Jan. 13, 2013 at 8:24 AM ET
If you have time to sit on the couch and watch a half-hour sitcom or an hour-long drama, you have time for a full workout. I call this my “TV workout” and there's no excuse for not doing it at the start or end of a long day. Pick a show, (I DVR “Seinfeld” every night) and as soon as it starts, start your cardio. Begin with a light jog in place. Challenge yourself further with some butt kickers, some high knees, some jumps in place — as long as you keep moving. At the first commercial break, start the first strength exercise. You'll target different muscle groups during the commercials and hop back up to your cardio when the show is on. Strength training exercises include, planks, dips, squats, kicks, upper cuts or burpees. A commercial break is about 2-3 minutes, so you'll really feel the burn. There are generally 3 breaks per 30-minute show and 6 breaks for a 60-minute show. That's more than enough time to get a full-body strength training and cardio workout.
"Wanna play cards?"
I'm on the road a lot for my job and often the hotels where I stay don't have fitness facilities, so I no longer rely on the gym when I travel. Instead, I bring a deck of cards. I assign a different exercise to each of the four suits: hearts; diamonds; spades; clubs. Exercises can range in difficulty, depending on your fitness level. Choose squats, push-ups, mountain climbers, squat thrust, jumping jacks, pikes — anything you can think of. When you turn over a card, you have to do that number of reps for that assigned exercise. For example, if you assign ski jumps to the suit of diamonds and you turn over an 8, you have to do 8 ski jumps. The goal is to get through the deck with minimal rest. It's a great workout that you can take with you anywhere you go. For the workout in the video, I chose the following four exercises :
HEARTS: Tap tap touch
SPADES: Ski jumps
CLUBS: Double mountain climbers, triple jumping jacks.
There are always those days when you really can't escape from the office to run to the gym. No problem. There are countless exercises you can do at your desk that will raise your heart rate, get the blood flowing and build and tone at the same time. I've chosen 5 exercises that anyone can do. For your core, sit on your chair without leaning back, and lift both feet off the ground trying to keep your torso completely straight. Do this for 60 seconds, you'll feel it in your abs. From there, you'll simple stand up from your chair and sit back down. Control the movements so your muscles are doing the work and you're not just falling back into the chair. Do this anywhere from 20-50 times, without rest. After that, stand up, and do a series of shoulder circles to get those shoulders burning. 100 circles forward, 100 backward, 100 pulses with your palms up, 100 pulses with your palms facing forward. Don't stop, don't rest.
Don't forget to thank me when you're done.
Do you have a cup of paper clips? Drop about 20 on the floor and squat down to the pick them up. Don't lean over and don't pick up more than one at a time. Get your butt down, grab one, and stand back up. And finally, knock out a set of 10-15 push ups, either leaning on your desk, your chair or, if vacuumed, the floor. Do all five of these exercises without stopping for 10 straight minutes. How many rounds did you get through? See if you can do the same number or more later in the day.
If you can get to the gym, you're golden. You have a treasure chest of toys to play with. I like to group different exercises in combinations to better target upper and lower body parts.
Knock out 50-100 high knees (cardio) followed by some hip ups (glutes, hamstrings) and ball tosses (chest, tri's, hand-eye coordination)
If you have a jump rope, see if you can jump 100 times without stopping. No rope? Fake it. Swing your wrists as if turning a rope, keep your shoulders back, core tight and jump side to side. (I call these mimes). From there, grab a weight... 3-10 lbs, extend your arms, and literally just drive by turning the "wheel" back and forth. (shoulders) Each time you turn the weight from left to right, it counts as 1 rep. See if you can get 40 reps. Then drop down into a plank, and draw your core in to do 20 pikes (abs).
Find a step of some sort (could be a low bench, or a piece of equipment) and do 50 stationary runs with one foot up on the bench and the other knee driving up (glutes, cardio). From there, drop down to a mat, place your hands under your lower back for support if you need it, and do 50-100 small flutter kicks up and down (abs). Hop up and do the other set of stationary runs with the other leg on the bench.
Grab a small towel and place it on the ground. Staying low, try and run around the towel 20 times as fast as you can while facing one direction. This will improve your forward/backward and lateral movements as well as your foot speed. Go one direction 20 times and then switch and go the other directions 20 times.
From there, drop down onto a mat, lying on your stomach. and do 20 sea turtles. Lift both your upper body and your lower body off the mat and swing your arms so your hands reach back and touch your thighs. This will work both your upper and lower back. The last exercise in this combo is an ab-get-up. This is basically just a roll into a stand up. Lie flat on your back, roll your legs up and try to use your core to stand right up. This will take some work, but the stronger your core gets, the easier it will be.
Halfway through the workout, I do 10 "pants-on-fire" runs. These are my favorite. They use every muscle in your body and all you have to do is lie on the floor on your stomach and explode up into a 3-step sprint as if your pants are on fire. The strength it will take you to jump up and take 3 fast steps will really tax you. Do 10 and you'll feel it!