Most depictions of fitness show an utterly ripped man or women in very little clothing, sweating profusely as he or she completes grueling workouts of ungodly weight and duration. In truth, exercise can certainly be that intense — the world’s best athletes spend hours each day performing what, to the average person, looks like magic with hundred-pound weights — but it doesn’t have to be.
You can just as easily achieve peak physical health while binge watching “Dance Moms” as you can panting and aching alone in a gym, but in order to make any real headway, you need to know a handful of workout routines that effectively work your body. Well, roll out a comfortable mat, queue up your favorite Netflix marathon, and prepare to build strength and burn fat with these easy and fun workouts that will transform you from flabby to fit.
1. Daily 100s
Even if you only have time for a full episode of “Friends,” you can sneak a workout into your daily schedule. Daily 100s are 100 reps or 100 seconds of individual exercises. By back-to-back completing 100 jumping jacks, 100 sit-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 mountain-climbers, and more, you can fill up at least 20 minutes of your favorite show. The beauty of daily 100s is that the workout can be as long or short as you want it to be: Even if you only have two minutes of free time during a hectic day of meetings, you can complete just 100 seated crunches at your desk; alternatively, you can create a rotation of exercises that will last through your favorite movie marathon.
2. Bed Workouts
Most people assume a day without leaving bed is a lazy day wasted — but those people aren’t tapping into their beds’ potential as a workout machine. You can perform all the regular exercises from the comfort of your bed, and you might even tone more muscle and burn more fat than you would on a mat. Beds are instable surfaces, so your body must work slightly harder to remain balanced during exercise. As a result, the stabilizing muscles in your core grow stronger. Consider doing the following while you binge-watch “Gilmore Girls”:
- 10 plank lifts
- 10 roll-ups
- 10 Vs
- 50 bicycles
- 1-minute x-plank
If you wear a heart rate monitor while performing these exercises on the bed and off, you should notice that your body works harder on the more comfortable surface of your mattress, which means you are burning more calories during a more enjoyable workout.
Instead of drinking alcohol every time you notice a reoccurring trope or theme in your favorite show, you can perform a specific exercise set. Hundreds of bloggers have created thousands of exercise games for shows as far-reaching as “Game of Thrones” and “The Bachelorette.” For example, here are some of the rules for “Veronica Mars:”
- Anytime someone is drinking, sleeping, eating, or kissing, you must perform a 30-second plank, 30 backwards leg lifts, and/or 20 bicycles.
- Anytime there is a flashback, fight, or voice-over, you must perform 15 lateral raises, 30 forward leg lifts, and/or 10 reverse crunches.
- Anytime you see Keith Mars or Wallace, you must perform 15 shoulder presses, 20 sumo squats, and/or 20 Russian twists.
While games such as these are effective while completing a TV-marathon on your own, they become extra fun while watching with a friend, as he or she can point out certain triggers that you may miss by yourself.
4. Commercial Calisthenics
If you live in the stone age of regular broadcast television, an excellent way to pass the time during commercial breaks is to squeeze in a workout. For the duration of each ad, perform one exercise continuously; for example, do jumping jacks as vigorously as you can until the next commercial starts. You can create a circuit to follow during every break (marching in place, sit-ups, triceps dips, etc.) or mix and match exercises as your heart desires.
Once the show comes back on, you can rest until the next break — or you can continue getting fit with discreet, muscle firming exercises. Butt squeezes, floor presses, heel raises, and stomach crunchers won’t interrupt your viewing experience, but by minutely flexing these muscles, you can build muscle slowly and surely.