Workouts At A Glance
Short Routines, Fast Results
Rather than lift weights for 20 or so minutes, then do another 30 or so of cardio, you get both in just 20 minutes with circuit workouts. Yoga and your favorite cardio round out the week for variety.
We all want exercise that works us hard in hardly any time at all and slims us down fast, so we challenged Prevention fitness expert Chris Freytag to create a routine that packs about an hour's worth of fat blasting into just 20 minutes. When a panel of Prevention readers tried the exercise and diet program, they lost an average of 4 1/2 pounds in just 2 weeks—and two women lost twice that, and another shed 10 inches off her arms, chest, waist, hips, and legs. All the testers found the short workouts easy to fit into their crowded schedules, whether in the morning, at lunch, in the evening, or even after 10 p.m.
What makes this plan superefficient and extra effective is that most of the workouts are circuit routines. By performing high-energy strength moves with little rest in between, you burn 25 percent more calories during the workout and double your postexercise calorie burn—all while building firm, shapely muscles. These pumped-up circuits go one step further: The 30-second power drills you do between circuits will rev your metabolism even higher than regular circuits.
For best results, follow a balanced 1,600-calorie eating plan (for more info, go to prevention.com/slim-diet).
What you need: One or two sets of dumbbells (3 to 8 pounds), yoga mat, and supportive sneakers.
Warm-up: For circuit workouts, march in place, do arm circles and half squats, and twist and bend your torso, all without weights, for 2 minutes. For your favorite cardio workout, begin at an easy intensity and build up to a moderate or vigorous level over 2 to 3 minutes. A warm-up is already built into the yoga routine.
Cool-down: Finish circuit and favorite cardio workouts by stretching the muscles you just worked for 2 minutes. A cool-down is already part of the yoga routine.
Days: 1, 2, 3 + 5
Do Circuit moves and Power Drill sequence 6 times. After each Power Drill, rest 20 seconds (easy march or side-to-side steps) before repeating.
For both moves: Do 16 reps, then do 8 more with a balance challenge (knee lifts for Move 1; rear leg lifts for Move 2).
1. Arm Arc
Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms at sides, holding a dumbbell in each hand.* Raise arms out to sides to shoulder height (not shown). Bend elbows so arms form a goalpost. Press dumbbells up overhead. Reverse actions to lower weights.
2. Row With Rear Fly
Hold dumbbell in right hand, arm extended below shoulder. Lunge with left leg bent, right one straight behind you. Rest left hand on left thigh. Bend right elbow and pull dumbbell toward hip. Slowly lower. Then raise right arm out to side to shoulder height. Slowly lower. (Do opposite arm next round.)
3. Power Drill (30 seconds)
Jumping Jacks: For less impact, you can alternate stepping out to sides.
Choose a weight that you can lift with good form for the recommended number of reps. If the last few reps don't feel hard, pick a heavier weight.