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I know many Breaking Muscle readers are here for the latest butt-kicking and hardcore workouts. A lot of you come here to find ideas and protocols that will challenge you to exert maximal effort and obtain certain numbers of repetitions, time, or distance. However, I also know there are those who visit this site to seek practical options just to get moving and burn some calories to improve general health.


This piece is directed to those who are not hardcore competitive athletes, who seek simple ways to do something to improve their health and physical status. After all, doing something is better than doing nothing, as I have alluded to in the past.



In this day and age of over-complicating diet and training, I remain a firm believer of sticking to the basics. Simple nutrition guidelines and hard exercise effort relative to your ability is all that is needed.


For those seeking simple options to keep you doing something without all the complicated science, here is a short list of movement options that can be done on a daily basis to get you moving, burning additional calories, and possibly building metabolically-active muscle tissue.


Every Day Options for Fitness

The options below are presented in no particular order regarding their effectiveness for fat loss or muscle-weight gain. You can pick and choose from them on a daily basis, depending on your schedule. They can be performed as many days per week as your life allows.


Remember, doing something is 100% better than doing nothing.


You can use the track for more than just racing. [Photo credit: Michael Dougherty | CC BY-SA 2.0]


Fit on Foot

  • Walk at a fast pace for two miles. You should be huffing and puffing.
  • Alternate walking, jogging, and sprinting for varied distances for 1.5 to 3 miles. Even one mile will work as long as you keep progressing.
  • On an outdoor 400 meter track, alternate a hard one-lap run and a one-lap walk for as many laps you can tolerate.
  • Find a long hill. Walk or run it and walk back to the bottom. Repeat that until it you're exhausted.


Get on any exercise machine: a treadmill, elliptical, stair climber, stationary bicycle, etc. Go all-out (on) then slow to any easier pace (off) at any of these time intervals, for as many repeats you can tolerate:


  • :30 on / :30 off
  • 1:00 on / :30 off
  • :45 on / :25 off
  • :20 on / :20 off
  • 2:00 on / :45 off
  • 1:30 0n / :40 off


Bodyweight Circuits

The Basics

  • Maximum repetition push ups
  • Maximum repetition pull ups or chest-to-bar pull ups
  • 50 x squats
  • 20 sit ups



Repeat for 2 rounds or more, depending on your level of fitness.


Front and Backs

  • Get down and touch your chest to the floor
  • Get to your feet
  • Get down and touch your shoulder blades to the floor


Repeat for 10, 15, 20+ times until you are huffing and puffing. This workout takes less than 10 minutes and can be performed anywhere. No excuses.


Jump, Climb, Lunge

  • Jumping jacks x30
  • Burpees x10
  • Mountain climbers x30
  • Alternating leg lunges x10 each leg


Repeat for 2 rounds or more, depending on your level of fitness.


Dumbbell or Barbell Circuits

Perform as many rounds as you can tolerate. Attempt to add more rounds and/or increase resistance as your fitness level improves:


Circuit A

  • Overhead press x10
  • Bent-over row x10
  • Squat x15


Circuit B

  • Upright row x12
  • Push ups for max reps
  • Alternate leg lunge x10 each leg


Circuit C

  • Bicep curl-to-press x8
  • Bent-over row x8
  • Close-grip push ups for max reps
  • Squat x20


Create Your Own Daily Movement Habit

There are many more options to choose from beside those examples. Be creative and make up your own. They don't need to be complicated. Choose total-body movements—either bodyweight or resistance-loaded—when implementing standalone-type exercises.


Work hard for either the prescribed target repetitions, a maximum number of repetitions, work time, or multiple rounds, depending on what the routine calls for. Perform these time-efficient routines three to five times per week, or more. Follow it up with a commitment to a better diet and you'll get results, trust me.


If you want to make positive changes to your physique and health but don't want it to be complicated and time-consuming, these simple workouts can be productive.


Provided you train hard, minimal time commitment and simple exercises can take you a long way.


Schedule an hour per day at least three days per week. If that can't be done, schedule only 30 minutes two days per week. That is 100% better than doing nothing.


Whatever you choose to do, go all-out relative to your fitness level and training experience. Choose simple exercises that at least get you moving. You don't need to spend multiple hours per day to get results.


Short and intense efforts will yield good results. You have no excuses for not committing to sensible exercise.


More simple options for DIY fitness:

Simple Does Not Mean Ineffective




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