The idea of a 4 minute workout is very appealing. Let’s get it all done in 4 minutes and get on with your life.
I came across this fitness video today which is meant to be a 4 minute workout for beginners.
No beginners I ever met could manage this 4 minute exercise program, so please don’t even try unless you are reasonably fit!
But if you are why not give it a go…
If this 4 minute workout looks too strenuous for you, yet you want to get fit without taking up much time, my Fitness in No Time program will be much more to your liking
It feels great to get your workout over and done with in one session by combining a cardio and muscle training session at the gym.
But if you would like to burn maximum fat, get fit AND strengthen up you are better to work on your fitness and on your muscles in separate sessions rather than working them both on the same day.
That’s because research has shown overall calorie expenditure to be greater when you separate your workouts. It seems you get a metabolic boost each time you work out – and so combining sessions is counter-productive if you want to burn fat.
If you have too many time constraints to work out on separate days, be sure to carry out your weight training first while glycogen stores are highest to make better gains in strength.
If you can manage it, working out on an empty stomach first thing in the morning burns more fat than at any other time.
Don’t ask me about the exact science behind it, but it’s something to do with insulin levels being at their lowest level and glucagon levels being high – causing the body to use fat for fuel.
On top of that, for a double whammy, exercising first thing in the morning will get your metabolism revved up and into high gear for the rest of the day.
Personally I find that I feel light headed if I exercise without eating – and keeling over is not a good idea. I drink a cup of mint tea and eat a big juicy orange and that seems to be enough to tide me over but maybe that defeats the purpose – and I just use the calories from the orange
But if it’s right for your body chemistry then why not give it a go and get out from under the duvet and straight into your fitness gear?
Should you exercise when you don’t feel well?
There’s a general rule of thumb for minor illness which says that if you are sick from the neck up it’s ok to exercise but if you’re sick from the neck down you should take the day off and rest.
By sick from the neck up it means if you have just a head cold, a slight headache or are feeling a bit stuffed up then it should be ok to work out. Sick from the neck down means you are sick all over – you are feeling shivery flu like symptoms and you really should take to your bed, rest and stay hydrated while you recover.
Like all general rules of thumb you have to be sensible about self-diagnosing anything more than a minor cold and talk to your doctor if necessary about any illness you have. And of course, injury is a different matter entirely.
If you do exercise when you are unwell you will probably find your heart rate elevated from it’s usual level and you will reach your maximum heart rate at a gentler pace. So take care not to overdo it because you don’t want to challenge your system when it is already coping with you being under the weather. Use a heart rate monitor if possible and check your heart rate frequently while you work out.
If you just have a head cold you will probably find that you will feel much better after your workout – as well as feeling buoyed up by getting out there and just doing it despite not feeling 100%.
Actually I’m not sure we had a summer this year in the U.K. but anyway – it’s definitely becoming colder, windier and wetter so winter must be coming soon.
Many of us give up exercising outdoors in winter (and I must confess that I take to the great indoors for exercise most days come November). But if you can bear to live with the initial chill of getting out your front door you will reap the many benefits of winter exercise.
And the best one?
You will burn more calories than in the summer!
The thing is you will stay cooler so that you can work flat out without getting overheated. This means your workout will feel like less effort and you will work harder. Plus keeping warm itself burns calories – so a workout which feels like less effort (because you stay cool) will actually burn more calories than in the summer.
For the best effect, wear layers which you can take off as you warm up and start with just enough clothing so that when you go outside you feel cool but not so cold you’re shivering while you do your warm up.
If getting out there is a major deal in cold or wet weather, time management coach Mark Forster has a great trick for that. He motivates himself by setting a goal just to Get Outside
Sometimes in a busy day there just isn’t time to do a full workout or get to the gym.
But you CAN do something.
Just a few minutes here and there can make the difference between maintaining your fitness and losing it.
