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Tone up in 10 minutes

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Is it possible? Hell yes, according to US super-trainer Sean Foy. Women’s Fitness uncovers his speedy sculpting secrets.

You’ve said it. We’ve said it. Heck, every woman in possession of both a packed diary and a gym pass has said it: ‘There’s just not enough time to exercise!’ But what if we told you that enough time could be a mere 10 minutes, and not even every day? Well, that’s exactly what renowned US fitness coach and exercise psychologist Sean Foy is telling you. ‘It’s possible to cover all the essential elements of a successful get-fit programme in a simple 10-minute circuit,’ he says. And he should know: his 10-minute Total Body Breakthrough is the workout on everyone’s lips across the Atlantic. Promising to change your body with short, sharp training sessions every other day and a low-GI eating plan, Sean’s regime will shock your bodyinto shifting fat and building muscle. Better results in less time? Where do we sign…

How it works

Not only are Sean’s quick-blast workouts time efficient, but they can boost results way more than steady-state workouts by covering anaerobic, aerobic, resistance and core work. The result is one serious boost for the metabolism. The workouts can initially be done using no equipment other than a resistance band, though as you progress you may want to incorporate weights into the resistance component. In fact, all you need to get going is 10 spare minutes every other day.

How to do it

The 10-minute sessions are split into what Sean calls ‘4-3-2-1 intervals’, referring to the number of minutes in each component. Ideally though, you would try to include a two- or three-minute warm-up, like a fast walk or air boxing, and perhaps some joint mobility work to reduce the risk of injury. Sean says: ‘4-3-2-1 training packs every type of beneficial exercise into one 10-minute session. When done together, all these exercises provide you with a power-packed workout that maximises your metabolism and fitness.’

Is it possible? Hell yes, according to US super-trainer Sean Foy. Women’s Fitness uncovers his speedy sculpting secrets.

Get started!

Synchronise your watches, ladies – we count you down through your speediest-ever session.

4 minutes

The first four minutes of the workout are for high-intensity aerobic training like skipping, jogging, biking or high-knees jogging on the spot if you’re at home. This involves 30 seconds of moderate activity then 30 seconds of intense activity repeated four times, making sure you go as hard as you can during the last 30 seconds.

7 minutes

Next up is three minutes of resistance training. This is a really important component of your 10-minute workout, because it helps you burn calories not only during your exercise, but afterwards too; plus it adds muscle tissue to your body, which burns more calories while you sleep. Three minutes isn’t long though, so this part of the workout uses compound exercises that work more than one joint at once, like a squat or chest press, to give maximum effect and calorie burn. The three minutes are broken down into three exercises: two for the lower body and one for the upper body. Each move involves doing the maximum number of repetitions possible within a minute. Here are some ideas to try:

LOWER BODY Stationary wall squat: Sit against a wall with your knees in line with ankles. Squat until your thighs are parallel, holding the pose for up to 60 seconds.

Chair squat: Squat down as if you’re sitting on a chair and stand up again as many times as possible.

Stationary lunge: Take a wide step forward, staying on the toes of your back foot. Bend the front knee so your thigh is parallel to the floor. Lift up and repeat.

Reverse lunge: Step back with one foot each time you lunge and return to standing in between.

UPPER BODY Kneeling or full press-ups: Whichever way you do these, keep the body in a straight line, without allowing the back to cave in or round.

Triceps dips: Place your hands under shoulders on a bench. With legs extended straight (harder) or bent (easier), bend your elbows until your upper arms are parallel with the ground, then return to the start.

Chest press with resistance band: Wrap a band around a tree or bannister and stand facing away from it. Hold each end in one hand and push forward, in a chest-press motion.

Bent-over row with resistance band: Stand on the band, holding an end in each hand and bend over, keeping the back straight and shoulders back. Pull on the band, keeping the rest of your body still.

9 minutes

The next two minutes are for core strengthening. This is an extension of the resistance component, except that you’re specifically working the core to improve your posture and help prevent back injury. Do two exercises for a minute each, doing as many repetitions as possible. Try these examples…

Plank: Facing the floor, rest on your elbows and toes, with a straight line from shoulders to feet.

Reaching ab crunch: Lie on your back and bend your knees. Take your head and shoulders off the floor and reach up to your knees with your arms.

Back extension/cobra: Lie on your front and, keeping your thighs and feet on the floor, gently lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor.

Bridge: Lie on your back with knees bent so that you can just touch your heels with your hands. Gently push up your bottom until your body is in a straight line, diagonal with the floor. Hold for 60 seconds.

Last up is one minute of stretching and deep breathing. While you’re stretching out your entire body, Sean recommends focusing on your breath to allow your body to recover: ‘Breathing deeply and evenly after exercise can release endorphins, the neurotransmitters that act like a natural painkiller,’ he explains. It’s a great way to round off the workout. And that’s it, after just 10 minutes you’re all done!

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