Tag Archives: fitness

Scientific 7 Minute Workout

Think you don’t have time to exercise?  Think again!

Here’s the original “Scientific 7 Minute Workout”  from Brett Klika and Chris Jordan as published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal. To be honest, I’m not sure why it is called the “7 minute” workout because it is more like 8 ½ minutes.  This is a body weight exercise workout, which means you can do it just about anywhere.

Here’s how it works.  Complete each exercise in order.  Exercises are performed for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of transition time between exercises.

The original study calls for you to perform each exercise at the highest intensity you can safely sustain, though you can tailor it to meet your individual needs.  Just don’t cheat yourself by not giving it the effort you deserve!  For maximum benefit repeat the circuit 2-3 times.

To show that this workout can be done just about anywhere, I did it in my office in my street clothes.  (No, I didn’t give it full intensity, but it was invigorating and got me moving.)  The workout is below.  If you’d like a follow-along video to work out with I recommend this one from Fitness Blender.

The workout does not include a warm up or cool down, which are recommended.  Even a few minutes can help avoid injuries and sore muscles.

Now, without further ado, I give you the “Scientific 7 Minute Workout”.  (Complete with pictures of a nameless, somewhat handsome guy, that you are free to ignore if you like.)

Jumping Jacks


Jumping Jacks

Most people know how to do jumping jacks
(okay, with the exception of a couple of kids on the youth basketball
team I coach), but just in case, here’s how to do it.

1. Stand straight, with feet together and arms at your side.

2. Slightly bend your knees, and jump a few inches into the air.

3. While in air, bring your legs out to the side about shoulder width or slightly wider.  At the same time raise your arms over your head.  Keep arms stiff and slightly bent (Don’t flop around).

4. Quickly jump back to step 1 and repeat.

Wall Sit

Wall Sit

The wall sit is the first static exercise in this circuit.

1.  Sit in the air with your back against a wall and think square!  Legs should be bent to 90 degrees, knees directly over your ankles and thighs pointing out perpendicular to the wall, as if you are sitting on a square box the exact dimensions of your body.   You may find it simplest to lean back against the wall and then slide down until you are in the proper position.

2. Hold that position for the entire 30 seconds.

Push Up

Push Up

Here’s one that everyone knows about but is so easy to get wrong.  For some tips on proper form, there is a great post here.

1. Start with your arms straight, core tight, holding your body in a plank (straight head to toe) position.

2. Hands and arms should be positioned below your shoulders with fingers pointed forwards (towards your head). Shoulders are pushed down away from your ears.

3. Lower your body until your chest is an inch or two above the floor, elbows pulling back (not out) at roughly a 45
degree angle.

4. Push  away from the ground, keeping your body straight, until your arms lock, then repeat.



I’m not a fan of traditional crunches because they are not as effective as once thought and are potentially
bad for your back, but they are part of the original workout, so here they are.   (The following description is from Livestrong.com.)

“Begin flat on your back with your knees bent and the heels of your feet only a few inches from your buttocks. Bring your hands to your temples with palms out, and elbows out from the body at about thirty to forty-five degrees. While exhaling, bring your shoulder blades off the ground fairly quickly, until you feel an intense pressure in the rectus
abdominus muscles. Hold for a one to two second count, then slowly release, beginning the next repetition when the head and shoulders are just about to touch the ground.”

Step Up

Step up

You can use a  sturdy chair, box, retaining wall, etc. to do these.

1.  Alternating each leg, step up on to an elevated surface .   I like to throw in a high knee up top with the non-weight-bearing leg.

2. Step back down again.  Repeat, leading with the opposite leg.

You can very intensity by adjusting the speed and/or height.



Hinge your hips so that your butt moves backwards as you go down.

Toes should be turned slightly out.  Knees should not extend past your toes as you go down.

At the bottom of the squat your hamstrings should be roughly parallel to the floor.

Keep your head straight, chest forward, shoulders back. and your back flat to slightly arched.

Inhale down, exhale up.

Triceps Dips


Use a stable chair, bench, low wall, deck etc.  If you don’t have any of these you can also do your dips on the floor.

Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a secured bench or stable chair.

Extend your legs out in front of you.

Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints.

Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle. Try to keep your body as close to the bench/chair as possible.

Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press your body up, returning to the starting position.

Keep your shoulders down – don’t let them sneak up to your ears.

Bend your legs and bring them in closer to make it easier.  To increase the difficulty try doing the dips on a stability ball.



Variation 1: Assume the high push up position and hold it.  Keep your arms directly under the shoulders and
maintain a flat back.

Variation 2. Drop down to your elbows rather than using straight arms.

Hold this position for the entire 30 seconds.  If you need to make this easier,  Perform this on your knees rather than your toes.  This will still give you a good workout.

High Knees

High Knees

Jog in place, raising your knees up to about waist level.  Use your core to help lift your legs.  If you are not
sure if you are raising your legs high enough (or to force yourself to do so) put your hands out about waist level and strike them with your knees.


Step forward and drop your body straight down.  Keep your front knee directly over the ankle.

Keep your torso straight; do not lean forward.

Allow the heel of the rear leg to lift off the floor.

Bend the rear knee enough to form a straight line from shoulder to hip to knee.

Shoulders and hips are even and pointed forward; do not twist.

Keep core muscles tight

Step back to the upright position.  Repeat, leading with the opposite foot.
To increase intensity try it while holding dumbbells.

Push Up w/ Rotation (a.k.a.T Push Up) 

T Push Up

Perform the standard pushup, only when you push to the high position lift one arm and rotate your torso so that
your arms are stacked over each other, forming a T.  Keep your core tight.  Alternate left and right.  If you start left, on the next rep rotate right.

Side Plank (Repeat each side) 

Side Plank

Yep, this is just like the standard plank, only on your side.


That’s it!  Give it a try!

Free Yourself to Live the Life You Deserve – Guest Olga Reinholdt

How do You be True to the Authentic You? What Motivates You to Make (or Not Make) Changes in Your Life? Can You Really Choose to Be Happy?

These and other questions were the subject of my conversation with Thrive Talk guest Olga Reinholdt.   During the discussion, Olga challenged assumptions about why we do things and whether doing something we think is good for us really is.

We discovered:

  • why it is okay not to have a fitness model body
  • why you don’t always have to be pushing forward, and
  • why having the right coach for the wrong reasons does you a disservice.

We learned:

  • how we limit ourselves with labels and comfort zones,
  • how to get out of your own way and open up possibilities you didn’t realize were there.

And that just scratches the surface.  Watch the full interview above.

About Olga

Olga Reinholdt is a life coach with Accomplishment Coaching.  She truly believes that happiness is a choice and helps women cultivate their happy lifestyle.  She is also a professional fitness trainer who promotes the concept of “anti-fitness”.  Olga helps women create the body that empowers them for making their dreams come true without all the dieting, sweating, “six-pack”, “no-pain-no-gain” nonsense.

Olga describes herself as, “I’m a motivation ninja, idea generator and ‘no excuses’ coach: I’d rather help you find a way or make one.”  She hosts a podcast, “Fitness for Grown-ups” (in Russian), co-found an online fitness club “Best for Health” and provides personal online life coaching and a power anti-fitness (or, more politically correct, Mindful Fitness) program at www.olgareinholdt.ru/en

Olga shares this about her personal story:

Not so long ago I packed 30 years of my life in two suitcases, moved with my husband and a three year old from Kazakhstan to the USA, and started a new exciting life from scratch. Now I help women find their own point of self-actualization and freedom, and create resources for awesomeness, with healthy body being an essential one. I’m bilingual, a big fan of Russian rock music, devoted Iyengar yoga practitioner, singer and rock-model in the making, and a Buddhist at heart.

Learning More

Want to learn more or have a chance to work with Olga?  Follow the link to her website and you can sign up for a 90 minute complimentary powerful coaching session with Olga.  This isn’t just a short “clarity session” – this is a full out coaching session.  No charge!  Few coaches are this generous with their time.  The slots are limited, so reserve your spot right away!

Like Olga’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fitnessedu.kz/, and find her on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/olga_reinholdt/

Did we mention the terrific complimentary 90-minute session with Olga?  http://olgareinholdt.ru/en

Planks for the Memories – Plank Workout

People love to hate planks.  Some people swear by them; others merely tolerate them.  Everyone does them for the same reason: they make for a great total body workout.  Planks also make for a great core workout for people who hate traditional crunches.

