Your Home Is Your Gym

Squat jumps: Sit back into a squat with your weight distributed on the heels. Jump into the air. Land softly by bending your legs. Repeat this motion 15 to 20 times. Focus on your thighs, abs and butt.

Triceps dips: Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair with your hands under your body on the seat. Extend your legs out in front of you so that your body weight is supported by your hands and your heels. Lower yourself and push back up again. Repeat 15 times, rest five seconds and repeat one more time. Focus on your triceps and shoulders.

Leg raises: Lie on the floor on your back. Place your hands flat below your butt and raise one shoulder slightly off the ground. Lift both of your legs until they are about a foot and a half above the floor, and slowly lower them just as far as possible without lifting up your lower back from the floor. Repeat 20 times, rest, and perform the exercise again. Focus on your abdominal region.

Over the step: Stand on a step or sturdy box -- or a chair, if you're feeling ambitious. Lower your left leg to the floor. Touch the floor and bring it back to the starting position. Repeat this with the right leg. Alternate between the right and the left leg in a speed that you feel comfortable with for one minute. The focus is your cardiovascular system.

This is a short, fully integrated program that should not take you longer more then 20 minutes. Build up to it. Start slowly. When you master the movements, speed them up to hit your fast twitch muscles, or slow them down to work your slow twitch muscles.

By changing the speed you will also be changing the resistance (it's basic physics -- think about acceleration in a car). Stick with it, and you'll be on your way to a lean, toned physique.

What Not to Do

What you should not do at home is following:

Don't start to exercise without warming up.

Don't jump just into any kind of program without proper movement preparations.

Don't eat right before your workout or right after.

Make sure you pay attention to the movements; don't just go through the motions. Feel your muscle working, and stay in control.

Don't forget make some space for yourself to feel comfortable moving around.

Don't cheat the movements just because nobody is around. Stick to your schedule and finish what you have planned to do.

The Best Bang for Your Buck

The best part of this is that you do not need to join a gym, buy equipment or waste time going to the gym. I don't know about you, but I like to be very efficient with my time. Exercise is important, but it doesn't have to take three hours just to get it done.

You can also save money by working out at home -- despite the fact that there is a wide range of mostly useless equipment out there for thousands of dollars.

A treadmill (which does not teach you how to use your body or give you a variety of integrated movements) costs between $1,500 and $7,000. Other gym equipment, such as a lat pull machine, costs more then $3,000.

If you need some motivation, you can purchase a home workout program DVD, which does not require any equipment but gives you ideas and a home workout that you can perform three to four times per week. And most DVDs don't cost more then $30.

Did I forget the issue of waiting in line? Or the cleanliness of the gym floor? Or the showers where 100,000 people have rinsed off? I believe I've said enough about this topic.

But whether at home or at a gym, the most important thing is to start doing something. Stay on track in no matter what you do -- even with your home workouts.

Stefan Aschan is the owner and founder of www.stefanaschan.com, which provides nutrition and exercise programs in New York City.

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