Five 10-Minute Workouts to Boost Your Mood (& Muscles!)

Happy Monday and welcome back!

This week, as you can tell by the title of my post, I wanted to stick with the health & fitness theme – if you haven’t noticed, I’m very into this kind of thing, and even more so now that traveling is off limits!

I’ve been teaching online fitness classes while in quarantine, and after writing 4-5 different workout routines each week for my classes, I figured I might as well start sharing them on here. I want to disclaim that my only fitness certification is as a spin instructor, so these are simply recommendations of workouts I’ve been doing (and teaching) to get a quick hit of movement in throughout my day.

I wanted to stick with the 10 minute workouts for this week’s post, as this (in my opinion) is the easiest way to start implementing strength and conditioning into your day. Everyone can find 10 minutes to spare at some point during the day, and picking just one focus area for that 10 minutes can make a huge difference down the road!

I’m a proponent of switching things up every day, between muscle groups, activity level, and duration of exercise – this will help your muscles to recover between workouts, and also to get you excited and motivated to try new things, rather than sticking to the same ab workout everyday for a week. I also have noticed that even just 10 minutes of exercise can help clear your mindset and give you a refreshed outlook on the rest of your day, so even if you’re feeling stressed and exhausted and a workout seems like the last thing you want to do, I’m sure you’ll feel MUCH better afterwards. So, without too much of an introduction, here are five 10-minute workouts to get you started!

1. 10 Minute Core Crunch

This set contains 10 exercises, 1 minute each. You can decide how long you want to hold each exercise vs. how long you want to rest – you can start with 30-40 seconds on/20-30 seconds off, and then build up to 45-50 seconds on/10-15 seconds rest depending on your stamina. For an extra challenge, use ankle weights while you crunch!

  • Plank rockers (elbow plank while shifting your weight forward and backward)
  • Flutter kick
  • Boat to low boat (hands off the ground for a challenge!)
  • Leg lifts
  • Russian twists (hold a 5-10lb. weight to make it harder!)
  • Straight leg crunches
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Penguins (on back with feet on the ground/knees pointed up, reach for alternating ankles)
  • Hip lifts (legs straight in the air, lift your hips up using only core muscles)
  • Reverse crunches (hold a weight to make it harder!)

2. 10 Minute Leg & Glute Strength

For this exercise, I definitely recommend working up to using ankle weights eventually – if you don’t normally do leg exercises, you will benefit from just bodyweight, but adding weight definitely increases the intensity of this workout! Similar to the core crunch workout above, I am giving you 10 exercises, and you can choose how you want to build the intervals of working time vs. rest to reach 10 minutes!

  • Bodyweight squats, or hold a weight for higher intensity
  • Squat pulses (weight also optional)
  • Alternating right/left donkey kicks (from tabletop position)
  • Alternating right/left fire hydrants (from tabletop position)
  • Right side leg lifts (laying on left side)
  • Left inside leg lifts (laying on left side)
  • Left side leg lifts (laying on right side)
  • Right inside leg lifts (laying on right side)
  • Right straight-leg reverse leg lifts, straight up or side-to-side for challenge (from tabletop position)
  • Left straight-leg reverse leg lifts, straight up or side-to-side for challenge (from tabletop position)

3. 10 Minute Arm Toner

Choose an accurate weight for these workouts – I use 5lbs because I want to tone my arms rather than bulk up, while my brother, a college football player, uses 10-15lb weights to build muscle. Even starting off with 2-3lbs will make a difference, and if you don’t have weights at home, you can use any household object, like water bottles, soup cans, or shampoo bottles! Once again, this workout contains 10 exercises where you can choose your intervals – I recommend spending less rest time on these, though, as our stamina tends to last longer with arm exercises.

  • Bicep curls
  • Hammer curls
  • Overhead press
  • Chest fly
  • Tricep extensions OR tricep kickbacks
  • Bent over rows
  • Wide arm bicep curls
  • Front to back narrow rows
  • Lateral raises
  • Boxer punches

4. 10 Minute Full Body STRENGTH

This set combines core, legs, and arms to form one cohesive strengthening exercise. I recommend holding onto a light weight for most of these to up the intensity, and I suggest 45 seconds on/15 seconds off as a good starting point – but feel free to switch things up as needed!

  • Reverse lunges + torso twist, alternate right/left
  • Wide arm pushups, on knees or on feet
  • High plank jacks (step out right/left, or hop for challenge)
  • Side lunges, alternate right/left
  • Bicep curl to overhead press
  • Torso dips in horse position, alternate right/left (lean toward alternating sides/knees)
  • Plié squats (horse position)
  • Tricep dips OR tricep kickbacks
  • Boat to low boat
  • Hip lifts, hip lift pulses, or hip lift hold

5. 10 Minute Full Body CARDIO CONDITIONING

This fifth and final exercise is perfect for when you don’t have the time or energy to go for a run, do a full HIIT workout, or any other cardio of choice. Once again, I am giving you 10 exercises for which you can build your own intervals to reach 10 minutes, but I challenge you to work up to 1 minute of each exercise – that means no rest! This way you are getting a FULL 10 minutes of cardio!

