Kristin suggests, “pick a number to do that will be a little bit hard for you.” If your back feels sore, stretch it by going into a yoga position called “child’s pose.” Sit back on your legs so that your buttocks are resting on them, bring your face down to the floor and stretch your arms, palms to the floor, in front of you.

The Squat
After the push-ups, stand up with your feet a little bit wider than hip-width distance, very slightly turned out. Keep your chest up and inhale as you lower down, reaching your butt out as if you’re about to sit down in a chair. Keeping your knees over your toes, go down to where your thighs are parallel to the ground. If you want to make the exercise more difficult, Kristin says, “reach your hands up to the sky, or keep them at your sides to make it easier. When you exhale, stand straight up, pushing into your heels—your chest shoots to the ceiling and your hips should come forward. This is one full squat.” She suggests aiming for 60 repetitions, or one minute.

The Lunge
At this point, Kristin says, “Your legs should be warmed up and ready for lunges. If you have that tired, burned-out feeling in your legs, it’s okay; that’s what you want.” Stand with one foot in front of you and one foot behind you. Depending on how tall you are, you should have anywhere between 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 feet between your front and back leg, with both feet facing straight forward. Lift your back heel a little and bend both of your knees. You’re front knee should go over your front toe, and your back knee should go straight down to the floor. Lean your torso a little forward and keep your weight on your front foot’s heel, not your toe. Inhale, bend down, and when you exhale, use your butt cheeks to push yourself back up to starting position. Do one leg for 15 reps, or 30 seconds, and then switch legs.

The Burpee (Squat Lunge)
“By this time,” Kristin says, “you’ve done so well and you’re perfectly warmed up, your metabolism is working and calories are burning. But now here come the burpees! This is what takes your workout past your comfort zone. They are very hard, even for me.” For a burpee, stand straight and tall with feet apart almost as wide as the squat position. Squat down, then set your hands on the ground so you can jump down into the plank position with legs extended. Lower yourself so that your stomach touches the floor. Then, push yourself back up to plank position, jump feet back into a squatting position, and stand up and jump for the sky. “This is one burpee,” Kristin says. “They are hard, but your body is working hard and you will be burning calories like crazy.” Try the exercise for up to 30 seconds to start.

Kristin also emphasizes the importance of taking a break when necessary. “If this is a newer workout for you, you may want to take a minute or two to rest in between.” More advanced exercises may want to go through three sets of the 5 exercises.”

Overall, Kristin says, “we all look for an easy fix, but it’s common sense that what you put into something is what you get out of it. You only need 20–40 minutes of exercise, but you really have to give it your all. Don’t think that you can phone it in—you have to do it. If you don’t make it a priority to do it, it won’t get done. You will feel better about yourself if you totally rock that twenty minutes, and you will see results because of it.”

To help you through your workouts, Kristin has developed a fitness iPhone/iPod Touch app called the M-Train that focuses on four body-by-you workouts in addition to the one she described here. “The workouts vary between 20–60 minutes, but you don’t have to go through the whole workout. You can do pieces of it at a time, or you can mix and match moves to make your own personal workout and keep things fresh.”

 Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

By Faye Brennan for BettyConfidential

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