Fit Tip….Sunday? Oops.
This is my third attempt at writing this post. When I started it on Friday I began by writing about how happy I was it was Friday. It was definitely “one of those weeks”. But then my afternoon was cut short by having to deal with printer issues, ie. not be able to figure out why it won’t print black ink when the black ink is full and just go sit in an internet cafe to print my work. Then I figured Friday would be a slow night at work and I could finish all the other work I wasn’t able to do because of my printer fiasco, as well as this blog post. Didn’t happen. Yesterday was the start of a four-day weekend, so I decided to just take a step back and have a relaxing day without any “omg I have to do this and this and this”. It was really nice!
But despite a busy week at work, dealing with grumpy people, dealing with being a new BraceFace, wanting to toss my printer out the window, and this lovely splatter of nail polish on my carpet:
I had a pretty good week. I trained two of my regular clients, began working with a new one, and taught a 30 minute class for seniors on Thursday all on my own! I was so incredibly nervous going into it, but I think it went well because A) I didn’t break anyone and B) no one booed me out of there. I’m hoping this will become a regular occurrence in the New Year! It really is true what they say…”love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life”. I can’t wait to do this full time so I can never work ever again!
But enough about me! It’s time to share what I’ve got for you! I wanted to share a few ways you can work up a sweat in 30 minutes or less. This time of year can be crazy between shopping, attending holiday parties, getting ready for company, plus all of our other day-to-day tasks. It can be pretty easy to let our fitness fall to the wayside. But because this time of year is so busy, it can also be pretty stressful. Which is why it’s important to make sure we keep up at least SOME of our regular physical activity to get those feel-good endorphins flowing! And as I touched on in my last post, this time of year often results in an over-abundance of food, so we might as well put some of it to work, no?
So can you REALLY get a good workout in under 30 minutes? You bet your asses you can! But you gotta WORK during those 30 minutes. No half-assed shit here.Duration and intensity are two closely related factors in the world of fitness. As the duration of exercises increases, the intensity decreases. So what happens to intensity if the duration decreases? You guessed it…IT GOES UP! Sure you could run on a treadmill for 30 minutes, or go for a powerful 30-minute bike ride. But where’s the exciting challenge in that? While the following training methods are great for maximizing your time during the holidays, you can do these any day you’re short on time but still want a good workout. So without further delay I present to you some of my favourite ways to get sweaty in 30 minutes or less.
#1. 30mins AMRAP
AMRAP stands for “As Many Rounds As Possible”. Pick 3-5 exercises, choose the number of reps you’d like to complete of each exercise, set a timer for 30 minutes, and go bust your ass! These are great for tracking progress because as you get fitter you’ll be able to complete more rounds within 30 minutes.
15 mountain climbers each side (30 total)
And repeat for 30 minutes! Rest only when you feel it’s absolutely necessary; remember, you’re competing with yourself to see how many rounds you can do!
High intensity interval training is one of the best ways to get the most bang for your cardio buck. HIIT involves alternating periods of high-intensity work with periods of lower-intensity work, and if you’re doing it properly you should really only be able to do it for 20 minutes or so before you get totally gassed. What makes HIIT so effective? During those periods of high-intensity work your cardio systems can’t work fast enough to deliver the body with the oxygen it needs, which means you’re training “anaerobically”, or without oxygen. After you finish your workout your body’s going to go into overdrive to replenish the energy needs of your muscles. Translation: you’re going to burn calories at a higher rate for hours after working out, turning you into a fat-burning machine. This fantastic process is referred to as EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Ever finished a workout and found yourself still sweating after showering? That’s EPOC in action my friends.
On a treadmill or spin bike, work at MAXIMUM effort for 30 seconds and then recover for 1 minute. Repeat this 11 more times for a total of 18 minutes. And when I say maximum, I mean maximum. On the ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) scale, with 1 being just getting out of bed and 10 being the hardest you can possibly work, I want you working at a 9-10 for those 30 seconds. Feel like you’re at an advanced level of fitness? Up your work periods to 1 minute with 1 minute of rest, or if you’re totally badass work for 1 minute and rest for 30 seconds.
