Hi Hayley!

I am an avid reader of Lainey Gossip and I read your article about summer workouts and it made me feel so much better about the amount of ice cream I have been enjoying!

I am a menopausal, almost 50 year old high school teacher. I am looking for a weights routine that is efficient and that would build my muscles - I do not have a fear of being too muscly! (I was at my fittest in my early 40s due to playing roller derby for 4 years - I had beautiful muscles! Then I got injured and decided being able to walk was more important than hitting women on roller skates - adulting can be hard!) I also run, although that has dropped off the last couple of weeks due to wicked allergies.

My school has a great weight room, and I am looking for something that I could do for about a half hour - I am willing to do this daily, and a half hour after school still gives me time to do my prep, my marking and have some time with my family!

Am I dreaming to think a half hour a day would result in more muscles? Do I need to do longer workouts? Is every day too often? I could use any help you could provide!




Absolutely 30 minutes a day is long enough to work out, you just don’t have as much time to waste so your workout has to be all business. When you have a bit longer it’s ok to maybe not work quite as hard, but 30 minutes means it’s a push from start to finish. By the sounds of your past roller derby career I’m sure you know how to work hard. 

My suggestion for you is to break it up into two parts, and alternate the duration of those parts each day. One day do 20 minutes of high intensity interval training followed by 10 minutes of cardio intervals and then the next day do 20 minutes of cardio followed by 10 minutes of high intensity strength. I would mix up your strength workouts between upper and lower. 

Here’s an example of an upper body workout: 10 exercises that you do for 45 seconds with a 15 second break in between. You will rest for 1 minute and then repeat the set again when doing 20 minutes of strength and just once for the 10 minute workout. 

Walk Out Push Ups: these are great for lengthening the hamstring and calves while at the same time working your upper body strength. Begin by hinging forward, planting your hands on the floor, walking out to a push-up position and do 1-3 push-ups, walk back tall and then repeat for 45 seconds. 

Medicine Ball Slams (or weighted squat thrusts if a slam ball isn’t available): great to superset with the push-ups as it works similar muscles and will get your heart rate up. Find a medicine ball that you can slam to the floor but won’t bounce back up into your face. With a flat back, bend your knees and throw the medicine ball to the floor. Use your legs to bend and pick it up, reach it over your head and repeat. If you don’t have a medicine ball you can use a weight and perform hip thrust (like a kettle bell swing) instead. 

Renegade Row: In a straight arm plank position with one dumbbell in each hand, feet wider than your hips, row one weight to your hips, keeping your hips still, then the other side. Repeat for the duration of 45 seconds. 

Knee Tucks: go back to your plank position but feet closer together. Keeping your spine long and flat bend your knees and press your hips back to your heels - your arms will lengthen. Option is to keep both feet planted as you drive forward or bring a knee forward to your elbow. Switch knees each time for the duration of the 45 seconds. 

Dead bug chest press: this is a great workout that targets your arms and your abs. Lie on your back, legs up in the air with a dumbbell in each hand. Your legs can be bent or straight. As you lower the dumbbells to the floor in a chest press, either press your legs away from you, either one or both at a time. Whatever option you choose it is so important that you keep your spine stable.

Single Leg Back Bridge Chest Fly: come into a back bridge with one ankle crossed over your thigh and a dumbbell in your hand (same side as crossed leg). Keeping your hips up and stable bring your dumbbell out to the side as if doing a chest fly. Repeat for half the interval on one side before switching to the next. 

Dumbbell renegade row with a twist:- very similar to the first rows, except this time you will add a rotation and press the weight up to the sky

Modified burpee bicep curls: this movement will get the heart rate up while strengthening your upper body and opening up your hips. With a dumbbell in each hand frog squat down until the dumbbells are on the ground. Jump yourself back to a push-up position (option to do a push-up) then jump forward. Stand tall, do 2 bicep curls and a shoulder press. Repeat for 45 seconds. 

Swimming: this exercise is great for thoracic extension, upper body strength, core stability and glute function. Lie on your belly, anchoring your hips and pubic bone down (you should feel your belly). Lift your arms, your legs keeping them straight and then lift your opposite arm and leg higher, alternating sides for 45 seconds. Take a 15 second child’s pose at the end. 

Overhead press and leg lift: great for hip flexion and posture. Sit on your sit bones, long spine with a bit of a hinge back. Keeping your upper body still press the dumbbell overhead while pick one leg up. Alternate legs and repeat for 45 seconds. 

After you finish all 10 exercises take a minute rest and repeat the set again. After the 20 minutes do 10 minutes of cardio. Either get outside for a run, ride a stationary bike or use a treadmill. Play around with your intensity and focus on going hard for 90 seconds and then easier for 30 seconds. Repeat whatever you’re doing for 10 minutes. 

This workout or something similar will build endurance, strength, and improve your cardiovascular fitness. You don’t have to stick to this routine exactly but something similar. Choose a few exercises to target the back, a few for the front, a few that get the heart rate up and a few that work the core. Mix them up and have fun. 

As for the legs do something similar. Lunges, squats, squat jumps, bridges, skaters, wall sits, stability ball hamstring curls, side planks, front planks, burpees, step ups are all great options. Pick 10, do them for 45 seconds with 15 seconds rest. You can hold weights in your hands for more challenge, use machines or just use your body weight. Do a longer tempo cardio before working your legs, like a heavy resistance cycle or a tempo paced run or steep incline walk. 

There is no right or wrong way to work out and no magic combination other than consistency. If you are consistent, continue to increase the difficulty of the workouts and push yourself from start to finish - you will see results. Be creative and go in to the workout with a plan. 

Have fun!! And happy new school year.