Girl, have I been busy lately. I don’t know if it’s that the days have gotten shorter or if my schedule has gotten fuller, but I am having a serious issue with time. It seems like I’m just getting my day going and it’s time to pause for dinner. Worst of all, my workout has been pushed later and later. Sometimes it’s 8:00 or 9:00 pm before I’ve realized I haven’t moved my body in a serious way all day. Not good. On days like this I need a high quality short workout – something I can knock out in 10-20 minutes and feel good about.
My requirement for a short workout is that it is efficient and effective, and as much as I’d like to turn on the tv and climb on the Nordic Track (or treadmill) for some no brainer, steady state cardio, I know that’s neither efficient or effective. At least not if I really want to make an impact on my body and on my health.
The question is – when you’re busy, but still determined to maintain your work out habit, how can you get the biggest bang for your time buck?
Studies have shown that weight training is the key. In fact, researchers found that 30 minutes lifting weights burned as many calories as 30 minutes running at a 6-minute-mile pace. I don’t know about you, but I’m not running a six-minute mile. Not on a good day. And if straight calorie burn isn’t enough inspiration to pick up the dumbbells, the boost in metabolism that comes from building lean muscles should be.
Plus you don’t have to do thirty minutes. 20 minutes is pretty good. Heck, if you’re really pushed for time, pick up the dumbbells for 10. The key is to keep moving.
Just be sure to plan your short workout so you are using your time efficiently. A full-body circuit is a great way to squeeze more sets into less time. Simply alternate between upper and lower body moves to hit every area without pausing to rest. Spend a minute doing a leg exercise like squats, then drop down for some pushups for another minute, then jog in place for three minutes. Repeat the cycle using a different upper and lower body move until your time is up.
Try it the next time you’re crunched for time, and let me know how it goes. And come back Monday when I’ll post a killer interval workout for you to try.