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Quick at-home workout to blast calories and build muscle

One of the most important things to have while working out to lose weight (or be healthy) is to have a workout buddy, someone who motivates you and pushes you when you feel like giving up.  For me, it’s my husband.  A couple of years ago he committed himself to the P90X routines.  He did his workouts religiously (even while I was in the hospital after I had my 3rd child, he asked if he could leave my bedside to go to the gym and do his workout for the day – now thats commitment!).  So one day, my husband showed me a workout that his friend had sent him.  It was from the Jan/Feb 2012 Mens Health magazine called the 2012 Spartacus Workout (there is also a 2013 version which is different but not bad).  This workout is a HIIT type of workout – high intensity interval training.  Perfect to do at home with minimal equipment.  Each exercise is performed for 40 seconds with 20 seconds rest.  You continue on to the next exercise until all 10 exercises are completed and then you rest for 2 minutes.  You perform each circuit for a total of 3 rounds.  And man are you gassed at the end….but how else can you burn up to 500 calories in about 35 minutes???  

No excuses with this one.  You say that don’t have the time to workout – this one takes less than 40 minutes to do.  No gym membership or special equipment required either.  All you need is a mat, a set of dumbbells, water and some good workout music.  Hey, you are in charge of your health and no one else.  You have to make the time for YOU.   

You might have to modify a few exercises until you can build the strength to do the exercise as described but hey, we all need a goal to work towards right?  I’ll be honest, after the first couple of times that I did this workout my legs and lower body were on fire.  It hurt to walk, sit, climb the stairs – they just hurt.  But you have to work through this pain and the more you do it, the easier it gets.  I have completed 6 weeks of this workout and I hope to continue on for 4 mores weeks.  I love this type of workout and you will see results with this one!  I have lost bodyfat and my legs look leaner and toned.  You’ve gotta give this workout a try and let me know what results you get.  

Do something good for yourself each and everyday…here’s a great place to start.


Do this workout 3 days a week. Perform the exercises—or “stations”—as a circuit, doing one movement after another. At each station, perform as many repetitions as you can in 40 seconds using perfect form. Rest for 20 seconds as you transition to the next exercise. After you’ve done all 10 exercises, catch your breath for 2 minutes. Then repeat the entire circuit two more times. If you find you can’t keep working for the entire 40 seconds, use a lighter weight. If you feel as if you could keep going hard for an additional 15 seconds, progress to a heavier weight.

(Pictures & Directions courtesy of Mens Health)


Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells next to your shoulders, elbows bent, palms facing in [A]. Push your hips back and squat deeply [B]. Push back up, rotating your torso to the right and pivoting on your left foot as you press the dumbbell in your left hand above your shoulder [C]. Lower the weight and rotate back to center. Repeat, rotating to the left and pressing up the dumbbell in your right hand.


Assume a pushup position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles [A]. Without allowing your lower-back posture to change, lift your left foot off the floor and move your left knee toward your chest [B]. Return to the starting position, and repeat with your right leg. That’s a mountain climber. Now do a pushup [C].


Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length at your sides [A]. Take a big step to your left and lower your body by pushing your hips back and bending your left knee. As you lower your body, bend forward at your hips and try to touch the dumbbells to the floor [B]. (Note: Go only as low as you can without rounding your lower back.) Then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as you can. Perform arm curls [C]. Alternate back and forth, doing a lunge to your left and then a lunge to your right.


Start in a pushup position with a dumbbell on the floor next to your right hand. Lower your body into a plank so you’re resting your weight on your forearms instead of your palms [A]. “Walk” back up to a pushup position [B]. Without leaving this position, grasp the dumbbell with your left hand [C] and drag it underneath your chest until it rests on your left side [D]. Repeat, this time dragging the weight with your right hand.


Stand holding dumbbells at your sides [A]. Step forward with your left foot and lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees [B]. In one motion, push back up and take a long step back with your left foot into a reverse lunge [C]. Keep shifting between forward and backward lunges with the same leg for 20 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.


Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell between your feet on the floor. Push your hips back, squat, and grab the dumbbell with one hand [A]. Pull the dumbbell up and “catch” it at shoulder height as you rise to a standing position; keep your knees slightly bent [B]. Pause, lower the dumbbell to the floor, grab it with your other hand [C], and repeat on the other side [D].


Place a pair of dumbbells on the floor and assume a pushup position with your hands on the dumbbells [A]. Pull the right dumbbell up to the side of your chest [B]. Pause, and then lower the dumbbell; repeat the move with your left arm [C]. While holding the dumbbells, quickly bring your legs toward your torso [D], and then jump up [E]. Once you land, squat and kick your legs back into a pushup.


Hold a dumbbell vertically in front of your chest, cupping one end of the dumbbell with both hands [A]. Keep your elbows pointed toward the floor and perform a squat [B]. Then push back up to the starting position [C]. Now step back with one leg—into a reverse lunge—and lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees [D]. Pause, and then push up quickly. Alternate your lunging leg with each rep.


Sit holding a dumbbell in front of your chest. Lean your torso back slightly and raise your feet off the floor [A]. Without moving your torso, rotate the weight to your left [B] and then to your right [C]. Move back and forth quickly.


Stand with your knees slightly bent and hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length in front of your thighs [A]. Without rounding your lower back or changing the bend in your knees, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor [B]. Without moving your torso, pull the dumbbells up to the sides of your chest [C]. Pause, and then lower the dumbbells. Raise your torso back to the starting position.