7 Ways to Make a Quick Workout Count (Even If It's Only 20 Minutes)
Maximize your time, people
The good news: You can build a leaner, fitter body in under half an hour--you just have to keep up the intensity. And while there’s no denying the difficulty of these shorter, more vigorous sessions, they will save you tons of time and get you better results, faster. Incorporate some (or all) of these pro tips during your next workout and reap the benefits by summer.
Find your Ideal Workout Time
And stick to it. Since intensity is key to maximizing your workout, finding the time of day when you have the most energy is crucial to making sure this happens. And it differs for everyone. So if you prefer clearing your head before the office, prioritize early-morning workouts. If you’re a sweat-out-the-stress kinda girl, set aside time to squeeze in an evening session. Just listen to what’s best for your body.
Do Full-Body Exercises
Also known as compound exercises, these moves work multiple muscle groups at once. Not sure where to start? Replicate moves you frequently do in daily activities like pushing (push-ups), bending (squats) or hinging (dead lifts) to build strength all over.
Minimize Rest Time
Structure your workouts to minimize rest time by performing two exercises (aka supersets) or three exercises (tri-sets) back to back. For example: 12 reps of bench presses, followed immediately by 12 reps of squats (and 12 reps of chin-ups if you're doing a tri-set). By doing so, you’ll be working one set of muscles while the other set chills out--all the while keeping your heart rate up. Brynn Putnam (founder of Refine Method studio in NYC) told us that this creates a level of fatigue and metabolic stress that promotes muscle growth and fat loss.
Or Make Your Rest Count
Traditional workouts alternate periods of intensity followed by down time, which can make sessions long and inefficient. But if supersets place too much stress on your heart, replace your standard rest periods with active recovery exercises--like hip stretches--so your body can recover while still getting other benefits.
Most people spend eight-plus hours in front of a computer and then head to the gym and sit even more (or, worse, lie down!). Prioritize standing exercises using free weights, suspension straps or any other modality that requires you to use your core to balance, advises Putnam. This will force you to engage more muscle groups at once, in turn making you stronger. (It also keeps your eyes on the prize--the door.)
Make a Killer Playlist
And time it out to be exactly 20 minutes. It will give you a much-needed energy boost (and help you keep pace) throughout your speedy workout. Take it one step further and pre-plan your mix so that you know when to start and stop each set. This way you can focus more on the moves and less on the clock. Then once that last Fergie song is over, you can head home.
And finally, if you have a specific goal, like fat loss or muscle gain, consult a trainer to build a tailored plan that fits you and your body, says Putnam. This will result in less time spent wandering the gym floor and more time crushing your workout. Even if you just pay for one tutorial session, that roadmap should last you for weeks.