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The 1% Workout

Attitudes are changing — slowly, but the prevailing opinion of the masses is that one has to be some kind of exercise fanatic or food extremist to commit to a healthy lifestyle. A 5 a.m. workout is not mandatory; neither is a tearful farewell to your last ever French fry.

The truth is it doesn’t take a lot to make changes for the good; the body responds immediately to any form of vigorous exercise. The heart becomes more efficient at pumping blood (less wear and tear means it should last longer), the brain creates new cells (effectively replenishing those you destroyed in college) and the pituitary gland thwarts the body from burning muscle and sends it in the direction of fat stores instead. Muscles, heart, lungs, blood vessels, skin — virtually all the major players get in on the action.

But it does take commitment.


The good news: that commitment is a lot less than you’d think. Just 1 percent of your day is all that is required to effectively create positive change. If you do the math, that’s only 15 minutes!

What follows is a fast-paced circuit done with just your body weight. It’s perfect for the newbie or anybody who is short on time. Work through the circuit four times, taking a 90-second rest between sets. Tweak it as you get stronger — one-legged planks, squat/hold for a count, add reps, cut rest — you get the picture. Aim to do the workout three or four days a week. On off days, take a walk or use your 15-minute wisely and plan your weekly menu.

The 1% Workout

  • Bodyweight Squats: 8-10 reps
  • Push-ups (or knee push-ups): 5-8 reps
  • Plank: hold for 30 seconds
  • Jumping Jacks: 15 reps
  • Bodyweight Reverse Lunges: 6-10 reps per leg
  • Lying Hip Raise (double or single leg): 10 reps

Workout smart and commit — your health depends on it!

Do you struggle with commitment? I’ve worked out for so long that it is second nature now! —Karen

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