Looking for a way to start the new year on a healthy note? If so, you’re in luck. In a special five-part series titled, “New Year, New You,” “Today” fitness expert Kathy Kaehler offers a plan for five, five-minute workouts that will give you a complete 25-minute program for total body fitness. Do this three times a week for the next few months, and Kaehler says you’ll be sure to have a head start when bathing suit season kicks off on Memorial Day.
Each workout focuses on a different part of the body. The first is a fat-burning shape-up. If you do this just five minutes a day you can burn more calories, get a metabolism boost and start shedding the fat over your muscles. The moves are easy and, fun, so just move your coffee table, get out your athletic shoes and get moving.
Step one: Five-minute fat-burning shape-up
1. March in place for about 8 counts.2. Walk forward for 3 counts, touch and then back, 2 sets.3. Walk forward for 3 counts and then side step, 2 sets.4. March in place for about 8 counts.5. Knees up, alternating knees, 8 times.6. Kick out, alternating legs, 8 times.7. March in place for about 8 counts.8. Repeat walk forward for 3 counts, touch, and then back.9. Walk forward for 3 counts and add jumping jacks.10. Repeat walk forward for 3 counts, touch, and then back.11. Walk forward for 3 counts and add jumping jacks.12. March in place 8 counts.13. Leg back lunge, step, then other leg.14. Leg back lunge with jump in the middle, then other leg.15. March in place, 2 counts of 8.
Cool down (last 30 seconds):
-Heels out step, alternating feet.-One leg back and stretch calf, both sides.-One leg forward and stretch hamstring, both sides.-Hold leg up for thigh stretch, both sides.-Big breath and finish.
Step two: Upper Body
Sitting in chair holding weights with arms out, elbows bent and parallel to shoulders, raise arms up and straighten, then back down - 8 times.
Bicep curlsSitting in chair holding weights with elbows close to waist, forearms forward and hands facing upward, bring arms into chest and back down - 8 times.
Triceps dipsPut weights down. With back to chair and arms resting on chair behind body, slowly lower hips and raise back up -- 8 times.
Repeat all 3 above.
Lateral raiseStanding with arms at sides holding weights, raise arms to shoulder level and lower back down -- 8 times.
Leg up bent over raiseStanding with one knee bent on chair and arm on chair for support, raise other arm, holding weight, bending elbow as it comes up, and back down -- 8 times each side
One arm row with tricep extensionStanding and holding onto chair for support, raise other arm up and to the back, holding weight and bending elbow, straighten arm to the back -- repeat 8 times each side.
PushupsDrop weights, get down on the mat and do pushups -- 10.
Step three: Front and back of thighs, calves and butt
Sit down squatsPick up weights, sit down on chair, stand up and sit down, 10 times.
Lunge back kicksPut weights down, stand to the side of chair holding back of chair for support. Step back with one leg and kick front leg straight out in front of you -- 8 times each side.
Inner thigh squeezeSitting in chair, put rolled up hand towel between knees, squeeze. Do 1 set of 16.
Still sitting in chair, lift one leg with knee bent, extend leg straight out, flex foot and tighten quad at top of thigh. Do this 8 times each side, alternating legs. (if you have an ankle weight, this would be a good time to use it).
Hip liftLying on the mat with the chair at the end of the mat and feet up on the chair, lift hips off the floor. Only your shoulders, head and heels should make contact. Hold and release. Do this 10 times.
Straight leg lift
Lying on your side on the floor, place weight on outer thigh and lift leg up. Do 16 on each side.
Step four: Abdominals
Elbow touch crunchSitting in chair, touch elbow to opposite knee -- 8 times alternating sides.
Still sitting in chair, raise legs straight out -- 8 times.Repeat elbow touch crunches and leg raises.
CrunchOn the floor with feet up on chair and elbows behind your head, slowly lift up and raise shoulders off the floor, contracting abdominal muscles. Exhale as you lift up. Do this 8 times.
Oblique crunchSame position as above. Come up off the floor, cross over to the opposite side with opposite elbow and touch. This engages the oblique muscles which are the corset type of muscle that's your waist. Do this 8 times.Repeat both crunches.
Push chair out of the way. On the floor, hands are behind your head, with one leg extended and the other bent, cross the opposite elbow to the opposite knee and repeat this on each side 10 times. Rest and repeat 2 more sets. This is the classic exercise that gets the middle ab from top to bottom.
Lying on your stomach resting on your forearms and with your feet out on your toes, lift your body so that you're in a plank position. Back is straight, no sagging in the middle, and abs are pulled in. Shoulder blades are pressed down toward the waistline. Hold for 20 seconds or as long as you can. Planks are from the yoga world and really focus on the trunk or core and are most effective in strengthening the abs.
Turn onto your side. One arm is on the floor and your feet are on the floor with your body turned sideways. The other arm is extended straight up. Hold for 20 seconds or as long as you can.Repeat both plank exercises.
Step five: All about stretching
Although often neglected, stretching is one of the most important things you can do to improve flexibility and prevent injury. This workout stretches the chin, shoulders, upper back, lower back, arms, legs, and sides, from under the shoulders all the way down the sides.
Here are the stretches:
1. Chair stretch: Sitting in a chair, turn to the right and hold the back of chair with your right hand. Reach your left hand in that direction stretching through the trunk and upper back. Repeat on the other side. This is for the upper back, lower back and shoulders.
2. Turn around stretch: Sitting in a chair, turn your back and reach behind you. Hold for a few seconds. This will stretch your upper and lower back and shoulders.
3. Neck down stretch: Sit straight in your chair and hold onto the sides of the chair. Pull your chin down into your chest. Hold for a few seconds. This is a great stretch for the back of the neck.
4. Side stretch: Start in a warrior position standing with your legs apart, one foot turned out, and arms straight out to the side. Place one arm on the chair for balance and bring your other arm straight up and hold stretch for a few seconds. Repeat on the other side. This is for the front of the shoulders and upper back.
5. Forward bend stretch: Hold the back of the chair with both arms stretched out in front, legs straight, keep back straight and look down. Hold. Feel this stretch in the back of the legs and arms. This is for the shoulders and hamstrings.
6. Back stretch: Place one foot on the chair with the body upright. Slightly twist with the opposite hand pushing the knee away gently. Push opposite shoulder back to open up the upper body. Hold and repeat on the other side. You will feel this in the upper back, lower back and chest.
7. Bent knee side stretch: On your knees on the mat with your body upright, extend one leg straight out to the side. Reach up and fold over toward the straight leg. Hold. This is for the lats -- the side of the body below the arms into the waist and into the sides of the legs.
8. Cat stretch: Come back up to the middle and go into the yoga cat stretch. Get down on all fours and round up the back a few times. This is for the back.
Repeat the bent knee side stretch on the other side and then repeat the cat stretch.
9. Kneeling forward bend (child's pose in yoga): On your knees on the floor with arms out forward on the floor, slide arms in toward your body with knees tucked under, and hold. When you're finished, come up onto your knees, and supporting yourself on one knee, slowly stand up.
Kathy Kaehler is the fitness consultant for "Today." Please remember that these are only recommendations for getting in shape. Always see a medical doctor for a complete physical before partaking in any type of physical fitness program. For more information you can also visit Kathy's Web site at: