Finding time to squeeze in some exercise can be tough. With a busy schedule, time is of the essence. With that in mind, we need to exercise as efficiently as we can. So whether you’re focusing on strength, cardio - or something else - here’s our 3 step plan to make the most of your workout.
Choose the right time of day
When exercising, you can actually use the time of day to your advantage. Early morning - with an empty stomach - is the most efficient time to work out in order to lose weight. At this point, you have a calorie deficit. This means that in the absence of food, your body will use your fat reserves as an energy source. But don’t leave it to too late; it’s important not to starve yourself.
Working out on an empty stomach for 20 minutes is a good way to workout. To make this even more effective, include some resistance training, e.g. weight lifting or body weight activities (press ups or squats). This is good because post-resistance training, your metabolism will double for at least the next three hours. Amazingly, even sitting down in this state, you’ll burn twice the calories that you usually would. And if you’re trying to gain mass, those consequent hours are great for getting enough calories for growth. At this time your body will be able to process more. Alternatively, you’ll actually lose weight if you eat the amount you normally would.
Plan, warm up and prime
If you’re looking for a whole body workout, the most efficient way to warm up is by focussing on everything at once. If this is the case, try using a cross trainer instead of a bike or treadmill.
It’s important to connect your goals to the type of exercises you’re going to do. Do you want a muscle group to get stronger or bigger? It’s important to make this distinction before you start. If you want stronger biceps - focus on bicep exercises.
Makes sense, right?
Sure. But if you want to increase the size of your biceps, you need to take a different approach. In this instance, it’s a good idea to prime your body with explosive movements. These will cause your body to release more anabolic hormones; it becomes the ideal environment for muscle growth.
Alternatively, you might be looking for whole body fitness, strength - or weight loss. If this is the case, you’ll need to make your exercises bigger. Basically, the more joints that move, the more muscles you use. This combination will result in bigger results.
Make time for recovery
No matter how busy you are, it’s important to make time for recovery. However, you can make the most of this time too. If you’re aching and tired but still feel like you should be doing stuff, try a passive recovery. You can actually get a passive cardiovascular workout from the sauna whilst you repair. Alternatively, try a lighter version of what you’re recovering from; go for a walk if you usually run. Soreness after exercise can last 1 – 2 days – if it’s lasting a week then you have overdone.
By doing a lighter version of the same movements, you’ll recover much faster.