The 20/10 Exercise Program (Weight Loss, Thyroid T4 Production, Energy, Insulin Reduction)

The 20/10 Exercise Program (Weight Loss, Thyroid T4 Production, Energy, Insulin Reduction)

This 20/10 Exercise Program is created by Dr Ridha Arem, an endocrinologist and a director of the Texas Thyroid Institute. His 20/10 exercise program only requires 30 minutes a day (20 minutes of cardio-focused high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and 10 minutes of strength training with a little stretching) which can easily be done in the morning before work or school.

The benefits of 20/10 exercise program:

  • Boosting the brainpower and energy levels
  • Switching your metabolism to high calorie burning
  • Increasing the production of thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) which is very beneficial for people with thyroid disorders such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Grave’s disease etc.
  • Burning more fat around your waist and abdomen. A study of type 2 diabetic men found that HIIT reduced their abdominal fat by nearly 50% after 8 weeks.
  • Breaking down and releasing the sugar stores in your liver into the bloodstream as a form of energy
  • Speeding up growth hormone levels and promoting body to burn fat and build lean muscle
  • Reducing insulin levels
  • Boosting overall metabolic activity
  • Increasing muscle oxidative capacity, meaning your muscles and mitochondria burn more fat for energy
  • Increasing skeletal muscle endurance
  • Decreasing fasting insulin and insulin resistance
  • Increasing fat loss

What is 20/10 exercise program?

The 20/10 exercise program includes 3 important types of exercise: aerobic/cardio, strength training and stretching. You can adjust frequency, speed and intensity according to your capablities. You can start and continue to follow the 20/10 program regardless of your fitness level. Please consult with your doctor if you have heart conditions or over 40 years old before embarking any exercise program.

Required Equipment: A stationary bike, a rubber band, a chair and free weights.

  1. High-intensity: do this every other day – 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on a stationary bike.
  • Warm up with 2 minutes of stretches
  • Pedal as fast as you can for 30 seconds
  • Relaxed pedaling for 4 minutes
  • Pedal as fast as you can for 30 seconds
  • Relaxed pedaling for 4 minutes
  • Pedal as fast as you can for 30 seconds
  • Relaxed pedaling for 4 minutes
  • Pedal as fast as you can for 30 seconds
  • Relaxed pedaling for 4 minutes

If you have the option to increase intensity on your stationary bike, try this slightly different plan using a higher resistance.

Warm up, cycling at a moderate pace for 5 minutes. Then do 6 segments of:

  • Pedaling at a higher resistance and fast pace for 30 seconds
  • Pedaling at a moderate resistance and speed for 2 minutes

You can apply the same HIIT formula to swimming, going as hard as you can during your 30-second intervals followed by easy swimming until your next 30-second burst. Water is 15 times more resistant than air but it is easy on your joints if you have arthritis. Swimming is also good for pregnant women.

If you are overweight or very frail, begin HIIT with a lower-intensity program as follows:

  • Warm up, walking at a brisk pace for 5 minutes
  • Set a timer for 20 minutes and press the start button
  • Power-walk or jog lightly for 15 seconds (use a watch with a sweep-second hand or a phone to monitor time)
  • Walk briskly for 1 minute
  • Repeat for 20 minutes

2. Low-intensity: do this every day in between – 20 minutes of walking, biking, swimming, tennis or golfing etc

3. Strength training: do this every day – 10 minutes to slim your waistline, build lean muscles and tone your entire body. Each day, you’ll focus on a specific muscle group, performing 5 exercises to eliminate abdominal fat and focus on your core 3 times a week. Always stretch first.

  • Step 1: Start with the Day 1 exercise set (Front of body including belly):

Day 1:

  1. Crunches


2. Leg raises

Leg Raises

3. Push-ups


4. Resistance band shoulder press

Resistance band shoulder press

5. Resistance band chest press

Resistance band chest press

For each of 5 moves, do 30 seconds of continuous repetition (about 12 – 15 reps) with 30 seconds of rest in between exercises.

  • Step 2: Repeat step 1, going through each of 5 exercises again, switching from the right side to the left side if applicable.
  • Step 3: In the days that follow, move to the Day 2 through 7 exercises, performing them using the same routine. Return to Day 1 moves after a week and continue.

Day 2:

  1. Quadruped


2. Side plank

Side plank

3. Plie squats

Plie squats

4. Side lunges

Side lunges

5. Side step-ups

Side step-ups

  • Step 4: As you become stronger, increase to 45 seconds of continuous repetitions (about 15 to 20 reps) with 15 seconds of rest in between exercises.
  • Step 5: Add free weights when you are ready for more resistance.

Day 3: Back of body

  1. Cobra
  2. Marching bridge
  3. Resistance band row
  4. Resistance band reverse fly
  5. Wall shoulder press

Day 4: Legs

  1. Forward lunge with rotation
  2. Squat
  3. Reverse lunge
  4. Step-ups
  5. Leaning toe touches

Day 5: Core (Abdominals and lower back)

  1. Oblique crunches
  2. Backstroke

Day 6: Arms

  1. Plank
  2. Close hand push-ups
  3. Resistance band biceps curls
  4. Dips

Day 7: Core and gluteus

  1. Resistance band side walking
  2. Marching bridge
  3. Kneeling plank with kicks
  4. Crusty lunge
  5. Squat feet together

Over 7 days, you’ll work on a different part of your body, toning your abs and flabby arms. The only equipment needed is a resistance band for a few of the exercises. The most important part of toning your core muscles (your abs) is learning to breathe. Breathe by expanding your chest outward and keeping your core tight, drawing air in through your nose and exhaling through pursed lops during the exertion portion of your move. Mastering this method of breathing helps tighten your core while you walk, stand, do yoga or other exercises. It is essential to breathe right and keep your core muscles tight through each move.

Use a mirror to check your form – good form means good muscle control and it’s everything!

Do NOT try to max out on any exercise. It is important that you gradually increase resistance to match your growing muscles. Pushing yourself hard can backfire you which makes your body too sore to continue the workout on the next days.

For all exercises one set equals 30 seconds.



Arem R, The Protein Boost Diet, Atria Books Subsidiary, New York, USA, pp239-281

Photo credits:

How to Workout On A Stationary Bike


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