“I have 15-60 minutes to workout, what should I do?”
This is the golden question I hear most from clients and friends—they’re eager to make the most out of precious workout time. Any activity is better than no activity, but if you want to be more strategic and maximize your time, here are…
5 Tips to Make Your Workouts More Efficient & Effective
CHANGE IT UP—
If you do the same workout over and over again, your body is no longer challenged and it’s likely you’re not seeing or feeling results. Step out of your comfort zone and try a new fitness class, or cross-train, especially if you’re exclusively a runner. If cardio is your go-to workout, (spinning, walking, running, biking, swimming, et cetera) add weight training once a week or a yoga class. If you participate only in Barre classes using light weights (less than 10 pounds), add a heavy weight session, or a cardio class–like spinning. Change up your routine every couple of months and your body will respond. It needs new and different stimulus.
SPRINKLE IN INTENSITY—
A workout doesn’t have to be long to be effective. If you only have 10-30 minutes to get in a workout, amp up the intensity. A great way to do that is to incorporate intervals into a short workout. An interval involves a series of low- to high-intensity exercise interspersed with rest or relief periods.
For instance, if you typically jog 2 miles at the same pace (either on treadmill or outdoors), incorporate faster paced running that makes you uncomfortable for 30-60 seconds, then return to your normal pace or walk for 60 seconds. Repeat pattern of high / low intensity for the 2 miles.
You’ll begin to see results when you spend more time working outside of your comfort zone. As I say to clients, “get comfortable being uncomfortable”.
HAVE A PLAN—
Schedule your workout time in advance for the week just like you would schedule meetings or appointments. Once you have your workout schedule, make a workout plan. This is especially important if you do workouts on your own rather than participating in a fitness class where the instructor/trainer does the planning for you.
Here’s an example of what a plan would look like. I have workouts planned for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this week. Tuesday and Thursday I will get up early to stretch for 10 minutes.
Monday: 45 minutes cardio on the stairclimber, incorporating 30-minutes of intervals.
Wednesday: 60-minute kettlebell class
Friday: 45 minute solo workout; 20 minutes of mobility exercises (yoga type stretches, and roll on foam roller) + 25 minutes of kettlebells focusing on lower body exercises (and I will have a specific set of exercises written out the night before for this weight session).
Planning will eliminate “what should I do?” syndrome when it’s time to workout…kinda like having a shopping list when you go to the grocery store.
Research shows that women can significantly benefit from lifting weights. It gives you the edge over belly fat, aches & pains, and stress! While it is true that you can’t spot reduce—your body is born with pre-conceived places it wants to store fat (hello baby bearing hips)—a University of Alabama study found that the women who lifted weights lost more intra-abdominal fat (deep belly fat) than those who just did cardio. This not only helps you lose your baby pooch, and fit better into your clothes, but it also lessens your risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers! And guess what, lifting weights is empowering! Not sure where or how to start with weights, let AMC help guide you in our Small Group Training Program or personal training.
BE MINDFUL OF NUTRITION—
Even if you had the time to workout two hours a day, what goes into your mouth the other 22 hours will have a bigger effect on your fitness goals/weight loss. Be mindful about what you eat, and WHY you are eating. Fill your body up with fuel that moves it—lean cuts of meat, poultry, seafood, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Read food labels; know what you are eating and how many servings are in a package. Eliminate mindless snacking and add more protein to your meals to fill you up. And the most useful tip that has helped me, slow down when you eat—take 15-20 minutes to eat a meal—and stop eating when you are 80% full.
Whether you can make it to the gym or do home workouts, the bottom line is really this: keep moving, stay strong and have fun! If you’re the type of person that needs accountability and motivation to exercise, let AMC help you achieve your fitness goals. We offer prenatal & postnatal small group training, personal training, and a mom/baby postnatal recovery class.
~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~
Read other related articles on Active Moms’ Club blog: