New Year, New Me – Preparation | Total Leg workout in less than 15 Minutes

2

Thanks for checking out the second post in the New Year, New Me series. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting my top tips for maintaining your fitness goals as well as some super easy targeted exercise routines designed to help you tone up and get fit from home.  If you haven’t already head over to my first post in the series to get yourself a complete core busting working in less than 15 minutes.

We all know that New Year’s resolutions are hard especially if your resolution is to get fit or tone up…it’s not a quick fix! That’s why I’ve put together this New Year, New Me series to help equip you with the knowledge and fundamental skills that will take your health and fitness resolutions all the way to 2018 and beyond. Any successful healthy lifestyle can be split into three key elements: Preparation, Exercise and Motivation. Over the next three weeks I’m going to break these down for you so by February 1st you’ll have everything you need to make your goals a reality; starting with preparation.

Preparation really makes all the difference and I honestly think it’s the most important thing that you can do to set yourself up for a healthy lifestyle. It means taking a few extra hours when you do have time to set yourself up for healthy decisions when you don’t have the time. After all, it’s a lot easier to avoid the pizza in your freezer if you have a healthier alternative that’s just as quick.

I like to split preparation further into three sub preps: food prep, healthy habit prep and workout prep.

Food Prep

You’ve heard this one before a billion times but there’s a reason for that, it really is a life saver. This can be as simple as prepping your lunch the night before so you always have a healthy delicious lunch on hand or you can go full blown and help to really set yourself up for success by doing a healthy cook up at the weekend and freezing your evening meals for the week. That way all you have to do is get your dinner out of the freezer in the morning and heat it up when you get home!

My top tips for food prep are:

1) Invest in some freezer bags or good quality tupperware you can freeze. I really can’t stress enough how much of a life saver having a few on hand healthy meals in the freezer can be. Especially after a long day at work when quick and easy is all you’re looking for.

2) Get yourself a slow cooker. Add in any kind of meat (this is where the cheaper, toucher cuts really come into their own) your favourite veggies, a few potatoes and cover the whole thing with water. By the time you get home you’ll have a delicious healthy stew ready to be eaten.

3) Prep your veg when you buy it. The longest part of cooking any healthy meal is usually prepping your veg. Peel and chop your carrots and parsnips, cut off your broccoli stalks, keep potato halves in the fridge; all of this shaves so much time off when it comes to cooking your meals.

 

Workout Prep

The key to workout prep is to be very honest about how much time you actually have to workout but also about how much time you actually want to spend working out. If you realistically have an hour every night then that’s great, take you pick of days and get it scheduled in. Most of us don’t have that luxury but I won’t believe there is anybody out there who can’t find 10 – 15 minutes, three days a week (upper body, lower body, cardio) to work out. Be that getting up a little earlier in the morning or finding time after work.

My top tips for workout prep are:

1) Physically schedule your workouts in. Buy yourself a little diary and every Sunday have a look at what you’ve got planned for the week and where you’ve got a little extra time. Once you found your slots write them in.

2) Lay out your clothes and shoes beforehand. If you like to exercise in the morning get them ready the night before. If you prefer to workout out in the evening have them ready for you when you get back. Having that physical reminder in front of you helps to get you in the mood and stop the excuses.

3) Be realistic about your level of fitness and don’t spend hours in the gym. If you’re a complete beginner then ease yourself in. There is no point in throwing on the hardest HIIT workout you can find, deciding exercise is too difficult and giving up.

Healthy Habit Prep

This one is probably the easiest of all the preps. It’s all about setting yourself up to make healthy decisions throughout the day so that you’re not ruining all your hard work with the little stuff you pay no mind to. For example, putting two sugar in your coffee is fine if you’re having one a day but when that one becomes four you’ve just eaten eight spoonfuls of sugar without a second thought.

My top tips for healthy habit prep are:

1) Get yourself a large reusable water bottle and keep it full. I’m talking the big 1 litre ones if possible. Keeping hydrated has so many benefits for your body but it will also help you to avoid unnecessary snacking by keeping you fuller and it’s also a lot harder to drink those sugary teas and coffees with a litre of water in your belly.

2) Keep healthy snacks at work. Plenty of fresh fruits like apples, bananas and oranges can easily be kept in a draw at work and you’re much more likely to choose these over the biscuit tin if they’re readily available.

3) Get yourself a pedometer. Loads of phones have these built in or you can invest in an old school clip on, either way, having a physical counter of how much you’ve moved that day can be a real eye opener and extremely motivating to do more especially if you can get a bit of a competition going with family and friends.

I hope these tips get you motivated to keep up the resolutions for at least another week and the next time you have 15 minutes to spare schedule in my super quick leg workout. The moves I’ve picked are really effective at toning the legs and lifting the booty and that last squat hold is a burner! So throw on a pair of comfy leggings and let’s get to it.

The Workout

This workout follows a 45:15 timing ratio meaning you need to complete each exercise for 45 second and take a 15 second rest between each move.

