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You know what they say: Excuses are like, ahem, rear ends — everyone’s got one and they all stink. “It’s easy to find an excuse, but it’s those who choose to find a solution who will succeed,” says Kim Lyons, owner of Bionic Body in Hermosa Beach, California, and former red team trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. “These rules are the solution, allowing you to challenge your body at your level, on your schedule and on your budget.”
Rule 1: Burn as many calories as possible in the shortest amount of time. “This means using compound motions, circuits and explosive movements to elevate your heart rate and generate the most muscular recruitment possible,” Lyons says. “This type of training streamlines your workout and eliminates the need for separate weight and cardio sessions.”
Rule 2: Regress or progress exercises to suit your level. “Learn the available variations that best suit your level so you can stay challenged without risking injury,” Lyons says.
Rule 3: You don’t need fancy equipment. “In fact, all you need is your bodyweight and a set of weights or two,” Lyons insists. “With these tools, you can train at home, in a gym, even in a hotel room when you’re traveling.”
Here are four of Lyons’ favorite whole-body moves that implement all these rules. Choose the level that’s best for you, then perform the moves in a circuit, doing each one for a minute, resting one minute between circuits. Do the circuit four to five times for a fat-blasting, excuse-proof workout.
Level 1: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Crouch and place your hands on the floor in front of you, then walk your feet back so you’re in plank position. Pause briefly, then walk your feet back to your hands and stand up to complete one rep.
Level 2: Jump your feet out to plank position and then back underneath you, then stand up.
Level 3: Add an explosive jump as you stand back upright, clapping overhead.
Level 1: Keeping your legs straight, place your hands on the floor in front of you. Walk your hands forward until you’re in plank position and hold briefly. Walk your hands back to your feet, keeping your legs straight, and stand back up.
Level 2: Walk your hands out, pause in plank, then walk your feet up to meet your hands so you’re traveling forward.
Level 3: Walk your hands out, pause in plank position, do a push-up, pause again in plank position, then walk your feet up to meet your hands.
Lunge and Press
Level 1: Take a wide staggered stance and hold a set of dumbbells at your shoulders. Bend both knees to drop straight down, keeping your front knee over your toes and your torso upright. Stand up, then press the dumbbells straight up overhead. Do 30 seconds on each side.
Level 2: Start with your feet together and do alternating lunges to the rear as you press the weights overhead.
Level 3: Do walking lunges forward, pressing one dumbbell at a time overhead using opposing arms and legs.
Touch and Reach
Level 1: Stand on one foot with your other toe lightly touching the ground for balance. Hold a dumbbell in the opposite hand. Bend your standing knee deeply and reach the dumbbell toward the floor. Stand up, then punch the dumbbell straight overhead. Do 30 seconds on each side.
Level 2: Keep your nonworking toe off the ground at all times.
Level 3: Lift your nonworking knee to the front as you push the dumbbell up overhead.