We all lead busy lives and trying to balance a busy schedule with daily exercise is not always easy. That’s why it’s important to get the most out of every workout.
Arm yourself with these easy tips for a high-powered, effective workout in half the time it takes to drive the kids to school.
Tip 1 – Shake Off The Comfort Zone
The comfort zone is defined as a comfortable level of exertion where there is minimal sweat and the heart rate stays low (55-65%).
Short, intense workouts are ‘in’ because of the time-saving benefits. The key to an effective shorter workout (30minutes or less) is to make it very challenging to the extent that you challenge yourself.
Take 5 minutes for a warm-up and another 5 minutes for stretching at the end, and that leaves only 20 minutes of hard-out activity – highly achievable for most of us.
To ensure you get an effective workout in that time there are several ways to increase the intensity.
a) Do Interval Training – Intervals refer to the short, fast intervals of exertion followed by a slightly longer slower-paced recovery. For example: following a warm-up, try running for 1-2 minutes then walk fast for 2-3 minutes. Repeat this pattern several times for a total of 20 minutes.
b) Listen to fast-tempo music to help maintain a quick pace on the machines.
c) Change the environment – Exchange the exercycle for an outdoors cycle/opt for a run along the pavement instead of your usual treadmill workout.
Shorter, more challenging workouts will fast-track your fitness, melt body fat more efficiently, and free-up more of your day. Your fitness will improve faster by adding a few intervals to your routine than if you stuck with the steady state cardio.
Tip 2 – Go For the Hills
Whether you prefer to run, walk or cycle, head for the hills for a challenging workout.
Instead of exercising on the flat terrain, walk/run/cycle fast up hillier areas.
The change in scenery will burn more calories than the flatter terrain, as well as rejuvenate the mind.
Tip 3 – Do Something Different
When you exercise, do you always choose the same gym equipment, or travel the same outdoors route?
Muscles have ‘memory’ meaning that once you have mastered a particular movement the body never forgets how to do it and in fact will learn to do it more efficiently to SAVE calories.
Opting for a different activity/machine/ unfamiliar terrain will immediately challenge the muscles to work harder, effectively burning more calories.
Once again, it’s all about getting out of your comfort zone.
Tip 4 – Circuit Training
A cardio-based circuit program can burn up more calories than steady state cardio.
Following your warm-up, try some explosive moves such as burpees, star jumps, skipping or leap frogs mixed with strength exercises such as push ups, dips, lunges and squats.
Perform the exercises with correct technique and spend very little time between exercises to maximize the intensity.
Cardio circuit training is quick, effective and requires little or no equipment.
Tip 5– Cardio Machine Circuit
A fast workout for 10 minutes on each of the cardio machines will produce a high heart rate (aim for about 85% maximum heart rate), and the satisfaction knowing that you have accomplished a fast-paced, intense workout and along the way burned many calories.
Warm up on the treadmill with a fast walk or jog, followed by 10 minutes each on the rower, bike and elliptical trainer.
On the rower aim for at least 34 srm (stroke rate per minute).
On the bike and elliptical trainer aim for 90+ rpm.
Try one tip a week and discover how it is possible to get the results you are aiming for in half the time. Making small changes to your normal fitness routine will add variety and a challenge, to produce effective results.