Do you prioritize toning time? Engaging in exercise is easy when you have a well-planned workout program to follow. It’s maintaining motivation that’s tricky. And this is especially true as pandemic safety precautions have restricted access to outside resources like gyms and in-person training.

If you’re ready to live a healthier lifestyle but don’t know where to start, consider this moment your jump-off point. The best way to overcome a fitness funk is to just get moving. But before you do, assess your goals and establish your major motivators.

Take a moment to evaluate why being healthier is so valuable to you. What’s the advantage? Avoid picking superficial things like fitting into a pair of jeans. Instead, tie it to something more meaningful like how your health is vital to a loved one’s well-being. For example, “I want to lose the extra weight so I can physically keep up with my kids.” By getting healthier, you’ll improve your life and the lives of those who mean the most.

Once you establish your motivation, write it down. Place this on your dresser, or type it in your phone’s calendar for when you want to exercise. When you see that reminder, you’ll be more likely to exercise for the benefit of someone you love than if it just says “workout for 30 minutes.”

Now that you’ve established your goals and motivators, it’s time to start moving. For the past two weeks, you’ve focused on a fitness plan designed to progressively increase in intensity. By gradually escalating your efforts, you can safely and steadily boost your endurance and abilities. Here is this week’s fitness challenge.

» READ MORE: Week 1

» READ MORE: Week 2

Monday, Wednesday, Saturday

The theme for these three days is high-energy, fast-paced fitness, with minimal rest breaks between exercises. As always, listen to your body, taking a breather when necessary. For beginners, recharge for as long as needed. Intermediate-advanced exercisers, aim for one-minute breaks between exercises, with a two-minute rest after the entire circuit’s complete. All skill levels should repeat the circuit three times.

Superman

Beginner: Lie on the ground with your chest on the floor. Extend your arms in front of your body. Squeeze your lower back and glute muscles to lift your arms, upper chest, and legs off the floor. Imagine Superman soaring through the sky. Hold for two counts then lower back down to the floor. Repeat eight times. Avoid holding your breath or bending your arms and legs.

Intermediate-advanced: Using your lower back and glute muscles, pull your chest, right leg, and left arm off the floor. Hold for two counts then lower, leaving a slight gap between the limbs and the floor. Now, practice with your left leg and right arm. Picture yourself swimming through the air. Continue alternating for 20 total repetitions (10 per side).

Bird Dog

Beginner: Begin in a tabletop position with shoulders over wrists and hips above knees. Extend your right arm and left leg so they form a straight line with your spine. Hold for two counts then lower. Now raise your left arm and right leg. Repeat 10 times (five per side).

Intermediate-advanced: From the tabletop position, straighten your legs and shift your weight on to the balls of your feet. With a flat back and braced core, extend your right arm and left leg. Hold for two counts before switching to the other side. Repeat 10 times (five per side).

Push-up Jumps

Beginner: Using a sturdy chair, assume an elevated push-up position with your hands firmly planted on the chair’s seat and your shoulders aligned above wrists. Perform a push-up. At the top, hold this pose and pull your right knee up toward your right elbow for a count then release. Perform another push-up, then pull your left knee up toward left elbow. Follow this sequence for 10 repetitions (five per side).

Intermediate-advanced: Begin in a plank position. Perform a push-up, then jump your feet up toward the right side of your torso. Hop them back to the starting stance then jump up to the left side. That is one repetition. Continue for 10 reps.

Box Squats

Beginner: Sit at the edge of a chair with your legs hip-width apart and arms extended in front of you at shoulder height. Push through your heels to stand. Pull your right knee up toward your chest and lower your arms to the sides of your elevated leg. Hold for two counts to boost your balance skills, then lower your leg and sit down. Repeat on the opposite side. Perform five times on each leg.

Intermediate-advanced: Begin in the same position but this time, as you push through your heels to stand, swing your arms for momentum and jump as you rise. This is a controlled, explosive movement. Land softly on your feet and hinge back at your hips to return to sitting. Repeat 12-15 times.

Tuesday, Thursday

Soak up the sun, fill your lungs with fresh air, and gain mental clarity during a 30-minute outdoor cardio session. For beginners, your goal is to walk at a steady pace for the duration. More advanced exercisers, plan to alternate between five minutes of brisk walking and five minutes of running for a total 30 minutes.

On your off days, relax. You’ve earned it.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach in South Jersey. To learn more about her virtual training program, go to ashleyblakefitness.com.