And in any case, you’ll feel so much better about yourself if you do the best you can and don’t give up your fitness efforts entirely on those busy days we all have.
Here’s all the you have to do
- At the start of the day, climb 5 sets of stairs – they can be 5 flights at work or mean going up and down stairs at home 5 times. (Alternative: step on and off one step for 5 – 10 minutes)
- At morning break, take a 10 minute walk (or do your stair routine again)
- After lunch, another 10 minutes (take a longer walk if you can then)
- After dinner, 10 or more minutes walk (or more stairs).
There – that means you’ve fitted in 30 – 40 minutes exercise without taking up much of your day at all and you’ll find the mini breaks from your work do you good too.
And if even that is too much then try my whole body fitness course Fitness in No Time which involves only 10 minutes exercise 3 times a week!
1. Follow a Training Plan
If you have an effective and well thought out plan to follow (which matches your level of fitness) you are more likely to keep to it and less likely to injure yourself by doing too much too soon.
Don’t have a plan? Find one on the net like these great resources for example…
Cool Running Couch-to-5k training plan (This is the one I’m currently following – Week 6 day 2 just now)
Alternatively borrow a book from the library or pay for a session with a personal trainer to help you formulate a workout schedule for the coming weeks.
2. Vary It
Cardio can get very boring if you do the same activities and use the same machines or follow the same routes every time – and besides, if you keep on doing the same old routine it does not challenge your body as well as it could.
Make the effort to switch around your activities, equipment and environment. Vary the intensity too – some long slower sessions, some interval training, some medium intensity, medium length sessions too.
3. Entertain Yourself
Add to your enjoyment by using music or tapes while you work out. Watch TV at the gym. A long session on the treadmill can go very quickly with your favorite show. Don’t forget to focus on what you’re doing too though.
4. Protect Yourself
Keep yourself safe and free from injury by wearing the right clothes and footwear and keeping to well-populated areas. If there’s a lot of traffic go easy on the music so you can hear as well as see vehicles approaching. Let someone know where you are going.
Wait a couple of hours after eating a full meal before working out. If you are too hungry to work out a light snack such as a banana can be enough to satisfy you before your session. Also you may find you get more out of an early morning work out if you have a light breakfast first.
If you want the full fat-burning effect of a cardio workout don’t eat straight after your session but wait an hour or so before having a meal.
6. Stay Hydrated
For a normal cardio session plain water is best. Before, during (depending on the length of your session) and after. Avoid sugar loaded sports drinks – you don’t need them. Good performance requires hydration not sugar.
Don’t forget to do your stretches after your workout to avoid soreness. Doing a lot of cardio (and building muscle) can reduce flexibility – so stretching is essential. Also taking up something like yoga and practising on non-cardio days can be particularly beneficial in maintaining flexibility.
Bonus Tip : The main thing to have an effective cardio workout is just to “Do It” because chances are you will feel great whenever you do and not so great when you have avoided getting out there and getting it done for a week. Once you have a plan, log your workouts so that you can see you are making progress. A heart rate monitor too is a great tool for seeing how far you have come before you can even feel the difference.
1. Plan Ahead
Always have your exercise kit ready and available. Have enough workout clothing so you can get a fresh kit together right after your workout while you’re still feeling good about having gone out for a run or to the gym. And keep it in a handy place at home ready to grab and go or store it in your car trunk so it’s always with you.
2. Follow a Program
Follow a work out program which is suitable for whatever stage of fitness you have reached. If you follow a pre-designed program you never have to think about what to do today – it’s all worked out in advance. If you are more experienced, you can create your own workout plan making sure that you don’t go too far too fast to avoid injury and over-training.
3. Get the Intensity Right
Use a heart rate monitor in conjunction with your program to ensure you are working at the right cardio intensity. You will also be able to follow your progress by seeing a reduction in your resting heart rate and the rate for any particular cardio exercise as you get fitter.
