The No-Gym-Necessary New Year’s Workout Challenge: Week 1

Time to sweat off the champagne and holiday cookies from 2015, folks!

If your New Year’s resolution is to get back on the workout train but you don’t want to invest in a pricey gym membership to get your sweat on, we’ve got you covered. Throughout the month of January, we’ll be bringing you a workout plan every week, consisting of five workouts that can be done outdoors or at home. The biggest investment you’ll need to make to participate in the month-long challenge is a set of dumbbells or a kettlebell, and you’ll have to choose the weight based on your fitness level. (Whatever weight you choose, you should be able to get through all the reps in set of exercises while still feeling challenged by the time you get to the last one.) Of course, if you have a gym membership, you can easily do these workouts there.

To kick things off, we have your first five workouts below. Good luck, friends! And before you get your sweat on, note: If you Instagram yourself doing these workouts, make sure to post the photos with #bwpnewyearschallenge. We are big fans of the sweaty workout selfie around these parts. 

Monday: The Challenge

As the inaugural workout of 2016, this one is sure to challenge you, hence the name. Over the next month you will revisit this workout sporadically to gauge your progress and see how all of your hard work is paying off. So, make sure you record how long it took you to run your mile and complete the workout.

Here’s what you are going to do: First, you’re going to head outside. Always start by warming up for a few minutes. This can be a light jog or a fast-paced walk. Once you’re warm, run (or walk, or walk/run, or whatever it takes to finish) until you complete one mile. (This is four laps around a track or you can run with a fitness app to gauge your distance.) Record how long it took.

Next, you’re going to do a strength circuit. You’ll start with 10 reps of each exercise in the circuit below and then do a 30-second sprint (this can be done on any piece of cardio equipment at the gym, running outside, or in your living room doing toe taps on a step, high knees in place, running up and down the steps, etc.). After that, you are going to repeat the circuit doing nine reps of each exercise followed by a 30-second sprint, then eight reps followed by a 30-second sprint, and so on until you complete one rep of each exercise and one final sprint.

The Challenge is an assessment of your current level of fitness. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t exactly where you thought you would be. Think of it as the beginning of a journey to a more fit and healthy you. Good luck!

Run 1 mile

Complete the circuit doing the reps as follows: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Lunge jumps (do the number of reps indicated on each side)
Lunge row (do the number of reps indicated on each side)
Ski jumpers (do the number of reps indicated on each side)
Tricep dips (do the side of a bench, coffee table or couch)
Complete one 30-second sprint before starting the next set

Tuesday: Cardio for 30 to 60 minutes

Choose any form of cardio you’d like and get going! This can be running, dancing to Beyoncé in front of your mirror, biking — whatever makes you happy. Just make sure to keep going for at least 30 minutes.

Wednesday: Yoga or Pilates

Because Wednesdays call for some zen, are we right? You can either go to a yoga or Pilates class or, if you don’t see yourself making it out of the house, you can opt for an online on-demand yoga class. Pssst: Verge Yoga has tons of online options here or you can find our nice long list of cheap yoga classes around Philly here.

Thursday: Sprint Interval Workout

Today, we’ll spice up cardio day with some intervals. Start by warming up for five to 10 minutes at a light pace, then get ready to start your intervals. Work hard during the sprints, and then take advantage of your recovery before starting to sprint again. Each sprint should be high intensity, so whatever that means for you, go for it! If you’re just starting out and your recovery is a slow walk and your sprint is a power walk, awesome. Just try to keep moving during your recovery.

10 second sprint :: 20 second recovery x 10
20 second sprint :: 30 second recovery x 8
30 second sprint :: 40 second recovery x 6
40 second sprint :: 50 second recovery x 4
50 second sprint :: 60 second recovery x 2

Friday: The 60-45-30 Workout

For today’s workout, you’re going to complete the following circuit three times.  For Round 1, you’ll do each exercise for a full minute. In Round 2, you’ll do each exercise for 45 seconds and for Round 3, you’ll do each exercise for 30 seconds. Not too bad, right?

Alternating lunges
Toe-touch crunch
Upright rows
Hamstring curls on physioball or bridges done on the ground without a ball
Overhead presses or clean and presses with kettlebell
Lateral lunges (do on both sides)
Tricep dips (on a bench)


Audrey McKenna Hasse is the owner of A.M.Fit, a personal training and healthy consultation business on the Main Line. You’ll find her workouts every Monday right here on Be Well Philly.

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