Staying fit in just 10 minutes a day

In-home workouts don’t require expensive equipment.
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Courtesy iStock

It almost sounds too good to be true.

With just incremental, 10-minute investments in personal exercise each day, a person can dramatically change their overall wellness by losing weight and toning their body and, most importantly, they can feel better overall. To top it off, expensive equipment or gym memberships are optional. Everything in a 10-minute high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, workout, can be done from your living room, on your time. There’s no way, right?

Actually, there is.

“There’s really a lot of science behind HIIT training,” licensed Grand Rapids fitness instructor Amy Kwaiser said. “HIIT combines easy moves, body weight exercises, it’s really easy to set up and there’s science to back up that your EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) lasts longer, which means you’re still burning calories at a resting rate post-exercise.

“That’s really why HIIT has exploded over the past couple years: It’s easy to do, easy to format and it has a really high calorie burn after you’re done exercising.”

Alongside frequent co-instructor Brianna Cummings, Kwaiser teaches a number of fitness classes through Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation, many of which feature HIIT training. Kwaiser and Cummings both are licensed instructors of Zumba, an aerobics program centered around dance moves and music, which lends itself nicely to the core tenets of HIIT. Kwaiser also teaches yoga and STRONG Nation courses for the parks department — and while their in-person and virtual classes can’t be wrapped up in a tidy 600 seconds, both instructors recognize the benefits and draw of 10-minute workout courses.

Cummings and Kwaiser shared a pair of curated 10-minute workouts with GR Magazine, one for those just dipping their toes in the water of HIIT at-home workouts, and one that’s a bit more challenging.

“It’s almost a different mindset,” Cummings said of the beginner-focused exercise. “You know when you’re doing that, you’re getting stuff done, and you can see the end of the tunnel. And I like a short list; you can see the end, and you can just get it done.”

It’s not particularly surprising the idea of a 10-minute workout has taken hold, especially in a post-COVID-19 world, where work from home and closed gyms early in the pandemic created a necessity for alternative exercise options. However, Kwaiser noted the prevalence of at-home 10-minute workouts even predated the age of coronavirus, as people found it difficult to carve out time in between their busy lifestyles for exercise, and companies like Peleton, NordicTrack and Apple Fitness rushed to fill the demand for more accessible exercise options.

Like many fitness instructors, Kwaiser and Cummings took their offerings online in 2020, offering virtual courses while gyms and fitness facilities remained shuttered in the worst days of the pandemic. But Kwaiser said they already had begun discussions about offering virtual training, mainly due to the recognition that short-burst, at-home training options had become increasingly popular.

“At-home workouts are something everyone wants to do, and I think for some people, going to a gym or workout facility can be intimidating,” Kwaiser said.

Once beginning exercisers are comfortable with working out at home, Kwaiser and Cummings hope to see them in person at one of their many course offerings.

“Our main thing is, we just want people to leave our classes feeling happy,” Kwaiser said. “We’re the type of instructors who are not going to put a lot of pressure to be a certain way — we don’t have expectations of anyone; we just want people to come in and have a good time.

“We don’t want it to feel like exercise.”

WORKOUTS

Start by warming up for 1 minute. Our suggestion is to rotate through these moves:

Run in place

Shoulder rolls forward and back

Supported side squats

Walking hip rolls/hip openers

Upper body rotation with arms reaching in a T position

Use a stopwatch to time yourself. The goal for this is to do as many reps of the combo as possible in the 40 seconds. Each person is different, so go at your own pace.

OPTION 1

There are four exercise combinations. Each combo is timed at 40 seconds, with a 10-15 second rest period following.

Do one jumping jack followed by one front kick, alternating sides — 40 seconds

Rest 10-15 seconds

Alternating rear lunges — 40 seconds

Rest 10-15 seconds

Rope slams in squat position — 40 seconds

Rest 10-15 seconds

Mountain climbers — 40 seconds

Rest 10-15 seconds

Repeat all four intervals and rests.

OPTION 2:

There are eight exercise combinations. Each combo is timed at 40 seconds, with a 10-15 second rest period following.

Basic squat to standing bicycle crunch, alternating sides — 40 seconds

Rest 10-15 seconds

Two-footed forward leap, four jumping jacks back — 40 seconds

Rest 10-15 seconds

Rear lunge to single leg deadlift, alternating sides — 40 seconds

Rest 10-15 seconds

In plank position, cross-chest shoulder taps, then press into downward-facing dog pose, repeat — 40 seconds

Rest 10-15 seconds

Uppercut punch four times, cross punch four times — 40 seconds

Rest 10-15 seconds

Lateral hurdle jump to side sumo squat, alternating sides — 40 seconds

Rest 10-15 seconds

Burpee with Brazilian cross crunch — 40 seconds

Rest 10-15 seconds

High knees to side lunge, alternating sides — 40 seconds

Complete either workout with a round of easy stretches to cool down.

This story can be found in the March/April 2022 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox, subscribe here

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