Did you miss Part 1 of this series? Check out how to revamp your nutrition and kitchen to reach your health and fat loss goals plus two free downloads HERE.
Would you believe me if I told you that all you really need to improve your fitness levels and change your body was 20-25 minutes of exercis 5 days per week?
I’ve had a number of people scoff at me when I tell them that, but it’s fact. But truth be told, I wouldn’t have believed it if this were five years ago either. I was a part of the “more is better” when it came to exercise. That meant running, lifting and hot yoga all in one day several times a week, spinning on the days I didn’t run and not thinking I needed a rest day.
Ohh how times have changed!
Even if you don’t believe me that quick workouts are just as effective, if not more effective than longer duration workouts, that’s ok. But I want you to save this article so you can come back to it when you get sick of the hours you’re spending in the gym instead of meeting your friends out for brunch on Saturday morning 🙂 Not to sound fresh, but I missed out on SO MANY THINGS because I chose the gym over things that would have been a lot more fun. I thought I had to. I thought it was the only way I’d get results. I didn’t believe it at the time, but there’s a way to become super fit, strong and lean without living in the gym and that’s the “less is more” approach.
Here are a few reasons why less is more when it comes to exercise:
1. Shorter workouts take away the “I don’t have time to exercise” excuse. Obviously working out for 25 minutes will take a lot less time that working out for 60, right? It’s less time to budget for so you’re less likely to skip it. Knowing that you can wake up at 6:30am to get a 25 minute high-intensity workout in, instead of waking up at 5:30 to get to that hour long spin class at the gym sounds a lot more appealing, doesn’t it? Shorter workouts mean more sleep if you’re a morning exerciser, less time spent at the gym, more time spent with your family or friends and you can do a lot of quick n’ dirty workouts at home (checkout the bottom of this article for five free quick n’ dirty workouts!)
2. Long workouts on the treadmill or elliptical can be BORING. I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me they cut their long run or elliptical session short because their iPod died or their headphones stopped working. Obviously that stuff doesn’t happen all the time, but shorter workouts help you stay engaged and interested. Even if your headphones die at minute 12, you can push through. 25 minutes of hard, high intensity work vs 60+ treadmill minutes wins in my book every single time.
3. Shorter workouts help regulate your appetite. One of my clients used to perform marathon sessions of sprints on the treadmill. When she would get home, she’d be ravenous. When we workout for hours on end, our appetite goes crazy in order to make up for all the energy used during the workout. We also put ourselves at risk for “I worked out for over an hour today so I deserve this pizza” which can send your fitness and fat loss progress backwards. With shorter workouts, even though you’re bringing 100% of your intensity and are going all out for the 20-25 minutes, there isn’t the same effect on our appetite as with longer sessions. What’s more, short, intense workouts help our body burn more calories after we’re done exercising for up to 48 hours, whereas with steady state long duration workouts our body is done burning calories once we step off the treadmill.
4. Short, Intense workouts get us faster results in less time. Think about it- 125 minutes of high intensity workouts each week that can boost your metabolism, help prime your body for burning fat and burn a lot more calories in a lot less time or 300 minutes of steady state workouts that can increase your appetite and cravings, takes a hell of a lot more time and can don’t exactly set you up for optimal fat loss…. why wouldn’t we choose high intensity workouts? Yes, these shorter workouts are super uncomfortable, they push you to the limit and you’ll feel muscles burn you never even knew you had, but when you really think about it, the pros of shorter more intense workouts far outweigh the pros of longer duration workouts.
All that said, I know there are some people who really love long, steady state cardio workouts or longer lifts, and if you love it, keep doing it. Just know that’s not the only way and if you want to try subbing out a few shorter, high intensity workouts for the longer ones, it certainly won’t hurt and will more than likely improve your results.
If you want try high intensity, shorter workouts but don’t know where to start, you’ll want to download theses five free bodyweight workouts. Each workout is 15 minutes long and requires just your bodyweight. No equipment, no gym membership, but don’t let that fool you- they’re TOUGH! Click the picture below to grab your free workouts!
If you’re someone who likes longer workouts but you’re ready to shake things up a bit, I have something for you too. Grab a copy of my free strength training program Straight Up Strength. Straight Up Strength is a complete 4-week strength training program that includes four separate workouts to do at the gym. Each workout will take you about 45-60 minutes and will help you build lean muscle mass and start to prime your body to be a fat burning machine. Click the picture below to grab your copy!