Advantages of Short, Intense Workouts
While working out for a relatively long period of time (60-90 minutes) has its advantages, there's no reason why a short training session wouldn't give you results as well. Steady and longer workouts may be a good idea if you have time to do them, but a short one—depending on your goal—may be even more efficient.
Imagine going for a run. After about 10 minutes of warming up, your body starts to adapt to the change in physiological activity : your heart rate increases, breathing pace goes up and your blood flow starts to improve. The intensity of the warm-up determines how long it takes to get your body in that state of activity. The easier the warm-up, the longer it takes to get, well, warmed up. This implies that when starting your workout by immediately revving up the intensity makes your body able to cope with the exercise a lot faster. This is where short bursts of exercise prove to be beneficial : instead of slowly preparing the body for a 60-minute run, you kickstart your body by making it work at its full capacity right away
Types of Short Workouts
There are a number of workouts that don't consume a lot of time, do require a lot of energy and give results if you can stick to them. All it takes is a maximum of 20 minutes, some willpower and a towel—because these training sessions will definitely make you sweat.
Tabata workouts are a type of interval training invented by the Japanese researcher Dr.Izumi Tabata (not a coincidence) where the participant can choose the intensity at which he or she performs the exercises.
A Tabata usually takes only around 4 minutes and consists of 8 intervals, each interval consisting of 20 seconds of high-intensity activity followed by 10 seconds of low-intensity movements. Besides just running for 20 seconds and then walking for 10, you can easily turn this into a full-body workout by adding squats, push-ups and crunches to the workout.
Everybody has four minutes of spare time, and this is probably the best way to fully take advantage of that time to boost your metabolism, get your blood flowing and burn some serious calories—up to 150 per session !
2. HIIT—High Intensity Interval Training
While a HIIT session usually takes a little longer than a Tabata (around 15-30 minutes), it's still a great way to reap the benefits of high-intensity exercise. Again, the duration of your workout will depend largely on the intensity. A HIIT could look something like this:
- 1 minute of walking - 30 seconds of sprinting - 1 minute if walking - 30 seconds of sprinting
So the time spent walking is twice the amount of time spent sprinting. The longer your sprinting intervals, the shorter your workout is likely going to be due to faster muscle exhaustion and lactic acid build-up in the muscles fibers. Only 20 minutes per session, 3 times a week and you're well on your way to boost your fat-burning capacities, drastically improve your fitness and—since HIIT works your muscles as well—gain some lean muscle mass at the same time.
3. Max Interval Training
Now this one's a real killer. Where HIIT makes you alternate between longer periods of low-intensity exercise and shorter bouts of high-intensity sprints, Max Interval Training puts everything on its head by making the intervals longer than the recovery time. That's right, you're going to sprint longer than you're going to recover. A grueling MIT could look something like this :
- 30 seconds of jogging - 1 minute of sprinting - 30 seconds of jogging - 1 minute of sprinting
While these workouts are definitely a lot harder to complete, they're also usually a bit shorter than regular HIIT-sessions. You could be completely exhausted in no more than 15 minutes, making it a workout to be feared, but certainly a quick and efficient one.
Everybody has just 24 hours in a day, and some people's schedules are so busy that working out for an hour or more a day isn't an option. With these workouts, however, everyone can get in shape and get fit, whether you're a house-mom or a business owner. With workouts like these the main question isn't if you've got enough time, but rather, are you're willing to take the challenge?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2016 Robin De Buck