I was out to dinner with a girlfriend who recently became a new mom. Her lil’ Bub is only 5 months old and she brought up this question to me, “Now that I have limited time to myself, I'm not willing to spend more than an hour at the gym. What is the best thing that I could do when I get the chance to work out?“
This question applies to so many of us as we all have busy lives with work schedules, families and commitments. Not having enough time is one of the main reasons why many people feel they aren't where they want to be physically and I totally get it. Who has four hours a day to work out? I know I certainly don’t. Whenever I set time aside for a workout its between thirty to sixty minutes, depending on the day, and even if I don't have time for that its better to do 15 minutes than zero minutes.
Let’s talk about the getting the most bang for your buck out of your workout with the time you’ve got. High intensity interval training (HIIT) has in recent years become the “it girl” of workouts and for good reason. Not only do you burn more calories during a HIIT workout, but the effect of all that intense exertion kicks your body's repair cycle into hyperdrive. That means you burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after a HIIT workout than you do after a steady-pace run.
Another go to choice for me is circuit training. I like to think of HIIT and circuit training as being cousins. They have a similar design with a different intensity. Circuit training is generally less intense than HIIT, but often contains more strength and muscle toning moves. It still shares many of the calorie burning benefit of HIIT, and has cardio and strength training all wrapped up in one awesome workout.
I know what you’re thinking “thats great information and all Megan, but how am I supposed to know what to do for a HIIT or circuit workout?” Don’t worry I’ve got you covered. I am going to leave you with not one, but two workouts to get you started.
Each of these require minimal equipment and are about half an hour long. You can spread them out and do them on separate days or if you’re feeling up to the challenge do them both for a full body workout!
The first workout is a lower body HIIT: you’ll need stop watch, iPhones work great for this ;) You'll be doing 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds rest for each exercise. After completing all 6 moves rest 2-3 mins and repeat two more times. Put on some your favorite jams and have fun!
~Burpee (without pushup)
~Switching Jump lunges
Second is an upper body ab circuit: you'll need a chair, bench or edge of a bathtub and a mat. You'll also be repeating this circuit a total of three times :)
~Alternating tuck jumps 15 per side
~Forearm plank hip taps 15 per side
~30-45 second Plank hold
~12 Push ups (modified on knees)
~12 triceps Dips on chair, bench, or bathtub edge
~Side plank hold 30 seconds per side
~30 bicycle crunches
I hope you have fun with these and get a little sweaty! Would love to hear your feedback after!