It’s mostly obvious how getting in shape can be hard on your wallet. Trainers, gym memberships, classes, and equipment can add up monetarily, but what seems to be an even bigger struggle for most people is the toll it take on their time.
Round trip travel time: 30 minutes (if you’re lucky)
Cardio: 30 minutes (a quick jog)
Weights: 40 minutes (for maybe 3-4 exercises)
Summer body: priceless, but you’re already budgeting almost 2 hours to exercise alone, if you add in stretching, warming up, or getting caught in traffic. Add this up to 4-6 days/week and it can start to interfere with other items on your to-do list. While this may not be an issue for everyone (I actually have the luxury of dedicating many hours a week to exercise), it doesn’t necessarily work for those on more of a time crunch. The good news is, it is totally possible to get a highly effective, totally awesome work out in in 20-60 minutes, depending on your abilities.
Step 1: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
This is a great way to work up a good sweat and possibly build some muscle if you add in some resistence intervals. The great thing about HIIT is it can be done in a minimal amount of time with no equipment at all ( great for busy moms, travelling, or other space/time restrictive situations). To throw something together, find a challenging work/rest interval, 4 or 5 exercises that get your heart rate up, and do a few rounds, performing each exercise as har as you can till the rest interval.
30 seconds work/30 seconds rest, 5 rounds of burpees, jump squats, mountain climbers and high knees. 20 minutes total, great conditioning (if working in your target heart rate), and equipment-free.
Step 2: Combine weights and cardio
This is a great method for when you can get to a gym, but don’t have a lot of time. Spending tons of time doing cardio and weight individually can be helpful (when programmed correctly), but isn’t the most efficient way to spend your gym time. To structure a workout like this, similar to HIIT, find a challenging interval or time block (every minute on the minute, as many rounds as possible, X rounds for time) and a mix of exercises that incorporate resistance and cardio. It may be helpful (and is strongly recommended if you are inexperienced with exercise programming) to have a trainer help you in this department.
3 rounds for time of 10 push press, 400 m sprint, 10 front squats, 20 burpees, 25 kettlebell swings
Step 3: Superset
A superset is a pair of exercises performed back to back that work opposing muscle groups. These are great for finishing up a workout after your main strength or conditioning segment because you perform two exercises in about the same amount of time as it would usually take you to perform one. To structure a few supersets, pick a pair of exercises that work opposing muscle groups (example: biceps and triceps, quads and hamstrings, abs and back) and perform one exercise immediately followed by the other. Rest for a minute or two, then repeat your set another time or two.
10 dumbbell curls + 12 tricep extension
15 goblet squats + 12-15 hamstring curls
10 hanging leg raise + 15 back extension
Good luck and happy exercising!