We all know it’s best to spend an hour in the gym totally focused on training your bod, but what if you’re short on time? Here a few ways you can still maintain muscle tone while rushing through a busy schedule.
1. Sweat the stairs. You may already know to take the stairs instead of the elevator, but did you know you can get even more out of every step? Lean in slightly, and treat each step like an exercise. Focus on keeping your abs tight and really squeeze your butt. Don’t flail or swing your arms. If you’re not carrying anything, take two stairs at a time or run up them as fast as you can!
2. Toothbrush toner. While brushing your teeth, do a wall sit (squat with your back against a wall and just hold). Or hold a lunge for 60 seconds on each leg. Make sure it’s solid… squeeze your butt and stay low. Setting your timer is key: two minutes can feel like a long time! Bonus: Good gum health leads to good heart health, so actually brushing for the full two minutes is a good idea anyway!
3. Desk chair burners. While sitting (such as at your desk) squeeze your legs together as hard as you can and hold. Your inner thighs will feel the burn…try to do a 60-second hold every hour!
4. Office arm press. Another desk-appropriate move is to clasp your hands together in front of you with your elbows out and press your hands against each other as hard as you can. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch your grip to a choir-style over/under clasp and pull them apart hard (without letting go) for another 30-60 seconds. Be sure to sit up straight!
5. Quickie calf raises. Anytime you’re standing around waiting for something, do calf raises. Press up onto your toes as high as you can, pause for a second, then slowly lower back to the floor. Repeat for 20 reps, then turn your toes out slightly and do 20 from that position. If it feels easy, try doing 20 on each foot, or holding for as long as you can at the top.
6. Kegel crunch. If you aren’t already familiar with the benefits of doing Kegels, ladies, do a little research. They’re easy to fit in anytime, anywhere…at your desk, in your car, or while blow-drying your hair.
7. Posture perfect. Start paying attention to posture. You’ll be surprised by how much time you spend sitting, lounging, leaning, and generally letting your posture collapse. Sit up and stand up tall, push your chest out and shoulders back, and pull your abs in tight. Try to maintain this posture for as long as you can, and maybe set a timer on your phone to go off every hour as a “posture reminder.” The muscles required to do this are often underused and will get tired very quickly at first, so you’ll need to build up stamina. Also try squeezing your shoulder blades together in the back, as both a reminder to stay up tall and a way to start building some strength. 10-15 squeezes is a good place to start, but as you feel more confident, see how long you can hold it!
Jessi Kneeland is an NYC-based personal trainer. She believes that fitness can show people what they’re made of, including our own Recessionista-in-chief, who’s bum Jessi kicks daily. Check out her blog at http://jessikneeland.wordpr