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This 20-Minute Beachbody Workout Sheds Pounds and Builds Muscles

A total-body plan with minimal time commitment. What more could you ask for in a workout?

Say you want to lose a little weight. Say you also want to do it fairly quickly, with minimal time commitment. That’s basically the premise behind the library of workouts created by the hugely popular Beachbody brand. With more than $1 billion in sales for their exercise DVDs, the company knows its audience — and how to get them in shape. Among its most sought-after programs: The 21 Day Fix. The premise: In just three weeks, even beginner exercisers can shed inches from his waist while building strength and adding definition to his arms, abs, and legs.

The Beachbody 21 Day Fix includes both a workout and meal plan — basically, a portion-controlled approach to eating where each meal consists of 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat. Overall daily calories depend on your current weight and estimated energy expenditure. For our purposes, let’s just say you should aim for about 2000 calories a day.

As for the workout, the appealing thing about the Beachbody 21 Day Fix is its super manageable time commitment. Each workout lasts between 20 and 30 minutes, meaning in the amount of time it takes to clear the dinner table and take out the trash, you’ll be done. The moves are a combo of cardio and strength, with an emphasis on getting your heart rate up in short, high-intensity segments.

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The workout below is inspired by the Beachbody routine and requires no equipment (just one set of light dumbbells). It also combines upper and lower body sessions into one total body routine. Do this 20-minute workout three to four times a week, for three weeks, to get the results you’re looking for.

Warmup (3 minutes)

  • High Knees
    From standing, bend and raise your right knee in the air, clasping it with both hands and pulling it to your chest before releasing. (Stand tall on your left leg.) Repeat on left side, then right, etc. (30 seconds)
  • Overhead Reach
    Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, raise both arms overhead. Lift right hand as high to the sky as you can, dropping left shoulder to extend the stretch. Repeat on opposite side. (30 seconds)
  • Squats
    From standing, bend knees and sink hips back as if you are about to sit in a chair, bending your elbows and tucking your arms in toward your chest. Return to standing. Repeat. (30 seconds)
  • Toe Touch
    Keeping legs straight but without locking your knees, bend forward and touch your toes. Hold for 10 seconds. Stand. Repeat. (30 seconds)
  • Side Lunge
    Stand with feet wider that shoulder-width apart. Bend right knee and shift weight over to the right side. Pulse for 15 seconds. Stand straight, then shift weight to left side. Pulse 15 seconds. Repeat on both sides. (60 seconds)
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Cardio 1 (5 minutes)

  • Skip rope: 60 seconds
    15 seconds rest
  • Jumping jacks: 60 seconds
    15 seconds rest
  • Skip rope: 60 seconds
    15 seconds rest
  • Jumping jacks: 60 seconds
    15 seconds rest

Arms (2 minutes)

  • 3 x 20 pushups, 10 seconds rest between sets

Cardio 2 (5 minutes)

  • Box jumps: 10 jumps in ~ 60 seconds
    15 seconds rest
  • Sprint drill: Sprint (or run in place) as fast as you can for 15 seconds. Rest 15 seconds. Repeat.
  • Box jumps: 10 jumps in ~ 60 seconds
    15 seconds rest
  • Burpees: 90 seconds

Legs (3 minutes)

  • Bavarian split squats
    Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand facing away from a bench, right leg bent and raised behind you with your toes resting on the bench surface. Bend your left knee until your thigh is nearly parallel to the floor. Straighten. Note: Do not let your left knee extend beyond your left toe; adjust your distance from the bench to accommodate. Do 10 reps, then switch sides. 3 sets total.
  • Single legs bench sits
    Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your back to a bench. Shift weight to right side and lift your left leg in front of you. Bend right knee and sink back until your butt touches to bench. Immediately straight back up to standing. 10 reps, switch sides. 2 sets.

Abs (2 minutes)

  • 20 situps
  • 20 crunches
  • 60-seconds plank