Short on Time? Don’t Skip your Workout
Here’s why you don’t have to bail on your next workout, even if you feel you just don’t have the time to exercise. Learn to do faster fitness.
When you’re short on time, it’s easy to feel like you’re better off skipping a workout, rather than trying to squeeze one in. After all, is it really worth it if you only have 20 minutes to give?
As Pam Mazzuca Prebeg, an athletic therapist knows, many of us don’t have the time to spend at the gym. “Our lives are busier than ever, but even still most people want to live a healthy, active, and fit lifestyle,” says Mazzuca Prebeg. “Fast, intense workouts produce results under tight time constraints, plain and simple.”
Along with requiring less time, you also don’t need a lot of equipment. “Circuit training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are great options for quick and effective workouts,” says Mazzuca Prebeg. “These types of workouts, which include CrossFit and Tabata, use your body weight, exercise bands, and kettlebells and there are so many great videos available online too.” So now that you don’t have to carve an hour out of your day, here’s what you need to know to get on your training goals in no time flat.
Intensify Your Time for Faster Fitness
When it comes to the optimal weekly frequency of fast fitness, there isn’t one set answer. “It really depends on the intensity of your workout; one round of Tabata is four minutes and that has been shown to increase your aerobic and anaerobic capacity, VO2 max, and resting metabolic rate and can help burn more calories than a 60-minute treadmill run.” It all comes down to your workout’s intensity; the higher the better.
It’s all about making the most of the training time you do have and Mazzuca Prebeg recommends a 15- to 20-minute high-intensity training session four to five times a week to achieve results you may see with less frequent but longer workouts. “You need to work out at a high enough intensity level and push yourself to the point where it’s challenging and you’re sweating,” she says. Essentially, if you can carry on a conversation, you’re probably not training at a high enough intensity.
No matter what level you’re at, you can benefit from including quick and hard-hitting training sessions in your fitness routine. In fact, beginners (or anyone returning to regular workouts) often find this type of training less intimidating than a typical one-hour workout. “Everyone from CEOs to stay-at-home moms can pretty much dedicate a 20-minute time slot in their day-to-day fitness.”
What will change depending on whether you are new to fitness or a regular gym-goer is the intensity level. For example, beginners may want to walk or jog on a treadmill and someone at a more active fitness level will want to include sprints with short recovery runs. While fast workouts are very versatile, for beginners Mazzuca Prebeg does recommend easing into it and giving yourself a couple of days’ rest in between workouts.
Time to Weight for It While HIIT
While HIIT workouts are effective fat-burning, aerobic ones, some might question if it’s just as easy to maximize fast workouts for strength training. “Depending on your goals, fast workouts can give you incredible results,” says Mazzuca Prebeg. Although this isn’t the strength training that bodybuilders do; your muscles will benefit from short training sessions as long as you increase the intensity. The formula is simple; lift heavier weights and reduce your rest time between sets. “Circuit training is a great way to integrate an aerobic component into your strength-training workouts and get the most out of your time in the gym,” says Mazzuca Prebeg.
Needless to say, no matter how much time you’ve got, there’s a training session that will fit into your routine. And while you may be longing for the days to log more hours on your run or at the gym, hitting up a fast sweat sesh or two a week may be what you need to bust out of a fitness rut or simply get back into the game...