Quick, Efficient Workouts

In & Out: The How and Why of Quick, Efficient Workouts

Don’t get too excited, Heifers: this is not an article about In & Out Burger.  I know. I’m sad, too.

In a much healthier twist, a fellow Heifer recently asked me to write about quick, efficient workouts when we’re low on time. I got to thinking about this and realized that, like many people, I put off working out when I don’t think I have ‘enough’ time to get in a ‘real’ workout.   

See all those quotation marks?

Yeah, funny how we make up all sorts of definitions and regulations about exercise, eating and health, right? We think we have to workout for a certain period of time or break a full-blown sweat or lift a certain amount of weight.  We can get pretty tied to specifics: we have to workout in the morning or we have to work every major muscle group or we have to run a certain number of miles.

Heifers, this isn’t only untrue; it stops us from fitting in quick, efficient workouts when time is short, space is limited and life gets busy.

Healthy choices aren’t all or nothing. We don’t either eat totally clean or binge on Oreos. There is a wide open middle ground that most of us run along that keeps us fit, healthy and sane.  The same is true for exercise.

Any exercise is better than none. Short workouts are better than sitting all day. It’s amazing what just 10 minutes can do for the body. You can get your heart rate going, move your muscles and stretch your limbs so that the few hours you spent on an airplane or at your desk, burning through your work like a 22-year-old Wall Street mogul after seven cans of Red Bull, don’t leave you completely lethargic.  

Since thinking about this topic and realizing my own tendency toward thinking workouts have to be all-or-nothing, I’m totally inspired to embrace shorter workouts when I don’t have the time or energy for a full-blown run or gym session.

 Here’s what I’ve learned:

If you want short, quick, efficient workouts, you need to embrace the term HIIT. High-Intensity Interval Training is short bursts of intense exercise mixed with lower-level rest period. So, think about doing something like jump squats for 20 seconds and then jogging in place for 10 seconds. Do that a few times, mixing in some other exercise, and you have HIIT.  

There are TONS of HIIT workouts online, for free, that you can watch in your hotel room, office space or even at home, when you sneak off to the bedroom for a few minutes while the kids suck down another episode of SpongeBob SquarePants.  All you have to do is go to YouTube and type in ‘short HIIT workout’ and you’re in business.  

If you don’t have Internet connection or you’re not a fan of lugging around a device, you can memorize and knock out the famous, scientifically-proven 7-Minute Workout just about anywhere.  All you need is yourself and a chair. I’ve done this a few times now. It’s legit. There is even an app.  

You don’t have to sweat buckets to get a good workout. The 7-Minute Workout gets my heart pumping and helps me feel more alert without leaving me dripping in sweat and needing a shower.  Part of what makes working out so time consuming is the whole shower and change aspect of it. These efficient workouts can be done without having to drive to a gym, change clothes or slather on more deodorant.

Some shorter, more intense workouts, burn more calories than slogging it out for an hour. Turns out, according to the 12-Minute-Athlete, just 10 minutes of HIIT burns more calories than 30 minutes on a treadmill.   I think both forms of exercise have unique benefits, and we all know that the only reason to workout isn’t to burn calories, but knowing that a short, efficient workout can burn serious calories helps get us moving-moving when we think nothing short of an hour gym session is worth our time.

The benefits of working out can add up, so you don’t have to do it all in one session. Kind of like the idea that just taking those 10,000 steps a day keeps you moving and fit, doing shorter workouts spread out throughout the day is still incredibly beneficial. A few short workouts adds up to a half-hour in three sessions. So if you’re short on time but can fit in a few breaks, you’re in business.

Finally, HIIT isn’t the only game in town. If you want efficient, it’s your best bet. But if you want to get the blood pumping and flowing or just to get up and stretch or move, other workouts are great, too.  Things like barre videos, yoga routines and even light weight routines provide all of these benefits. Again, you can find videos online, and in no time, you’ll probably be able to memorize a short workout that fits your needs.  

I’m going to start incorporating these short workouts into my days when I’m busy and don’t have time for a full-blown run or routine. I’ll feel better physically and mentally, and it won’t feel like I ‘skipped a workout.’ We all know how that goes.

Maybe the biggest perk of a short workout is that it doesn’t derail our overall plans and is a reminder of our goals and commitment to our health.

Do any of y’all have a short, efficient workout you love? A go-to set of exercise you can knock out in under ten or twenty minutes? If so, let us in on it! Leave a comment or post to RHR’s Facebook page. We’re in it together!

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