#3. Interval Training
A less intense but still effective method of training is regular interval training. You’re still alternating periods of work and rest, however you don’t have to work at a maximal effort (but you should still be working hard!!). This type of training can be done with weights or just your own body weight; of the two I prefer body weight exercises because it’s easier to transition from one exercise to the next. Pick a few exercises and perform each for 30 seconds with a few rest breaks thrown in here and there. Repeat for a couple of rounds until you get close to 30 minutes!
Squats x 30 seconds
Walking lunges x 30 seconds
Jumping jacks x 30 seconds
Rest 30 seconds
Push-ups x 30 seconds
Triceps dips x 30 seconds
Mountain climbers x 30 seconds
Rest 30 seconds
Skater leaps x 30 seconds
Pulsing squats x 30 seconds
High plank x 30 seconds
Rest 30 seconds
Repeat 3 more times for a total of 24 minutes!
#4. Tabata Protocol
Tabata is another style of interval training, but it’s a very specific type of interval training. It was developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata, who wanted to gain a better understanding of the effects of steady-state training and interval training on our cardiovascular systems. He and his colleagues tested out a little experiment on the Japanese Olympic speed skating team. They had one group of athletes train 5 times per week at a steady pace for a longer duration, and another group of athletes train 4 times per week for 4 minutes, using his Tabata Protocol. Yes, only minutes. Believe it or not, the group that trained for 4 minutes a day 4 times per week showed greater improvements in aerobic fitness than the steady state training group. Not only that, the 4-minute group also improved their anaerobic fitness, whereas the other group did not.
Tabata training involves alternating 20 seconds of max-max-MAXIMAL effort with 10 seconds of rest 8 times, for a total of a 4-minute workout. I can’t stress how maximal your maximal effort needs to be. If you’re only going to work out for 4 minutes you better feel like you’re going to die during those 20 seconds. I’ll do these on a spin bike at the end of my workout (treadmills are difficult because you can’t speed up and slow down quick enough) and those 20 seconds are the longest and most painful seconds of my life. My 10 second rest break feels like a millisecond. Your muscles should be burning. You should be breathing so hard you can’t even take a sip of water during your rest. If you can, YOU’RE NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH.
On a spin bike alternate 20 seconds of hell with 10 seconds of a slightly less, but only slightly, miserable hell. No spin bike? Things like squat jumps, split jumps, or outdoor sprinting work well for this too. Try to avoid the treadmill.
#5. Break it up!
Don’t have time for a full 30 minute session? You can still reap the benefits of cardiovascular training if it is done in increments of ten minutes or more. Ten minutes! The Government of Canada recommends 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular activity, which ideally would work out to five 30-minute sessions per week. While I may not agree with most of the things the Government says or does, this is a pretty good guideline for activity. The real kicker here though is that these sessions can be in bouts of 10 minutes or more. You can totally find ten minutes to get some exercise in! Exercising for ten minutes at a time every workout isn’t going to get you much closer to your goals, however your heart and lungs will still feel the love so if you’re exercising purely to maintain cardiovascular fitness this would be suitable.
Squeeze three 10-minute power walks into your day: one in the morning, one on your lunch break. and one at night. I recommend you re-evaluate your priorities if you don’t see this being possible.
Yesterday was one of those days I needed a quick and dirty sweat session. I wanted to get some kind of activity in, but I had a day full of no responsibilities ahead of me to get to. So Jordan and I opted for the AMRAP route and did the following circuit for 30 minutes:
5 split jumps each side (10 total) for me, and 5 chin-ups for Jordan
15 triceps dips
At first glance it doesn’t look like much, but after the fourth or fifth round you will definitely feel it. Those triceps dips right after push-ups are a killer! 80 split jumps, 160 push-ups, 240 triceps dips, and 360 squats later I finished 16 rounds. Jordan thought it was a good one too.
I’m amazed at how sore I am today from that little circuit. Give it a shot and let me know what you think! Do you have any favourite short but brutal workouts? Any other tips for squeezing exercise in during the holiday season? I’d love to hear about them!