Even the most go-get-‘em gym rats occasionally have days when they don’t feel like doing anything. And for people who are a little less motivated, it can be hard for them to get workout time into their busy schedules. According to a 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, there are two types of physical activities — aerobic and muscle-strengthening — that are required for maintaining and improving your health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation for adults each week is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, the equivalent of brisk walking and muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week that incorporate all major muscle groups, such as abs, legs, arms, shoulders, and back.
While it sounds like a lot to maintain good health, it’s really only two and a half hours out of your week, and your activity can be spread out throughout the entirety of the week — so you don’t have to hit the weights or pound the pavement for long periods of time. The CDC recommends that you do what’s right for you, just so long as you engage in physical activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for 10 minutes at a time.
If you’re not reaching that minimum, these are three of the best exercise routines that even the laziest of people can start out with. Who knows? Once you get in the habit, you may even start looking forward to your workout time.
1. Get a to-do list
This workout from Fox News Magazine is an excellent starter plan for the lazy man. It’s a fun checklist, which will help bring about a sense of accomplishment, says fitness expert Kathy Kaehler. It’s similar to the pride you get at work and will motivate you to continue checking items off your list. These easy starter workouts are great for the laziest and the busiest of men.
- At work (or home), take the stairs five times
- Wall-squat sit for about a minute — kudos if you can hold it for longer
- Do 30 crunches in the morning before work and 30 at night when you come home
- Do as many push ups as you can in the morning before work and repeat in the evening
- Walk around the block and/or take the stairs when you can
- Hop on one foot for a minute and then repeat on the other side
- Get out into your hallway and lunge walk back and forth
- Set up a line with a piece of tape and jump over and back for a minute (or turn around and jump forward again)
Additionally, Jessi Kneeland, personal trainer and founder of ReModel Fitness, recommends to BuzzFeed to take your phone calls outside and walk around while you’re doing it. “It’s a mindless and easy way to get an hour of exercise in during a time that you’d be doing nothing anyway,” says Kneeland.
2. Circuit training
Circuit training and high-intensity interval training are two great ways to cram a lot of physical benefit into a short period of time. If you’re struggling to find motivation, it’s better to think about surviving a shorter workout than knowing you have to spend over an hour at the gym. These types of routines work well because they’re designed to keep your heart rate up while targeting muscle groups, often combining strength and cardio exercises into a single, short routine.
Circuit training, which is going through exercises that target specific muscles groups in a cyclical progression, is the best way to shorten your gym sessions. There are numerous ways to set up a circuit, but we’ll keep things simple here: Try selecting five exercises — say squats, push-ups, lunges, dumbbell rows, and sit-ups — then cycle through the exercise, doing three reps of 10 of each, racking up a total of 10 minutes. In almost no time at all, you’ll have accomplished a full-body strength and cardio session. Below is a great circuit workout from Body Building to try.
This first one is great for beginners to alternate for four days during the week.
Monday and Thursday
Make sure you do not rest in between exercises but do rest between the start of a new circuit. Complete the routine in order for a total of three rounds.
Tuesday and Saturday
Follow the same instructions as Monday and Thursday’s circuit.
3. Get into a class
One of the easiest ways to get into a workout is to take a fitness class. You have nothing to worry about but to show up and listen to the instructor who has a pre-planned workout prepared. There are many different kinds of classes you can take, depending on the gym you go to. When you take a class, all you have to do is show up with a positive attitude, get into it, and have some fun (while pushing yourself).
The American College of Sports Medicine says that a structured exercise class can be beneficial, especially for a beginner because it’s safe and effective. Most classes (if not all) take you through standard exercise procedure — from the warm up to the main routine to the cool-down.
The ultimate lazy man’s class? Spin. You’ll get to sit for 30 to 45 minutes depending upon your class length, and you’ll still be building your legs muscles and burning calories. It’s a win, win. Plus, if you’re even slightly competitive, classes will help you want to push yourself to work out harder.