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The 7-Day Guide to Jumpstart Your Fitness

This Week's Work Will Lead to Future Results
  -- By Zach Van Hart, Staff Writer

Who do you want to look like? Britney Spears? Brad Pitt? Mia Hamm? We all want to look fabulous, but don’t always know how to take the first step towards our goals. A fitness jumpstart is a great way to set off towards a "better you."

The beauty of a fitness jumpstart is how little time it takes. Just 10-15 minutes are all you need to complete a good workout. With this in mind, SparkPeople has constructed a 7-day exercise jumpstart routine. Each day is completed by 10-15 minutes that will ease you back into fitness, while still breaking a sweat.

Each day will feature an exercise for your upper body, core, and lower body. Three days will incorporate more thorough stretching, while three others will include an aerobic exercise. For the everyday components (upper body, core, lower body), do 8-15 repetitions of each exercise. Then do the aerobic work or stretching for 3-5 minutes. On days you do aerobic, you should still stretch afterwards. The last day of the week is a fun day – pick out your favorite three exercises from earlier in the week!

Before each workout, make sure to properly warm up and stretch. Start by walking or pedaling on an exercise bike for a few minutes, then stretch for at least five minutes. Dumbbells or body weight is all that’s needed for the majority of the exercises, with a few noted exceptions. Links to demonstrations will explain the details about every exercise and provide a visual demo as well. For stretching, feel free to do some or all of the demonstrations provided, or use your own.

A week of exercise will not catapult you to magazine cover status just yet, but it will build a great foundation of fitness for the coming weeks and months. Good luck!

Day 1
Modified push-ups
Crunches
Forward lunges

Day 2
Bicep curl
Back extensions
Calf extensions
Jump rope – Even if it’s difficult to get more than a couple in a row, that’s OK. Like exercise in general, this takes practice to get use to.

Day 3
Rows with dumbbells
Reverse crunch
Leg raises

Day 4
Chest press with dumbbells
Dumbbell oblique
Hamstring flexion (requires Swiss ball)
Exercise bike – Go at a moderate pace, hard enough that your heart rate goes up a little.

Day 5
Tricep kickback
Elbow to knee
Calf extensions

Day 6
Lateral deltoid raise
Plank hold
Body weight squats
Jump rope

Day 7
Pick your own!