Summertime Sexy In 30 Minutes
Y'all, I'm about to change the game for you.
Yesterday the beginning of the summer solstice brought promises of backyard barbecues, beach lounging, and bikinis. The season of short pants and packed gyms is officially here.
If you're like me, you're trying to get your body right, stat! The scramble for a hard body should've happened 3 months ago. You like the thought of working out, but the actual doing of it, you find relentlessly grueling.
Look. Going to the gym can be a headache, especially after work. Parking is a hassle and waiting my turn for the slow person to finish on the equipment kills my circuit vibe. The alternative is going at the crack of dawn around 5 a.m.-ish when it's not too crowded, but let's get real, that's not gonna happen. And it's not for lack of will, but because I've already done that.
I've already done the 4:30 a.m. wake ups for a 5 a.m. boot camp with an instructor demanding that I spider crawl across a dirty, sweat-puddled floor. I've already done the 2-a-day workouts. I've already had my fill of intense 60-minute spin and weight lifting classes. I've already dabbled in CrossFit. And I've already been grinding since before Tae Bo with Billy Blanks. I've already done it all, then slowly burned out. I quit. Undeliberately. All of it.
Fast forward 10+ pounds later. My general practitioner and gynecologist, who are married and run a medical practice together, tell me separately that I need to lose weight. I need to lose weight to avoid diabetes, which I'm told I'm inching towards pound by pound. And I need to lose weight to create a healthy place for a baby to possibly grow one day. Bottom line: I need to lose weight pronto.
It only takes one medical warning to scare the crap out of me. The thought of putting my future family in jeopardy was a big deal. The possibility of having to take diabetes medication daily (not to mention the expense of it) when I can barely swallow an ibuprofen was as unappealing as it gets. Aside from the wanting to look good part, this was a wake up call to look fertile and alive. So when I got home, I hit Google hard.
As I educated myself on the latest wellness science, a pattern emerged. Fitness professionals were adamant that sweating for 30 minutes a day (not 45, not 60, not 90, and not extreme) could help cardio health, weight loss, mental health, and increased metabolism.
On one hand, I was apprehensive about that, but the truth is, long and extreme workouts weren't even an option anymore. Those days were over. I was bored with them and jaded by the lack of results. And if the professionals said 30 minutes was the sweet spot, then I made a choice to try it and hoped for best.
Over the course of 6 months, here's what happened:
- Weight started falling off - I was previously sedentary (a.k.a. a couch potato), so when I started moving, the first few pounds came off pretty easy
- I found TONS of great workouts on YouTube that I saved to a workout folder, so I could do a different workout everyday if I wanted
- My medical issues began clearing up and simple things like painting my toenails became easier since I had less stomach getting in the way
- I did a 30-minute workout 4 - 5 days per week. On the other days...
- ...I rested (which our bodies need for muscle recovery), did 30 minutes of deep stretching/yoga, or if I had nothing left to give at the end of an exhausting day, I did a 5 - 10 minute workout. Yes, 5 - 10 minute workouts boost the heart rate and helps routines stick
- And I looked so much better naked. Oh, I'm the only one who likes to look nice in the buff? Ok
Listen, if you're trying to get sexy, maintain sexy, or enhance sexy for the summer, you too might not have to go h.a.m. for 60 minutes.
Although, some would disagree. There has been research as recent as 2015 that suggests that 30 minutes is not enough, but here's where I stand on the issue:
To suggest that I should workout for 60 minutes everyday, or even 3 days out of the week, is to suggest that I not workout at all. For a myriad of reasons that range from time limitations to sustainability, 60 minutes a day is the exact amount of time that it takes for me to lose interest. A 30-minute goal, with the option to increase my time, is what works for me. I bought into the 60-minute theory for a long time and it helped me gain 14 pounds. The 30-minute theory helped me lose it.
There's so much more to health than working out and losing excess body fat, although those are important considerations. Most health and fitness experts agree that what you eat (and don't eat) is more critical to your health than how you sweat. Nevertheless, the biggest revelations I've had about fitness has to do with the length of workouts and where workouts happen. You can easily get sucked into thinking we have to go hard at the gym with weight and machines like "The Biggest Loser" contestants to make an impact on our overall health, but you don't. All you have to do is engage in cardiovascular activity that makes you sweat for 30 minutes.
MY FAVORITE YOUTUBE WORKOUTS
As of the publish date of this post, all listed videos are current. If in the future they disappear from YouTube (it happens), find a new one you like.
No lie, the animated workout model is weird, but focus on the movements and go as hard as you can since it's a shorter workout
10-MINUTE CARDIO BOOST
I can barely breathe after this one
This was the first YouTube workout I ever did. Still makes me feel sore the next day
20-MINUTE YOGA FOR WHEN YOU'RE SICK
Keep up with your routine, even while you're under the weather. Remember to take it easy on this, but most of all feel better soon :-)
25-MINUTE RESISTANCE BAND WORKOUT
This one murders my arms and quads. Good luck
28-MINUTE STRENGTH TRAINING WITH DUMBBELLS
Muscle-building is so important. Muscle helps burn fat, so don't sleep on weight training
30-MINUTE YOGA FOR RELAXATION
Be honest with yourself. Not feeling it today? Cool. Don't force a high-impact workout. Shift to low-impact. Flexibility and mental relaxation is just as important as strength, so do this instead
30-MINUTE HIIT (HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING) WORKOUT
This instructor is so bad (meaning: good) that I flew to L.A. to attend her classes
30-MINUTE CARDIO KICKBOXING WITH JUMP ROPE
1-minute jump rope intervals. Easy, right? Right?
35-MINUTE SIX-PACK ABS WORKOUT
This is a great combination of abs and cardio
Tip: Customize your YouTube workouts. For example, this Saturday I did half of a 60-minute workout, found a 5-minute deep stretch routine, then topped it off with 15 minutes of meditation. Make it what you need it to be.
FAVORITE WORKOUT APPAREL & EQUIPMENT
When you look good, you move better.
Any sporting goods store will have great gear, but here are a few places that surprised me:
- Forever 21 - for super cute and inexpensive workout clothes
- Victoria's Secret - for cute bras with really good support, especially if your "girls" are XXL
- Macy's - because they have good sales
All equipment listed can be found at Five Below stores for $5 (or below, naturally)
- Yoga Mat
- Jump Rope
- 5 lb dumbbells
- Resistance Band
Photo credit: Imre Péterfi via CC Flickr