I Did It: Self Magazine’s 23-Minute Lunchtime Workout

18 Nov

“I Did It” is a feature post running on I’m Skinny, Now What where I will tackle a new workout or diet and give you my opinion. Wish me luck, because I don’t like changing my routine.

I don’t know if I’ve told you this, but I work at a newspaper. Not just any paper, but one of the biggest papers in the world (no hyperbole). We cover everything, which can keep a chica busy. I usually like to work out in the mornings to keep my evenings free, but sometimes that’s not possible. Don’t blame me; blame my boyfriend pillow. With that, I decided to try this mid-afternoon workout routine, courtesy of Self magazine. I like to burn tons of calories in order to keep the weight off, but I need to do more strength training so my muscles don’t turn to sludge.

Workout breakdown

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Here’s me going through the circuits.

Minutes 1-7

Move1: Power Squat with dumbells
Move 2: Leg Press
Move 3: Plank Jump
one-minute breather

Minutes 8-15

Move 1: Air Lunge with dumbells
Move 2: Seated Cable Row
Move 3:  V-Up
one-minute breather

Minutes 16-23

Move 1: Curtsy & Curl with dumbbells
Move 2: Triceps Dip
Move 3: Ab-Blaster Push-up

Day 1

As with any new workout plan, there are kinks I need to work out, one of which is the triceps dip. That machine didn’t exist in my gym. There was a similar contraption that didn’t have the weight resistance. There was some contraption that said “triceps,” so I figured it would be a good cheat for day one until I actually talked to a trainer to help me find the proper alternative.

Something else I realized: I have absolutely no upper-body strength as evidenced by my pathetic push-ups in the above video. It was really sad. I had to go to an out-of-the-way corner so no one would see that I barely put a bend in my elbows to get that exercise done. But I did it, so there!

I definitely burned some calories, but I’m not sure how many. I don’t have one of those watch/calorie-counter thingies. I didn’t build of much of a sweat, which is new for me because I sweat like demon. The exercise circuit also lives up to its name of 23 minutes.  I did three sets of the first circuit and one each of the final two, but that was from not managing my time well. I should be able to do two sets of each.

I have to admit I didn’t study the workout plan. But from the couple of times I read it, it seemed doable. I should have checked to make sure my gym had all of the appropriate equipment. But that doesn’t mean this workout isn’t doable. Life’s all about adjustments, and that’s what I’m gonna do…tomorrow.

All told, I spent a little more than 5 minutes changing my clothes, 23 minutes on the workout and another 10 taking a shower and changing post-workout. I was gone from my desk for 45 minutes, a reasonable amount of time for any lunch break.

Day 2

My body was a little sore when I woke up on Day 2. Not so bad that I couldn’t move, only a little achy. The exercises got easier, though, which is to be expected. I was able to manage my time better and completed two sets in each seven-minute circuit.

One of the downsides to having to do this in a small gym is that all the equipment may not be available when you want it. Day 2’s lesson came from the rowing machine. Every time I’d finish one of the other two exercises, the rowing machine would be occupied. Since I didn’t know what machine would be the equivalent, I skipped it. Excuse me while I hang my head in shame.

Tomorrow I’ll be taking a day of rest because at the end of Day 2, I was really feeling the work I was putting in my body, especially my thighs. Those squats and lunges are no joke! Epsom salt bath, here I come.

Day 3

There’s nothing like a day of rest, especially if you’ve been beating your body with a new workout routine. My thighs were so tight that I almost slipped down the stairs a few times. And when you have an enthusiastic dog like mine who breaks off in a sprint at the first whiff of fresh air, it can be hard to maintain your balance while he’s tugging at you from his leash. Luckily, no permanent damage was done. I did remember that stretching is very helpful. I’ll have to remember that when I pick up the workout routine again tomorrow.

Day 4

The best thing about a recovery day is the rest you give your body. The worst thing about a recovery day is trying to wake that body back up. I was able to lounge around my house on Day 3. I didn’t have to worry about packing a gym bag or carve out time between meetings to get to the gym. Also, my muscles were still pretty tight.

I stretched out my hamstrings and glutes before starting, and that helped a lot. Also, the segments got even easier. I was able to do three sets of the first 7-minute stretch and two sets each of the other segments. However, my pride and joy of Day 4 was not looking as pathetic during my push-ups. I got a little more bend in my elbows and was able to do four before needing a breather in each round. Yay, me!

Day 5

Last day of the workout and I’m excited. I’ve been doing this routinely for a few days, so I should kick ass on the last day, right? Um, not so much. For some reason my enthusiasm outweighed my abilities. The lunges, which caused me the most thigh pain, were easy going. But those push-ups were like to be the death of me. I gave it an honest effort, but I was only able to do one final circuit.


I really need to incorporate more resistance and strength training in my workout routine. Sure, I’m shedding the fat but my muscles are really weak. My goal isn’t to get a hard body. I don’t want to be one of those small people who has to be rolled around, either. I think the exercise is doable and a little fun. You’re able to shake up your routine during your workout, which is fun. Just make sure some rowing snob isn’t hogging the machine.

Side note: A special thank you to my photographer/videographer Willa Plank, who took time out of her work day to watch me work out.

One Response to “I Did It: Self Magazine’s 23-Minute Lunchtime Workout”


  1. The Types of Runners You’ll See on the Trail | I'm Skinny, Now What? - December 2, 2013

    […] an uncommon site on the path. Hey, I’ve taken issue with my own running style, seeing as how I look like a velociraptor in Jurassic Park. But at least I’m not in danger of hurting anyone but […]

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