Some weeks it can feel like you’re running a daily triathlon while juggling work, home and family responsibilities. It is no wonder that you sometimes feel that you simply do not have the time or energy to dedicate to getting or staying fit. But putting your health on the back-burner can actually contribute to low energy, fatigue or even serious illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. This is why it is imperative that you find time to recharge your batteries with these quick, simple and sneaky fitness tips.
Developing—and sticking to—a fitness routine does not mean sacrificing precious hours at the gym huffing and puffing next to Arnold! It’s a means by which you enhance your endurance, your strength and your stamina. And often times, all it takes is just thirty-minutes of your time.
Here are three quick, simple and sneaky ways to get started on building a stronger and healthier body!
Tip 1: Cardio:
Cardio doesn’t always have to mean spending hours on the track or treadmill. You can achieve a challenging and calorie-torching cardiovascular workout in just 30 minutes! High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of stop-and-go cardiovascular training that burns tons of calories in a short duration of time. It also continues to torch calories after you’ve finished exercising! For a 30-minute workout that your body will not soon forget, try this Tabata workout! Bonus: If you have a jump rope, you don’t even need to leave home!
For this exercise you will utilize a Perceived Exertion (PE) scale, with ranges from 1-10. A 1 would indicate that you are not tired at all, and could do this all day. A 10 would indicate that you are very tired and could not possibly exert any more energy. For this HIIT workout you will alternate between a pace that registers at a 1-3 and a pace that registers at a 7-8.
What you’ll need: A jump rope, cardiovascular machine of your choice or an open stretch or road/track. A watch or timer. You can download a free Tabata Timer app on most smart phones, or click here.
Warm Up: Utilizing a cardiovascular machine of your choice, warm up by walking or jogging for two minutes. If using a jump rope, skip rope at a slow-to-moderate rate for two minutes.
Work: 20 sec: Run or jump rope as fast as you can, for a PE rating of 7-8.
10 sec: Stop . Rest. Catch your breath. That was one round. Repeat for a total of eight rounds, to complete one set!
Congratulations, you just worked out for four minutes! Take a full minute break and then complete the full four-minute set three to four more times, resting for a full minute between each four minute set.
Cool Down: Walk or skip rope at a moderate-to-slow pace for two minutes.
Whew! You’re done in under 30 minutes!
Tip 2: Work [With]Your Body
You’re trying to lose weight, get fit or get stronger, but you don’t have the time or money to go to the gym? Use what you already have: Your body! These exercises can be done at home, and when performed back-to-back with no rest between exercises, the body-weight exercises churn out cardiovascular benefits! Winning!
What you’ll need: Yourself and a towel.
Warm Up: Jog in place, lifting your knees in front of you, as high as you can, for thirty seconds. Alternate with kicking your heels behind you, towards your butt, for thirty seconds. Alternate both moves for a full three minutes.
Work: Perform the following exercises back-to-back, with no rest in between exercises. Rest at the end of the routine. Repeat the routine 2-3 more times.
Plank Hold: Lie on your stomach, on the floor. Lift your body off of the floor, resting your weight on your forearms and your toes. Ensure that your back is straight and your hips are not sagging towards the floor. Hold for 30-45 seconds.
Wall Sit: Stand with back against a wall. Walk feet out about a foot and half from the wall. Slide back down the wall until you are in a seated position, with your thighs parallel to the floor. Hold for 20-40 seconds.
Towel Slides: Stand with feet hip width apart. Place one foot on a towel. Slide the foot that is on the towel back, bending your stationary leg 90 degrees until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Squeeze the glute of the stationary leg and start straigtening your leg to slide your toweled foot to the start position. Repeat 12 times per leg.
Super Woman: 12 Lie on your stomach, with arms stretch out above your head, and legs straight. Lift arms and legs off of the floor, curving into a “U”. Hold for two seconds, and return limbs to the floor. Repeat 12 times.
Pushups: Get on the floor in the pushup position, with your hands placed beneath your shoulders, back straight and belly button pulled in towards your spine. Bend elbows to bring your chest 3 inches from the floor. Beginners can perform pushups on their knees, maintaining the same form. Repeat 12 times.
Bridge: Lie on your back with knees bent , heels about six inches from your glutes. Push your hips up towards the ceiling, resting all of your weight in your heels. Be careful not to arch your back. Hold your hips up for about two seconds, squeezing your glutes, and then return your glutes to the floor. That’s one. Repeat 12-15 times.
Rest for two minutes, then repeat this entire circuit 2-3 more times. It should take you approximately 30 minutes. You can do it!
Tip 3: Eat Clean and Cheat!
So, now that you know of a couple of ways to squeeze in a few quality workouts a week, you can go ahead and make them a part of your weekly routine. However, exercise is only one part of the fitness puzzle. You also have to watch what you eat to fully reap the benefits of your fitness efforts. Also, eating well can give you a little wiggle room—and help you jiggle less—when it comes to a busy week that simply does not allow time for a sweat session.
A lot of people like to think of a cookie as the cheat meal at the end of a hard week of working out. What if you can’t workout at all one week? Try cheating by eating clean to offset your temporary downtime. This way you’ll prevent yourself from undoing the progress gained from your diligent sweat sessions, and still feel energized. To ward of hunger pangs, and keep energized, try to incorporate whole grains, grilled chicken, grilled fish, lean beef, vegetables and fruits to your diet. Also, try cutting back on food that offers no nutritional value. Easier said than done, we know, but a quick and sneaky way to do this is to replace all beverages with water! Water will fill you up and help to keep your body running like a well-hydrated machine!
Investing as little as thirty minutes a day, three to five days a week, into your health will pay off by providing you with less stress, decreased risk of heart disease, increased endurance, increased alertness, increased strength, and of course, increased confidence! Talk about return on investment! You’re too busy to NOT invest in your health. Take the time and enjoy the rewards.
Try these tips and let us know of other ways that you sneak fitness and healthy eating into your busy lifestyle!