One of the benefits of working with a personal fitness coach, is it forces us to set aside a block of time to exercise. I hear from so many of my clients that time is one of the biggest challenges they face, rather than lack of motivation. We are conditioned to think we need to find at least an hour to get a good workout. But what if we chopped it to 30 minutes – could you find the time?
- In a 30 minute workout split your time into 20 minutes for resistance training and 10 minutes of ramped up cardio.
- Think intensity – When pressed for time, move quickly from exercise to exercise – it saves time and keeps your heart rate up. The body responds favorably to intensity. And often times it can burn more calories.
o A circuit workout allows you to move from one body part to another – quickly. You skip the rest time between sets. For example:
§ Bent over Dumbbell (DB) Rows (upper back)
§ Bicep Curls
§ Tricep Bench Dips
§ Shoulder Side Raises
- You can do three sets of 12-20 repetitions
- Finish with 10 minutes of high intensity cardio
o Another effective circuit is to alternate between cardio exercises and strength exercises. For instance, add one minute of jump rope after your pushups, a minute of power jacks after your Dumbbell rows, high knees after your bicep curls… etc. Or add three minutes of high intensity cardio to the end of the circuit. Then begin your second set.
o If you would prefer not to do one set of each body each body part before beginning a second set – “Superset” your exercises. Perform two different exercises back to back without recovery. You can choose to work the same or different body parts.
§ DB Chest Press right to Bent over DB Rows
§ Or to get more out of each body part with a superset
- Tricep kickbacks right to bench dips. After your dips, superset Bicep preacher curls with Bicep DB hammer curls. Then back to triceps.
o Incorporate compound exercises into your workout. These train multiple muscles to work together rather than working them independently. It recruits more muscles for a greater challenge and return. A Squat is actually a compound movement in itself – but add an overhead press and you are working your lower body and shoulders at the same time. It’s a functional way to train as we usually recruit many muscles at the same time in life.
You can have a productive work out regardless of time – it is how you adjust the variables that determine how effective your workout will be. In many cases increasing the intensity of your routine can make a shorter workout as or more effective.
* Extra note: Studies are clear, to truly reap the benefits of cardiovascular exercise, it is best to engage in 20-30 minutes at least 3-4 days per week. So when we routinely don’t have time? Exercise for 10 minutes, three times per day. Any activity is going to burn calories, sustain muscle, and work your heart. And let’s face it, if you are “stress walking” you can’t be “stress eating”. It also breaks the cycle of being sedentary.
Melissa Vandett is a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor with the owner of Custom Fit of Brevard Health and Fitness Studio