Who says you have to spend money to lose weight? Gyms are expensive, and buying equipment like weights can be a pain.
Milk jugs to the rescue.
Almost everyone has access to these jugs, and they provide an easy way to measure out a very specific weight. Any 1 gallon container with handles will work (bottled water is sold in the same style jugs at any supermarket, and they are usually under $1 each).
Since they are a consistent size, you know exactly how much weight you’re lifting based on how far you fill the jug.
This is an intermediate workout. If you’re just starting out, it will be too intense. Start with my Beginner’s Visual Workout instead.
- Jumping Jacks – 60 seconds: This exercise quickly elevates your heart rate and gets your blood pumping to kick off the HIIT aspect of this workout.
- Weighted Squats – 15 reps: Keep the weights (jugs) close to your body and look straight ahead. Squat with your knees, keeping your hips forward and your back straight.
- Lateral Raises – 15 reps: With your arms at your sides, smoothly raise the milk jugs until your arms are parallel with the floor. Gently lower them to the starting position to complete one rep.
- Weighted Crunches – 15 reps: With one milk jug on your chest, supported with both hands, perform one crunch by lifting your shoulder blades from the floor.
- Elevated Pushups – 15 reps: Elevating your feet provides a more intense pushup. The higher the elevation, the greater the intensity. Choose an object to place under your feet based on the desired intensity (a stack of phone books provides a little elevation, a chair provides a lot). From here, do a pushup as normal.
- Jumping Jacks – 60 Seconds: This last set helps keep your heart rate up as you rest your tired muscles between sets.
Rest 90 seconds between sets. This is about right for most people, since it’s a fairly intense workout. If you do this for a long time and it starts feeling easy, you can drop it down to 60 seconds.
Don’t do this workout every day. Your body needs time to recover, and not giving it that time can actually hurt your results. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are good days to do this. You can still do other light exercise (like going for a walk or jog) on other days.
Why it Works
Why is this workout so effective for getting in shape? There are a few reasons:
You’re lifting consistent, measurable weights. Bodyweight workouts (like my Beginner’s Visual Workout) are great at first, but can only take you so far. A half full jug gives you 4.16 pounds (each), a full jug 8.33 pounds, and 13+ pounds when filled with sand or dirt.
Your heart rate is elevated for short, intense bursts. This is a hybrid muscle toning and intense cardio session. Your 90 second breaks help make this a form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which is possibly the best way to lose pounds through exercise (3).
It’s free and can be done anywhere. It’s easy to make excuses to not work out if you have to drive to a gym or go outside in the rain. It’s even easier to slack off when your workout costs you money. Since you have no excuses, try to do this workout at a set time – like right when you get home on your workout days.
If this workout is too advanced for you, you really should start with the Beginner’s Visual Workout. Even so, you might still have a hard time jumping into this one.
In that case, feel free to use a modifier to make your transition easier. You can try filling the jugs only 1/4 full (which is one quart of water / just over 2 pounds).
If you’re struggling with the number of reps, feel free to start with only 8 repetitions of each exercise per set. As you become stronger over time, aim to reach the full 15 reps.
Feeling the burn is one thing. Overworking your body is another. If you need to use a modifier, do it. The best workout is one that’s safe and easy to stick to.
Beginner’s Visual Fat Loss Diet Plan
Exercise is only one part of the equation. You also need to follow a healthy diet to get in shape.
Check out my Beginner’s Fat Loss Diet Plan for the same visual-style goodness in diet form:
This diet plan has everything you need to get started on a healthy diet today.