  • Bridge Pulse (glutes)
  • Crisscross Legs (inner thighs)
  • Basic Squat (glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps)
  • Squat Jumps (cardio, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps)
  • Lunge Pulses – (glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps) Complete on one leg for 45 seconds and switch to the other leg for a further 45 seconds taking a 15 second break in between.
  • Side Lunge – (inner thighs) Complete on one leg for 45 seconds and switch to the other leg for a further 45 seconds taking a 15 second break in between.
  • Curtsey Lunge pulse – (side glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps) Complete on one leg for 45 seconds and switch to the other leg for a further 45 seconds taking a 15 second break in between.
  • Single Leg Touch Down – (glutes, hamstrings, lower back) Complete on one leg for 45 seconds and switch to the other leg for a further 45 seconds taking a 15 second break in between.
  • Squat Hold (glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps)

Bridge Pulse

Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted firmly on the floor, shoulder width apart. Raise your hips, pushing through your heels and squeezing your core to support your lower back. This should create a straight line form your shoulders to your knees. Hold this position at the top squeezing your glutes together. Relax your hips until halfway down and repeat the same motion as before. Try not to let your bum touch the floor for the full 45 seconds to really get the most out of this move.

Modification: if this is too difficult when you come back down from the bridge position, rest your bum for a moment on the floor before rising back up.

Crisscross Legs

Laying on your back raise your legs straight in the air and place your hands in a triangle position under your bum to support your lower back. Keeping your legs as straight as possible lower them out to the side as far as you comfortable can, holding for a moment at the bottom. Squeeze your thighs as you raise your legs back up to the top.

Basic Squat

Start standing with your feet shoulder width apart and your toes pointing forward or at a slight angle outwards. Squat down backwards as if trying to sit in a chair behind you making sure your knees don’t pass your toes. Keep your back straight, your chest up facing forward and your eyes looking directly in front of you. Go as low as you comfortably can without your back rounding. Push though the heels of your feet to return to standing, squeezing your glutes at the top. How low you squat will depend on flexibility so don’t worry if you can’t go too low. You can squat lower by widening your stance and this will change the target area to the inner thighs.

Squat Jumps

Start standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and your toes pointing forward or at a slight angle outwards. Squat down as described above keeping the weight in the heels of your feet. Push through your heels driving your hips upward and as you jump up. Try to land softly on your toes transferring the weight back into the heels of your feet as you squat back down.

Modification: Squat jumps are an advanced move that needs working up to. Try giving a couple a go but if this becomes too difficult do another round of basic squats.

Lunge Pulse

Take a large step backwards keeping your weight in your front heel. Lower your back leg into a lunge position making sure your leg forms a 90 degree angle and your knee does not touch the floor. Pulse up and down by pushing through your front heel and squeezing your thigh and glute in your front leg. Try to continue pulsing for the full 45 seconds without stopping. Complete this move on one leg and then switch to the other.

Modification: Instead of pulsing on one leg lunge down and then pushing through your heel return yourself to your starting standing position. You can also do this move alternating between each leg for two rounds which will allow your legs to take a short break between each lunge.

Side Lunge

Start standing with both your feet together and facing forward. Take a large step out to the side bending your knee and sitting back as if trying to sit back in a chair keeping your other leg straight. Keep your chest up, your back straight and your eyes looking forward.  You should feel a stretch in the inner thigh of your straightened leg. Hold this position for a moment then push through the heel of your bent leg to return to a standing position with your feet together. Complete this move on one side and then switch to the other.

Curtsey Lunge Pulse

Start standing with both your feet facing forward. Take a large step back and to the side across your body so that you are in a lunge position at a slight angle to your body. Lower yourself into a lunge making sure your leg is at a 90 degree angle and your knee does not touch the floor. Pulse up and down by pressing through the heel of your foot. You should feel this along the side of your front glute and thigh. Complete this move on one side and then on the other.

Modification: Instead of pulsing on one leg lunge down and then pushing through your heel return yourself to your starting standing position. You can also do this move alternating between each leg for two rounds which will allow your legs to take a short break between each lunge.

Single Leg Touch Down

Start with both your feet together and your feet facing forward. Lean forward hinging at the waist and raising one leg straight out behind you, pointing your toes. Reach your fingers out straight from your chest and continue to lean forward from the hips, keeping your standing leg straight, until your fingers touch the floor. Squeeze your glute in your standing leg and raise yourself back to an upright position until your toes brush the floor behind you making sure you do not place your weight back onto this leg. Continue this move for 45 seconds on one leg then switch to the other.

Modification: Keeping both legs on the floor and your arms raised above your head lean forward slowly, hinging at your waist. Keep your arms out straight in front of you, parallel to the floor (you’re not trying to touch your toes here). Straighten yourself back to your starting position, squeezing your bum as you come up.

Squat Hold

Staring with your feet shoulder width apart and toes facing forward or at a slight angle out lower yourself into a squat position so that your thighs run parallel to the ground. Hold this position for the full 45 seconds making sure to keep your back straight and your chest up and facing forward.

Modification: Complete a basic squat instead of a squat hold.

I hope you found my tips on preparation helpful and let me know if you gave the workout a go and how you found it. Check out my post next Sunday for more tips on staying motivated.

Thanks, Megan x

2 COMMENTS

Leave a Reply