In this column, I present a brief guide to getting the most out of exercise for those who want to exercise as little as possible.
Well first, congratulations. You have figured out of the biggest challenges to achieving a certain goal such as fitness or weight loss and that is: Knowing what you will and will not do.
For example, I have finally learned this about myself: I will not get up early to exercise. And I have finally stopped setting myself up for failure and saying that I will. So if you know you will not make it to the gym five times a week, or at all…. Here is how to make the most out of what you will do:
1. Make it worth your time.
If you are trying to blast calories or maintain some level of fitness, don’t bother with too low intensity in a cardio workout. You have got to feel like you are doing something!
On a scale of 0-10, 10 being the most intense workout you have ever experienced, try to maintain between a 5-7. You should be breathing heavy, but not sucking wind. You should be able to speak in short sentences, but not carry on a full conversation.
Anything less intense than that, carries less value, since we are trying to get the most bang for our buck.
2. Speaking of cardio. HILI training workouts are time efficient ways to burn fat and calories.
This is when you alternate between higher intensity (say 8-9) and a lower intensity (4-5). It may look like running for 2 minutes and walking for 1 minute for a total of 20 minutes.
This is a super way to maximize fat loss during and AFTER the work out.
3. Strength train.
Build muscle, burn more calories when you are not doing anything at all, sounds good right? It is! To make the most out of it, do compound exercises. For example, squats with an overhead press or lunges with a side raise. Use more muscles during your period of exercises and not only will you maximize your effort, but you won’t have to do it as often.
Use a challenging weight. You should fatigue in 10-12 reps. If you can manage 20 reps, that means your workout is too easy and you are not making the most out of your time.
4. The most important piece in all this is nutrition.
Hey, if you don’t want to exercise that much, then you need to eat a clean diet that is not excessive in calories which lead to weight gain.
If you can balance the energy you have coming in (calories) with the energy you have going out (living life and exercise) then you should maintain your weight.
If you can cut calories a bit, even 200 calories off a day (that is equivalent to the two pieces of chocolate I just mindlessly ate) you can lose weight without much extra effort.
Keep what goes into your body healthy, natural, fresh, low in calories, high in nutrition, low in fat and have protein with every meal.
And hey, maybe we’ll find exercise is overrated. (Not).
Julie Sieben of Orleans is a chiropractor, exercise instructor, personal trainer, and wellness consultant. She can be reached at drjuliesieben.com.