A common problem for many people is the lack of time they have for exercise. Most folks think they need to carve an hour or more from their day to dedicate to the gym, class or home routine. Truth is 30 minutes 3-5 days per week is sufficient and far better than nothing. Furthermore, you can break that 30 minutes into two sessions of 15 minutes or three of 10 minutes. I have found, during my busiest times, that two 15 minute sessions works best. Here’s a basic rundown of what that can look like.
For most anyone, getting up 15-20 minutes earlier, although difficult at times, is doable. Getting that first 15 minutes at the start of your day helps to wake you up, jump start your metabolism and start your day in a positive direction. I suggest these workout center around resistance training. With that in mind you should remember that your muscles will need 48 hours to recover after a workout. For example, if you work your arms Monday you won’t work them again till Wednesday, choosing instead to work a different group of muscles Tuesday. This is called a split routine. You can also choose to do a full body workout and perform some type of cardiovascular workout on the alternate days. I suggest full body with cardio on alternate days as the best format, mostly because you absolutely have to work your cardio in there, but whatever works for your schedule and goals. In any event, if you are just starting out or trying to lose weight, it’s best to get up and move everyday.
The key to maximizing short spurts of exercise is to make them count by keeping the intensity and focus high. I suggest doing this by using a technique called superset. Using this model of training you will be working muscles without any “rest” in between reps but instead working opposing muscle groups. For example lets take upper arms, do 8-12 reps of bicep curls then immediately follow with 8-12 reps of tricep kickbacks for sets each. There are several different ways to “superset” but this is the easiest for beginners to understand. Follow this method for all major muscle groups, developing the sequence that works best for you and your time constraints. I like to work a little cardio into the last five minutes of the final 15 minutes by jumping rope or performing burpees (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burpee_%28exercise%29).
An important part of any workout is your warm-up and cool-down. To optimize your time I suggest building those times into your morning routine. For example, I get up out of bed and begin by windmilling my arms as I head out, roll my neck then squat walk down the hall and do leg lifts as I brush my teeth. You can do the same thing at the end of your workout for your cool down. As your waiting for your coffee to brew, stretch your hams for example.
Don’t forget to get some type of cardiovascular workout during the week. Otherwise, all those gorgeous muscles you’re waking up 15 minutes early for will be hidden under a layer of fat.
Keep it up!
Check this out for superset training ideas and how-to: