Hello SOTGC community,
Life is always a balancing act. Between your professional life, social life, time alone, hobbies, and relationships—there’s constantly a give and take. However, if you are reading this, fitness and health are an important part of your life, and you are looking for ways to maximize your time with short effective workouts.
Before discussing some of my favorite short effective workouts, let’s take a look at a few key strategies to identify which workouts are considered most effective for you and how to best maximize your time and resources to get the results your want.
- Know Your Goal – I cannot stress this enough! In one of my earlier posts I discussed redefining your fitness goals. Take a quick look if you haven’t thought about this in a while (http://stilettosontheglassceiling.com/2014/11/your-fitness-goals-redefined-5-questions-to-get-you-on-the-right-track-by-aga-chenfu.html). Even if you are busy in every other area in your life, you probably have a goal in mind: stretch, work up a sweat, run a 5k later this month, stay strong. Whatever your goal is it is important to remember it as you plan your workouts and find a workout that will bring you satisfaction as well as get you closer to your goal.
- Adjust Food Intake – As you get ready to tackle a busy week, take time to plan your meals. When possible, spend time on food prep for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as snacks. Think about how much you will have to eat out and how much time you will have to work out. Make sure you include fruits and vegetables at every meal as well as lots of water. For example, if I know I will not be strength training one week, I will skip protein shakes and up the vegetables.
- Find the Time – Everyone has the same 24hrs in a day. Pick a time that you can commit to 2-3 times during a busy week for 20-30 minutes. Will you wake up 30 minutes earlier? Squeeze in a workout while watching TV? Or make a date to take a class with your friend? When you are watching even 30 minutes of TV, do your ab workout.
I’ve found that this is also a great time to get a nice pre-bedtime stretch in. Typically I will foam roll, then go through a series of gentle, yoga-inspired stretches to open up hips and adjust my posture.
My 5 Favorite Short Effective Workouts:
Remember to always incorporate a few warm up movements (at least five minutes) before beginning any workout to prevent injury. I like squats, toe touches, hip flexor stretch, jumping jacks and reverse lunges, but listen to your body and do what feels right.
Rodney Yee Power Yoga DVD – This has become an old standby in our house. What I love about it is there are two different workouts – one focused on strength and one on flexibility, but both are about 20 minutes long. Find one you like and have it on standby.
A Countdown Workout – If you have access to a gym try this one with a kettlebell and a squat thrust: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/exercises-to-lose-weight. Alternatively, you can do Burpees and Squats: http://jennfit.ca/blog/the-burpee-workout/. The great thing about this kind of workout is you perform a high volume of repetitions with little to no rest.
Abs, abs, abs – Pick any of your favorite five moves, perform 15-20 reps of each and repeat each circuit three times – BAM. Great ab workout while enjoying some TV. I like incorporating V-ups, a variety of planks, reverse crunches, and glute bridges.
Parkour-Inspired – This is my new favorite! Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fskb5kA1r7I Basically you perform the following exercises (bear crawl, crab crawl, tricep push-up, squat jump, lunge jump, butt scoot) for 30 seconds each without resting, 3-5 times. Rest between circuits if you are just starting out.
HIIT – You can take many movements and turn it into a Tabata workout, which is one example of a HIIT workout. The classic Tabata is 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest repeated eight times (four minutes total). For example, you can select mountain climbers and squats, push-ups and jumping jacks, which provides you with a nice mix of upper and lower body. You can alternate two exercises for the first four minutes, take a nice 2-3 minute break and then do four more minutes of the next two exercises. Depending on how much time you have, you can do a 4-minute Tabata 3-4 times, making sure to rest 2-3 minutes between the sets. Of course, as with any exercise, if you are just starting out make sure you feel comfortable performing the movement, then increase the speed to challenge your body. The goal is to move as fast as you can during those 20 seconds and catch your breath during the 10-second rest period.
P.S. – Is HIIT right for you? Here are some questions to consider before beginning a HIIT workout.http://www.medicaldaily.com/high-intensity-interval-training-effective-fitness-trend-its-not-everyone-336448 Message me with questions, comments or ideas and remember to always listen to your body.