Workout Wise

Less time exercising with the same results.

Let’s face it: fitting in fitness is hard. You’re busy, you’re tired, or you’re just downright lazy. If you knew you could have the same or better results in less time you’d want to know more, wouldn’t you? Well, with a few tweaks you may be able to make your workout more effective. This means less time spent at the gym and more time to fit in your ever-growing to-do list.

Reach your health and fitness goals faster by exercising the smart way. Read on to learn how.

Go HIIT

For those of you looking to burn more fat in less time, it’s okay to say good-bye to hour-long workouts. You have the potential to burn more calories with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT can be applied to both your cardio and strength-training workouts, making them more intense but shorter in duration.

While it’s true you’ll burn more calories jogging for an hour compared to jogging for 30 minutes, the key is increased intensity plus interval training. This combination has the ability to speed up your metabolism and thereby increase calorie burn during and after your workout, known as the after-burn effect.

Additionally, with HIIT you’re able to exercise at an intense level for a longer period of time overall, so you burn more fat. HIIT also makes it possible to shorten your workout, while making it less boring and more focused so you’re not as apt to over-train and more likely to find the time to make exercise a part of your everyday routine.

A HIIT workout lasts anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. It starts with a warm-up; alternates between 20 and 30 seconds of all-out high-intensity exercise, 30 to 90 seconds of a rest period, and low-intensity exercise; and ultimately ends with a cool-down period. This can be done via walking and jogging, jogging and running, swimming, jumping rope, cycling, using the elliptical, doing bodyweight exercises, or lifting weights.

Compound Your Exercises

Want to spend less time at the gym, burn more calories, increase strength faster, and build more muscle? Then on the days you lift weights, spend the majority of your time focusing on compound movements rather than isolation exercises.

Compound exercises work multiple muscle groups at one time and are more physically demanding—much more demanding. The more muscles you work with compound exercises and the more intense your workout, the more calories you burn. Examples of compound exercises include bench presses, squats, pull-ups, deadlifts, rows, and overhead shoulder presses.

Isolation exercises have their place in the world of weight lifting, but these shouldn’t be your main focus. Since isolation exercises work only one muscle group at a time (hence the name), they’re less effective at burning calories and increasing strength. Examples of isolation exercises include bicep curls, triceps kickbacks, calf raises, leg curls, and lateral raises.

Keep Moving

A lot of time can be wasted at the gym if you’re not careful. Wandering around, walking across the gym to use the water fountain, or visiting with your neighbor all make your workout longer than it needs to be. Stay focused on the task at hand and you’ll burn more calories in less time. As you’re working through your strength-training routine, rest no longer than necessary between sets. This means just 30 seconds between isolation exercises and no more than a minute and a half between compound movements.

Another way to get in and out of the gym in less time is to do supersets. Supersets eliminate the need for lengthy rest periods between sets because you’re able to move quickly from one exercise to another by alternating between compound exercises that work your upper body and your lower body.