30-day Challenge – Summer Exercise Plan
Can you spare 10 minutes a day in July to concentrate on you? 😊 Look after yourself with these short daily workouts alongside a few tweaks to your eating and drinking habits and see how easy it is for small changes to become new habits. Follow this to incorporate consistency into your exercise and healthy eating routine so that it becomes second nature!
Take this 30-day challenge to see how easy it is to build healthy habits, have more energy and feel stronger and fitter.
Make sure you do the following every day to get the best out of the challenge and to give yourself time to establish your new healthy habits.
- Try to drink at least 3 pints of water a day. The recommended amount is 4 but this includes water found in food and other drinks such as tea etc. 3 pints might sound like a lot but get yourself a drinks bottle and keep filling it up throughout the day. Our bodies don’t store water so make sure to keep sipping little and often rather than trying to down a pint in one go.
Water is so important! We need to drink this amount of water in order to prevent dehydration which can cause changes in mood, brain fog and confusion and can also lead to kidney stones as well as to regulate body temperature, protect organs and tissues, lubricate joints, flush out waste products (lessening the work that the kidneys and liver have to do) and it also carries nutrients to cells.
- Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This is easier than it sounds. Have some spinach and scrambled eggs for breakfast and half a grapefruit, a banana for a mid-morning snack, incorporate some salad or veg into lunch such as a salad sandwich, quiche made with tomato, onion and broccoli or vegetable soup. For dinner either have veg on the side or incorporate lots of different veg into a sauce or stirfry. If you fancy a snack, try having some grapes, pineapple or cucumber and carrot with hummus. You’ll easily have eaten more than your 5 a day without really trying.
Fruit and veg is needed as it provides fibre to help keep the gut healthy as well as providing many essential nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and folate. Try to have a variety of fruit and veg, eating many different colours (eat the rainbow 😊) as variety is needed to get all the nutrients that we need. You wouldn’t get all the nutrients that you need from just eating apples for example. Not eating enough fruit and veg can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease as well as leaving you at risk of nutritional deficiencies.
- Eat more protein. Aim to have between 45g and 80g of protein a day, depending on how much exercise you do. Foods high in protein include chicken, lean beef, salmon, eggs, peanut butter, cottage cheese and lentils. If you are trying to increase the amount of protein that you eat, eat the protein in your meal first as this helps to make you feel full, eat eggs for breakfast instead of cereal, snack on almonds or add chopped almonds to Greek yogurt, salads and cottage cheese. Enjoy a protein shake – these are fine as long as you check the sugar content and don’t rely on them for all your protein.
Muscles are made up of about 80% protein. Eating enough protein is essential for muscle growth, maintaining muscle mass and preventing excessive muscle loss when losing weight. Muscle is broken down when exercising and your body needs protein to repair and grow muscle.
- Cut down on processed food. Eat as much fresh food as you can, stop adding salt to food, keep healthy snacks in the house and swap to wholegrain bread, brown rice and wholemeal pasta. Plan your meals ahead of time and meal prep where you can. Make large batches of food if you can, to freeze in smaller portions, so that you always have a healthy meal to hand.
Processed food often has unhealthy amounts of added sugar, fat and salt. It is also lacking in nutrition so although it may taste good, it isn’t healthy for us to eat large amounts. Too much processed food can lead to health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Move move move! Make sure that you are doing some movement or exercise every day. Try to do one of the following every day throughout this challenge. You can adapt the workouts to fit the time that you have by either doing one set, or adding them together to make a longer workout. If you aren’t able to complete a workout every day, try to get out for a brisk walk on those days. Make sure that you are doing some kind of movement or exercise EVERY day!
Pick your workout from below! You can mix it up each day with a different one!
- Jumping Jacks: Do 1 minute of jumping jacks. Start with your feet together and arms at your sides. Jump while spreading your feet wider than hip-width apart and raise your arms overhead. Jump back to the starting position and repeat.
- High Knees: Jog in place while lifting your knees as high as possible, aiming to bring them up to waist level. Do this for 1 minute.
- Mountain Climbers: Assume a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body in a straight line. Quickly alternate bringing one knee toward your chest while extending the other leg. Continue for 1 minute.
- Burpees: Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down, place your hands on the ground, and kick your feet back to a plank position. Immediately reverse the motion by bringing your feet back to your hands, stand up, and jump explosively. Repeat for 1 minute.
- Squat Jumps: Lower into a squat position, then stand and propel your body into a jump, landing back into a squat position. Continue for 1 minute.
- Plank: Hold a straight-arm plank position for 30 seconds, engaging your core muscles and keeping your body in a straight line.
- Bicycle Crunches: Lie on your back, bring your knees up, and perform bicycle-like motions with your legs while reaching your elbow towards the opposite knee. Do this for 30 seconds.
- Russian Twists: Sit on the floor, lean back slightly, and lift your feet off the ground (keep your feet on the ground if you feel that you are moving your hips too much). Twist your torso from side to side, touching the floor on each side. Aim for 30 seconds.