This Fit in 7 workout is composed entirely of planks.  This is another body weight HIIT circuit, so you won’t need any equipment (other than a mat if you have hard floors).

So, find a nice spot on the floor and prepare to get comfortably uncomfortable.

As a reminder, each exercise is performed for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest in between.  Perform 1-3 circuits, depending on your time and ability.

1. Walking Planks

Start in the high plank position (push-up position).  Move both the hand and foot on one side (i.e. right) out 1-2 feet.  Bring the opposite side hand and foot in to return to the high plank position.  Move 2-4 “steps” in one direction (depending on how much space you have), then repeat, moving in the other direction.

2. Bird Dog Plank

Begin in a standard high plank position.  Lift your right leg straight out behind you, then lift your left arm straight in front of you. Keep your body in a straight line from fingertip to toe.  Hold for 15 seconds then switch sides (left leg back, right arm out) for the remaining 15 seconds.

3. Up-Downs

Start in the high plank position.  Lower your right arm down to your forearm then bring your left arm down as well so you are now supported by your forearms in the low plank position.  Place your right hand on the ground and push back up, with your left hand following to arrive in the high plank position. Repeat, leading with the opposite hand each time.  Complete as many repetitions as you can (”AMRAP”).

4. Plank Lateral Jumps

Start in either the high plank (straight arms) or low plank (on forearms/elbows) position.  Keep your legs together and jump your feet from side to side.  To increase difficulty, place an object (dumbbell, step, book, pillow, etc.) next to your feet and hop over it.  Complete as many repetitions as you can.

5. Reverse Plank

Sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you and arms at your sides. Place hands on the floor next to your hips, fingers pointing towards your feet. Squeeze your butt, open your chest and lift your hips as high as you can, aiming for a straight line from chin to toes. Hold.

6. X Plank

Start in the high plank position.  Move your legs out laterally until your feet are planted wider than hip-width apart.  Move your arms out until they are as wide as your legs.  Hold.  Beginners should start fairly narrow and work your way out wider as you gain strength.

7. Side Plank Crunch (Right Side)

Begin on low or high side plank.  Place your top hand behind your ear.  Bring your top elbow and knee together at your side.  Try not to lean forward or back.

8. Mountain Climbers

Start in high plank.  Alternating each side, bring your knee to your chest.  Use your core help lift your leg.  Complete as many reps as you can.

9. Side Plank Crunch (Left Side)

Repeat #7 on the opposite side.

10. Hip Dips

Starting in low plank (on forearms and elbows) position, slowly dip one hip towards the floor.  Bring it back up to plank position, then repeat on the opposite side.  Complete as many reps as you can.

Body Weight Blast Workout

Photo courtesy freedigitalphotos.net Photo courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Here’s the next workout in the Fit in 7 series. Once again, this is body weight only, so no equipment is needed. You don’t even need a step or a chair – just a space with enough room for you to perform the exercises.

As with the original 7 Minute Workout, perform each exercise for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest in between.

High Knees Jumping Jacks

High Knees Jacks




One-Legged Romanian Dead Lifts (alternate legs)

Romanian Dead Lift



Russian Twist

(Ignore the back roll at the end of the clip – that was just for fun)

Russian Twist

Lateral Jump Overs

Lateral Jump Overs

Hindu Squat

Hindu Squat

Diamond/Triangle Push Ups

Triangle Pushups

Plank Jacks

Plank Jacks

Knee Strikes

Knee Strikes

Reverse Lunge w/Rotation

Reverse Lunge w Twist

Side Bridges (left side)

Try with hand on hip or lifted up.

Side Bridges


Spider Man Push Ups

Spider Man Pushups

Side Bridges (right side)



Mix it Up

Photo by Dave B, Flickr

This Fit in 7 workout will introduce you to some exercises you may not have seen before, along with some perennial favorites.  This is another body weight only workout for you.

As usual, perform each exercise for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds rest between each exercise.  Rest for 30 seconds between circuits.

