Combine Your Upper and Lower Body Exercises – Cut your strength routine in half by incorporating exercises for several body parts. For example, while performing a lunge, add bicep curls and/or a shoulder press to the movement.
Choose Compound Exercises – Exercises which work several muscle groups simultaneously are more time efficient than isolation exercises, which focus on one major muscle group. Examples of compound exercises include the leg press, squat, chest fly, walking lunge and seated row.
Circuit Train – With minimal equipment, you can set up stations alternating cardio with strength training. This keeps your heart rate up, giving you both the aerobic and anaerobic (strength) benefits. A sample circuit might include: jump rope, bicep curls, jumping jacks, push-ups, jogging in place, squats, mini-trampoline exercises and dips. Repeating the circuit up to three times is guaranteed to boost your metabolism in under 30 minutes.
Interval Train – Using active rest and work ratios will allow you to workout at the upper and lower levels of your heart rate zone and optimize calories expended. You can start with brisk walking for 2 minutes and jogging for 30 seconds. Then progress to 2 minutes of brisk walking and 1 minute of jogging. Eventually progress to two minutes of each and ultimately to spending less time walking and more time jogging. If you are already a runner, alternate your running with sprints where you accelerate with a burst of energy and then taper back to a run.
Increase Your Intensity – By picking up the pace, you do more and ultimately burn more calories in less time. You may need to work up to higher intensities gradually, but you will become more efficient in the process and be able to cut back on the duration of your exercise sessions. Ditto for you strength training workout. If you keep each set intense, you can get the most benefit and eliminate the need for several warm up sets.
Incorporate Mind & Body Exercises – You can get a lot of mileage out of choosing a discipline like yoga or pilates. Not only will you get the physical benefits of a well-toned body, but you will also enjoy the flexibility, relaxation and stress-relieving enhancements as well.
Make a NEAT Fitness a Lifestyle Change – By cutting back on some of life’s modern conveniences and getting more physical, you can expend up to an additional 800 calories a week. That can add up to 11 pounds lost at the end of a year. Doing this is called NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis or calories burned during non exercise activity). So, start taking the stairs — even if you work on the 10th floor! It will get easier. Park your car in the last spot and join the kids on the playground. rake your yard instead of blowing the leaves. You never know when the opportunity will arise to get your heart rate up.
Sex Counts – While I wouldn’t suggest replacing a formal exercise program with sex, it certainly does burn calories. The more fit you are, the more enjoyable all activities, including sex, will be.
There will be time zapping snags in the best thought out plan. So, prepare for changes and be flexible. Use obstacles as an opportunity to try something new. In the long run, the time you invest in exercise will come back to you. No one goes to the grave saying that they should have worked more, but you often hear people say, if I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself. So, make your health and fitness a priority by making your exercise sessions timely.