Health & fitness: Maximise workout time

Health & fitness: Maximising workout time

OK, so summer’s finally over (well the clubs and parties, but not the weather thankfully) and you should have more time, but if you’re still finding it tough to find time for your workouts, well, it doesn’t mean you have to go without.

You should be trying to do moderate exercise every day, but the world isn’t a perfect place, so three to four times a week would be great and could help you achieve great results whether you’re looking to tone up, shed pounds, or just boost your fitness levels. Spending hours and hours in the gym can actually be counter productive, as you can end up over training and over fatiguing your body – and let’s face it, you probably did enough off that over the closing weekend…

Ideally, 30 to 40 minutes is a good workout length, whether you’re training for muscle mass, weight loss or fitness. You can squeeze in a workout in marginally less time though and still see results.

Take bulking up: conventionally you’d look to do multiple sets of exercises per muscle group, and arguably this is the best way to put on poundage, but if you don’t have the time you can build yourself a mass building circuit that will have you stripping fat as well. You won’t see the big muscle gains, but you will tone up, build some muscle and look ripped. Performed at high intensity, the idea of a circuit approach is to hit each muscle group with an exercise before quickly moving to the next. In a conventional mass builder workout you’d work your biceps with a set, rest, then work them again, rest, and so on. With a circuit approach pick an exercise for each major muscle group, select a weight you can manage ten to twelve reps and then perform each exercise one after the other with no rest. Repeat three times. You’re still working all the muscles, but in less time as you’re cutting the rest period (which is where the fat burning comes in). Perform this two to three times a week and you’ll see great results.

If you’re training for fitness or weight loss you can take the same circuit based approach but build a circuit of ten to twelve exercises that blend bodyweight (push ups), weights (weighed lungs) and cardio (skipping). Set a countdown timer for one minute and go for it at maximum intensity for one minute on each exercise then swap to the next without a rest. Take a breather after the first circuit, then perform a second, again at a minute, or if you’re struggling, for forty seconds. Then, if you’re really going for it, halve the time and do a third circuit. This is an excellent way to build functional strength, tone, strip fat and build cardiovascular and aerobic fitness, and you can do it quickly.

So, no more excuses, time to start planning those circuits! And remember if you’d like any advice, please come see us at M Wellness.