  • Jump rope in place
  • Jumping jacks
  • Torso twist shuffle (twist hips right/left while hopping)
  • Butt kickers
  • Hop-hop-squat
  • High knees
  • Jumping jacks
  • Side shuffle 2 steps, touch ground on 3rd (alternate right/left)
  • Alternate front kick + toe touch with opposite arm
  • Mountain climbers

Well, that is all to get you started! These five sets should give you enough of a variety to pick and choose what you want each day, and of course feel free to switch out certain individual exercises for other modifications, or other moves you enjoy more. I personally like the structure of a 10-exercise, 10-minute workout, because I can get through it fairly quickly, so I hope you can all find a similar motivation! Pairing two or three together can also make for a great, 20-30 minute full body workout 🙂

Hopefully I can film a live workout soon to share with you all so you can better see the exercises and form I am explaining, and you can workout alongside me. I will also be posting more blogs like this in the future with different and new exercise ideas – so until then, good luck and happy moving!



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Staying Active at Home

Good morning and happy Monday!

Writing these posts each week makes me aware of how much time is going by, and it’s crazy to me that this is already my third post from quarantine. I’ve had to get creative with some ideas, but the timing worked out – right when I wanted to take a turn with my content away from travel for a bit, the world gave me a sign to do that 🙂

As most (or all) of us are pretty much at home, inside for most of our days, I wanted to share some things I’ve been doing to stay busy and keep some normalcy in my routine. Until the past few days, I really haven’t felt like I’ve had an excessive amount of free time, which I expected to feel immediately after coming home. Although a lot of my time is still being taken up by schoolwork, I’ve found some other ways to stay active in the free time that I do have, which has really helped me to stay levelheaded throughout this whole situation.

First, since I mentioned that most of my time is spent at my desk on the computer doing schoolwork, as soon as I’m done for the day I find myself with lots of energy and a drive to be physically active. One simple thing I’ve made a point to work into my daily routine are long walks and runs. Now that it’s getting warmer out, these are getting easier and more enjoyable as well. For at least an hour every day, I’ll either walk or run around my town/neighborhood, or through local parks and woods. I usually switch off with walking and running every other day so I don’t get too tired of one or the other, but especially during this time, I’ve found it so much easier to clear my head and actually enjoy the exercise, since it’s the one time of day I can set aside to safely be outside of the house. I’ll use the Nike Run Club app to track these runs, which is nice to see how much I’m moving in my free time, since otherwise I’m not getting around too much!

Continuing on the exercise path, I’ve really increased the at-home workouts I’ve been doing (as most of us probably have!) I’ve always been into at-home workouts, so this is not a new concept for me, but I’ve also always had access to a gym or a space where I can do these workouts, and where I can add whatever equipment I like. Now that I only have what’s in my house, I’ve had to really set aside a time and space to get these workouts in – but it’s working! All I use at home are a yoga mat, dumbbells, and ankle weights – pretty much all of which can be substituted by household objects if you don’t have the equipment!

I’ve been doing some at-home classes straight from YouTube just by searching a 45 minute or 1 hour HIIT workout class, or a full body exercise (whatever you’re feeling, I’m sure they’ll have it!) I did a one-hour kickboxing class last week that was so different from my normal workouts, so I was definitely sore after! I’ve also been using the Nike Training Club app, as right now all regular and premium workout videos are free! There are so many workouts put together on this app, varying from length to intensity to muscle groups, so you can definitely put together as short or as along of a workout as you like. I’ve been FaceTiming some friends at home so we can do these workouts together, and it’s been such a nice way to catch up while also making sure we’re both getting in some activity for the day!

Now that life has slowed down in all aspects, I’ve finally found the time to really get into yoga – something I always felt was too slow for me before. I’ve tried a number of different yoga classes, and while I love it when I’m in the middle of it, it’s not something I can usually justify taking the time out of my day to do. Not only would I prefer to take a spin class or a bootcamp class to get the most out of a 45 minute workout, but yoga puts me in a much more relaxed mindset – something I previously couldn’t afford to do in the middle of a school day. Now that I have extra time in the mornings, at night, and between classes (without anywhere to be), it’s been much easier to incorporate shorter yoga classes or segments into my day. I also get some of these from the Nike Training Club app, and others from YouTube.

Again, now that the weather is finally starting to look a bit brighter, being outside has been so much more enjoyable (and even when it’s cooler out, I can appreciate the fresh air so much more.) So, just spending time in my yard, playing pick up sports, going for short hikes/walks in the woods behind my house, and really just taking the time to think and appreciate nature right now, has significantly boosted my mood and kept me calm during this time. I’m normally an extremely busy, active, and organized person, so not having a schedule or places to be has been hard. However, scheduling my day like I normally would – with my classes, workouts, and phone calls all in my calendar – has given me more structure and allowed me to take advantage of the free time I find myself having more and more each day.

These are just a few suggestions of ways you can stay moving and keep it fun while we’re limited right now – this is obviously not an extensive list, but this is what I’ve been doing, and what’s been working for me. If you have any other ideas or suggestions, please let us know in the comments!

Once again, I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe, and please continue these distancing practices to keep others safe as well! Have a great week, and I’ll see you all next Monday 🙂



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