''This particular exercise program has been designed for 3 days a week and can be done 3 times in the 1st week (1st, 3rd and 6th day of the diet plan) and 3 times in the 2nd week (8th, 10th and 13th day of the diet plan) so that it can coincide with your nutritional program. It was created especially for me by a team of professionals, after examining my particular needs and it was based on the World Health Organization guidelines, which recommends medium to intense exercise for at least 75-150 minutes a week for a healthy male that has already been following some basic form of exercise. The exercise program that you will follow in order to strengthen, tone and lose weight should be made to fit your exact needs and should also be based on how fit you are. It should be prepared with a personal trainer or other health professional. Individuals like pregnant women or others suffering from some chronic illness, e.g. cardiovascular problem, diabetes, increased blood pressure or other such illnesses, should definitely consult a doctor or some specialized health professional. The purpose of this exercise program is a joint effort to make people aware of how to live a healthier life while feeling stronger and more energetic.''
Did you like the Exercise Program for beginners? I hope you did and that you already feel the benefits exercising has on your mood! If you follow the program for a while, you will slowly see your body changing! The main thing is to work out systematically! And don’t forget… It’s always best to create your exercise program around your personal needs before you begin, with the help of a specialist – like I did!
Are you ready? Let’s take a look at the exercises for the intermediate….
Before beginning any exercise program, you should always warm up. Start with about 10 minutes of low impact exercise, that will “warm up” all of your muscle groups and prepare our body for the rest of the exercises. From the moment you choose to work out at home, your options are the following:
- Running in place and small jumps.
- Jump rope – Even if you don’t have a jump rope, you can simply “reenact” the movements of jumping rope.
- Jumping jacks – In one motion, jump your feet out to the side (shoulder width apart) and raise your arms over your head and reverse the motion by jumping back to your starting position.
If you want to dedicate a little more time, you can add some stretches to your warm up also (you can find stretching exercises in the “COOL DOWN” section).
1st EXERCISE: Squats & Side leg lifts
Glutes, quads, hamstrings and adductors
Stand up straight with your arms straight out ahead of you (in order to help you keep your balance). Squat deeply to a 90o angle and come back up to starting position. Standing up straight with your arms still straight out in front of you, lift your left leg to the side at a 45o angle. Repeat the same exercise completing 3 sets x 60”-30” for each leg, with a 10-15” rest in between each set.
Tip: For squats - Be sure to keep your weight on your heels. For side leg lifts - Keep your foot flexed for the entire lift.
2ND EXERCISE: Lunges
Glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and leg triceps (gastrocnemius)
Stand up straight with your arms straight out ahead of you (for balance). Lunge forward with your right leg, creating two right angles with your knees. Holding this position, bounce up and down with small sharp movements. Repeat this exercise completing 3 sets x 60”-30” for each leg, with a 10-15” rest in between each set.
Tip: Make sure you keep the right angles with your knees and your torso straight up.
3rd EXERCISE: Sumo Squats
Glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings
Stand up straight with your hands straight out ahead of your (for balance). Open your legs very wide (wider than shoulder width apart) and squat deeply, making sure your toes are pointing outward. Keeping this position and engaging your leg muscles, bounce up and down, with small, sharp movements, making sure to maintain the right angles at the end of the squat. Repeat this exercise completing 3 sets x 60”, with a 10-15” rest in between each set.
Tip: Your knees should not extend past your toes and your torso should be straight up.
4th EXERCISE: Obliques
Lay on your back and bend your knees, making sure your feet are flat on the floor. Place your right leg over your left, with your knee bent and facing outward. Bend your arms and bring your fingertips to touch the sides of your head. Lift your torso and touch your elbow to your opposite knee (as shown in the image). Repeat this exercise completing 3 sets x 60”, with a 10-15” rest in between each set.
Tip: Make sure your back is always flat on the floor and don’t stress your neck. You should only feel pressure in your stomach.
5th EXERCISE: Plank with side knee lift
Abs, lower back muscles, quadriceps, biceps, triceps, trapezoids, deltoids, leg triceps (gastrocnemius) and pectorals
Lay face down (prone position). Straighten and lift your body, keeping it parallel to the floor. Balance on your toes and elbows to form a “plank”. Bring your right knee up to touch your right elbow. Repeat this exercise, alternating between legs. Complete 3 sets x 60”, with a 10-15” rest in between each set.
Tip: Make sure your legs are open hip width apart, keep your shoulders directly above your elbows and your head aligned with your spine.
6th EXERCISE: Lats
Back muscles, especially lats.
Lie face down and place your palms on the floor, next to your ears. Lift your torso just enough to lift your chest from the floor, making sure that your hips are constantly flat on the floor. Repeat the same exercise 3 sets x 60” with a 10-15” rest in between each set.
Tip: Make sure not to overextend the movement upwards to avoid injuring your back.
All done with your exercises! Now it is time for some stretches that help keep your muscles strong, elastic and healthy avoiding any pulled muscles, soreness and minor traumas. Each stretch should last for at least 10”. If you want to see a greater improvement in your range of motion and flexibility, keep the stretch for a longer amount of time. Some muscle groups that definitely need to be stretched are the following: Quads, biceps, shoulder blades, lats and pectorals. Following are pictures of the stretches I do after my workout.
This article was written with the collaboration of the Kitchen Lab's health professionals: Adriani Papageorgiou (Personal Trainer) and Anna-Maria Volanaki (Sports Nutritionist, MSc, BDA, SENr).