Smarten up your fitness act for a total-body workout in a flash
We all live such busy lives these days – whether it’s putting in long hours at the office or juggling the school run with the housework and a part-time job. So finding a spare hour to squeeze in a good workout at the gym isn’t always easy. In fact, for many of us it can seem almost impossible!
But why should a lack of time get in the way of your workout goals? These days you don’t have to dedicate a whole hour to getting in tip-top shape. We certainly don’t! Here at WF, we reckon we’re pretty good at being time savvy. So, with a little help from the experts, we’ve come up with eight amazing (and simple) ways you can fine-tune your routine to save time and achieve awesome results. It is possible, we promise!
Think cardio + strength training
Want to kill two birds with one stone? Wearing wrist and ankle weights is a useful way to integrate strength training into
your cardio workout. The added weight makes you work that little bit harder, raising your heart rate and increasing calorie burn at the same time. A win-win! ‘This can be a fantastic way to weight train and enhance muscle while doing cardio, but be careful as it requires a degree of strength. If you feel any pulls, lighten the weight and work your way up,’ advises Martin Davis, senior PTI at New You Boot Camp (newyoubootcamp.com).
Work out at home
If you want to save time and money, but still get great results, it might be worth ditching your gym membership. Apart from anything else, you won’t waste valuable workout time going to and from the gym! ‘Learn how to maximise your workout with bodyweight resistance training and you can complete effective workouts from home without having to splash the cash on expensive equipment,’ says personal trainer Russell Fox (). Push-ups, the plank and burpees are all amazing fat burners that you can do in your living room – and don’t miss our 15-minute workout on page 42 for even more at-home inspiration!
Learn to love Tabata
Get fit in four minutes – yes, really! If you’ve not heard of it before, Tabata is a special type of interval training based on explosive bodyweight and cardio exercises, such as sprints on the treadmill, rowing machine or stationary bike. It’s one of the most effective and quickest workouts you can do. ‘Push hard for 20 seconds, then rest for ten seconds and repeat this eight times,’ says Christianne Wolff, celebrity trainer and author of The Body Rescue Plan (bodyrescue.net). ‘To make this really effective you have
to go for it in those 20 seconds. So do as many reps as you can in the 20 seconds and give yourself a ten-second rest between each exercise.’
Use your lunch hour
If you’re not a morning person and dread going to the gym during the hectic post-work rush hour, why not exercise smack bang in the middle of the day instead? ‘Spend 30 minutes of your time going for a brisk walk. If you weigh 56kg or more you will burn a minimum of 135 calories by walking at 4mph for 30 minutes. Doing this each day on your lunch break will give you two-and-a-half hours of cardiovascular training per week,’ says Russell. Or, if you want a more intense option, go for a run or use your local park as an outdoor gym. All that fresh air will do you good, too!
Supersets are a brilliant way to shave minutes off your workout. They get your heart rate going so you burn maximum calories and help to build strength, too. ‘Do two exercises back to back rather than resting between each one. So you could do 20 biceps curls immediately followed by 20 triceps dips. Then break for 45 seconds and repeat. Do four sets. You will save time by not having the break in between. This works with any two exercises,’ says Martin.
Don’t be a couch potato
Bit of a telly addict? Then slip in a workout while catching up on your favourite TV show – simply get moving during the ad breaks
to burn a ton of calories. ‘Instead of flicking over to another channel, get on the floor and spend three minutes doing a selection of sit-ups, reverse curls and reach-overs. If you’re watching a film of 90 minutes, that’s 18 minutes of abs, when you would be usually wasting time doing nothing,’ Christianne says.
Use your commute as a workout
How smug would you feel if you could tick your workout off your to-do list by 9am? Turn your daily commute into a workout and you could weigh less by the end of the week! ‘Most people will drive or get public transport to work, so you could look at running to the station or getting off a stop early and walking the rest of the way. Buying a fold-up bike and cycling some or all the way to work is also a great option,’ suggests Christianne.
Split your training
No time to slog it out at the gym for hours? Go short and sharp. ‘If you don’t have time for an hour a day, do two 15-minute sessions at different times of the day that fit with your schedule. Train hard during the short period of time and you will have a double metabolic hit,’ says Martin.