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Get In Shape Fast With This 20 Minute Workout

Get In Shape Fast With This 20 Minute Workout

Do you find that when you’re pressed for time it becomes easier to skip a workout? Is it a hassle for you to drive to the gym before or after work? After reading this article you won’t feel this way again, no matter how busy your schedule. That’s because I will show you a great muscle building, calorie burning workout that only takes 15-20 minutes to complete. You can do it anywhere too, even your office or backyard.

The workouts are referred to as complexes by strength coaches. Despite the name, they are anything but complex with regard to the equipment, space, skill, or time they require to complete. Keep reading to learn what complexes are along with why and how to do them any time or place.

Complexes – 20 Minute Muscle Building Workouts

Basically speaking, complexes are 3 or more exercises done using the same barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell with no rest between each movement. The exercises you use typically alternate between upper and lower body in focus. They’re most often done while standing. When performed properly you will move fluidly from one exercise to the other.

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Complexes are the brainchild of strength coach Istvan Javorek. He uses them to help athletes quickly build muscle and improve their overall fitness in the off-season. The results Coach Javorek reports speak for themselves. After 3-6 months of training this way men and women he coaches often gain more than 30 pounds and more than doubled their strength. People I train achieve similar results and often lose as much weight and body fat in as little time too.

You don’t have to be an elite athlete to do them or achieve similar results. Anyone can do complexes. If you’re willing to put forth maximum effort and make sure you eat enough protein to build muscle you too can achieve similar results.

The list below details the several benefits of complexes.

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  • Complexes are convenient. You don’t have to deal with the hassle of changing weights or moving from one piece of equipment to another.
  • Complexes save you time. Since you rest so little and don’t have to change equipment or machines each workout only takes 15-20 minutes.
  • Complexes don’t require much equipment. All you need to perform this workout is a dumbbell or kettlebell.
  • Complexes don’t require a lot of room. You can do this workout in a spare room of your house or backyard.
  • Complexes improve your overall fitness. This workout won’t simply make you bigger or stronger. Doing them regularly will help you build muscle, increase your strength, and even increase your flexibility.

The 20 Minute Workout Explained

The exercises in this complex workout are: 1 arm snatches, squats, and shoulder press. Performing a complex with these exercises trains practically every muscle in your body. Your legs, core (abs/lower back), upper back, and shoulders get an especially good workout. You’ll even feel it in your biceps and triceps. My arms got significantly bigger after doing this complex 2-3 times a week for a month. I wasn’t doing any exercises for my arms like curls or triceps push downs either.

Below are descriptions for each exercise. I recommend learning how to do each exercise by itself first. Once you have the movement mastered you can do them as a complex.

1 Arm Snatch

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand with your palm facing away from you. The weight should be between your legs.
  2. Bend your knees and waist as if you are performing a kettlebell swing. The weight should swing back and between your legs.
  3. Once the weight has swung between your legs, pull it forward explosively. Push from your heels onto your toes. Keep your arm straight and extended throughout the movement. You should be on your toes as the weight approaches chest height.
  4. Driving with your hips, pull the weight up until your arm is fully extended and you’re holding the weight above your head.
  5. Lower the weight to shoulder height and prepare to perform the squat segment of the complex.

Kettlebell Squat

  1. Stand holding a dumbbell or kettlebell at shoulder height. Your feet should still be apart at shoulder width.
  2. Perform a squat by bending your knees and moving your but back. Your weight should be over your heels.
  3. Continue to squat down until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Your heels should never come off the ground.
  4. Return to the standing position. Push up from your heels.
  5. You’ll finish in the same position from which you started this portion of the exercise. You’re now ready to perform the 1 arm shoulder press.

1 Arm Shoulder Press

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart holding a dumbbell or kettlebell at shoulder height. If you’re using a kettlebell it will rest against the back of your hand.
  2. Tighten your abs, breath in and press the weight overhead until your arm is completely extended.
  3. Lower the weight back to the starting position of the exercise.
  4. Return the weight to the starting position of the 1 arm snatch.

Sets, Reps and Rest Periods

Begin with 5 sets of 3 repetitions per arm for each exercise. Add 1 repetition per set every other workout until you can do 5 sets of 8 reps. Once you have achieved this goal you can decrease the amount of rest you take between complexes to make them more challenging and further improve your fitness.

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When you can easily do 5 sets of 8 reps with 60 seconds or less rest between each complex it’s time to move only more challenging variations. This can include performing reverse lunges instead of squats and holding the weight overhead as you perform the squatting segment of the exercise. You can also add an additional movement such as the kettlebell swing to the complex.

When You Should Do This 20 Minute Workout

You can do this workout about as often as you like. Doing it 3-5 days a week is most effective.

Another way to add it to your overall workout routine is to perform it on your days off from the gym. This is a great way to consistently train and improve your overall fitness. When doing it with this goal in mind, perform 3-5 sets of 5 reps with a weight you can actually perform 10 reps with so you don’t train too heavy and compromise your ability to recover before your next workout.

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On days I have a little more time to train, I like to do this complex as the first exercise of my workout. Then, all I have to do is perform 3-5 sets of plyometric push ups, pull ups, and farmer’s walks and I’m done. I’ll have trained every major muscle group in my body in about 30 minutes tops.

Conclusion

You now have a great workout that enables you to get in a great total body workout in very little time. Since it only requires 1 piece of equipment it’s super convenient too. Even if you are stuck in your office all day long, take a dumbbell or kettlebell to work with you and perform a couple of sets on during a break. Before you know it you’ll find you’re getting results faster than you ever thought possible.

(Photo credit: Workout Time via Shutterstock)

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How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

His motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • He riles up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

Becoming the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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