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This super-easy tip can help you create a total-body toning workout anywhere


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Photo: Hanna Yamamoto

Here’s a scenario for you: You want to squeeze a sweat sesh in to your busy schedule, but with work, appointments, and rush-hour traffic, it’ll take you longer to get to the gym than the actual workout—so you don’t go. As for exercising at home? It sounds great in theory. Yet, stringing together a sequence of moves for yourself can be challenging if you want to hit all the major muscle groups.

Charlee Atkins to the rescue! At our Well+Good Retreat, which she’s co-leading, the master trainer shared her secret to creating a DIY fitness routine that can be done anywhere. First off: Download the Interval Timer app. It allows you to set an alarm for 50 seconds on and 10 seconds off. (You can also do 45 seconds on and 15 seconds off so that you’re getting more recovery time.) Then, it’s just about designing an effective sequence. Moving from leg exercises to arm ones, from cardio to strength (for example, jumping jacks into a squat) can be a good way to create the structure of your at-home workout, according to Atkins.

“You want to do push-pull exercises where you’e switching muscle groups and sides of the body.”

The concept is a bit like Tabata, which is completing high-intensity exercises in intervals of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. “In these sequences, you want to do push-pull exercises where you’re switching muscle groups and sides of the body,” Atkins tells me. “I do two groups of five to six exercises, and if you double them up, it ends up being about a 30-minute workout with a cool down and a warm-up.”

Once you have your plan in motion, write down the groups of exercises that you’re going to do on a good-old fashion piece of paper so that you don’t have to toggle from your timer to your to-do list. “This type of training helps you to keep your heart rate always up and work a bunch of different muscles,” says Atkins. That, and you get to skip traffic.

BTW, Atkins has some pretty awesome ways to stretch on a plane, too. And this is the one thing that she never travels without.

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