The Circuit

Star Jumps
Hindu Push Ups
Single Leg Dips
Plank Thrusters
Rear Foot Elevated Squat (both sides)
Reverse Plank
Low to High Plank
Butt Kicks
Lateral Lunge (Side Lunge)
Hip Dips

How To Do it.

Star Jumps
Start with feet together.  Squat down, bringing your arms into your chest.  From this position, launch yourself into the air, spreading your arms and legs out wide.  Land with your feet close together and repeat.


Great for the legs and glutes.  Start on your knees, with an erect posture so that your legs are at 90 degrees.  You should have a straight line from knees to head.  Lift your arms straight out in front of you.  From this position, keeping your upper body straight and using only your legs and glutes, lean your body backward.  Reach one arm back to touch your heel (i.e. right hand touches right heel).  Return to the upright position, keeping the upper body straight throughout.  Repeat, reaching back with the opposite arm.

Hindu Push Ups

Start with your tail in the air, legs wide apart and your hands placed on the floor in front of you so as to form a V shape (this is known as the downward dog position).  Ideally you will have a straight line from wrist to hip.   Bend your arms, lowering your body toward the floor, and in a swooping motion move your body down so that your hips move toward the floor and your head and chest move upward. Keep your motion fluid and controlled.  You will end with your hips near or touching the floor and your chest and head raised.  Return to the downward dog position, keeping your arms straight and shifting your hips up.

Single Leg Dips

Start seated with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands just behind your hips, fingertips facing forward. Draw your abs in tight as you lift your hips up off the floor, pressing down through your hands. Lift one leg and extend it straight up towards the ceiling. Bend your elbows and lower yourself to just above the floor. Quickly press back up. Switch legs and repeat.

Plank Thrusters

Start in the high plank position.  Using your core, bring your legs and feet in underneath you.  From this position thrust your feet back out to return to the plank position.  Repeat.  Be sure to keep your core and glutes tight as you perform this exercise.

Rear Foot Elevated Squat

This exercise works the same muscles as a regular squat, but is performed on one leg (making it a wee bit harder). Stand a few inches in front of a chair, couch, plyo-box, etc. that is about knee-height.  Step forward and place one foot on the chair. Keep the foot resting on the chair throughout. Keep your back straight and chest up as you lower into a single leg squat. Once the thigh of your front leg reaches parallel to the floor, push back up to the standing position.

Low to High Plank

Start in the low plank position, resting on your elbows and forearms.  Moving one arm at a time, push yourself up into a high plank position.  Reverse the process to return to a low plank position.  Repeat, alternating which arm you start with each time.

Butt Kicks

You know ‘em and love ‘em.  Jog in place, bringing your heels up to your tush.

Lateral Lunge

Starting with feet about shoulder width apart, take a large step to one side, landing in a side lunge position.  Be sure to keep your back straight and knee behind the toes.  Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.


Start in a standing position.  Bend over until your hands touch the floor.  Keep your core tight to support your lower back.  Slowly walk your hands forward until you are in a plank position.  Perform a push up and then walk your hands back until you can return to a standing position.  Repeat.

Hip Dips

From a plank position, dip one hip down towards the floor.  Return to the plank position and repeat on the other side.  This can be performed from the low or high plank position.  Beginners should start in the low plank position.

Burpee Bonanza [Bodyweight Workout]

Ah Those Burpees!

Burpees, Burpees, Burpees!  The humble burpee is often hailed as the ultimate body weight exercise.  While I wouldn’t go quite that far, the burpee is an excellent total body exercise, working upper body, lower body and core.

The traditional “full” burpee is performed as follows.

  1. From the standing position, drop to a squat with legs together and hands placed on the floor.
  2. Thrust your legs out behind you into a high plank position.
  3. Perform a full push-up
  4. Using your core, quickly pull your legs back under you
  5. Uncoil upward (jump) into the air and land in a standing position

The Workout

This Fit in 7 workout consists entirely of burpee variations.

As with most of our Fit in 7 workouts, 1 circuit consists of performing each exercise for 30 seconds, with a 10 second break in between.  If you perform multiple circuits (recommended), rest for 30 seconds between each circuit.

Keep your abs and glues engaged throughout each exercise for support and for strengthening and toning.

The Circuit


(tutorial coming soon!)