How To Get A Decent Workout Without Feeling Smashed

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By Johara Al Mogbel

Fitness is an important part of the average human’s lifestyle.

Not just because you really need to fit into those size skeleton jeans you have stashed in the back of your closet (on the off-chance that you morph into a model overnight), but because a little movement in your life can go a long way in your health. And that’s doubly important when one lives in a largely car-dependent country. And guess what? You can fix your lumps and lungs without ending up like a sputtering car in the middle of the highway with a busted engine!

Without further ado, here are some effective ways you could work out without feeling like you’ve just been hit by a cement truck.

Tabata Training

Tabata training is a method of workout that spans four minutes. Yes, you read that right, four minutes. It was first introduced by a Japanese scientist, Dr. Izumi Tabata, who wanted to measure the effect training had on 2 groups of athletes. His study concluded that short intense workouts are more effective in increasing performance and improving fitness than steady and long, medium- intensity workouts.

In a nutshell Tabata is: 20 seconds of ALL OUT effort followed by 10 seconds break. This is done 8 times/rounds bringing the total workout to 4 minutes. The moves are generally big moves with a focus on getting you breathing heavy in the 20 seconds of work. You may choose a different move for each round or simply alternating 2 moves.

The beauty of this workout is that it basically takes less time than it does to scroll down your twitter feed. You can do Tabata 2 times a week. And of course, you may choose to follow it with a low to medium intensity jog for maximum benefit. For a tabata timer, search your app store. There’s a great one on IOS.

Tip: The key to success is to really make sure that you go ALL OUT during the 20 seconds, or else it would just be a short and easy workout.


Oh boy, where do I start? See, I spent most of my life snubbing my nose at those wimpy yogis with their so-called “workouts.” Hah! As if they worked out. It’s basically stretching.

And then I took a class. My muscles were lengthened and strengthened simultaneously during the class, and I did break a sweat. By the end of the class I was feeling more energetic than when I had started. I did feel leaner and longer (possibly from the freakishly fun extension poses), but I also got a free ride in Zen world. It improves your flexibility and your breathing/lungs, raises your fitness level, and gives you a strong core. You also get to sleep for five minutes at the end of it!


Zumba is less of a workout and more of a 40-minute chance at pretending you’re an extra on So You Think You Can Dance. If you manage to avoid the mirrors, that is. It’s the much much nicer, less evil younger brother of those horrible cardio routines that make your lungs try to break out of your chest by the end of the class.

Tip: Buy Zumba Fitness for Wii. The routines are just as fat-burning and you get the added bonus of dancing in the privacy of your own home. Just try to make a schedule, and then fall in the routine you’ve mapped out, so you actually stick to it.

Dancing Games

There’s something to be said about working out in the comfort of your own home. For one, you save on time going to and from the gym, and you avoid traffic. And a workout that isn’t a workout but a game you get scored on? And most importantly, a game you dance in? SIGN. ME. UP. Try games like Just Dance and Dance Dance Revolution and their sequels. There’s also a Michael Jackson dance game for fans and a number of dance games for kids as well so that the children could get fit with you. With the tech-obsessed generation, a little movement in their lives is positively essential.

Group Sports

Welcome back to basics. Before gyms and training spaces filled with fitness fanatics wearing pro gears and the latest fitness fashion trends, this was how earlier generations kept moving. They moved. And it was a lot more fun. There are many a times when I just don’t feel like going to the gym myself. But I also feel guilty about it. I suppose competitive team sports is a true way to enjoy being fit. You get to be with people you like spending time with while doing something healthy. I do know what you’re thinking: Where and how? There are a few football or basketball clubs you can join in town. Gather your friends and rent the place out. For women too, many health clubs and university campuses nowadays include a squash or basketball court in addition to a fitness area.


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