Kelley Vargo by Kelley Vargo
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Whether you want to get back into a regular fitness routine or look your best before a big event, this 10-day program can help jumpstart your efforts by revving up both your workouts and your metabolism. It’s based on the highly effective format called high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which alternates between high-intensity strength training and cardiovascular workouts.

Following are descriptions of the strength-training and cardio components, the workouts, and a 10-day training schedule. Feel free to cycle through the program for another 10 days if you’re feeling extra motivated. Be sure to include a day of complete rest or active recovery on day 11 if you decide to cycle through it again. And don’t forget to stretch before and after each workout.

Before engaging in any exercise program, be sure you are cleared to exercise by your physician. Each workout is about 30-40 minutes and the idea is to train intensely for the entire session. So, pick some music that gets you fired up, put on your headphones, put your cell phone on airplane mode and get going.

Strength-training Workouts

Alternate the two total-body workouts (TBW) over the course of the 10 days. For these workouts, you will need a mat and pair of dumbbells. Choose a weight that allows you to complete 10-12 repetitions of each exercise. If you can complete more than 12 repetitions easily, select a heavier pair of dumbbells. If possible, have two sets of dumbbells on hand: a heavier pair and a lighter pair. This allows you to drop from a heavier set to a lighter set while going through the workouts. 

Each workout features three circuits, each consisting of three exercises—two resistance exercises and one plyometric exercise. Perform the three exercises consecutively with minimal rest time. Take a break when your form begins to fail or you feel fatigued, but try to push your body outside of its comfort zone. At the end of each round, rest for 60 seconds before moving onto the next round or next circuit.

Cardiovascular Workouts

The two cardiovascular workouts are designed for the treadmill, but can be completed outside as well (you’ll need to find a good hill to run up for the incline treadmill workout). You can also adapt these workouts to the elliptical or bike as well. The point is to alternate between periods of high-intensity and low-intensity, regardless of the mode of exercise. Adjust your speed according to your fitness level, but again, try to push yourself and then rest if you need to. If completing these workouts on a treadmill, try not to hold onto the rails.

Active Recovery

Day 6 is an active recovery day. Chose something light but engaging for exercise, such as a leisurely walk or gentle yoga. And don’t forget to include an active recovery or complete rest day on day 11 if you decide to cycle through again.

 

THE WORKOUTS

Strength-training Workouts

Total-body Workout (TBW) 1

Circuit 1: 4 rounds

  • Lunge + Shoulder Press: 12 repetitions each leg
  • Reverse Lunge + Front Raise: 12 repetitions each leg
  • Jumping Lunges: 12 repetitions each leg (take out the jump if necessary) 
  • Rest 60 seconds. 

reverse-lunge-front-raise

 

Circuit 2: 3 rounds 

  • Dumbbell Row + Reverse Fly: 12 repetitions
  • Push-up + Row: 20 repetitions (go to knees when form declines) 
  • Mountain climbers: 12 repetitions with weight
  • Rest 60 seconds. 

dumbbell-row-reverse-fly

 

Circuit 3: 3 rounds

  • Squat + Lateral Raise: 12 reptitions
  • Squat + Upright Row: 20 repetitions
  • Pop Squats: 20 repetitions (Start with feet together. Jump out into a squat and then jump back to feet together. As a default, take out the jump and perform a squat.)
  • Rest 60 seconds. 

squat--lateral-raise 

 

Total Body Workout (TBW) 2

Circuit 1: 4 rounds

  • Squat + Curl + Shoulder Press: 12 repetitions 
  • Squat + Shoulder Press: 12 repetitions
  • Squat Jump: 20 repetitions (take out the jump if necessary)
  • Rest 60-120 seconds. 

squat-curl-shoulder-press

 

Circuit 2: 3 rounds 

  • Row + Reverse Fly: 12 repetitions
  • Close Grip Push-ups: 20 repetitions (go to knees when form declines) 
  • Burpees: 12 repetitions with weights
  • Rest 60-120 seconds.

push-ups

 

Circuit 3: 3 rounds

  • Crunch + Chest Fly: 12 repetitions
  • Wide Grip Push-Ups: 20 repetitions
  • Inch worms: 20 repetitions (default exercise is a plank for 45-60 seconds) 
  • Rest 60 seconds. 

crunch-chest-fly

 

Cardiovascular Workouts

Incline Intervals

  • 0-5 Minutes: 6.5 mph, 0% incline
  • 5-6 Minutes: 8.0 mph, 2% incline
  • 6-7 Minutes: 3.5 mph, 2% incline 
  • 7-8 Minutes: 7.9 mph, 4% incline
  • 8-9 Minutes: 3.5 mph, 4% incline
  • 9-10 Minutes: 7.8 mph, 6% incline
  • 10-11 Minutes: 3.5 mph, 6% incline 
  • 11-12 Minutes: 7.7 mph, 8% incline
  • 12-13 Minutes: 3.5 mph, 8% incline
  • 13-14 Minutes: 7.6 mph, 10% incline
  • 14-15 Minutes: 3.5 mph, 10% incline
  • 15-16 Minutes: 7.5 mph, 12% incline 
  • 16-17 Minutes: 3.5 mph, 12% incline
  • 17-18 Minutes: 7.4 mph, 14% incline 
  • 18-19 Minutes: 3.5 mph, 14% incline
  • 19-20 Minutes: 7.3 mph, Max % incline
  • 20-21 Minutes: 3.5 mph, Max % incline
  • 21-26 Minutes: 7.0 mph, 4% incline
  • 26-30 Minutes: 4.0 mph, 0% incline  

Flat Intervals

  • 0-5 Minutes: 6.5 mph, 0% incline 
  • 5-10 Minutes: 7.0 mph, 0% incline 
  • 6:00-6:30 Minutes: 9.0 mph, 0% 
  • 6:30-7:00 Minutes: Squats on side of treadmill
  • 7:00-7:30 Minutes: Rest 30 seconds
  • Repeat cycle 11 more times to take you to 24:30
  • 24:30-30 Minutes: 3.5 mph, 0% incline  

Schedule

  • Day 1: TBW 1
  • Day 2: Incline Intervals
  • Day 3: TBW 2
  • Day 4: Flat Intervals
  • Day 5: TBW 1
  • Day 6: Active Recovery
  • Day 7: TBW 2
  • Day 8: Incline Intervals
  • Day 9: TBW 1
  • Day 10: Flat Intervals 

Bonus Tips

Sleep, nutrition and hydration are essential for recovery, performance and optimizing your fitness goals. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night, choose real, whole foods when possible and limit sugar and alcohol consumption, and be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Consider keeping a journal to track the weights you use for your strength-training workouts, your speeds for your cardio workouts, as well as your nutrition, sleep and hydration intake. This can be a great source of motivation and a helpful tool for understanding where you can improve.

One of the great benefits of this program is that it can be done anywhere, at anytime. Commit to this program for the next 10 days and give yourself the jumpstart you need to reach your health and fitness goals.