New Year's Day Fitness Plan

Change your attitude; change your body. Yes, it's that simple. Think about it: When guys start saying they don't have the time, energy, or desire to exercise, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. After all, you probably accomplish a lot in the day. In fact, you likely get done what you absolutely need to get done. But if you don't truly classify working out as priority, you aren't going to do it. And everyone knows it's easier not to exercise, right?

Well, we say it's not that hard to exercise. Especially when you use The Zero Excuses Workout. This three-day-a-week, fat-burning routine—designed by Men's Health adviser Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S.—takes just 30 minutes from start to finish, including your warmup. And all it requires is pair of dumbbells. Can you wake up a half-hour earlier? Hit the gym on your lunch break? Skip an evening sit-com? Then you have the time. The question is: Do you have the heart—or do you have excuses? (If you do have the heart, then make 2014 your comeback year with New Year, New You.)

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Directions

Alternate between Workout A and Workout B three days a week, resting a day between each session. So in Week One, you might do Workout A on Monday and Friday, and Workout B on Wednesday. In Week Two, you'd do Workout B on Monday and Friday, and Workout A on Wednesday. Before each workout, perform the Warm-up, which will boost your calorie-burn, reduce your risk of injury, and improve your performance in the subsequent workout.

Keep yourself motivated with these 20 Ways to Stick To Your Workout.

Warm-up

Complete the warm-up exercises in the order listed. Do one set of each exercise without resting. Once you've completed the warm-up, you're ready to begin Workout A or Workout B (depending on the day).

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Lateral Slide

Stand with your feet just beyond shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until your hips are just slightly higher than your knees. Shuffle to your left by taking a big step to your left with your right foot, then following with your left foot and then one with your left foot. Slide about 10 feet, then slide back to your right. Each time you reverse directions counts as one rep. Do a total of 20 reps.

Walking Knee Hugs

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides. Step forward with your right leg, bend your knee and lean forward slightly at your hips. Lift your left knee toward your chest, grasping it with both hands just below your knee cap. Then pull it as close to the middle of your chest as you can, while you stand up tall. That's one rep.

Release your leg, take three steps forward, and repeat by raising your right knee. Continue to alternate back and forth.

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Split Jacks

Stand in a staggered stance, your right foot in front of your left. Simultaneously jump back with your right foot and forward with your left as you swing your right arm forward and above your shoulder and swing your left arm back. Continue to quickly switch legs back and forth as you raise and lower your arms. Each time you switch legs counts as one rep. Do 20 reps.

More: How to Do a Split Jump

Prisoner Squat

Stand with your hands behind your head, chest out, and elbows back. Keeping your torso as upright as possible, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body as deep as you can. Pause, then push yourself back to the starting position. That's one rep. Do 10 reps.

Inchworm

Stand tall with your legs straight and bend over and touch the floor. Keeping your legs straight, walk your hands forward. Then take tiny steps to walk your feet back toward your hands.

Reverse Lunge With Reach Back

Stand tall with your arms hanging at your sides. Lunge back with your right leg, lowering your body until your left knee is bent at least 90 degrees. As you lunge, reach back over your shoulders and to the left. Reverse the movement back to the starting position. That's one rep. Complete all your reps, then switch legs and reach over your right shoulder for the same number of reps. Do 10 reps for each side.

Plus: Make up for your malaise in the gym with these 10 Crazy Fitness Rules That Should Exist in everyday life.

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Workout A

Do these exercises as circuit, performing one exercise after the next without resting. After you've done one set of each movement, rest for 90 seconds. That's one circuit. Do a total of three circuits.

Dumbbell Pause Squat

Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand tall with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width. Keeping your torso as upright as possible, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body as deep as you can. Pause for two seconds, then push yourself back to the starting position. That's one rep. Do 20 reps.

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Push-up

Assume a push-up position with your arms straight and your hands slightly beyond shoulder width. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles. Bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause, push yourself back to the starting position, and repeat. That's one rep. Do 20 reps.

Think you have the push-up down? Think again. Here are 5 Body-Weight Exercises You're Doing Wrong.

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Reverse Dumbbell Lunge

Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them next to your sides, your palms facing each other. Step backward with your left foot and lower your body until your front knee is bent at least 90 degrees. Press your right heel into the floor and push your body back to the starting position.

Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Grab a dumbbell in one hand, bend at your hips (don't round your lower back), and lower your torso until it's nearly parallel to the floor. Let the dumbbell hang straight down from your shoulders at arm's length, your palm facing sideways; cross your other arm behind your back. Without moving your torso, row the weight upward by raising your upper arm, bend your elbow, and squeeze your shoulder blades. Pause, lower the dumbbell, and repeat. That's one rep. Do 10 reps, then switch arms and do another 10 reps.

Plank

Assume a pushup position, but with your elbows bent and your weight resting on your forearms instead of your hands. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles. Now brace your core as if you're about to be punched in the gut. Breathe deeply, and hold that position for 60 seconds.

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Workout B

Do these exercises as circuit, performing one exercise after the next without resting. After you've done one set of each movement, rest for 90 seconds. That's one circuit. Do a total of three circuits. (Want more motivation to drop your belly flab? Click here for 30 tips to help you lose 20 pounds.)

Dumbbell Split Squat

Holding a pair of dumbbells with your arms hanging at your sides, stand in a staggered stance, your right foot in front of your left. Pause, lower the dumbbell, and repeat. That's one rep. Do 10 reps, then switch arms and do another 10 reps. Press your front heel into the floor and push yourself back to the starting position. That's one rep. Do 15 reps.

T-Pushup

Grab a pair of hex dumbbells and assume a pushup position, your arms straight. Bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Push yourself back up, lift your right hand and rotate the right side of your body upward as you raise the dumbbell.

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Single-Leg Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells at arm's length in front of your thighs. Lift one foot off the ground. Without rounding your lower back, slowly bend at your hips and lower your torso as far as you comfortably can. Push through your grounded heel and raise your body back to the starting position. That's one rep.

Side Plank

Lie on your left side and prop your upper body up on your left forearm. Place your right hand on your hip. Now brace your core—as if you were about to be punched in the gut—and raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from ankles to your shoulders. Hold that position for 30 seconds, then roll onto your other side and hold for another 30 seconds. That's one set.

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Thrusters

Hold a pair of dumbbells next to your shoulders and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your torso as upright as you can, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until your thigh are at least parallel to the floor. Pause, then simultaneously push your body back to standing position as you press the dumbbells directly over your shoulders until your arms are straight. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. That's one rep. Do a total of 20 reps. Perform three rounds with as little rest as possible between rounds.

Which moves do fitness experts hate? Read 5 Exercises That Make Trainers Cringe.

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