4. Schedule Your Exercise
Make an appointment with yourself as if you had a personal trainer turning up and expecting you to be ready to work out. Write it in your diary and schedule the rest of your life around your exercise sessions so that you make time for them.
5. Stay Healthy
Good food, plenty of sleep, proper hydration and avoiding cigarettes and too much alcohol and will make the job of keeping fit a lot easier than if your life is filled with late night booze sessions and junk food. If you do feel ill, give yourself a break from exercise and don’t force your body to work when it needs rest and recuperation. You’ll get back to full strength a lot faster.
Have more fun working out so that you’ll be motivated to get out there and do it more regularly!
1. Choose a Sport or Activity you Love
Why go to the gym if you hate the gym? Choose an activity which appeals to you and give it a go. When you’re ice-dancing or rock climbing, skiing or playing tennis exercise just happens and doesn’t seem like a chore.
2. Make Exercise Part of Your Social Life
Find a workout partner you enjoy spending time with so that you look forward to getting together for a run or gym session. Just don’t get so carried away and chat so much that you forget to work out! If you usually get together with friends for a meal or drinks see if you can persuade them to do something active instead. Baseball anyone?
3. Enjoy Nature
Exercise is often the only time we adults get fresh air. Make the most of your work out time by taking yourself off to the great outdoors. Find a local beach, park, lake or hill where you can work out and enjoy the wonders of nature at the the same time.
4. Feel the Movement
While you exercise, focus on your body as it moves through the air – sometimes you can feel yourself almost gliding. Feel the pleasure of the movement itself – your muscles working in a co-ordinated way, the efficiency of your body’s cooling systems, how you heart and lungs work together to send oxygen to your muscles. Imagine you had been confined to a tiny cell for weeks on end or hospitalized in a full body cast and feel the joy of now being able to move your whole body.
5. Look the Part
Treat yourself to some new workout clothes you look forward to wearing. You’ll be more comfortable and enjoy working out more in gear that is made for your sport.
An ipod filled with your favorite music can make the difference between a boring workout and one you enjoy. Talking books are another alternative. If you exercise at home or at the gym choose a time when you can watch a show you love on TV whilre you work out. You’ll never notice the time.
7. Set Yourself a Challenge
Don’t see exercise as a chore but as a challenge. Always log your workouts and set goals for yourself every week, every workout. Don’t push yourself so far that you risk injury but make sure that you are always progressing and moving one step ahead.
Photo by twenty_questions
Anyone who has ever climbed to the top of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris or the Statue of Liberty in New York will tell you that stair climbing is not an easy exercise but you have to admit it’s something that you can easily fit into your everyday life.
Stairs are everywhere and you may as well make use of them.
In fact, keen exercisers in cities as far apart as Boston and San Francisco are starting to use skyscraper stair-climbs as their workout of choice – a 15 minute stair climb offers the same workout as 30 minutes running on flat ground and with less impact.
Even those of us without access to a nearby skyscraper can benefit from the stairs at the office, in the home or at the shopping mall. Every flight you climb counts – a Harvard University study found that men who climbed an average of at least 8 flights a day had a 33% lower mortality rate than men who were sedentary. And research in Northern Ireland has also shown that walking upstairs for just 6 minutes a day will make you 10 to 15 percent fitter.
Climbing stairs will firm your butt, your legs and your stomach – one reason why stair climbing machines at the gym are becoming more popular and why they are taking off as home exercise equipment. Just look at the range of stair climbers and steppers you can buy these days. They take up less room than a treadmill and don’t sound like a jet engine taking off in your basement or spare room – well worth considering if you are looking for home equipment.
But even if you don’t have a gym membership or space for a stair climber at home, you can integrate stair climbing into your day. Just remember when you see a sign for the elevator to look for the stairs instead and get firm and fit without taking up your precious free time.
And if you are looking for a new home don’t look at stairs as a disadvantage – that top floor appartment may be just what you need