- Mountain Climbers: Start in a push-up position, then alternate bringing your knees towards your chest in a running motion. Do this for 30 seconds.
- Flutter Kicks: Lie on your back, lift your legs slightly off the ground, and alternate small kicking movements. Keep your core engaged throughout. Repeat for 30 seconds.
- Superman: Lie face down on the ground with your arms extended overhead. Lift your arms, chest, and legs off the ground simultaneously, engaging your back muscles. Hold for a moment, then lower back down. Repeat for 1 minute.
- Bent-Over Rows: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells or water bottles. Hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back straight, and let your arms hang in front of you. Pull the weights up toward your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower the weights back down and repeat for 1 minute.
- Reverse Flys: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells or water bottles. Hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back straight and a slight bend in your knees. Start with your arms hanging straight down. Raise your arms out to the sides, squeezing your shoulder blades together, and then lower them back down. Repeat for 1 minute.
- Lat Pulldowns: Use a resistance band to perform this exercise. Attach the resistance band to a sturdy anchor point. Grab the band with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Pull the band down towards your chest, engaging your back muscles. Slowly release back up and repeat for 1 minute.
- Cat-Cow Stretch: Start on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Arch your back upward, tucking your chin toward your chest, and then slowly lower your belly towards the ground, lifting your head and extending your spine. Repeat the flowing motion between cat and cow positions for 1 minute, focusing on stretching and mobilizing your back muscles.
- Glute Bridge: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Drive your heels into the ground and lift your hips off the floor, squeezing your glutes at the top. Lower your hips back down and repeat for 1 minute.
- Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body by bending your knees and pushing your hips back, as if you’re sitting into a chair. Keep your head and chest up. Focus on engaging your glutes as you push through your heels to return to the starting position. Repeat for 1 minute.
- Donkey Kicks: Start on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Keeping your core engaged, lift one leg off the ground, flexing your foot, and driving your heel toward the ceiling. Lower your leg back down. Do 30 seconds on each leg.
- Lunges: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a big step forward with your right leg, lowering your body until your right knee is at a 90-degree angle and your left knee is hovering above the ground. Push through your right foot to return to the starting position, then repeat with your left leg. Alternate lunges for 1 minute.
- Glute Kickbacks: Begin in a tabletop position, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Keeping your core engaged, extend one leg straight back, lifting it until your foot is higher than your hips. Squeeze your glutes at the top, then lower your leg back down. Do 30 seconds on each leg.
- Push-ups: Start with 1 minute of push-ups to engage your arms, chest, and shoulders. You can do them with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart or closer together to emphasize different muscle groups. Modify with knee push-ups if needed.
- Bicep Curls: Grab a pair of dumbbells or water bottles. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and let your arms hang by your sides, palms facing forward. Curl the weights toward your shoulders while keeping your elbows close to your body. Lower the weights back down slowly and repeat for 1 minute.
- Triceps Dips: Sit on the edge of a stable chair or bench with your hands gripping the edge beside your hips, fingers pointing forward. Extend your legs in front of you and slide your hips off the edge. Bend your elbows and lower your body towards the ground, then push back up. Repeat for 1 minute.
- Shoulder Press: Hold a pair of dumbbells or water bottles at shoulder height with your palms facing forward. Push the weights overhead until your arms are fully extended. Lower them back down to shoulder height and repeat for 1 minute.
- Plank Taps: Get into a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. While maintaining a stable core, lift one hand off the ground to tap the opposite shoulder. Alternate hands and continue for 1 minute.
Full Body (can be repeated for a longer workout)
- Jumping Jacks: Start with 1 minute of jumping jacks to warm up your entire body. Remember to engage your core and keep a brisk pace.
- Push-ups: Start in a push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your body in a straight line. Lower yourself towards the floor, keeping your body straight, then push back up. If needed, you can modify by performing push-ups on your knees. Aim to do as many reps as you can in 1 minute.
- Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body by bending your knees and pushing your hips back, as if you’re sitting into a chair. Keep your head and chest up. Push through the heels to return to the starting position. Repeat for 1 minute.
- Plank: Start in a plank position with your forearms on the ground, elbows directly under your shoulders, and toes tucked under. Engage your core and hold the position for 1 minute. Keep your body in a straight line and avoid letting your hips sag or lift too high.
- Alternating Lunges: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a big step forward with your right leg, lowering your body until your right knee is at a 90-degree angle and your left knee is hovering above the ground. Push through your right foot to return to the starting position, then repeat with your left leg. Alternate lunges for 1 minute.
If you are using weights, make sure that they are challenging without being too heavy. You need to maintain good technique throughout all the exercises. If you find that the weight is too heavy, either reduce the time that you are exercising for (do less reps) or use a lighter weight that allows you to keep the correct form.
Take a look at the following blogs to check technique:
If you need more inspiration, have a look at the following 10-minute cardio, core and booty workouts and mix and match with the above:
So, are you going to take the challenge? Have fun and let us know how you get on! 😊
Caroline & Hannah xx