For the majority of us, our go-to excuse for skipping exercise isn’t that you want to skip it for the killer happy hour down the road – discount apps are hard to miss – usually it’s simply that there aren’t enough hours in the day. No one is blaming you – we all live very hectic, time pinched lives and this makes it so easy to skip a workout. It’s the easiest and most practical excuse you can make!
The Way We Think
Most of us have it in our heads that we need at least 45 minutes to make it worth showing up to the gym in the first place. Because how can a 15 minute workout actually be effective? But how many days of the MONTH do you have 45 free minutes? This thought process leads us to skipping exercise altogether – we are busy everyday of the week. Well this physical inactivity could be killing us!
In fact, a recent 2015 study determined that the lack of exercise can be attributed to more early deaths than obesity! The study authors hypothesized that simply walking at a brisk pace for only 20 minutes a day is enough to reduce your risk of early death which is pretty incredible! That simply means grabbing your dog for a walk or walking with a friend during your lunch break can help decrease your mortality risk!
If you’re like me, you may feel like pushing yourself harder during a quick workout. Never fear! You can perform quick high-intensity workouts in your spare time to improve your health even more! Another 2015 study determined that those who perform high-intensity exercise had a 13% lower mortality rate compared to those who exercise at only a moderate pace. On top of that, the great thing was that exercise duration didn’t matter – it was all about intensity! So in fact, a little exercise can go a long way!
Yes, you clearly should be exercising in your spare time – even if it’s going for a walk with your pooch! If you are looking for a high intensity way to blast calories and build muscle in 15 or less minutes then we can put together a full-body circuit that – if you don’t slack – will kick your butt and blast calories!
By busting out a high intensity circuit we can actually boost our metabolism after our workout is over via EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) or commonly called the Afterburn effect. In layman’s terms, this is the calories that it takes to return our bodies from the elevated post-exercise state to our normal resting state. The main thing you need to know is that to elicit this EPOC effect we need to exercise at a high intensity for an extended period of time (the longer the better but it can still be induced in our spare 20 minutes) to really throw our bodies out of equilibrium. For example, huffing, puffing, sweat rolling and on the ground whooped! J
We can put this into practice by picking just 6-8 exercises that work our entire body. We will alternate between 4 strength training moves and 4 cardio moves to create this killer program. This gives us a chance to catch our breath during the strength training exercise while giving our muscles a chance to recoup slightly during the cardio moves! Here’s an example circuit:
[Note: as with any workout, get cleared by your doctor before beginning.]
- Cardio: Heel Jacks
- Strength: Squat with Upright Row
- Cardio: Mountain Climbers
- Strength: Walking Lunges
- Cardio: High Knees
- Strength: Reverse Bicep Curl
- Cardio/Strength: Burpees
- Strength: Pushups
Going in order, perform each exercise for 30 seconds doing as many repetitions with proper form as you can. Move between exercises at a quick pace with little to no rest between them – this will make sure you stay at a high intensity! Go through the order for a total of 3 sets, which in total will take about 15-20 minutes. This is a great way to build muscle, increase your cardiovascular health, blast calories, and improve your overall health in a timely manner!
Nope, this quick circuit isn’t meant to help you sculpt big biceps or squat 250lbs like a typical strength training session, nor is it meant to help you burn more calories than a long HIIT session. It’s meant to be a great alternative you can use to burn calories and improve your overall health instead of skipping your workout altogether. Doesn’t that sound healthier?