It’s been a lean couple of months in the old glossy monthly stakes, with most of last month’s mags neglecting the health and fitness front totally. Happily it’s Cleo to the rescue, with month 3 of their Bikini Body Panic Plan on page 201.

This month’s all about maximising results and minimising time spent working out. Basically it’s a circuit program, with 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. It’s not a new idea, but it appeals to a lot of people because so many of us are now pressed for time.

“It may sound too good to be true, but this 20 minute workout will give you better results than the average one and a half hour session”. Some important things to remember when reading this quote: I don’t think anyone should be working out for longer than an hour - unless you’re going to fatigue and having to rest for 5 minutes between sets, there’s no way you’ll have enough energy to do quality work for the whole 90 minutes. An “average” 90 minute session would be just that - wandering around the gym, saying hi to a few people, pumping out some cursory reps, then getting sick of it and bailing out. If you focus, work hard, and go in with a plan, then it doesn’t need to take forever.

Exercises this month are a bit of a mixed bag, and once again, the weak point in most of them is the demonstration. I don’t have many clients I’d be happy prescribing the second day 2/5 exercise to, mainly because it’s too much for most people’s lower backs - and that’s with close supervision. Squat jumps, shoulder pushups and burpees (which here have a much better name in spring jumps) are all advanced exercises, and if you’re unfit, there’s a really good chance you could hurt yourself. Remember when you’re doing a circuit and you’re getting tired, chances of injury are greatly increased. Pay special attention to keeping your core strong, and your neck relaxed, which are both hard as you fatigue.

My favorite exercise this month is virtual skipping, which is something I’ve been getting clients to do for ages. It’s awesome, and you can do it anywhere, but remember to stay on your toes and jump lightly unless you want to feel your shins for the next couple of days. Also wear a good bra! This article needs more information on technique, but in principle it’s a goody.

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