- Exercise & Fitness
8 minutes to a new body
Want to drop a dress size without dieting or spending hours slogging in the gym? Course you do! That's why we've enlisted the help of a hot marine to devise a time-smart shape-up plan that lasts just eight minutes - less time than it takes to dry your hair.
But don't take our word for it. According to a new study* just eight minutes of intense exercise a week could be as effective as eight hours of moderate activity. Former Marine Jon Stratford, head trainer at Ultimate Boot Camp , agrees. "Short, high-intensity exercise burns more calories than low-level cardiovascular exercise, not only during the session but for longer afterwards, so you'll see results quickly," says Jon. "Adding weights or extra moves also uses different muscle groups to give your body serious tone and ensure it stays balanced."
Follow our exclusive eight-minute workout four to five times a week for a fortnight and you could lose a whole dress size. So are you ready to kick butt?
"Great for shaping and toning," Jon says.
DO IT: Take a large stride forward and lunge down, making sure your leading knee doesn't go over your toes and the back knee stays just off the floor. At the same time, raise your arms above your head, keeping them slightly bent. As you step back, lower your arms, then raise them as you lunge with the other leg.
GET TOUGH! Hold on to some weights.
THE WAIST WHITTLER
30 seconds each side
"This is perfect for toning your stomach and shrinking your waist," says Jon.
DO IT: Lie on your side, propping yourself up on a bent arm. Raise your hips as high as you can and extend your free arm over your head. Hold for 30 seconds, then lower your hips and arms. Do the same on the other side.
GET TOUGH! Use a weight in your free hand.
ULTIMATE UPPER BODY
"This is great for the whole upper body and helps tone and strengthen your core too," says Jon.
DO IT: Stand with weights in both hands at chest height. Bend forward as far as is comfortable, keeping your back flat and a slight bend in your knees. Pull the weights up to your chest and lower. Then stand up. Keeping your elbows high, lift the weight up to chin level and lower.
GET TOUGH! Slowing this move down will work your muscles harder, especially as you lower the weights.
30 seconds for each arm
"Great for working the whole body," Jon says.
DO IT: Kneel, with left hand on the floor. Extend your right leg to form a right angle. Hold a weight up in your free hand. After a few seconds, push yourself up to standing, keeping your right arm extended. Do the reverse back to kneeling.
GET TOUGH! Use heavier weights.
FABULOUS FAT BURNER
"This lifts the bum and tones the legs," says Jon.
DO IT: From standing, squat down, placing your hands on the floor. Shoot both your legs out to the rear until in a press-up position, then do the reverse to return to the start.
GET TOUGH! Add a standing jump to the floor and incorporate a press-up.
THIGH AND CALF TONER
"This really tones the lower body," says Jon.
DO IT: Feet apart, hold weights above your head. Squat until your knees are at right angles. Transfer your weight on to your toes, then lower your heels.
GET TOUGH! End with a shoulder press. Bend elbows until the weights are level with the top of your chest, then stretch above your head again.
"Shapes up arms and shoulders - fast," says Jon.
DO IT: Get in the normal press-up position, weights in both hands. Pivot on your feet to the left, arms straight. Drop to your left knee - keep your right leg extended. Raise your right arm so your body forms a T shape. Repeat on other side.
GET TOUGH! Build up the weights to suit you.
"This burns fat as well as tones up your lower body - and the sideways movement pushes you even harder to tone more muscles," says Jon.
DO IT: Stand side on to a rolled-up towel, then squat down and jump sideways, landing on the other side. Repeat as many times as possible.
GET TOUGH! Jump over a higher hurdle or squat deeper.
TAKE IT EASY
- Warm up before and stretch afterwards. Do a gentle version of each exercise without the weights to warm up until you've worked up a light sweat. Add in gentle jogging or star jumps if you need to. Afterwards, starting at your feet, stretch each muscle, holding for 30-40 seconds.
- Do the exercises without weights until your technique is correct.
- If you can't manage the full minute for an exercise, reduce the weights or move on to the next one and finish the remaining time later on.
- Breathe out on the effort stage of the exercise. Always keep your back flat and stomach muscles pulled in to protect your spine.
- Use bottles of water or tins if you don't have hand weights at home.