Effective Workouts for Any Schedule
Find time for fitness with these fast and effective exercise routinesBy: Danielle Kosecki
Best Routines for Busy Bodies
Photo Credit: plank exercise picture
Can’t carve out a full hour a day for exercise? That’s no reason to bag it altogether. “We’re finding that in some research the people burning fewer calories have greater weight loss,” says Geralyn Coopersmith, CSCS, national director of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute. “It has less to do with absolute calorie expenditure and more to do with intensity.” In other words, when you’re short on time, your workouts should be focused on quality, not quantity. (Related: Find More Time to Workout With 15-Minute Workouts)
Whether you have 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes a week free for fitness, Coopersmith has a plan for you. (Video: Do an hour of yoga in two minutes)
Try these 15-Minute Workouts for your best body! For Men or For Women
30 Minutes a Week
If you can only commit to a half hour a week, don’t save it all for the weekend. “You don’t want to do just one bout of exercise,” says Coopersmith. “After 48 hours, the benefits you reap start to decrease.” Instead, complete this 10-minute, total-body circuit three times a week. Do each exercise for 30 seconds before moving on to the next one as quickly as you can. Quick tip: Avoid having to constantly check your watch by using the UltraTimer app, suggests Coopersmith.
60 Minutes a Week
Do the same 10-minute circuit three days a week, but add 10 minutes of high-intensity cardio intervals to each workout. For instance, run at the fastest pace you can sustain for 30 seconds to one minute, then walk for two minutes. Repeat this cycle. “Having little spikes of intensity will help with fat loss and overall fitness,” says Coopersmith. Do the entire interval set either before or after the circuit, or split up it up so that you’re doing 5 minutes before the circuit and 5 minutes afterward.
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90 Minutes a Week
When you’re up to 90 minutes a week, don’t just increase the duration of your workload, add on an extra day, too. “It’s better to exercise everyday or as close as possible to everyday,” says Coopersmith. When you have 90 minutes free a week, do the same 10-minute circuit, but increase the intervals to 12 total minutes and add on a fourth day of exercise. “This gets you exercising most days of the week,” says Coopersmith. “That’s a good goal if you can achieve that.”
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120 Minutes a Week
Devoting two full hours a week to exercise allows you to add in a fifth day of exercise and some aerobic base work. Do the 10-minute circuit with 10-minutes of intervals three days a week. On two other days do 30 minutes of steady-state aerobic exercise, such as swimming, running, biking, or using the elliptical. Don’t push too hard. You should be able to carry on a conversation during these workouts. (Search: How to take the talk test) Think of them as active rest days: just try to burn calories and get a sweat going. “If you do intense exercise every day, you won’t give your body enough time to recover,” says Coopersmith. “And that’s the time when your body makes changes.”
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