Minimalist exercise is the answer to getting in shape and staying in shape over the long-term.

Let’s face it. For most of us, exercise is hard to fit into our busy schedules, and may not be the most exciting activity that we can do with the little time we have. Going to a cold gym to lift heavy rusty weights is the exact opposite of what you want to do. Instead, a refreshing shower, a soft couch, good food and maybe a drink is more towards the direction you want to head.

Am I right?

Well, as your online personal trainer/fitness doctor, I propose a compromise — that will eventually lead to the refreshing shower, soft couch, etc…

Minimalist exercise.

Minimalist exercise is doing just enough of what you need to do to stay fit, with little or no weights involved. Personally, I have been a minimalist exerciser for a number of years now and not only love the convenience, but also appreciate similar results to going to a gym and lifting heavy weights.

To be specific, minimalist exercise involves coming home from work, changing clothes, and doing at least a 20-minute workout routine in the comfort of your home. As far as equipment is concerned, the most you need is a resistance band, or a pair of 5- 15 pound dumbbells. Even better, if you don’t want to buy equipment, you don’t have to. Most of us have a body that weighs over 100 pounds that we can use for resistance with exercises such as push ups, squats and lunges. So that’s it. Come home, change clothes and dedicate the next 20-minutes to tuning up your physical health.

Which workout plans should you use?

I’m glad you asked! Exercise Menu currently has over 100 minimalist workouts that you can perform. I suggest the 20-minute circuit workout plans, because you can build muscle and improve your cardiovascular health with these workout routines.

Minimalist Exercise Tips

  1. Work each muscle group to fatigue. For any exercise that you perform, make sure that your last repetition of that exercise is extremely difficult, if not impossible to do. While moving a muscle through its range is great if you are a beginner or have a physical ailment, you will not gain muscle mass or improve muscle endurance if you are just going through the motions. You must burn out that muscle.
  2. Choose multi-joint exercises. Multi-joint exercises, such as the Squat Curl, are among the most efficient exercises you can do because it is like doing two exercises in one. Work your legs and your arms in one exercise instead of doing two. Can’t beat that.
  3. Don’t use fancy equipment. Bodyweight, resistance bands, dumbbells, maybe a barbell, pull up bar, ab mat, medicine ball or exercise ball is really all you need. Sure, if there is a piece of equipment that you love — get it! But keep it simple. You only need a few tools to sculpt the body you want.
  4. Don’t let anything distract you. You are in your personal “fitness sanctuary.” From the time that you start your workout, until the time you end it, do not let any distractions enter into your space. It’s like going to the gym, but never working out. In order for minimalist exercise to work, you have to dedicate 100% of your attention to your workout. Combine your workout with a focused, mindless meditation and the benefits of your self-investment will reap exponential rewards for both your body and soul.
  5. Focus on the moment, not the results. This is your time. Your workout. Your moment of greatness and replenishment. Paint your masterpiece one stroke at a time. Maximize your effort with simple exercises and the results that you want will come. It’s simple science. Maximum effort into minimal time equals great results. One day at a time, one workout at a time.

That’s all you need, and that’s all it takes.