Over the years various studies have proved that people don’t need to work out for an hour or more every day to stay healthy and fit. In fact, shorter workouts are more effective in many ways if the goal is to lose weight and get stronger.
“It’s possible to get a great strength workout and get cardio benefits as well in 15 minutes,” Ken Szekretar, New York Sports Clubs’ (NYSC) Master Personal Trainer & Running Coach, says. “I recommend strength training in circuits … and try to include at least one exercise for legs, chest/arms, core, and cardio to keep the blood pumping.”
That’s very good news considering how busy life is nowadays. Wouldn’t you stick to a plan if you knew that getting into the best shape of your life and maintaining your fitness was only 15 minutes a day away as opposed to 45? Recent research shows that is the case for many.
The most important part about designing short workouts is to first do exercises that use larger muscle, Szekretar says. “Larger muscles such as chest, back, legs, core burn more calories.” They also involve secondary muscles. “That’s why I recommend compound movements as opposed to exercises isolating [smaller muscles].”
The key to sculpting your body is resistance training because it builds muscle, which burns calories. There is no way around it. You want to be able to burn more calories even when you’re not sweating at the gym. Strength workouts are especially beneficial. Researchers from Southern Illinois University found that when people did just one set of nine resistance exercises three days a week, they increased their resting metabolic rate and fat burning so they didn’t gain extra pounds.
Working on one area for 15 minutes is totally acceptable if have time to do it every day, Szekretar says. “If you have five days a week, you can add intensity. But if you’re newer to exercise, stick to the shorter workouts that involve each part of the body.”
You can change your entire physique with a few simple moves. A study shows that losing 4 pounds of fat and building muscle in 8 weeks is totally realistic with four exercises that work major muscles.
Another benefit of short but intense workouts is better sleep. An Australian study found that women who did HIIT for 8 weeks improved their sleep by 23 percent. This is good news because not sleeping manifests itself onto your waistline because sleeplessness triggers the hunger hormone ghrelin as well as cortisol, which makes your body store fat.
1. Walk at different inclines
This is possibly the most universal exercise ever and it can be very effective. You can walk on a treadmill or anywhere outside. You can even use an elliptical machine (or a stepper for a really intensive cardio). Start by walking 2 minutes at 3.5 mph. Always keep your abs engaged for proper posture. Then speed up a little bit for another 5 minutes. Then walk for about 8 minutes at an 4.0 incline. If you want, slow down a bit. Increase the incline again and maintain the same speed. If you feel well, try and jog a little for about 10 minutes. At the end, go back to walking at zero incline.
2. Rowing machine
15 minutes on the rowing machine can be very efficient, Szekretar says. It’s low impact so anybody can use it. Some people feel rowing is very easy and that’s why they avoid it. Not everything good for you has to be hard and painful. The rowing machine works your legs, arms, back and the entire core all at the same time.
3. Fat Burning
To burn fat you need to build muscle the thighs, legs, quadriceps, hamstrings, core, arms. So the focus of this workout is resistance exercises. You can do them in the comfort of your home, in the park, at the gym, and even in the office. First warm up a little bit. Then try to do each exercise for about a minute. They include: Butt kicks, superman, pushups, mason twists, squats (kick squats are even better), mountain climbers, jump squats, lateral leg raise burpees, hip extensions, bicycle crunches, glue bridge, and overhead triceps press.