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The busy-parent workout

Michael Volkin is a U.S. Army veteran, author, and entrepreneur. He is the inventor of Strength Stack 52, a unique deck of bodyweight fitness cards that makes exercising easy

Most people have no time for a workout program after they have kids, but using the exercise tips below, you can get a comprehensive daily workout without it taking up any extra time in your schedule.

family workout

Let me ask you a question: Do you have less free time now than you had before you became a parent? Of course you do! Being a parent is a lot of work, which is why most people drop their workout program when they have kids. But what if I told you that I could get you a great calorie-burning, muscle-pumping workout without adding any extra time to your day? If you want to lose weight and have more defined muscles, then fit this routine into your daily schedule. In four weeks, you just might need to send me a thank-you email.

The wake and tuck

After your alarm clock goes off, tuck your knees to your chest and wrap your arms around your knees. Now, just rock slightly from side to side. This will wake up your spine and stretch your legs a bit. After doing this stretch for about 30 seconds, straighten your legs and move them from side to side while keeping your back on the mattress. This will further loosen your back and also engage your core. Depending on how you feel, you can choose to do 10 or 15 crunches in bed.

The doorknob squat

This might seem silly, but it works well. During your morning routine (the time you spend in the house before you leave for work), every time you touch a doorknob, do 10 squats. Personally, I touch about 6-8 doorknobs on average during my morning routine. So before I even leave for work, I have already done about 60 squats, which are powerful body-weight exercises and great calorie burners.

The ab flex

During your drive to work, do at least five sets of 15 ab flexes. Squeeze your abdominal muscles as though you were trying to touch your ribs to your stomach, then hold for a couple of seconds and release. Of course, it goes without saying that if this exercise takes away from your attention to the road, then you should stop doing it.

At this point, you have arrived at work, you've already stretched your legs and back, and you've exercised your legs and abs. The first time you do this morning routine, you might find that you feel more awake than you have in a long time. You might also feel more focused and attentive at work. The human body is very adaptive, and it responds to change well. Your body will reward you if you make even these subtle changes to your daily routine.

The three-card monte

I realize that once you get to work, you're busy. But no one is too busy to take a 30-second break now and then. Grab a deck of Strength Stack 52 fitness cards and deal three cards (we call this playing three-card monte). Each card will give you an exercise that requires only your body weight. Three cards are just enough to get your blood flowing, keep your metabolic rate high and thus keep your energy level up. An average workday lasts eight hours (not including an hour for lunch), so if you can focus on playing three-card monte once an hour, you will have completed 24 exercises just during your workday.

Most people who go to the gym for an hour every day don't do 24 exercises, but just by playing three-card monte, you will complete 24 exercises a day by taking only a 30-second break every hour. Wow!

The 10-minute lunchtime battle

You know how to play war with a deck of cards, right? Simply grab a friend and a deck of cards or your Strength Stack 52 and play a game of war. With Strength Stack 52, playing war is easy: Whoever deals the lowest-numbered card has to do both exercises on the card. If you use a regular deck of cards, you will need to determine what exercises to give to the person who loses the hand. After playing war for just 10 minutes, you will definitely notice that you've gotten a heart-pumping workout.

The evening drop

This is a fun exercise to do with your family. Every morning, pick a "keyword of the day" but don't tell anyone what it is. Let's assume the keyword is "dog." Now, whenever anyone in your household says "dog," you (not they) have to drop and do 10 pushups. The next time that word is used, you do nine pushups, then eight the next time and so on. The first time you do this, your kids will laugh, wondering what keyword made you drop. And if they're like most kids, once they find out what the keyword is, they will use it to their full advantage and give you a great workout every day.

So now, at the end of your day, you have worked your entire body, you've never needed to go to the gym, you've never needed to carry any equipment with you, and you've never needed to schedule any time for a workout. And yet, you've burned a bazillion calories and firmed every muscle in your body. Great work!

This article was written by Sergeant Michael Volkin, inventor of Strength Stack 52 fitness cards, which provide a unique way to transform body-weight exercises into fun and competitive workouts.

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