Energy. We look for it on Wednesday mornings and weekday afternoons when we’re at our lowest point yet there’s a good amount of the workday left to get through. Most of us will reach for a cup of coffee to bring in that much needed boost. But what if I told you could do without the coffee? I know, you think I’m crazy, but hear me out. By incorporating certain high-intensity energy-boosting workouts into your routine, your body could eventually find the energy you need to get through your day in a natural and healthier way!
Short Intervals Mean More Energy
If you don’t think you can add on more things to your already full plate, you’ll like hearing this. Energy-boosting workouts are generally shorter and easier to fit into a busy schedule. Short, high-intensity workouts––meaning intervals of all-out bursts followed by short intervals of active recovery or rest––are effective in boosting your body’s overall energy. The key is to really push your body during the all-out bursts, specifically to 70-85 percent of your max heart rate. Using this ratio, you push your body hard but for short periods of time. At the same time, you can perform specific exercises to target different areas of your body, so you’ll get the figure you want in half the time.
Burn Calories After the Workout
Another benefit is called the “afterburn effect,” which is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This means you burn more calories after your workout when the intensity of the workout is higher! High-intensity, energy-boosting workouts increase the afterburn, which results in your body burning calories even after your workout is over. You really can’t beat burning more calories while you are at the grocery store post-workout!
15 Minute Energy-Boosting Workout
Now that you know all the benefits, it’s time to get to work! Follow this energy-boosting workout three times a week (every other day) as part of your regular workout for maximum benefit. Although you can perform this workout fewer times during the week, you’ll see better results by incorporating more high-intensity workouts into your routine. For weighted exercises, try to use the highest weight you can safely and comfortably use.
As always, consult your doctor before trying any of these exercises.
Warm-up: 45 seconds-1 minute of jumping jacks.
Round 1: Perform each exercise, 12 repetitions each.
Rest for 30 seconds-1 minute.
Round 2: Perform each exercise, 15 repetitions each.
Rest for 30 seconds-1 minute.
Round 3: Perform each exercise, 20 repetitions each.
Rest. You’re all done!
Stand with your feet hip width apart and your arms at your sides. Lower your body into a squat position, and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Jump both legs backwards into a plank position. Hold the plank position for a few seconds. Then, jump your feet up to your hands so you are back in the squat position. As you return to standing, jump and raise both hands over your head. Repeat.
Modify it: If you can’t jump back, step back/forward by bringing one leg back/forward at a time instead of jumping both back at once. Also, you can eliminate the jumping portion of the burpee if needed. To make this harder, add a push-up when in the plank position.
2. Weighted Squat Thrusts
Stand with both legs shoulder width apart, head facing forward, shoulders back. Hold a 5-10lb weight or kettlebell at chest-height. Squat by bending your knees (like you’re going to go sit in a chair) without letting your knees go past your toes. Push into your heels, and bring yourself back to standing. As you return to standing, thrust the weight upwards so you arms are up above your head, then bring the weight back to your chest.
Modify it: To increase the challenge, add a jump in between each squat for a weighted squat jump. If jumping, be sure to hold the weight at your chest when doing so. After the jump, thrust the weight upwards and bring it back to your chest before the next squat. Never jump with the weight above your head.
3. Speed Skaters
Start in a squat position. Jump sideways to the right, landing on your right leg. As you land on your right leg, your left leg should be off the ground. Then quickly bring your left leg behind to your right ankle. Reverse direction by jumping to the left with your left leg on the ground, and your right ankle behind you. Perform the repetitions on each leg (i.e. 12 repetitions on the right leg, and 12 repetitions on the left leg).
Modify it: If you have trouble with lateral movements, perform high-knees or butt kicks instead.
4. Weighted Russian Twists
Sit on the floor with your hips and knees at 90 degree angles, holding a medicine ball, dumbbell, or kettlebell. Lean back so your torso is at a 45 degree angle to the floor, then slightly lift your feet off the floor. Make sure you keep your spine straight! Extend your arms in out in front of you, holding the weight in both hands. Slowly rotate your trunk and bring your trunk/arms as far as you can to the right, pause, and then reverse this movement to the left side.
Modify it: If you can’t hold your legs in the air, touch your heels to the floor for added support. Try not to put too much weight on your heels; you should be feeling this in your abs/core. If the weight is too much, you can clasp your fingers together and perform the twists without weight. Perform the same number of repetitions per side.
5. Lunge Jumps
Stand with your feet hip-width apart with your legs in a relaxed position. Engage your core as you push off the bottom of both feet, jumping as switch the position of your feet in mid-air. Land while bringing your right foot forward and your left foot backward (as in a basic lunge). Without resting, jump again as you repeat this movement while alternating the leg is in front. Repeat. Make sure your back leg is directly bent underneath your body and your front leg is bent at 90 degrees to prevent any injury. Perform the same number of repetitions per side.
Modify it: If you can’t jump in between lunges, perform walking lunges at a fast pace. However, if you are performing walking lunges, hold a 5-10lb weight in each hand for an added challenge.
That’s it! If you stick to this workout plan, your 2PM sluggish feeling will be something of the past!