International fitness athlete Karen Domingos shares her tips on how to create a time-saving fitness plan to help you fit exercise into even the most hectic day.
When Time Is Tight: A Short Workout Is Better Than No Workout
A short workout still counts. Being busy is a normal way of life for most women. We are usually the ones looking after the household, the children, planning activities. There will be days when we lack time; family obligations arise, and we find excuses not to exercise. But I promise you: a short workout is better than no workout at all. Even 30 minutes’ exercise can keep you on track and help you progress. For days when you’re really pressed for time, a brisk walk with the dog is better than nothing.
It doesn’t matter how busy you are, you can squeeze a 30-minute session into your day. Maybe that’s doing intense cardio intervals, which burns fat like crazy. Or it could be 30 minutes of different weight training to build strength and muscle. Another option is 30 minutes of yoga and stretching to increase flexibility, and decrease stress and anxiety.
If you’ve decided to start exercising to lose weight, you’re going to have a more rigorous schedule than a woman who simply wants to maintain her health and de-stress. If you’re looking to shift excess pounds, I recommend exercising six days a week. If you’re a busy woman who’s looking to maintain health, five days of exercise a week is enough. It’s important to remember that it’s all about consistency. You don’t need 60-90 minutes to get a good workout. In fact, you can effectively build muscle and burn fat in only 30 minutes.
1. Always Have Your Workout Bag
Always bring your workout bag to work or keep it in the car. You never know when you may have an extra 30 minutes during lunch or in between meetings to complete a quick workout. Even if you only have 15 minutes, doing something active each day is better than nothing at all.
2. Meal Preparation
This is probably the most important fitness and nutrition tip. Each Sunday, make a grocery list and a meal plan for the week. Cook most of your food for the entire week on Sunday and put it into individual containers for lunch, snack and dinner each day. This ensures you to have access to healthy food throughout the day.
3. Schedule Your Workouts
Your workout schedule should fit your training preferences and needs. The workout split you choose must allow you to reach the weight training frequency that is BEST for your specific goal and experience level. Do you need a split that allows you to train each muscle group once per week, twice per week or 3 times per week?
4. Drink Water
It varies from person to person depending on your body type and activity level, but you should drink 2 to 3 liters of water every day. Every function in the human body is dependent on water. Drinking water is imperative for staying healthy, energized, and losing weight. It even helps manage your appetite, as hunger is often disguised as thirst.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Getting quality sleeping is the most important thing for a healthy body. Lack of sleep can result in mental confusion, exhaustion and heightened stress. What’s more, the brain craves carbohydrates when you’re tired, so if you’re trying to lose weight and curb your snacking, getting enough sleep is imperative.
6. Challenge Yourself
The results you’ll see from exercise will depend on the intensity you put into your workout. It is important that workouts remain challenging and stimulate your body. If you repeat the same exercise all the time without varying the intensity, your body will adapt to the training—when it does, you stop progressing. Variety and intensity are key to getting results.
7. Limit Rest Periods
Keeping an eye on the clock while you rest between sets will boost the overall intensity of your workout, increase your calorie burn, and maximize your time in the gym. Make sure your rest time is no more than 45 seconds between sets.
8. Prioritize Compound Exercises
Compound exercises are movements that use multiple joints at the same time. When you perform compound movements, more muscle groups are used per exercise. Compound exercises include squat, bench presses, and pull-ups—these are perfect for quick workouts because they help you do more in less time.
9. Dropping Set
This is a great tool for building muscle. The idea is to do a set of weight training exercises until you can’t do any more, then immediately reduce the weight by 20-25 percent, and repeat the exercise until you can’t again. Try doing a few drop sets at the end of the last set of a particular exercise. If you really want to feel the burn, just keep dropping the weight and doing as many reps as possible. You’ll find that curling just 5 pounds will feel impossible.
10. Superset to Burn Fat
A superset is when one set of an exercise is performed directly after a set of a different exercise, without rest between them. This simple yet highly effective technique provides a dual benefit: since you’re performing the sets back to back, you’ll finish your workout quicker; and since it keeps your heart rate elevated for the duration of the workout you’ll burn fat faster.
So there you have it. Ten tips to get super fit, fast. No matter how busy you are, if you can find 15 to 30 minutes a day to squeeze in any kind of work out, whether it’s a brisk walk, some interval training, or a quick cardio session at the gym, you’ll soon notice the positive difference on your health and fitness.