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With kids going back to school and summer vacations coming to an end, getting back in the swing of things after Labor Day can be a struggle. For many people, workouts get put on the back-burner other responsibilities crowd out time in the day for fitness.
I find that scheduling a quick workout in the morning is the most effective way to make sure exercise happens. However, not any workout will get the job done. It needs to be effective and sustainable — and in my experience, the shorter the better. That’s why I’ve devised a 15-minute morning workout routine that fits the bill. All you need is a little space in your house and a pair of dumbbells.
The workout structure
The structure of the workout routine is a combination of HIIT training, cardio and strength exercises. The exercises will also focus on activating the core. We've put together two circuits — one HIIT and one strength training — that you will intersperse with cardio and rest days throughout the month.
Download your printable calendar here. Hang the calendar on your fridge, or keep it in your purse or car, for easy reference.
Day 1: HIIT
Day 2: Strength
Day 3: REST
Day 4: Strength
Day 5: HIIT
Day 6: REST
Day 7: HIIT
Day 8: Strength
Day 9: 15 minutes cardio of choice
Day 10: REST
Day 11: Strength
Day 12: HIIT
Day 13: 15 minutes cardio of choice
Day 14: REST
Day 15: HIIT
Day 16: Strength
Day 17: HIIT
Day 18: REST
Day 19: Strength
Day 20: HIIT
Day 21: REST
Day 22: 15 minutes cardio of choice
Day 23: Strength
Day 24: HIIT
Day 25: Strength
Day 26: REST
Day 27: Strength
Day 28: HIIT
Day 29: REST
Day 30: Strength
Repeat these 5 exercises 3 times for a total of a 15-minute workout.
Running in place
Jogging in place is a great way to warm up and kick off an intense cardio session. Simply run in place moving your arms and legs at the same time. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Focus on connecting with your positive energy for the day. Do this for 60 seconds.
NFL shuffle & Hit
Channel your professional athlete. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and bend the knees into a partial squat. Shuffle the feet, tapping the right foot then left foot on the ground very fast. Open the arms out into a goal post position so that the hands are above the head. Do this for 10 seconds and then bend the knees into a deeper squat and tap the floor with your hand. Repeat this 10 times.
Side shuffle into NFL shuffle
For a side shuffle, you’ll bend the knees and open the feet shoulder-width apart. You’ll shuffle to one side, leading with one foot and having the other foot come to meet it. To start this exercise, shuffle to the right 5 times, then do 10 seconds of the NFL shuffle. Immediately shuffle to the left 5 times, then do 10 seconds of the NFL shuffle. Shuffle to the right and left 10 times each.
Start with your feet wider than your shoulders, and sink down into a squat. Then press down through your heels as you come up and jump up towards the ceiling. Softly land with your knees bent into a squat, and repeat 10 times.
High knees (with optional jog and raised arms)
Jogging in place (or stepping in place if you need a modification), pull one knee up high towards your chest, engaging the abs. Then switch, pulling the opposite knee into the chest. For a more advanced move, reach your arms up towards they sky while you bring the knees to the chest and/or take the step to a jog, hopping from one foot to the other. Repeat this 10 times on each side.
Complex Strength Training Workout
Repeat this circuit 2 times for a total of a 15-minute workout. I recommend starting with 3-pound dumbbells if you’re just getting back into exercise; if you are used to working out with dumbbells you can choose a pair as heavy as 10 pounds.
Squat & press
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Bend the knees and sit back into a squat, letting the weights hang down by your sides reaching towards the floor. Press down through the heels to stand back up, and slowly bring the weights up and overhead into an overhead press. Release the arms down and repeat this squat and press 10 times. Visualize yourself grounding down as you lower down towards the floor and then blossoming and opening up as you stand and reach up towards the sky.
Side lunge & bent over row
Holding a weight in each hand, step the right foot to the right and bend the right knee. Sink the right glute back as you keep the left leg straight. In this side lunge, bend over at your waist, being sure to engage your core by thinking about pulling your belly button away from the floor. Let the arms dangle down in front of you; then hug the elbows in towards your sides as you pull your elbows up towards the sky, and the weights up into a bent over row. This works the backs of the arms and also the upper back. Keep the head in line with the spine and look down towards the ground. Make sure you do not strain your neck by looking up and hunching your shoulders. Keep the shoulders relaxed. Perform 3 of these bent over rows on the right side lunge, and then press back to center. Do a side lunge to the left, and repeat 3 bent over rows. Repeat 5 times on each side.
Reverse lunge & bicep curl
Holding a weight in each hand, step the right foot back into a reverse lunge. Press down through the left heel as you come back to center and do a bicep curl at the same time. Then step the left foot back into a reverse lunge, and press down through the right foot to come up to standing as you do a bicep curl. Focus on control through this exercise rather than speed. Repeat this 10 times on each leg, completing 20 bicep curls in total.
Tricep dip & toe touch
For this exercise, you can set the weights down. Sit down on your butt and place your hands on the ground. Reach your fingers towards your butt. Bend your knees and press your feet into the ground. Make sure your knees are directly over your ankles, and lift your butt up by pressing down through your hands and your feet. Bend the elbows to lower your butt towards the ground without touching it, performing a tricep dip, and then press back up. As you press up, lift your left arm up and your right foot up and reach them towards each other on a diagonal. Place them down, and then repeat the tricep dip and do a diagonal touch to the other side.
This exercise not only works your triceps, but it also works your internal and external obliques, plus your whole core. Think about connecting a breath with each movement, for example, breathe in to lower down into the tricep dip, then breathe out as you come up and reach the opposite hand to opposite foot.
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